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Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

CX
Grafter
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Registered: 16-09-2010

Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

Having tried the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 several months ago, I was adamant that I would not be buying it once released. It felt horribly broken and clunky. I don't know whether it's Lenka, the Surface, the £24.99 price tag, fear of getting left behind or what, but I finally pulled the trigger and did the upgrade.
So far so good.  Smiley
I upgraded in-place from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and the process was complete in around half an hour. In my opinion Microsoft cracked upgrades with Windows 7 (Vista to 7 upgrades have always worked perfectly) and this continued with Windows 8. My programs appear to be functional, and those which were recently used in Windows 7 have been pinned to the first page of the Start screen. Avast continued to be my anti-virus, and Windows Defender was sensibly left disabled. Avast needed its network shield removing and re-adding, presumably because it had a network interface driver that was no longer bound. Similarly VirtualBox's network driver. Obscure things such as my AutoHotKey script are still working.
Previously I had only tried Windows 8 in a virtual machine, and found it to be awkward. Now on a real desktop, where hot corners can be hit easily, it all makes sense. It still seems like a bit of a waste of screen space having the Start screen fill all 1920x1200 pixels, but I'm sure once a few more Metro tiles (eBay?) are on there it will be more useful. The mail app synced with GMail email and contacts trouble free.
Microsoft obviously want you to link and login with your Microsoft Account (Hotmail, Windows Live Mail, Outlook.com, MSN or whatever they want to call it this month) but you can still use a local user account and log into the Microsoft Store with the Microsoft Account within the app itself. There already seem to be plenty of useful Metro apps (Netflix, eBay etc.). XBox 360 integration is pretty nice.
There are lots of nice little changes. When you lock the screen with Win+L, the monitor will go to sleep after a minute or so. Previously, it waited until the normal monitor sleep timeout. Changing the system volume with shortcut keys or a remote now shows a little volume bar overlay. The file copy and task manager improvements are probably more noteworthy, but it will take me a while to trust anything other than TeraCopy, especially for network copies. I seem to remember one thing that bugged me in the consumer preview was the necessity to "swipe" the screen with the mouse to display the password box on the login screen. Now, you can just click the mouse buttons.
In the desktop mode, the new visual style can look a bit ugly in some apps (Firefox is okay, but Directory Opus looks naff) but at least it has a very distinct differentiation between the active window and inactive. It reminds me of the Whistler theme before Microsoft settled on Luna for Windows XP. Aero on Vista and Windows 7 has "saturated" and "a little less saturated" as differentiation, so this is a welcome change. The automatic colour matching to the wallpaper works well too. The interface is still GPU accelerated, like Aero, just without the translucency that Aero had.
I'm still looking forward to the LeapMotion device early next year, although having seem how well the finished product works with keyboard and mouse, having "virtual" touch doesn't seem as urgent now.
84 REPLIES
Moderator
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

I'm considering purchasing the cheaper upgrade option but holding back installation till next year sometime.
Does anyone foresee any problems with doing things this way? Time-limited activation, perhaps?

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Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear - Mark Twain
He who feared he would not succeed sat still

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Re: Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

I foresee no problems at all.  Only trial copies of Windows may have time-limited activation
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CX
Grafter
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Re: Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

The only aspect for I could foresee an issue is if you want to reclaim the free Windows Media Center add-on (which also enables the MPEG2 decoder; out of the box it only seems to do h.264 and VC-1. After the end of January, you would have to pay for it. I believe that it has to be activated from within a working Windows 8 installation, and from that point onwards it becomes part of that Windows 8 licence (so survives reinstallations).
It's not expensive after that date though, and that's if you even need it. So far I'm happy with the LAV Decoder in DVBViewer and PotPlayer / ZoomPlayer for my TV and video needs, so I'm not missing Media Center.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 10-08-2007

Re: Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

I use Windows XP on my personal computer. none of the above bollocks applies....just saying
VileReynard
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Re: Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

Does anyone actually gain anything by throwing XP or Windows 7 away and installing Windows 8.
In other words, does it do anything new?
Does it interface with oldish hardware in a better way?
How well does the software interface with other PC's (Windows or other manufacturers).
I wouldn't touch it with the proverbial bargepole.

Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

Yes, I think you gain a lot. But at the expense of a really clunky interface. Well 2 interfaces connected by wet spaghetti.  Crazy
My W8 system (old XP-rated hardware) runs really well and supports all the latest "stuff". I have "Classic Shell" installed and "skinned" to look like W7 by default so it's fairly comfortable to use now.
VileReynard
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Re: Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

Ha!
So all that stuff about it only running on a UEFI "BIOS" was all lies!

Community Veteran
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Re: Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

Lies propagated by Linux fanbois as far as I saw......
Community Veteran
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Re: Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

There are some processors it won't run on, but they're pretty old. Can't recall exactly what but there are some commonplace instruction set extensions required.
Seems to run on most XP kit, and requires similar memory to a fully-patched XP system - but is quicker!
kmilburn
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Re: Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

Quote from: Un
Ha!
So all that stuff about it only running on a UEFI "BIOS" was all lies!

All the stuff about UEFI and secure boot is to do with brand new machines shipped by the likes of Dell, HP, etc.  nothing to do with old machines.
It's technically nothing to do with Windows 8, beyond getting the Approval from Microsoft and being able to put a 'certified for windows 8' sticker on their systems.
VileReynard
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Re: Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

Is it the case that Windows 8 doesn't insist on UEFI?
i.e. if you've got an old DOS-type BIOS boot sector it will accept that?

Waldo
Grafter
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

My nephew used the community preview (or whatever it was called) on an Atom-based netbook for a while. Worked fine according to him.
kmilburn
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Re: Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

Windows 8 doesn't care about UEFI, BIOS or any other bootloader than may be responsible for starting it (e.g. GRUB).
This is why the OS can be booted directly, or a bootable DVD allowing the OS to be loaded off disk,  or GRUB to pick which OS you want to start.
Secure Boot  (a UEFI feature) is a system which checks the signature of the OS Bootloader against known keys and if it and other various checks pass, the bootloader is started.
To get Windows 8 certification, new machines (and Motherboards) must support Secure Boot by default  (Microsoft did capitulate and allow it to be disabled),  and it must have the Windows  Keys.
The problem for Linux (primarily related to GRUB and LILO) or any other OS (including previous versions of windows) is that their bootloaders don't have the support required for Secure Boot, which (if enabled) would prevent them from being loaded.
VileReynard
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Re: Windows 8 - Couldn't resist any longer

Thanks.
Makes things tricky for anyone who wants to use a configure a dual boot on a new machine.
(I'm assuming that most machine manufacturers will lock down their machines to Windows 8 only).
Idleness rules and all that.  Grin