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Windows 8 – what was I afraid of?

So Monday afternoon I finally gave up on the Samsung.  Nothing I did could keep it alive. It kept on shutting down by itself. Took it in and they pronounced it DOA. Which is tragic for me, cause it was an i5. And my budget didn’t allow for great expenditure. So I went for an Acer Dual core with (urg) Windows 8 Single Language.

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Well, at first I was quite apprehensive about having to deal with Windows 8. WHERE’S THE START BUTTON! I thought to myself “beggars cant be choosers”. So I started the process of re-installing everything. Copying over the data from my old HD (which I’d taken out before I went to the shop). I wasn’t very happy until…

So I made a list of like vs. hate. But first, I went to read the “What’s next” posts on the internet.

Likes

  • W8? Leek speak it’s pronounced “wait”. But I think it’s pretty fast. Really, it’s fast actually. Boot up and runtime. I’d love to see the performance of W8 on solid state drives.
  • I started to like the new interface. Yes, some things take longer, but it’s actually pretty smooth.
  • When you put the PC to sleep it’s pretty fast. The wake up from suspended state is FAST.
  • It uses less RAM than 7. And applications seem to use less RAM as well. Right now I’ve got WAMP running, Outlook + 3 mails, Word, Toad (by Quest), Chrome with 4 tabs. Its idling at 48% (oh, it only has 4GB of RAM).
  • Battery life is better. But I’m attributing that to a huge Acer contribution.
  • I kinda like the extra space with the missing Start button. I’m a taskbar hog. I like having 20 different windows open at a time. And many tabs per window.
  • Windows 7 had the nice Windows+Tab combo (on certain higher end editions). W8 has a left side bar.
  • Window + . combo (that’s a period). Funky! It’s like Android’s split screen.
  • Crtl + Alt + Del still works!.
  • The (seemingly permanent) new “Open with” on the context menu. (Actually, it’s always been there if you held the Shift key in).
  • And the way it unobtrusively asks what you want to do with new file types that’s still on default.
  • Furthermore, it asks you if you want to use new programs as default when you install certain types of programs. For example, I installed Chrome and when it was done, Win8 asked me if I wanted to make it default browser.
  • Explorer. Pretty nice. Still missing the status bar that gave space details.
  • Task manager. Pretty nice.
  • Windows To Go… If I understand it correctly, it’s AWESOME. You can basically have a dongle based settings environment. Or use it to revive a damaged OS. Or maybe use it as a security option in the company? I’ll have to investigate this a bit more.

Don’t like

  • Alt+Tab combo new look.
  • The store. It’s one thing to have to give my phone over to Google, but now my laptop to Microsoft? What next?
  • Start menu. Seriously, for a laptop it’s overkill. Annoying to the extreme. For a tablet, wow, I can imagine it to be quite awesome.
  • Lack of start button. I get a distinct Apple feeling now. I mean Windows without a start button? Like Windows 3.11? Yes, I love the space, but it’s just not the same. That’s what separated Windows from the rest. Even Linux followed suite. I was like a pro using the start button and menu. The new start button (when you hover where the old one used to be) brings up the “fantastic” new menu. It’s even worse than the change between Win2000 to WinXP and then WinXP to WinVista. Nou ja!
  • Full screen apps. It’s annoying. Really. The start button I can live with, but my close button? REALLY? At least give me an alternative! That’s just annoyingly cruel.
  • No XP mode. None whatsoever. Recommendations are to load VMWare Player (version 6 at current writing). Reason for the exclusion? I think MS is trying to kill XP, like they did with VB6 (which I loved). So goodbye old progs. Hello to updating current code. OK, so it’s there and it’s called (from Windows Server). Hyper-V is the replacement for XP Mode and Virtual PC.
  • Windows Defender. It’s never been my favourite apps.
  • Live Sync. Google already freaked me out by syncing my Chrome. I mean, it restored all the settings, usernames and password, history and just by logging into Chrome.
  • Having to search around to get more detailed wireless signal details.

Thoughts:

  • The interface does get taking used to. So, I suggest fiddling (as usual).
  • I’m wondering how the updates work. Using Windows Update to update Windows 7 caused huge space hogging by the OS in the Windows directory.
  • System restore in Windows 7 usually deleted files, even when it promised it wouldn’t.
  • I’m in no hurry to access the recovery console, but if it was a bit more effective and user friendly than Win7, it would be spot on.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with Windows 8. Definitely not Windoze anymore. Further more, Win7 programs still run (as far as I can tell). Thing is… I’m happy… but not completely wow-ed. It’s not the feeling I got when moving from pure Dos to Windows 3.11 or Windows 3.11 to Windows 95. Good job, though, good job.

Some sources.

EDIT: 2013/10/01

Well, I first thought it was a once off thing, this black screen that presented itself to me instead of the consent window. But, it appears, it’s not. It seems to be a new feature of Windows 8. It hangs just before it shows the consent window (you know, the window that asks for permission to allow a program to execute, otherwise known as User Account Control). Here’s what happened.

The first time, I was trying to run an installation. Just before Windows was supposed to ask my permission, a black screen comes up. When I press my keys, I can see the screen dimming and bright, but nothing else happens. I have to restart. Second time, I was trying to run Command prompt as admin, same thing. Same result. Same “remedial” action. So the bugs start coming out the works.

EDIT: 2015/03/31

After more than a year on 8, I’ve got one SERIOUS gripe. Don’t let Windows control your automatic update. When AU wants to reboot your machine, forget it, it’s going to reboot your machine. Yes, it gives you warning. Ample 15 minutes of it, but geez, who wants to reboot their machine at 11 0’clock and then wait 30 minutes for the updates to complete? (Is what happened to me this week). 11am is work time, you schmucks!

Other than than, I’m still pretty chaffed. (Except for the missing start menu and crappy “new” menu, but don’t get me started… Windows XP menu ROCKED!)

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