“What the hell happened to the laptop?!” my wife screeched, easily heard a few rooms away.

Oh wait, that was HER first impression of Windows 8. Here’s mine.

My first impression is a little more kind. But just a little.

First the good news — Windows 8 is FAST. As in fasten your seat belts fast. How fast, exactly?

I installed the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to my laptop and was amazed.

My aging Acer Aspire 5100 laptop — approaching its fifth birthday — boots to the Windows 8 login screen in exactly 45 seconds.

In a total of one minute and ten seconds I am booted up, signed in and ready to work. That’s very impressive.

What’s not so nice is what you see when you sign in.

Windows 8 Metro

My wife was immediately agitated. Where’s the desktop? Where’s the start button? How do I run programs? How do I get on the Internet?

All valid questions. With fast but not simple answers.

Welcome to the world of the Windows 8 Metro User Interface.

Why Microsoft decided to throw every Windows users in the world such a harsh curve ball is not clear. I can see the Metro advantage on a tablet PC with a touch screen (think an iPad killer) but Windows 8 takes quite a lot of getting used to for the mouse-and-keyboard masses of computer users.

Can you do away with the Windows 8 Metro interface and go back to the Windows desktop you’re used to? Sure. But not on your own. There are several complicated steps involved which is far beyond the technical abilities of most people.

Don’t panic! I can do it for you inside of 30 minutes.

As unsettling as it may be at first, Windows 8 is here to stay.

I wouldn’t run out to the store and purchase the Windows 8 upgrade the day it comes out — several months from now.

But your next PC will likely have Windows 8 pre-installed so just make sure you’re mentally and emotionally prepared for the good and the bad.

And don’t worry — all of your Windows Vista and Windows 7 software will run just fine on Windows 8. Every program I launched after the Windows 8 upgrade ran flawlessly.

At the end of the day Windows 8 has much more good than bad.