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Windows 8?

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Windows 8?

Postby rrnate » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:42 am

Friends! Neighbors! Meade! (OK, not really Meade.)

I'm thinking about upgrading my PC from XP (which has numerous issues now and no matter what, I'm coming up on a reinstall anyway) to Windows 8. However, I'm not exactly a tech genius so I'm having a hard time separating the signal from the noise - is it a decent OS for a PC? Wondering what you locals think, and particularly wondering if any of us here have much experience with it as of yet?
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Re: Windows 8?

Postby donges » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:28 pm

It works and seems to be quite stable. Cheap to upgrade right now as well if you do the download version off the microsoft site ($40).
But upgrading from XP means you reinstall all your applications. Not a huge deal since you were planning a wipe/reinstall of the OS anyway.
Seems to be a tad more responsive than Windows 7, even. Depending on the hardware you have currently running XP, you may see some slowdown/sluggishness, though. Maybe spring for a memory upgrade along with the OS update.

However.

If you are totally familiar and comfortable with the GUI of XP, you will initially (maybe even forever) hate how Windows 8 works. Even once you figure out how to get to the desktop, there is no Start button to speak of. To find Control Panel to uninstall an application, you have to go to Search and scroll the screen waaaaay to the right to find it.
Just to install a printer will require a google search.
It will get easier as you use it, like anything else. But a potentially painful journey; I just started my sojourn this past weekend.

Oh - you may want to verify that all your hardware is compatible. My Toshiba laptop, which is only a little over a year old, is lacking quite a few hardware drivers. Such that when I type in a browser window (any browser will do), the cursor jumps randomly to different lines so what I eventually try to send is complete gibberish. Something to do with the touch pad mouse which needs said new driver.

Good luck!
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Re: Windows 8?

Postby Uncle_Leaver » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:56 pm

I've only just started messing with it from more of a system administration standpoint than an end user. That is, I've spent several hours trying to figure out where they've hid all the common crap I used to be able to configure in my sleep. While that happens with just about every OS upgrade (yes, even Macs), it's a far bigger leap from 7 to 8 than virtually anything since the 3.1 to 95/NT upgrade (damn, I'm dating myself here).

I'm not a fan of the Start screen. It's definitely designed with touch screen users in mind and I think that's what rankles me. It makes mousing around a pain in the ass. Admittedly, I'm not a big tablet guy. I don't think much of iOS (though in testament to its simplicity, my 3 year old gets around on it just fine). I like the Android interface on my phone, but it's not how I want to get real work done. I'm also not a huge proponent of widgets and Win8's start screen is very widgety. First thing I'd do if I have to adopt this thing for work is turn all that crap off. Way too much scrolling and updating going on. The words "productivity killer" come to mind when I think of rolling this out at an enterprise level.

I really like Windows 7 and think it's a huge step up from XP both in terms of UI/UX and performance. I'm reserving judgement on 8, but my initial impression is that despite trying to create an OS that is all things to all users, Microsoft may be catering to one group at the expense of another. Not sure this one's really going to take off for business users. Then again, I figured the iPad was gonna be a flop, so what the hell do I know about anything?

One thought: You could grin and bear it and head to Best Buy or someplace, pretend you're in the market for a new machine and have one of the blue shirts give you the fiddy cent tour. It'll be canned, for sure, but you'd at least get a hands-on impression of the thing. I'd certainly recommend a try-before-you-by approach with this one.

Oh, and some idiot will be along any minute now to advise that you should just buy a Mac. Let's just steal that thunder preemptively, shall we?
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Re: Windows 8?

Postby fisticuffs » Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:05 pm

You should just get a Mac.

*Nobody steals my thunder!!!!
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Re: Windows 8?

Postby rrnate » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:00 pm

Donges - thanks! Good reminder on compatibility.

Leaver - thanks! Your reaction is pretty similar to what I'm guessing mine will be like. Definitely had W7 in mind a bit ago, but then they went and rolled out W8 and they're making it so easy to upgrade that it has big appeal financially (and from a tech standpoint, I like that they're actually doing something to move everyone on to their up to date system). My reservation about 8 definitely stems from the very thing you're talking about; Windows is going all-in by trying to make this system for tablet users, at the expense of their main customer base (PC users). Kinda crazy!
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Re: Windows 8?

Postby jjoyce » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:54 pm

Don't some of the changes made to Windows 8 suggest that the mouse is going the way of the dinosaur to be replaced by touch screens everywhere, even at the desktop level?

They even demonstrate this on their commercials.

I guess not many could imagine computing with a mouse 30 years ago, but I can't imagine doing those tasks with a touch screen today. But maybe that's where its' all headed, huh?

Remember when it was considered heresy for Apple to leave a disc drive off the iMac? Like two hours later, the trad disc drive was obsolete just like the CD/DVD drive is today on so many machines (I have a little notebook PC that runs Linux and haven't had any need to put a disc in it since I configured the thing).
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Re: Windows 8?

Postby snoqueen » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:07 pm

I find it hard to imagine how you'd use drafting software, photo editing and 3-D modeling software, and the like without a mouse. A stylus and keyboard commands, maybe, but a lot of people will balk at using two hands when you can get lots of tasks done with just one hand on the mouse today.

Of course, we all know how wrong we can be with this stuff.
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Re: Windows 8?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:18 pm

I know nothing whatsoever about Windows 8. I only recently got a new computer and opted for 7 because a) it came standard, so there was no upgrade fee, and b) who buys a brand-new OS? But enough about the topic at hand. Allow me to digress...
jjoyce wrote:I guess not many could imagine computing with a mouse 30 years ago, but I can't imagine doing those tasks with a touch screen today.
Frankly, I truly don't know how anyone gets anything done with a traditional mouse anyway. I have always struggled using them and I hate that they take up more desktop space than they should need as that is hard to come by in my cluttered office.

Anybody else use a trackball mouse? This sucker just sits in one place and let's a single digit do the job of an arm and wrist. Always seemed like a no-brainer to me, but everyone who comes over and needs to use my computer struggles mightily with'em, but I just don't understand. Of course, nobody else understands how a 40-yr.-old man who grew up with computers has any trouble whatsoever with a regular mouse, but I find them to be extremely clunky and frustrating.
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Re: Windows 8?

Postby rrnate » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:10 pm

jjoyce wrote:Don't some of the changes made to Windows 8 suggest that the mouse is going the way of the dinosaur to be replaced by touch screens everywhere, even at the desktop level?


It totally does! That being said, I think they're jumping the gun a bit. Two things come to mind:

A) Windows is admittedly for folks who don't immediately jump in to the next thing. By no means am I saying it's exclusively for that, but a lot of grannies have a Dell with Windows and it's what they know. Pushing these people in to an Apple/Tablet inspired setup is enough of a fight without losing the mouse too.

B) It reminds me of Netflix initially trying to split their stream/disc services in to two distinct businesses, clearly thinking that the disc thing is yesterday's news and streaming is the way forward. It IS the way forward (and there's no doubt in my mind that in a few years, stuff like Blu-Ray is clearly going to be the "mini-disc" of today) but their business model is large enough that they need a longer transitional period, just like Microsoft. That being said, sounds like 8 is more or less that product and presumably they'll fix some stuff along the way. (Knocking on wood very hard here.)

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I know nothing whatsoever about Windows 8. I only recently got a new computer and opted for 7 because a) it came standard, so there was no upgrade fee, and b) who buys a brand-new OS?


Yeah, my main reservation about Windows 8 isn't really the set up, but just my inherent distrust of a new OS from Windows, knowing that they seem to pretty much always dump 'em out there before they're ready.

That being said, after some soul searching, I pretty quickly figured out that all I really use my desktop PC for these days is A) internets! and B) music listening so having a nice, stable platform is pretty intriguing (XP is totally dying over here). With my new job I've had to get Mac-friendly fast so now feels like a good time to abandon trusty ol' Windows and move on to something more modern-ish.
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Re: Windows 8?

Postby Dust Mite Rodeo » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:23 pm

Or you could switch to linux and enter a whole new universe of pulling your hair out.
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Re: Windows 8?

Postby Sandi » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:19 pm

I have Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows XP setup on this computer. The backup/server has Linux CentOS ( for web development ) and Windows 7. Both systems have multiple hard drives with boot loaders to select which OS to boot.

Strange as it may seem, the OS I still use the most is Windows XP. The reason is a little bit because I am more comfortable with it, but mostly because I don't have the nag popups to click to say Yes, I will allow that. With a good live antivirus installed they are totally un-necessary.

WinXP used to always bog down after it had run for several months, and I often ended up doing a fresh install, then added all my programs back. However that is no longer needed, and have been running it for three years now.

The reason the XP bogs down is because your registry grows too big. Every time you uninstall a no longer needed program, it will leave anywhere from a dozen to over a hundred registry entries. These build up making the registry consist of more unused entries than valid ones.

Three years ago I bought YourUninstaller that not only uninstalls the program, but also removes all the registry entries and folders in Program Files. It is as if it was never installed.
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Re: Windows 8?

Postby snoqueen » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:56 pm

Having a Linux that boots right off a thumb drive or a card, dedicated and optimized for Internet use, and set not to save ANYTHING from session to session (cookies, passwords, etc) is a nice alternative to the paranoia of exposing Windows to the on-line world.
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Re: Windows 8?

Postby Kenneth Burns » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:17 pm

My boyfriend and I both needed new computers, and we each bought a Windows 7 machine just a few days before Windows 8 came out. That was mainly because I'm the guy who manages the computers in this relationship, and what I was hearing about Windows 8 wasn't great. I've been using Windows 7 for three years and like it a lot. I didn't really want to change. Another consideration was the fact that according to conventional wisdom, Microsoft botches every other Windows release.

I know the Start menu is gone in Windows 8, but is there still the equivalent of what used to be known as Start > Run, where you type the name of a program to run it? I use either that or pinned icons to start most programs in Windows 7. I rarely muck around in the Start menu's program folders. The program folder system is kind of broken unless you only install a few programs. It's hard to find stuff.
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Re: Windows 8?

Postby Uncle_Leaver » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:32 pm

Kenneth Burns wrote:I know the Start menu is gone in Windows 8, but is there still the equivalent of what used to be known as Start > Run, where you type the name of a program to run it?

Pretty much. One nice feature is that if you're on the Start screen and just start typing, it immediately pops you over to the search field (which remains hidden off to the side until you "swipe" over to reveal the minimalistic fly-out menu). Type "notepad" and hit Enter, Notepad opens. I haven't played with it enough to know what happens if you're searching for a document called "notepad" but I would guess it's similar to 7 and you see search results both the application and any files whose names are a match, in which case the big diff in 8 would be that it simply saves you the step of navigating to the search box.
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Re: Windows 8?

Postby barreg » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:44 pm

I just got a new laptop that came with Win 7, but with the current Win 8 $15 upgrade offer from MS and a $15 rebate from Dell, it was free to upgrade.

Boot up time is much faster in Win 8. I'm not a fan of the new Start screen yet, so I loaded the program "Classic Shell", which essentially gives you a Desktop that looks exactly like Windows 7 (or XP if you want it to), including the Start button. Now, I can try out the new features on my own time without having to figure out how to find everything.
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