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  1. #1
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    Default Windows 8: What to know before you upgrade

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    Photo credit: AP | Television celebrity Ryan Seacrest, left, and Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer listen during a demonstration of Windows 8 at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year in Las Vegas. (Jan. 9, 2012)

    I've made a lot of computer blunders over the years. The biggest was taking a perfectly well-functioning Sony Vaio and upgrading it from Windows XP to Windows Vista, which left it so crash-prone as to be all but useless.

    So please believe me when I offer this word of advice on installing Microsoft's shiny new Windows 8 operating system: Don't.

    Windows 8 is far from the disaster Vista was. But unless you have a very recent personal computer with a touch screen, there are few benefits -- and some significant drawbacks in terms of learning curve and usability -- to upgrading from Windows 7.

    Microsoft is doing its best to make the process attractive. Buyers of Windows 7 PCs between June 2, 2012, and Jan. 31, 2013, can upgrade for $15, while owners of older computers can download a copy from Microsoft's online store for $40.

    I decided to go old school, buying the traditional boxed DVD of Windows 8 Pro at the neighborhood Staples for $70. My guinea-pig machine was one I use specifically for testing software and services, a three-year-old Hewlett-Packard Pavilion desktop purchased at Costco -- just the sort of thing many families might have at home.

    I began the upgrade at 9:45 a.m. and finished it an hour and 37 minutes later, not counting another 15 minutes or so spent solving a couple of lingering issues. The process wasn't entirely smooth.

    Most of the time was spent staring at the screen, which was populated by various all-but-indistinguishable status updates: "getting devices ready," "getting ready," "while we're getting things ready," and finally, more than an hour into the process, "we're getting your PC ready." Wait, what have you been doing up to now? The final message was accompanied by "this will take a few minutes." No kidding.

    Theoretically, I could have just started the process and walked away. But as it turned out, that would have been a mistake.

    Shortly after I began, the installer mysteriously quit and returned me to the Windows 7 desktop with no explanation. I restarted the process, which at least picked up where it had left off.

    Then, more than an hour into the effort, the Pavilion's hardware-diagnostic program prevented a required restart of Windows until I manually intervened. Had I not been sitting in front of the screen monitoring developments, it would have taken even longer before I was up and running.

    Finally, upgrade complete, I rebooted into the new Windows 8 Start screen. I was greeted with its colorful tiles -- and an error message that read ".Net 3.5 Client Profile Runtime has stopped working." When I tried to summon Microsoft's online help service for a solution, I discovered my PC no longer had Internet access, thanks to an incompatibility with the version of Symantec's Norton Firewall software I was using. (Most of my other existing programs, though, seemed to run fine with the new operating system.) Once I sorted out those issues, I noticed an immediate benefit. Prior to the upgrade, it took the Pavilion about two minutes to boot from a cold start. Windows 8, though, was much faster: about 50 seconds.

    The upgrade also gave me tiles to access Microsoft's new Xbox Music service and a not-yet-very-populated app store for programs written for the new interface.

    The other Start-screen tiles were filled with self-updating information from my social networks, calendar and other applications. While I was able to navigate through them using the mouse, it's clear the interface is really aimed at users with touch screens.

    Those are likely to be standard equipment on most new Windows PCs, including the new Windows tablets from manufacturers including, for the first time, Microsoft itself. But the millions of individuals and businesses with older, mouse-driven systems -- and even many with laptops that have a touchpad but no touch screen -- may find themselves needing to memorize keyboard shortcuts for many common tasks, a throwback to earlier days of computing.

    While there's still a Windows 7-like desktop, it's been demoted: You launch it from one of the tiles on the Start screen. And missing from the desktop is the familiar button that would allow you to shut down or restart the PC. Instead, you're expected to summon what Microsoft calls "charms" -- a set of buttons running down the side of the screen -- choose Settings and power down from there.

    That's fine for touch screens and for Windows tablets, which -- like Apple's iPad -- you shouldn't have to power down or reboot very often. But it's clumsy for users of more traditional PCs, who will have to learn just where to move the cursor on the screen to bring up the charms.

    Further, there's no option to boot directly into the desktop environment, or restore the Start menu. And, adding to the sense of schizophrenia, Windows 8 has two separate versions of the Internet Explorer web browser, one written in the new style, the other a more traditional one that shows up when you're working on the desktop.

    For buyers of new computers, Windows 8 will be inescapable, and may make sense for the new generation of hardware it's spawning. But if you don't already have something close to the latest and greatest PC and you're reasonably happy with Windows 7, my guidance is simple: Skip it.

    Article Source: newyork.newsday.com

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Windows 8: What to know before you upgrade

    Articles like this are only any good when there is something that follows to keep things fair, accurate and balanced. But, I don't get paid to write stuff, like article authors do, so mine lines will be much fewer.

    1. Besides myself you can find or hear many similar reports. I have done a few installs of Windows 8, so far and all smooth & very quick; install times for the basic OS have been in the order of 15 to 20 mins.
    2. As for a conflict w/ Norton & its firewall, well that can often be a consequence of messing w/ Norton and its firewall. I couldn't begin to list or recall all the messes I've had to address over the years for clients from that stuff.
    3. I really, really wish people would stop writing stuff suggesting Win8 isn't nice to use w/out Touch. One can use it w/out Touch just fine!
    4. For the writer to put Windows 8, disaster & Vista in the same sentence is ridiculous. And then to go on to say that w/out Touch hardware this new OS holds or offers little advantages over previous Windows is just plain false. It is significantly superior to prior Windows OSs in many ways, on many levels.

    Articles like this are upsetting in that they are grossly misleading, give a biased, unfair, inaccurate & misleading impression to readers.

    Windows 8 does not deserve the innuendos he suggests and attitude he portrays towards it. He's not the only one I've seen writing stuff like this.

    I'll bet the old HP from Cosco had issues, already, maybe that he didn't even realise.
    Plus his story of woe, also, supports why we have long said and recommended that clean installs are best.

    Cheers,
    Drew
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    Default Re: Windows 8: What to know before you upgrade

    Yes, the reference to Norton incompatibility was a dead giveaway of an upgrade install. While in theory it's supposed to work & sounds like a great option, there are too many issues, of which it only takes one, for the install to be a disaster. In addition to Norton, I see that HP was in the mix also, that upgrade never had a chance to begin with.

    Which is why MS gave us the option of creating media for a clean install via the Upgrade Assistant. When it got to that point, there was no doubt in my mind as to what I was going to do, make a bootable Flash drive to install with. I already had the Windows 7 USB DVD download tool installed, & though I had, I still selected to create a DVD. Why? Because one can create either out of that option, the ISO is required for both type of installs.

    I'm inclined to go along with Drew on this, & hope that too many doesn't read it, or takes it with a grain of salt & goes on. I don't have a touch screen & am running Windows 8 Pro fine. Don't care for one, either. It would just be something else for me to keep clean, naturally the screen is going to get smudged & dirty fast. One's hands doesn't have to be dirty, as in unwashed, the natural oil that's produced to keep our skin moist is going to smudge the screen.

    Windows 8 runs better (for my purposes) on my desktop than Windows 7, Vista & XP. It runs using far less resources than the others that I mentioned, meaning that it's running cooler due to less strain on the CPU & other components, which in turn will allow it to last (hopefully) until the next Windows is released. Though I may test that version on here, if it'll install (this is an HP, a cheap one like the ones at Costco), it won't be it's permanent home.

    And I certainly don't feel that my computer has been "demoted", as it does everything faster than 7 does. Everything. Even using my choice of security NOD32 6 (RC), MBAM/SuperAntiSpyware (both Lifetime Pro). The keys for the last two were already paid for, I'm going to use them, & they're the brands that I'm familiar with & trust. I'm not changing my security posture, it's kept me virus/malware free for two years now, & I have another boxed NOD32 (3 PC's) to activate in February.

    Still, even with three active security apps running in live mode, but not competing with one another, as each is designed to look for different things, I'm using around half the CPU resources that 7 does.

    And being that 99+% of the time I'm on here, I'm on the browser, I can see little difference, except the graphics are better. The only Tile that I use is the Weather one.

    With all of this in mind, I feel better that 8 Pro is on here. It runs cooler, faster & gets what I need done, in less time, & less strain on the PC. I have no regrets in choosing 8 Pro & recommend it to all whose computers can run it. Yes, there's a learning curve, but once a week or two has gone by, most users should be running 8 Pro fairly well.

    Cat

  5. #4
    Moderator Drew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Windows 8: What to know before you upgrade

    OMG, Cat, did you ever make me bust out laughing so bloody hard!! I'm, still, chuckling aloud as I write this. Subtly is such a virtue, LOL!!

    "In addition to Norton, I see that HP was in the mix also, that upgrade never had a chance to begin with."

    Oh, geez, just too damn funny!! After all the experience(s) I have had over the years w/ clients & Norton & Compaq/HP machines, I just busted a gut, near broke a rib.

    Thanks, mate. I needed a good laugh today and that sure did it!!

    And after running Windows 8 for over 9 months (& other Windows OSs before it) I fully 2nd & support all you have said about it. And, again, I reflect on the article author saying, " unless you have a very recent personal computer with a touch screen, there are few benefits". How blind can somebody be, especially somebody professing to know something about IT.

    As for him saying, "Skip it (Windows 8)"... considering how good it is, especially compared to other offerings present & certainly, past AND until Jan.31st at $40 AND considering he is wrong that it must have only the latest & great hardware to be worthwhile. NOT skipping it is rather a no-brainer.

    Cheers,
    Drew
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  6. #5
    Senior Member Medico's Avatar
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    Default Re: Windows 8: What to know before you upgrade

    There are simply some people that will not or do not wish to check other things. Or perhaps he's a Mac boy at heart. Who cares.

    This is as bad as the guy in the Lounge who stated "Win 8 is all crap. I haven't used it, but I saw some laptops with it at Costco" This is so ridiculous as to be laughable. Judging a new OS, and a great OS IMO, by looking at some laptops with it installed is just plain stupid IMO.

    Unfortunately some of these people write articles. It's too bad because many people who were doomsayers initially are now writing good things about Win 8 Pro. The people still naysaying are those who are Mac boys or those who just have not tried or used Win 8 Pro, and who don't know how to customize it to suit there needs.

    MS is now sending a couple of emails to those who sign on through their MS accounts with tips on using Win 8 Pro. There are some who are talking about how bad this is. How can getting an email from MS showing tips on how to use Win 8 Pro be bad??? Close minded!

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Windows 8: What to know before you upgrade

    MS sending out instructional E-mails is just helpful, maybe even kind, good customer service & relations. I do the same in person, on site for clients & that, of course, gets nothing but, appreciation & gratitude.

    MS doing this does not reflect badly on the OS but, does reflect well on the Corporation for bothering to help folks w/ something new that's a departure from the 'familiar'.

    It's always so nice that people can take positives & twist them (self-servingly) into negatives.

    Cheers,
    Drew
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  8. #7
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    Default Re: Windows 8: What to know before you upgrade

    So it is not ok to talk down windows 8 but ok to talk down Compaq/HP looks like the same thing to me

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Windows 8: What to know before you upgrade

    Yes, I apologize. That was not an acceptable implication. The numbers may seen high, but, indeed, it's a ratio, bigger footprint since so many purchased certainly there would be many problem free.

    I did take it out of context & w/out mentioning their position in the marketplace. Many machines out there are HP. That would mean a high number of the issues involved them. Which doesn't say they are worse than others just that there are a lot in use.

    Again, apologise for any offence, certainly none meant; reference gear not people. Please, excuse. (Your) Point well taken.

    It was really more how Cat put that just hit a never & made me laugh... I felt badly to see people oft face issues w/ HP which is certainly NOT funny! I should not malign a group (like for example) HP owners. Definitely not intended; Sorry.
    They oft didn't take Upgrades well some times it seemed.

    Was thoughtless, wasn't as or to be laughing at people. Will not reoccur

    An observation of numbers but, not a laughing matter nor should be taken as all units always.

    In error.
    Last edited by Drew; 11-09-2012 at 03:14 PM.

  10. #9
    Member Rick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Windows 8: What to know before you upgrade

    No offence drew just making a point i have use the Windows 8 RP and it's not for me i do not talk it down to others for those who like it that is good

  11. #10
    Moderator Drew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Windows 8: What to know before you upgrade

    Yes, yes, understood No offence taken. Never should there be any intent to talk down to those who think that its bad.

    Things may get said that might change that. Forgive us.

    Cheers,
    Drew
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