Is Windows 8, now three weeks past its launch, becoming the success Microsoft envisions? While the technology giant can find some encouraging news, there are also a variety of warning clouds on the horizon.

Various analysts' sales projections are among the warnings. Over the past week, Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore issued a research note that his company expects Windows 8 will have a "more muted impact" on increased buying demand of PCs because of "mixed" reviews that are due to a "confusing UI" or user interface, a lack of enterprise Relevant Products/Services interest, and a complicating Windows 8 versus Windows RT positioning in the tablet market.

User Complaints

The Windows 8/RT tablet positioning refers to the fact that tablets are coming into the marketplace with the two different versions of Windows, depending on whether the processor is ARM-based or Intel's. As the two versions have different capabilities, industry observers have questioned whether this will create marketplace confusion.

The "confusing UI" comment was echoed also in last week's report by usability expert Jakob Nielsen, who said the interface formerly known as Metro "smothers usability with big colorful tiles while hiding needed features."

Another analyst, Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets, has similarly lowered sales expectations for Windows 8-based PCs, in his case based on manufacturing orders from computer makers in Asia. Microsoft has not issued sales figures to date, although CEO Steve Ballmer said in October that over 4 million upgrade copies were sold in the first weekend of general availability and "tens of millions" of copies had been delivered to OEM manufacturers.

In a story published online, Fortune magazine's Cyrus Sanati wrote about extensive problems he encountered when he tried to upgrade to Windows 8 from a supposedly compatible Windows 7 machine. Sanati said the experience was mirrored in similar complaints on Facebook and Twitter by other users, including consistent crashes by applications, driver incompatibility and other issues.

In his own personal experience of attempting an upgrade, Sanati first found that his touchpad and screen dimmer didn't work properly, audio was "spotty," the screen flickered, and the installer required to download updated drivers was incompatible. That was followed by a dead hard drive apparently caused by Windows 8 "incompatibility issues with solid-state drives," he said. After other issues made his computer unusable, Microsoft tech support eventually decided that his computer "simply wasn't compatible" with the new OS.

Our Readers Weigh In

Many of our own readers have expressed their opinions about working with the new Windows system. Following a recent story here about the lack of the traditional Start menu, for example, more than two dozen commenters expressed their mostly negative reactions to the Start-less Windows 8 and related concerns.

One reader, Vladimir Zlvadinovic, posted that the lack of a "Start menu is a major deal-breaker for me." He added that it was "absolute madness" to make ARM-based tablets that can still display the "traditional desktop" interface, but that don't have the ability to run legacy Windows x86 apps.

"If ARM was used, then there should not been a traditional desktop at ALL and Windows RT should have been called Metro 8," he proposed.

Another reader, Floske Tuf, said the Windows 8 interface was "ruined" because of no Start menu and button, no "Aero" styling in the classic interface, and "no possibility" to choose the desktop interface as the default interface.