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Windows 8 - quality skips a generation?

by porthome / June 29, 2012 2:52 AM PDT

Since it seem that every other release of Windows is crap, should we even be considering Windows 8? Consider:
Windows 95 - OK
Windows 2000 - crap
Windows XP - great (now, at least)
Windows Vista - yuk!
Windows 7 - not bad, I hear

Personally, I'm still managing to survive on Windows XP

Perry B

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You have a rather selective memory
by Jimmy Greystone / June 29, 2012 3:39 AM PDT

You have a rather selective memory it seems. Windows 95 wasn't overly well received being a rather radical departure from the old Windows 3.x interface. Then by the time Windows98 came around, people had had time to adjust and accept it, so Win98 was pretty well accepted. Then Win Me basically seems to have been disliked because Microsoft moved some things around interface wise. I've never been able to come across any other credible complaints beyond the "It crashed when I plugged in some dodgy bit of hardware!" garbage.

Windows 2000 was part of the NT family, so was more of a parallel evolution of Windows. NT4 before it was pretty well received, as was NT 3.51 before that. For that matter, Windows 2000 was pretty well received, and a large number of companies refused to give up on it when it was originally set to hit EOL, so Microsoft extended it.

Windows XP is basically just Windows 2000 with the Luna theme system, and people hated XP when it first came out because the hardware at the time wasn't up to the task of running it. But seriously, if you switch to the "classic" theme on XP, remove all obvious means of telling them apart, and set an XP and 2000 box side by side, even someone who has used them both for years would have a hard time saying definitively which was which.

Windows Vista got a bad rap for being too long in development and most of the features being under the hood improvements like a much improved process scheduler and a much hardened driver model. The only truly visible feature was Aero, which was a lot for integrated graphics chips at the time to handle, but nonetheless paved the way for a lot of improvements down the road. And if you need more proof, there was Microsoft's little "sting" operation where they just changed all the references to Vista and told people that it was some new operating system they were testing. People LOVED it before they knew it was just plain old Vista. Vista was an OS that was designed to lay the groundwork for where things were heading, not so much where they were right then. You can knock Microsoft for being overly ambitious and hyping features that ultimately had to be jettisoned in order to get the product out the door, but Vista as an OS was very solid and reliable. Much more so than XP.

Windows 7 is much the same as Windows XP, it's just a warmed over Vista, with the only significant difference being the new taskbar. There are some refinements of the under the hood improvements made in Vista, but really the only visible difference is the new taskbar.

What you often find, are people who buy cheap, low end computers, who then complain because it can't handle all the high end whiz-bang features of a new OS. Or they have some piece of crap hardware, and blame the software because they don't know how to properly diagnose the problem. All they see is maybe a BSOD error, and so they assume it must be a Windows issue. They never consider that ANY operating system would crash because the hardware is faulty.

There's also the way Microsoft develops Windows. Every other release is what they call a major release, which will have significant new features/changes. Windows95 was a major release, and Windows98 was a minor release, then Windows Me was another major release. On the NT side of things, Windows 2000 was a major release, and XP was a minor release (but most people think it was a major release because it marked the convergence of the Windows for home and Windows for business into a single OS). Vista was then another major release, and 7 was a minor release. Typically major releases come out every 3 years, minor releases about every 1.5 years. Vista kind of broke that model a little, but Windows 7 was more or less right on schedule despite all the claims about how Microsoft was rushing to replace Vista. Same with Windows 8, it is another major release, and you're seeing some rather disruptive changes like the Metro UI, the removal of the Start menu, etc.

There are a multitude of reasons to knock Microsoft and Windows, but it really doesn't do anyone any good when you construct your own narrative based on extremely incomplete information, then try and pass it off as some kind of great illumination. The reality is quite simply that XP is so beloved by people now because they have had 10 years to become attached. You go back and read some of the early reviews of XP, you'll probably find a lot of similarities with the reviews of Vista. It's slow, bloated, programs don't work, hardware support is poor, why does it need like 2X the hardware to do the same things Win9x could do, etc. You have to remember that Microsoft is going to be stuck supporting every Windows release for many years after most of us have long since moved on to something else. They also are looking to create a product that is compelling enough for people to buy the better part of two years from release date, when the next version comes out. So it is not enough to simply aim for where things are in the computing world at the time of development (which you also have to remember is not an instantaneous process, but takes several years), you have to try and predict where things are going. Microsoft rather missed the mark in a big way with XP, completely failing to see the rise of multimedia the same way they missed the mark on the Internet. That's why Aero was born, because the old 2D GDI+ UI of XP was simply not going to be up to the task. Microsoft needed something to counter Apple's Aqua UI and help third party developers rather than get in their way.

Now if you want to skip Windows 8, that's your choice. You can opt not to buy it for whatever reason you want, right down to not liking the color of the shoelaces on Bill Gates' shoes. Just spare the rest of us the flimsy attempts at justifying your decision by passive-aggressive bandwagon solicitations. You do not have to buy Windows 8, and you do not have to justify it to anyone but yourself. Why is that not enough for you?

Collapse - are a hoot.
by bob b / June 29, 2012 6:38 AM PDT

I'll take a guess you don't type by the hunt+peck method.

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Generally Agree
by Flatworm / July 8, 2012 12:33 AM PDT

Microsoft gets a bad rap a lot of the time. A lot of the badmouthing after new Windows releases, particularly of Vista, came about because people who prided themselves outwardly on being Windows Gurus, when all they really were was accustomed to using it enough to know where everything was and tell their friends, conducted an intense and protracted hatchet job on Vista because they could no longer impress their friends the way they used to. Most of the rest of the invective arose from people who installed it on hardware that was too underpowered to handle it, and who suffered the consequences of their own folly.

The fact is, aside from some extremely proprietary and basically closed matings of hardware and O/S, like Apple products exhibit, Vista was the most stable O/S ever to hit the computer world, even including Unix. My Vista box has crashed precisely two times in SIX years of extreme usage that included a lot of heavy video editing (sometimes running several iterations simultaneously) and compiling C++ programs that occasionally contained errors like accidental endless loops. That's tough stuff for any computer, but Vista just swallowed it up. My only complaint about Vista is that it took a very long time to boot from cold, but its sleep functionality more than made up for that shortcoming.

Windows ME, however, was not what I would call a "major release." It is virtually indistinguishable from 98. And although 7 is touted as a major release by nearly everyone, after years of using Vista it seems to me that it should have been called Vista SP1, but the underhood changes were too major. Windows 7, for me at least, has not been as rock steady as Vista was.

Now it seems to me that Windows 8 is something else, possibly the "majorest" upgrade that has ever hit Windows, and that's saying something -- the upgrade from 2 to 3 turned a useless toy into a usable toy, the upgrade from 3 to 95 turned it into an actually pleasant user interface, and from 98/Me to XP turned it into an actually native O/S rather than a GUI overlay on MS/DOS, and it became a genuinely decent and competitively reliable tool for business. And then Vista and 7 were the rock-solid culminations of this XP path. But Windows 8 seems to represent a shift for Microsoft away from the quest for total backward compatibility that has so badly larded up and slowed down their O/S releases, the price Microsoft had to pay to accommodate such a large and diverse installed base. Instead of making Windows 8 so comprehensively backward-compatible, it seems that MS is taking a different tactic with 8, offering its most capable version at a surprisingly low upgrade price but not bringing forward XP-era applications, and designing it for devices other than actual PCs.

I am happy with Vista and 7 but I think that it will probably be necessary to upgrade simply because, well, Windows 8 and its eventual offspring might be the O/S we'll all be dealing with for many years to come, so might as well get used to it early on.

My home network, by the way, contains an XP laptop, a 7 laptop, a Vista desktop, a 7 desktop, and a Debian Linux box, plus a Droid RAZR Maxx running Android and a couple of Verizon FiOS STBs and networked video disk players that I have no idea what O/S they run on, but it all works.

The loyalty to XP stems from the fact that it was the first Windows O/S to actually combine productivity enhancement with marginally acceptable reliability (remember needing to save your data every ten minutes or so under 95 to avoid losing your work in the next inevitable crash?). And from the fact that it endured for years and years so everyone grew comfortable with it and the hardware advanced to meet its load.

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Quality, or user friendliness?
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 7, 2012 7:57 PM PDT

I wonder if the question is the right one.

I have no doubt that the "Quality" of the OS will be better than those that came before. Microsoft has continuously improved the quality of its OSes under the hood. Security vulnerabilities have continuously been addressed and fixed and reliability has improved greatly too over the years. Windows Updates are no longer, generally, the risk they once were and integrate smoothly with the OS, and peripherals like Internet Explorer has improved at the same time.

In addition, Windows has kept up to date with hardware changes and speed improvements like 64 bit, multi-monitor support, graphic improvements and in fact it seems this new OS will be able to transfer to mobile devices with few difficulties, although this new area for Windows has yet to be tested over time.

No, perhaps the question will end up being one of user friendliness. While the Metro GUI seems to work with smart phones and tablets, it does not appear to sit well in the established end of the market, the Desktop and Laptop. For the older generations of Windows users that will be the big test I believe. But the younger generations, the ones for whom Desktops and Laptops may become 'old fashioned' as they use their smartphones and other mobile devices for most of their needs, the GUI may be fine.


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by Flatworm / July 8, 2012 12:36 AM PDT

I understand that the Metro interface is optional and you can use one very similar to that in Windows 7 instead, but note that I have only HEARD this without actually seeing Windows 8 in the flesh.

It is what I have seen of Metro that makes me reluctant to upgrade. I like the desktop/icon thing.

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I'm still trying out
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 8, 2012 5:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Metro

Windows 8 Consumer Preview. I haven't bothered to update to the latest beta yet.

On PCs Metro is certainly unusual. I can see it working on touch screen devices like smartphones and tablets because the touch screen is essential then to navigate around, but on a computer, (PC or laptop), it would take time to get used to.

No Start Menu and so the Metro interface will intrude even if you choose to use the normal Win 7 type interface.


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World doesn't really need
by samkh / July 8, 2012 1:03 AM PDT

another smartphone OS. Before I go on, I agree wholeheartedly with you. It's the decision MS made on how to "sell" it which disappoints.

Android and iOS are entrenched, MS is very very late to the party, the toasting is over and champagne is gone! MS then tries to convince app developers it's worthwhile because "every Windows user sooner or later will be on MUI". They could have continued to support the legacy GUI and Start Button, but no, that would dilute the spread of MUI. So here's my decision in spite of the attractive upgrade price: I won't help MS succeed in MUI and I'll stay on 7 and XP. Maybe then the reality of what fuddy duddies love will hit MS, i.e. adoption of 8 will be so slow that it has no choice but to provide a backdoor to our beloved GUI. What then does MS do to have a piece of smartphone? Dunno, maybe become a very dominant app developer to shore their revenue, or keep ears to the ground waiting for next must-have piece of hardware to fascinate the world and provide the OS for it. But please, give up on the strategy that W8/W9/W10...whatever, will give you a nice slice of the mobile OS pie.

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That is the one thing
by Jimmy Greystone / July 8, 2012 2:06 AM PDT

That is the one thing that I can honestly say I do not get about Windows 8. For tablets and phones, the Metro UI being the default makes perfect sense, but not so much on the PC version. Include it, let it be an option for people who want to use it, even make it an option to be able to set Metro as the default UI on the PC version of Windows 8 if that's what people want... I can't speak for others, but I suspect few people would have a problem with that. I do question the wisdom in making Metro the default UI across the spectrum and not even making it possible to select the classic desktop as the default option.

Admittedly I haven't used any of the pre-release versions, and so maybe this will make its way in before the final version ships. If not, then at least as far as having to make that one extra step every time you turn your computer on, I will fully support people ripping Microsoft a new one up one side and down the other. They will deserve just about everything people throw at them on that narrow topic. Even Apple, which is typically the epitome of the "You'll take what we give you and like it," mentality, made the iOS-like part of Mac OS X 10.7 optional and something you had to trigger manually.

Still, I do had to say it seems a little pointless to be talking about how bad some OS is or isn't going to be before it's even released. But then since when have people let things like logic, reason, or facts get in the way of a good rant? It'd be nice if people could just recognize their hostility for what it is: fear of change, but that is clearly asking far too much.

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Yes I tend to agree
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 8, 2012 5:48 AM PDT
In reply to: That is the one thing

about Metro and PCs.

I can see that MS are attempting to sync their products between portable mobile devices and stand-alone computers, but the new GUI takes some getting used to.

Hopefully they will make changes but I'm not sure they will.


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Windows evolution
by njwhite2 / July 8, 2012 12:38 AM PDT

I disagree with this writer. There has been steady evolution and improvement in the Windows operating system, though admittedly, it could have been more and sooner.

Because I am a computer technician, I own computers with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Each of these Windows versions is, in fact, better than its predecessor. It is unfortunate that Microsoft chose to market the upgrades at such a high price, driving lots of folks to keep XP and Vista.

There is much to learn if you choose to upgrade to Windows 8. However, I recommend you do so. It is much better than XP and Vista and marginally better than Windows 7. A major benefit is that it just runs a lot better on a wimpy older machine. I am writing this on a 9 year old Dell E1505 laptop with a T1300 single core processor, 2 Gigs of memory, Intel integrated graphics and Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Windows 8 runs great on this machine and allows viewing of recorded TV via Media Center (albeit a little slow on the start up), playing of music and photo files off my Windows 7 server and whatever else I have thrown at it. The upgrade is going to be $40 including Media Center and will render an old XP machine much improved. And you will not need to buy or install security software - it's built in.

Go for the upgrade!

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And you will not need to buy or install security software -
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 8, 2012 12:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Windows evolution

I can only guess you didn't know Microsoft tried to issue antivirus software before and what the result was.

Let's hope they do better this time.

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by tedtks / July 8, 2012 3:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Windows evolution

well,, its going to be a cold day before I do win7 or 8 - again. paid the ridiculous 198 for w7ult and made a dumb mistake after it was running a while - I upgraded my mobo. w7 stopped running saying it had to be re-something'd ... and after a few dozen mails and calls - it was going to cost me another 200 to get a new activation code. Format drive c. reload xp pro ! !
I also didnt like the feature in w7 that locked you out of folders.. finally by accident found a way to check a box to stop that - but it was only for one folder at a time.. and not being able to find that same sub, sub, sub deep down selection box again - was not happy with w7 anyway.
So... maybe w7/8 is great if you just want it all their way - I will just suffer calmly with my xp,,,, and maybe look into ubuntu or something..
w8+... I would still have my own antivirus software !

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by Jimmy Greystone / July 8, 2012 5:30 AM PDT
In reply to: evolution

So basically you bought the OEM version, didn't read the EULA where it rather clearly states that it lives and dies with the hardware it's first activated on, and somehow that's Microsoft's fault. Can really only speculate on the other issue, except to say that if it were something a large number of people experienced then odds are I'd have an idea of what you were on about.

What is it I was saying earlier about people not letting facts get in the way of a good rant? My thanks for your rather timely example to prove my point.

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OEM ???
by partman1969 / July 8, 2012 10:37 PM PDT
In reply to: So

$198.00 for an OEM. I thinks tedtks is just trying to flame bait Windows. His retail priced Win 7 should format and reinstall without issues. Everything else is just playing with it and learning where it's at.

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He did say
by Jimmy Greystone / July 9, 2012 12:35 AM PDT
In reply to: OEM ???

He did say it was Windows 7 Ultimate, or at least I assume that's what "w7ult" is short for, so $200 for an OEM version isn't unreasonable.

It is, however, just a case where a person's ego prevents them from admitting that they screwed up... They start off all smug and self-satisfied about this great deal they found on eBay, and go around telling everyone to make it sound like they're some ace bargain hunter. Then the other shoe drops, and the fact that the person didn't look too closely at what they were buying comes back to bite them in the ****. So rather than admit that they didn't really understand what an OEM copy of Windows was going in, or that they didn't actually read the license agreement they were agreeing to, they blame Microsoft for somehow tricking them or trying to screw them over. Never mind the myriad of ways that is an absolutely ludicrous notion, it allows the person to shift blame away from themselves, which is all that really matters to them. So long as it is not their fault, the mental gymnastics required to get to that conclusion are irrelevant.

As I said, it was a very timely example of my point about people not letting facts and logic get in the way of a good rant. I'm sure somehow Bill Gates and/or Steve Ballmer were personally involved, maybe covertly putting up all these eBay auctions under a number of fake names in an effort to ensnare innocent people like tedtks. Not because that would further distance people like tedtks from the responsibility of not doing his/her homework beforehand, but because that's just how Bill Gates and/or Steve Ballmer get their kicks: Running fake auctions on eBay (and come to think of it, eBay is probably in on it too) to sell these "crippled" copies of Windows at a discount.

And for those of you who lack a sense of humor, yes, the above was almost literally dripping with sarcasm.

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Wow, Jimmy, you are a caution.
by porthome / July 9, 2012 9:03 AM PDT
In reply to: He did say

My original question, unfortunately phrased somewhat facetiously, was to ask what there is in Windows 8 that might make it worth it, for someone with a perfectly good Windows XP desktop, or even Windows 7, to make the upgrade to Windows 8. I did not intend to provide a soapbox for you to proclaim your in-depth insights into the depths of every operating system since Ur-DOS, and certainly not to vent your obvious contempt for anyone who has not attained your pinnacle of ultimate geekness.

I offer my apologies to the other respondents you have so gratuitously insulted, for ever raising the question.

Perry B

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And to that
by Jimmy Greystone / July 10, 2012 12:26 AM PDT

And to that I would ask why you would feel compelled to respond as you did if your post truly was facetious as you claim? If you were making it in jest, then you wouldn't really be offended by anything I said, you'd be highly amused.

Also, why is it anyone's responsibility but your own to do the research and figure out why you might, or might not, be interested in Windows 8? I would say that searching for information with Google (or any other search engine) would require less skill than it takes to register and post here, so it's clearly not for lack of ability.

Finally, if you considered Windows XP to be "perfectly good" as you state, then you wouldn't even be asking about whether or not Windows 8 would be better. You wouldn't care, because you already have something that satisfies your every need. The fact that you are interested, and asking questions, means that no matter how ruthlessly you may try and repress any negative feelings you have about XP, they are finding ways to bubble up to the surface.

You want to know why Windows 8 may or may not be better, then get off your lazy duff and get to work! Don't expect others to be able to read your mind and know what specific features you may or may not be happy with. It's not like any of us are privy to some secret communique full of insider information. We're all reading the exact same set of articles that you yourself can read for the low low price of a couple minutes spent with a search engine.

More than that, I know this has been largely lost in the age of twitter and facebook where it seems people think world+dog is interested in the regularity of their bowel movements, but honestly: No. One. Cares.

Most importantly of all: THAT is how you do facetious! Well, at least a better example of it.

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Jimmy, you must have a lot of time on your hands
by porthome / July 10, 2012 8:09 AM PDT
In reply to: And to that

Despite your lengthy and unstructured rants, you present some interesting concepts. For example, you wonder why anyone would dare post a request for information (albeit facetiously in style, but not in content) on a forum, instead of doing all the research for themselves. Indeed, you feel it is lazy, or worse, not to do so. Well, I think most people on a support forum are there to share information or to help one another, not to diss each other for not knowing the answers.
In my case, I have been in IT-related fields for quite a while, say back to the 1950's. To paraphrase an old navy expression, I have probably wrung more water out of my underwear than you have sailed over. But in recent years I am less connected and have less available time, so I sometimes ask for advice about the latest stuff, and receive helpful feedback, as I did in this thread. Sharing is the in thing these days, and most people are generous and non-judgemental. Except, I guess, you.
So, 'nuff said. Although if you consider yourself also an expert on how to 'do facetious', you might want to look up the definition of the word in, say, a dictionary.

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Yes yes
by Jimmy Greystone / July 11, 2012 12:10 AM PDT

Yes yes... Are you quite done stroking your own ego?

If what you say is true, then you have even LESS excuse than the random person. You seem to assume that I am asking you to do more than spend maybe 30 minutes searching and reading a couple of articles. You know, kind of a basic courtesy to say you at least made a good-faith effort to resolve the problem on your own, not just come along and expect people to spoon feed you an answer. You probably spent more time trying to massage your bruised ego and establish alpha male status over me than it would have taken to simply run a few simple searches and read a couple of articles.

Or you could have downloaded the publicly available pre-releases of Windows 8, thrown them into a VM, and taken it for a bit of a test-drive yourself. Get a little first hand experience with it.

I don't care if you believe we were created by some invisible being in the sky who shaped us out of clay or are the result of billions of years of genetic flukes, or really any other explanation you want to give. The fact is human beings possess a mind capable of some pretty impressive cognitive feats, such as being able to reason. It annoys me when I see people like you, who choose to let this part of their mind atrophy for whatever reason. I don't care if you're 8 or 80, it's still no excuse. I do not stand for intellectual laziness anywhere, any time, by anyone.

So, are we done playing "mine is bigger" yet, or are you going to insist that we try and write our names in the snow? Because for a guy who claims to have such limited time, you sure seem to be able to find time to respond to my posts. And let's face it, the only reason you're upset in the first place is that I hit a nerve... The only way I can hit a nerve is if subconsciously you agree with me, but rather than actually recognize that and do something constructive like just shutting up and spending a few minutes reading a couple of articles, you displace those feelings onto me. Much easier to write me off as a jerk than face the fact that you know I have a valid and good point.

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(NT) I will take your excellent advice and write you off.
by porthome / July 12, 2012 2:09 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes yes
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@ Jimmy
by mchainmchain / July 12, 2012 3:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes yes


Sorry the OP cannot see what is plainly in front of his nose.

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Don'i ignore 'eXecute Disable bit' or NX requirement for W8
by zirc99 / August 23, 2012 2:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Windows evolution

Your Dell E1505 won't install Windows 8 Release Preview and presumably the final version
Processor must have 'eXecute Disable bit' (Intel), NX (AMD), XN (ARM)

Like you, my Dell Dimension 4550 loved Windows 8 CP and with P4 3.06Ghz HT, 2GB memory
was smooth and responsive compared to XP on same machine. Definite improvement even on
WIN 7, particularly when it comes to installation, it hunts out drivers for your hardware and installs
them leaving very few to mop up manually if any.

Having invested time in testing WIN 8 (CP) and not wanting to be left behind, chose another
second-hand Dell (like the robust build) with a qualfying processor:
Dell Precision 490 Intel XEON 3160 x 2 4GB mem.and the thing flies (only drawback, it's
like having a vaccum cleaner going next door, compared to whisper quiet of Dimension)
The memory fan rotatetes @ 2,800 rpm

That's progress, and Windows 8 Release Preview installed easilly and quickly, Don't use
Metro much, no Start button is a pain but got used to it, as everything needed is on Desktop
and with judicious use of right-click on status bar 'show the desktop' gets round it and no longer

My prediction is that WIN 8 is a winner, great screen (like WIN 7) and very smooth, once tried
hard to resist, attached as I am to XP and only recent convert to WIN 7.
It's a good time to be ahead of the curve, using all that XP eXPerience - Has it really been
ten years?

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Win 8 on old machine
by njwhite2 / August 23, 2012 10:17 PM PDT

I now have Windows 8 Consumer Preview with Media Center on my Dell E1505 with T1300 single core Intel processor and 2 GB of Ram. Installed perfectly. Works perfectly. Faster than XP on start up and all tasks.

I would think Microsoft will recommend the use of their "Upgrade Advisor" tool before installing windows 8. That checks your machine and software and alerts you of problems to fix and / or "deal breakers" to the install.

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