There’ve been pretty mixed reviews of Windows 8, but to anyone made nervous by the criticism please, give it a go even if that means trying it in-store.
A lot of people have been freaking out- “Where’s the start menu“, “It doesn’t work with a mouse“, “Where’s my desktop gone“. The start menu is… sort of the entire screen. Except it’s your own, custom start menu (don’t worry- you can access everything by pressing the windows key). Of course it works with a mouse- it’s just that all the icons are bigger (much bigger), so it’s actually easier. And the desktop is still there- you just need to think of it as another program, instead of the foundation on which everything sits. And you can customize the Home screen icons at will- get rid of stocks and other unnecessary ones and add the programs you need.
So far, I’d say: (a) it’s really fast, (b) you don’t miss the desktop half as much as you think you might, because all your programs are right there on the home screen (c) searching for items not immediately at hand is fast and easy and (d) customization makes it far more user-friendly, as you don’t constantly have to go Start > Programs > … find the Application folder… find the Application… click. You can get rid of all the pre-defined tiles and add just those programs you need, and suddenly there’s no hunting.
I would say for now, it’s exactly the right mix of being easily useable on a desktop but obviously works brilliantly on a touch enabled device too (plus, of course, the OS looks exactly the same across desktop, laptop, tablet and phone).