Even though I was truly satisfied with Windows 7, I decided to jump on the Windows 8 bandwagon right after it was released. Upgrading for $40 is a really nice offer and as a developer, I will be pressured to switch anyway. For example the Windows Phone 8 SDK requires Windows 8 Pro, mainly because the emulator uses Hyper-V. Like many others, I miss some features that I've been using for many years. I'm the guy who keeps his Start Menu programs tidy, structuring the applications nicely, deleting useless entries, pinning some programs to the top of the menu, using the program history. I pin only those programs to the taskbar that I run at least once a day. I love to have some useful gadgets on the desktop to monitor system activity, see the clock, calendar and the weather. Without the start menu and gadgets I would feel bad, this is the way I like my system, don't mess with it.
Fortunately there is a way to put the missing features back (well, sort of). For a Start Menu replacement I use Start8 from Stardock, it's really good, customizable and it's totally worth $5. To put the Gadgets back, I use 8GadgetPack which is a free Vista Sidebar installer and it comes with plenty of gadgets by default. It needs a little tweaking, I set Aero Glass disabled, top buttons hidden and I copied my previously backed up gadgets to C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\ Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets to install them, now that Microsoft killed the Gadgets Gallery... The end result is pretty neat and I'm really satisfied with it.
Coincidentally I start this new era of computing with a new workstation, an Ivy Bridge i5-3570K with 4 CPU cores (3.4 / 3.8 GHz), H77 chipset and 32GB of DDR3 1600MHz RAM. The system uses a 256GB SSD and the whole thing is in an industrial design Silverstone MicroATX case. Silent but deadly. I doubt I would need to touch it in the next 5 years, I like to at least double my previous workstation's single thread performance on each upgrade to get the biggest bang for my buck.