I have played with it, but you are correct -- I don't have a Win 8 install on any of my own machines.
As for the "Windows+d" to switch to ClassicShell, sure that's easy enough. But to answer my wife's questions about multi-tasking -- she normally works with dual widescreen monitors and multiple apps open and visible simultaneously -- all I could say was that surely there must be a way to duplicate that experience in Win8, but at the time I couldn't say with certainty or how to do it. I now know that this is possible and not difficult, so perhaps the issue goes back to what other commenters have said about poor marketing and the emphasis on the "metro" UI and the one-app-at-a-time experience that mimics how tablets behave. That was very off-putting to Win7 users like my wife.
Another issue with Win 8 is its enforcement/prevention of loading any uncertified/signed drivers. On the surface this may not be a bad thing, but what about old legacy programs/drivers that people still need to use? Yes, one can disable driver enforcement, but this is resets on the next boot/power cycle... Quite honestly I do not need Microsoft or anyone else being my big brother for what apps/drivers I want or need to use.
The second item is Microsoft quietly introducing UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) or secure boot... effectively Microsoft is forcing PC manufactures to embed UEFI which prevents non certified O/S's from booting... and Microsoft is the only vendor that can provide security certificates... Thankfully the Linux community is addressing this, but again it disturbs me that Microsoft is over stepping their bounds in the manner they have.
A few months ago my wife and I went out to buy a Windows based notebook computer. We opted not to buy anything after the only OS we could get at a retail store was Windows 8. The sales guy said our response was not unusual... Win XP or Win 7 are reasonable OS alternatives and provide for a great user experience. I would ask Microsoft to please listen to their customers, swallow a bit of pride, and bring back at least Windows 7 as a consumer choice.
On my current Windows 8 desktop, which has 8 GB RAM, a 1.5 TB HD and cost me $439, I can run Electromagnetic Simulations using Sonnet, work on an Excel Spreadsheet, author a paper using WORD, and have EE Times running in the background - all at the same time.
Sure, Mac's are wonderful, but where can I buy one for under $500 to do the same thing?
I've noticed for a long time that there are two styles of 'my desktop' that people use. Some have all their applications and/or data on the desktop, others organise things into hierarchies, either by program in the start menu, or by project/data in the directory/folder tree.
I suspect that the former group like "The Interface Formerly Known As Metro" (TIFKAM), whilst the latter group hate it.
I'm in the latter group ... why may I now not have a hierarchical applications menu?
The 'one application at a time' arrangement in TIFKAM is also a _bad_ idea for me as I almost always have multiple applications open _and_in_use_ concurrently. I'm told TIFKAM allows a different configuration for each of multiple screens, which may help, but I presently remain sceptical.
At this moment I have open two IDEs (one for the embedded application, one for the PC program with which to communicate with that), two editor windows, ditto, several Acrobat reader copies with datasheets, schematics, assemby drawings and user-manuals, some terminal sessions for quicker access to to source files, mail, browser, and a couple of folder viewers.
I also use but don't presently have open some CAD packages.
I cannot presently see how TIFKAM can possible function in this kind of environment.
At this moment, that lot is on Linux, spread across three desktop workspaces. On Windows of any flavour, I'm already squeezed into a single workspace.
The thing I don't like about the Windows 8 UI is flatly that it is horrendously cluttered. I have seen demos in which there are 20 apps RUNNING in icons on the screen. It is like trying to watch 20 web cams at the same time. I know that you don't have to have all that stuff up, but it seems to me that its major selling points are really negatives.
If you are willing to memorize a complex series of clicks and key strokes you can
Write a love letter to your girl.
research and write a school paper.
Search for a good job.
manage and edit your family pictures - all 300,000 of them.
Manage your family budget and spreadsheet your plans for the future.
Present data to convince your wife that the new Tesla is a good buy for your family car.
Write a script to simplify your task, or to confuse the heck out of your room mate.
The only thing win8 does to this is mod the number, and obscurity, of the steps you have to pass through to do these things.
One thing I have noticed this spring is that Microsoft and its PC partners made strong efforts to make sure that only Windows 8 computers were on show in computer sales outlets.
The Windows 7 machines all suddently disappeared, and the PC pricing, with exceptions went up a couple of hundred pounds to around the £400 to £500 mark ($700 to $800).
I think that persuaded some people either to try a lower cost tablet.