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Does Windows 8 offer any improvements in usability or efficiency over 7?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / November 2, 2012 10:19 AM PDT
Does Windows 8 offer any improvements in usability or efficiency over 7?

This is a question for the community about the new Windows 8. I am a computer professional dating back to the olden days when you programmed them by positioning eight switches and then hitting "commit" to write a single byte. My native OS was Multics, the forerunner of Unix. I have obviously seen many changes over the years, but since the introduction of the consumer PC, I am not sure any have been quite the magnitude of change that Windows 8 represents, at least not as rapidly.

I already bought a copy of Windows 8 Pro but I am hesitant to install it on my Windows 7 Pro desktop. Previous versions of Windows were optimized for the desktop and mouse, which I use exclusively (even on my laptops I use a mouse, never having grown comfortable with the touchpad or joystick). I have an Android smartphone, which I love, but I have no desire to use a touch screen on my desktop or laptop, and indeed I try very hard to keep their monitors free from fingerprints.

Windows 8, however, seems to me to be optimized for smaller touch screens at the expense of desktop and laptop convenience. I have only tried it using some third-party emulator software but it seemed weird (new things often do, so this is not necessarily a deal breaker) and cumbersome (which may be a deal breaker), requiring click-and-hold, slide, slide, click for things formerly accessible by a single click, although that may be the fault of the emulator. I understand that it was only in late beta releases that Microsoft removed a feature allowing users to boot directly to the "classic" Windows 7 (or Vista, XP, 98, 95, 3, 2, etc.) interface, and now allowing its invocation only as an application. Nasty!

So I am asking you, good people, does Windows 8 offer any significant advantages over Windows 7 for the traditional desktop user? Is the bootup quicker (with my SSD, bootup is pretty darn quick with Windows 7)? Is it lighter-weight, freeing up RAM for applications? Is it more secure, faster, better? As I said, as a computer professional I will need to familiarize myself with it quickly, but I am reluctant to use my chief production PC merely as a training tool for myself.

To sum it up, does Windows 8 offer any material improvement in usability or efficiency over Windows 7 for the desktop user who has no desire for a touch screen, or indeed does it have any advantage that might warrant its installation as a replacement OS on a desktop or laptop other than the sharing of the user interface with touch-screen devices? I thank you folks for your information and opinions here.

-- Submitted by: Woody S.
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In short answer NO


The truth of the matter is that as we as a society keep migrating further and further towards mobile platforms which Microsoft has been hard pressed to compete in at all over the years, Windows 8 is nothing more than their attempt to try and capture some of that market share. I have installed Windows 8 as a dual boot because I am in a similar boat as you. I am a desktop PC guy, I do have a laptop that is pretty nice but to be totally honest I hardly use that. Not only have I not seen any performance improvement what so ever compared to 7, it is much a kin to what happened with the switch from XP to Vista. They have hidden everything that Windows users are accustom to and make it very hard to work with the system itself. Being an IT Professional I spent hours attempting to locate some of the simplest things that you rely on to make changes like control panel options or even the My Computer that we have gotten used to just to work with files between various drives.

While I understand that Microsoft is shaking in their boots over the market share I feel that Windows 8 could very well be the end of Microsoft all together. The truth is what has kept them on top of the market in any aspect has been the Windows Platform that we are all used to for Desktop and Laptop. I as a consumer feel like I am being abandoned from a company that I have been loyal to for years when it comes to OS platforms going all the way back to 3.1

I have found no improvement in speed boot time or any performance related quality, there are a few nice graphical features to it such as better Wallpaper downloads built in for what they now call the lock screen. Which is nothing more than the password screen. The Multitasking capabilities are awful compared to previous versions and I got Windows 8 for free as a Student of DeVry University. That being said I wouldn't pay for this OS even if it were $20 for many reasons that I have outlined but I have one more that I would like all the readers to consider for a moment if you are a non touch screen user.

Children, That's right I said children. Today's kids are growing up playing with mommy's phone and daddy's tablet and when Windows 8 is on these phones and tablets and the kids are used to poking sliding and pinching a screen to make things move, I want you all to consider your new 32' LED monitor, and your Laptop, or for you hardcore gamers god forbid your giant LCD or LED TV that you hook your computer up too and step out of the room for a few minutes. Hope you bought that accidental damage plan!

In short Woody the answer is NO, I have been repairing and building PC's and performing a lot of other IT work since the age of 13 and I can honestly say that the only ones that will be happy about Windows 8 are the screen manufacturers that will be either selling touchscreen displays for desktops or building more LED's and TV's to replace the ones that are about to get broken far more often than when the Wii came out.

Good Luck everyone, But I am staying with Windows 7 till Microsoft comes to their senses.

Paul Chapman

Note: This post was edited by its original author to fix referring name. on 11/09/2012 at 2:48 PM PT

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Thank You All, But...
by Flatworm / November 2, 2012 11:30 PM PDT
In reply to: In short answer NO

I am replying to my own question here, as a re-reply to the first reply so it will appear near the top. I installed Win 8, despite my misgivings, almost immediately after sending the email above, and my impression is nearly wholly positive so far. Indeed, the only thing wrong is that they removed that option to boot directly to the desktop-optimized "classic" interface, but they did make the absence of this feature nearly irrelevant. The following is my first-impressions review:

I installed 64-bit Win 8 Pro over Win 7 Pro on my main desktop computer, a Core i7 2600K with 16 GB RAM and an OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS SSD as the system/application drive. I installed it from distribution disk and have been using it now since the first day of its public production release.

The installation was far simpler than I imagined it would be, or even could be. It was no more difficult than the installation of any application from disk, and was done from the Windows 7 desktop -- no need to boot to the disk at all unless you want to take advantage of more custom installation options. It took less than 15 minutes, no more time, and far less complex, than installation of MS Office or Adobe CS.

The only complication during installation was that it gave me a message saying my Network Interface Card driver was incompatible and needed to be removed, and it allowed me to hit a button and remove it from there. It then proceeded with the installation, and transparently installed a compatible driver from its own distribution.

The Metro interface is a bit of a shocker and does indeed involve some learning curve, but it's not steep by any stretch of the imagination, at least not in my opinion. After a few minutes you get the hang of configuring it to your liking, as much as it can be, in any event, and it is very intelligently and logically designed, which flattens out the learning curve significantly. But it's nearly irrelevant in any event, as my already-installed applications open in the same old desktop I grew so comfortable with (since the days of Win 95, which was less of a change from Windows 3 than this is from Windows 7). Furthermore, the old, comfy desktop remains after closing the app and functions very nearly identically to the way it worked with Windows 7. Nevertheless, Metro is a visually attractive interface to greet you on bootup, and that's about the only time I see it. And multitasking is only inconvenient in Metro -- it works just like it did before from the desktop.

The ribbon interface for folders takes a bit of getting used to just like it did when introduced in Office, but after you grow accustomed to it, it really is an improvement.

The biggest problem with Metro is that it opens everything full-screen without even the option to window it. I very seldom open any applications other than video players full-screen, and my preference for windowed apps is one of the reasons I have a 29" monitor. I have absolutely no desire to go to a touchscreen -- I like keeping my monitor as free as possible from fingerprints.

Nearly everything worked from the git-go, even third-party apps and utilities, some of which are very old, that I've found over the years on places like MajorGeeks (some even dating back to Stroud's Consummate Winsock Apps!). The only exceptions I have discovered so far have been my Aero-based skin for the music player app WinAmp (the app works fine, but only with the "Classic" skin), and, more seriously, my HP AIO printer drivers -- it prints fine but could not access the scanner or fax. HP had no full-featured Win 8 drivers on line, but put them up on October 31 (odd since Win 8 has been around in beta for so very long -- curse you, Carly Fiorina, for what you did to that formerly great company HP).

Bootup from cold is startlingly fast, WAY faster than Win 7, and you could probably shutdown and reboot ten times in the time it took to boot Vista from cold. Apps all feel crisper. So far it has been 100% stable and rock solid.

The absence -- indeed the removal -- of the old Minesweeper, Spider Solitaire and Freecell is really rude and made me angry. Why on earth did Microsoft do that? They offer them for free from their "Store," but they only play full-screen, and on the net, from the Metro interface, and starting them up is far more cumbersome even from there. BAD Microsoft! Hopefully SP1 will correct this silly offense. Why on earth would anybody want to play solitaire against others, or Minesweeper in full screen mode?

It did take me a moment to discover how to shut down the computer without the "Start" button. You have to go all the way back to Win 95 for this -- you just use the power button on the CPU, but unlike 95 you have no need to shut down Windows first. You can shut down from the screen as well, although it's not obvious how (part of that learning curve). This is logical and represents, in my opinion, an improvement. But then, I have my desktop computer on my actual desktop; people who don't may find the CPU switch to be an inconvenient reach, although this is obviously not an issue with laptops.

For me, however, the bottom line is that, on my computer under Windows 8, EVERYTHING is faster. Decoding very large compressed files is almost instantaneous. Manipulation of huge databases is noticeably faster. It leaves more RAM free for application use. Every keystroke feels crispier. And the stability is remarkable -- even my flakiest apps have run under severe load without a hitch. It's going on all my computers because, IMO, it really IS an improvement, even over that Vista service pack they called Windows 7.

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Open Mindedness
by grazingkow / November 4, 2012 3:50 PM PST
In reply to: Thank You All, But...

Hi Woody-

I was very pleased to read your re-reply, as I've been running Windows 8 Pro for a few weeks now and have been pleased for the most part. I've read comments from a lot people talking about how drastically new and clunky the 8 interface is. I didn't find it to be so. Once I understood how the new context menu functioned, it made sense to swipe to top right to find settings. Just like anything else though, I found it took time to get used to it, and now use it as quickly as I could alt-tab a month ago.

Performance increases have been noticeable. I run a laptop, most of the time in low power mode, and 8 seems to perform at least as fast as 7 in balanced, or high performance mode. Applications and apps load quickly and without hiccoughs. My boot times haven't been in the single digit realm as some people have seen, but it is faster than 7 is. Most importantly, the memory usage seems to be significantly less than 7.
All of these are welcome improvements,

In a fluffier reality, 8 really does reimagine PC interaction. Others have drawn parallels to tablets with 8's ability to function in full screen free of distractions, but that misses an important element of tablets and smartphones. 8 is of that same lineage because it too blurs the line between local and internet. For instance, using the new start menu, you can easily use the same search bar to search for photos of your cat, or photos of others' cats on google. 8 also has great integration with email, messaging, and social sites. You can keep up to date with the non-intrusive notifications or ignore them.
The nicest feature though is that the start menu can function like a heads up display, allowing you to quickly survey your apps for anything important. These aesthetic improvements don't terribly increase productivity, but they make for an enjoyable experience much akin to using a favorite socket set or screwdriver.

I hope that others can give 8 a try and see the benefits it has to offer. There is fairly little to sacrifice or compromise on.

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Its Still Bloatware
by Red Diamond / November 5, 2012 1:12 AM PST
In reply to: Thank You All, But...

Given Microsoft's long history of releasing a bad OS then a good one as mentioned by others, I would NEVER try one of their new OS's. I am extremely disappointed that they are going to this extreme, APP oriented change, making an assumption that users would want their desktop to be like their smart phone, which as anyone knows, aren't that smart or convenient. I have to hit more buttons on a Droid or iPhone than I do my old phones or Blackberries just to make a phone call. If I wanted APPS I'll buy a xPad or a tablet PC.

This same progression has happened to Windows since Vista. What used to take one or two clicks now takes four to seven. I would run XP, Windows finest, but it doesn't support the NLE editing systems I use.

If you can realize that with Vista, Win 7 and now with Win 8, your computer, like your phone is their tool for marketing your life then you will understand Windows 8. If you don't believe this:
1) Why did MS remove tyour ability view the LAN I/O process via the dual monitors flashing green in the taskbar? They don't want you to see the constant flow of data chunks leaving your computer.
2) Why did they eliminate the one click ability to disable your LAN connection? If you right click the current icon, choose 'Open Network and Sharing', then click 'Connect or Disconnect', your are taken back to the screen you just clicked. This type of circular reasoning is the definition of insanity. So, only the diligent can disconnect their LAN connection. And when your try to reconnect, Windows can't figure out what's wrong. Then it gives the standard answer, "Contact your Network Administrator". I don't know if MS realizes it but, 99.99% of the users of it's OS's do not have one.

A couple of other questions:
1) Why has MS contiously dumbed down their OS's since Vista to the mass frustration of loyal users? For future "improvement"
2) Why does Win ME or XP load Outlook 2000 four times faster than Outlook 2010? Just Google Bloat and you'll have your answer. POOR PROGRAMMING.

Operating Systems have become like voting. You don't get what you really want, you're just choosing between the lesser of the various evils.

Red Diamond

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Missing your games ?
by Gordon_Hay / November 5, 2012 5:42 AM PST
In reply to: Thank You All, But...

Try the "Card Games Chest" from the Store.

After five days with Win8 I realise that all the scaremongering and hysteria about it was just that - I've found it very easy to get to know and to enjoy using.

The only problems I've had so far have been with Flash crashing in Firefox (nothing new there) and scheduled scans in avast! not running, also something that has happened from time to time over various updates, judging by the support pages.

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Paid off
by carmelnetman / November 9, 2012 1:12 PM PST
In reply to: Thank You All, But...

Interesting take on Windows 8. Especially fast after your original question? Did not receive a call from Bill Gate$$$ did ya?


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My 2-Cents worth..
by flybye88 / November 9, 2012 1:27 PM PST
In reply to: Thank You All, But...

While I admit this tip may not suit everbody. My own way to deal with the peculiarities of win8 was to add a "classic shell" installation to it. Doing that I selected the win7 version of their shell and so far are real happy with the results.

Still have access to all the win8 specific stuff when and if I want it - but get to access stuff and get tasks done pretty much in the way one is used to in win7.

I admit I am no software engineer or code-writer - so excuse me if there is nasty stuff going on in the background that I am not aware of. See no real reason to expect this though.

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by popeye67 / November 9, 2012 6:32 PM PST
In reply to: Thank You All, But...

Why do i get the feeling microsoft are spending more money employing people to spam forums telling people windows8 is nowhere near as bad as people say it is, than they did spending the time to listen to people telling them what they wanted and it wasnt the windows8 microsoft was forcing on them, microsoft have basically told people we dont care what you want this is what your getting and your going to have to lump it.

Even going as far as to sabotage third party apps that went some way to restoreing some form of start menu, if you own a tablet or touchscreen device no doubt your going to love it, or if your 9 years old, if you seriously use or work on computers its going to be a total nightmare, and if your stupid enough to buy a laptop with win8 installed your probably going to be stuck with it regardless of whether you want it because the laptop probably wont accept windows7.

my advice would be wait for windows9 because it will be along shortly if microsoft have any sense and it WILL have a start menu, or they will do what they should have done in the first place and developed two os instead of fobbing computer owners off with an os designed for phones.

I wouldnt use it if it was free.

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Its Not For Me
by exucasvu / November 10, 2012 1:52 PM PST
In reply to: really

I should start by saying I am no expert although I can find my way around my computer reasonably well and understand enough to get by. For me, I paid for a downloaded upgrade from t Windows 7. I went through the hoops with Microsoft compatibility test and to all intents and purposes my PC passed. The download went smoothly enough and Windows 8 booted up seemingly normally. However, it was pretty obvious that my graphics capability was not up to standard (although Microsoft said it was) and search as I may I could not find a windows 8 compatible upgrade for my particular machine.Things went downhill after that and I finished up doing a clean re-instal of my Windows 7. Would now not touch it with a barge pole!

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Wrong conclusion
by T--Bill / November 11, 2012 2:54 PM PST
In reply to: Its Not For Me

Windows 8 is not the problem. Your problem is your obsolete equipment, which you yourself stated. Upgrade your graphics board, or get a decent machine that will run Win 8 (and 7) the way it was designed to do. Don't blame the software when it is a hardware issue.

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You're Not Reading the Post Carefully
by Hforman / November 12, 2012 6:07 AM PST
In reply to: Wrong conclusion

It's not "old" hardware if Microsoft says that the new software will run on the hardware. The issue there is that Microsoft doesn't tell you "how well" the software will run. Only that it will run. A lot of people here have said that Windows 8 will "breathe new life" into old hardware. So, if you don't take what you read here or from Microsoft with a grain of salt, you could wind up in the situation described. Has nothing to do with the hardware; it only has to do with the hype.

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I agree
by richardgc_1 / December 3, 2012 5:43 AM PST
In reply to: Wrong conclusion

I not 9 and I have A Pavilion Desktop and am 66 years old, have been running Windows 8 since early releases and believe me Microsoft is getting a bum rap here. By using the modern IE10 and IE10 desktop there is nothing I could do in Windows 7 that I cannot do in Windows 8 just as easy and 8 has better security and runs faster on my computer.

Sure there are things about Widows 8 that I don't like , The so called "white list" where embedded flash is concerned, just infuriated me, I was ready to call out the Marines but over all I like it. Most who complain or bash Microsoft have either not used it or have not given it a chance.

Last, I am not or have never been in the employ of Microsoft, although I would like to have been.


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But What?
by jeskickin / November 10, 2012 3:43 PM PST
In reply to: Thank You All, But...

You call Windows 7 a service pack to Vista? I do not know of one power user, or professional that would trade 7 for Vista. Vista was like ME, one or two really like it, but for the most part, it was despised as a O.S. That said, if it wasn't for Vista, 7 would never probably have been as good as it was. For that, thanks Vista...

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No Service Pack
by dsaeva / November 11, 2012 4:32 AM PST
In reply to: But What?

I have used Windows since 3.1. Windows 7 will run fantastic, without reboots till I install something that requires rebooting. When a program goes down, Windows doesn't crash - the process that was crashing ends. XP & Vista users have no idea what a blissful platform Windows 7 is in comparison. Windows 8 runs even better in some ways. I am not a Linux or Mac hater, they are great systems, but how can people who have never used Win 7 talk about how it performs, when they have no idea?

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There are some improvements.
by dsaeva / November 11, 2012 1:18 AM PST
In reply to: Thank You All, But...

Everyone is already divided into their camps, standing firmly with their favorite OS's. The fact of the matter is if you put a copy of 32-bit Win 8 on a computer had that trouble running Vista because of memory issues, chances are it will work much better with Win 8, because the memory footprint is a smaller. I have used it in Beta since it was available, it IS faster than Win 7 in a lot of way's. Is the Metro Style interface easy to work? At first I was horrified by it, but after I actually learned the system in a few days of actual use - I got it. I even understood the fact that the Start button as it is would be a nightmare to use without heavy modification on a TABLET computer. If you look at the whole picture as I do as a Internet Developer, it is a platform that a lot of people are using. I have to support it and understand it. Facts are facts, ignorance is bliss. What will happen down the road time will tell.

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Can virtually clone Win 7
by Rick75230 / November 11, 2012 7:16 AM PST
In reply to: Thank You All, But...

My first response to Win 8 was YECCH! GROSS! But I tried it a bit more and found it is possible to create almost an exact clone of Win 7.

I hate the XP/Vista-style startup menu. I didn't switch from XP to Win 7 until I found a (free) program that duplicates the old fly-out style start menu that lets me organize programs my way, not automatically alphabetized: Classic Shell Menu (currently ver. 3.6.2).

CSM has been updated and works fine with Win 8. It adds back the Start button and presents the choice of Classic, XP/Vista or Win 7 Start menu styles. It also has an option to bypass the Metro screen. Regarding the logon screen, as in previous Windows versions you can set the computer to auto-boot for a specific user, which bypasses that screen. (CSM also lets you turn off the "trigger by going to corner" menus.)

The end result is a virtual clone of Win 7. So why bother upgrading? Because it cost $42 (including tax) to go from Win 7 Home Premium to Win 8 Pro, with all the extra benefits of Pro. Once it's set up, there's basically no learning curve because I don't use the Start screen (although it's available).

The one thing I too don't like is that the Win 7 games don't work--Mahjong, Solitaire and Free Cell.

In fairness, I need to point out that I use PowerDesk Pro, so I rarely use Windows Explorer/File Manager.

Also, Win 8 is a lot more anal about security. A lot of annoying security that could be turned off in Win 7 can't be turned off in Win 8. Other than that's it's pretty easy to set up a Win 7 clone although it might take awhile the first time if you don't know about CSM.

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You summed up much of my experience
by Terjesk / December 13, 2012 4:15 AM PST
In reply to: Thank You All, But...

My experience is very similar to yours. Have Win 8 (Win pro) on 4 machines. They are all speedier than before. In many ways I like the Metro interface a lot, especially for casual reading of news etc. I love being able to pin Internet sites as tiles. However, this is also how I ran into one of the main problems. With about 200 tiles I am loosing control. Where is the Cnet News app? Where is my local newspaper site. Not being able to collect tiles into folders is extremely frustrating. It was a relief when Android got that possibility. Now I am using too much time hunting around for tiles.
The next main frustration is the non-windowing problem. Using IE, half of my screen is just empty space. When I am working on an article or an presentation, I frequently have to search the internet, but I am not allowed to have Word and IE running side by side. I am not even allow to use tabs in IE (at least I have not found a way so far).
I think I would really love Win 8 if I could make folders for photo tools, for news apps, for office programs , etc, and if I was allowed to run programs in several windows. If things doesn't change, I will probably tell my StartW8 (brings back the programs list) button to boot directly into desktop mode - and i will forget about the Metro thing. And I will be a bit sad due to a lost opportunity.

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windows 8
by alsdock / November 9, 2012 9:20 PM PST
In reply to: In short answer NO

Thanks so much! Like Woody and many others, I wanted to take a wait and see approach before buying an operating system that would just lead to frustration and regret. I don't necessarily rely on a computer for everything in my life and use it now more for recreation other than paying bills, completing tax forms or storing documents and photos.
Your opinion was valuable and confirms what I initially thought.
"Don't fix it if it ain't broke."

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Couldn't agree more ......
by gfoley1 / November 9, 2012 10:16 PM PST
In reply to: In short answer NO

You hit this one on the nose, MS has lost their cookies when they created this fiasco.

If you don't have patients as a virtue then forget 8, it is not great. Keep 7 and stay in heaven.

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NO! It was taken out and WIN7 Home Edition is back!
by DChrisL / December 9, 2012 10:28 PM PST
In reply to: In short answer NO
It is completely useless with the following; hotmail, OR Three accounts were blocked in three days. Darrell
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Left in the dust!

Well put, Woody. Although I don't go as far back as flipping-switches computing I've been around long enough to know Win8 is not about traditional computing. Imagine trying to write a book on an iPad. Imagine trying to keep your Quicken finances on Win8. Imagine trying to keep a 8mb Excel spreadsheet on an iPhone. The trouble with Microsoft is they have to make Windows updates "worth while" so as to satisfy Wall Street. They come out with a completely irrelevant version of Windows for which they will charge hundreds of dollars. We're left in the dust.

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First Impression - Windows 8


So I went into my local Big Blue electronics store yesterday for my first "hands-on" with Windows 8. I've been following the announcements and previews on CNET and other online sources, but of course you can never get the full story from seeing only what professional reviewers dish out (don't worry, I still love you, CNET!).

Yes, Windows 8 is certainly pretty, a visual treat for the eyes. It seems the Metro interface is really an improvement... until you begin to actually use it for everyday PC functions. Let me say that I only spent a few minutes with it, so there may be some shortcuts I haven't found yet - and that the nice young lady salesperson didn't know either. Still, a few simple things really jumped out at me. The lack of simple app-window controls was completely confusing and frustrating. Am I missing something, or do I really need to grab-and-drag a program window from all the way from the top of the screen to the bottom to close it? By the way, dragging anything less than all the way shrinks the window and slides... but letting go of the mouse prematurely only returns the window to full-screen. Arrgghh..

And how about using multiple windows at the same time? Again, maybe I didn't find the proper key combo, but it seems I'm limited to dragging sideways to get one window open on one-third of the screen, and the other window fills the remaining two-thirds... with no ability to re-size anything.

Finally (I could probably go on, but....), the whole right-clicking thing. Instead of getting the usual shortcuts when right-clicking on any desktop tile, a right-click opens a bar at the bottom of the screen. As the previous post mentioned, the bigger your screen, the more mouse-moving all this is going to require. Really? Slide a window all the way across my 27" monitor just to close it? Slide all the way down to what used to be the taskbar just to get to options as simple as closing the program? A lot more work... a lot less productivity.

I've been coaxing a little more life out of my old laptop... I upgrading over the years from XP to 7. Now, OS/X is looking a lot more tempting when upgrade time rolls around...


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One Thing I Would Recommend for Desktop Users
by Flatworm / November 2, 2012 11:50 PM PDT

Unless you have some compelling reason to do otherwise, if you are loading Win 8 on a machine already running Win 7, do it like you're installing an application -- boot to 7, put the disk in the drive, and let the autorun run it or hit Setup if you've wisely deactivated autorun on your DVD drive. Make sure to let it preserve all your files and settings. Do NOT do a clean install or a wipe-and-install, which heretofore I had ALWAYS recommended for new O/S installations.

For installation on machines running Vista or XP this might not work as well, but for installation on machines already running Windows 7 the transition is very easy and let me run everything just the way I wanted afterwards (after configuring Metro to my liking).

I now view Metro as sort of a bigger Start button.

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For XP
by Hforman / November 3, 2012 9:39 AM PDT

With, XP or Win7 or above, you will be formatting your hard drive. There is no upgrade from XP.

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First impression - Windows 8
by momarlon / November 9, 2012 10:46 AM PST
I ran into the same problem, until I pinned my desktop to the start. Once done, it pretty much looks like the previous versions of Windows.
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I did something similar
by Flatworm / November 9, 2012 11:36 PM PST

I pinned not only my desktop but the "legacy" apps I use most frequently to the Start screen. A single click on any of them opens them immediately with the legacy desktop as backdrop. The legacy desktop remains even after the application is closed. The Start screen is accessible the same way it is from everywhere else, should I ever want to return to it (which sometimes I do, although not often).

Now when I first boot up in the morning (which is MUCH quicker), instead of having to double-click on an app to open it as I did under Win 7 and before, I just single-click on the tile. That right there is an improvement to efficiency, albeit minor, that is unarguable by any objective observer.

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I've also been reading...
by JCitizen / November 10, 2012 3:14 AM PST

that "XP mode" is being dropped from Win7 - apparently they have a new virtualization scheme going. Is this what you mean by "legacy desktop"?

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Waste of time reading this
by TFHain / November 9, 2012 1:42 PM PST

A "first impression" gleaned from a few minutes of effort is worthless. Don't waste our time.

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My first encounter with Windows 8 in the Best Buy aisle
by larry223 / November 9, 2012 4:08 PM PST

I checked out Windows 8 for the first time yesterday on several all in one PC models and found the OS fun and fairly functional. This is really a "touch" OS and I would probably stick to Windows 7 as far as a traditional desktop or laptop is concerned. That said, I'm really looking forward to purchasing my first "non-traditional" PC which will be a touch screen model. Using hand gestures is a pleasant change from the repetitive motion of mousing. I'm also planning to get my first ever smartphone, and that will be Windows 8 as well.

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8, Not Great.
by gfoley1 / November 9, 2012 10:11 PM PST

I have to agree, 8. well, is just not needed. Too many "hoops" to hurdle, and if you've run a big screen, forget it.

Well this time the new system's a flop -- mind you, fine for the expert, but how many folks are experts, or need more "fluff"?

I'll keep 7, it already has the top rolled down thank you.

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