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402 of 422 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2012
Windows 8

I would advise that someone who wants to upgrade their machine to Windows 8 to first download Microsoft's upgrade advisor. This will check applications and hardware for compatibility with Windows 8.
Microsoft also has its own pages called Microsoft Compatibility Centre which lists a vast range of software and hardware which will (or won't) work with Windows 8. Both 32-bit and 64-bit, Windows 8 RT and Windows 7 are also included.
Having worked in I.T. for many years (going back to the days of Windows 3.1), and have already installed the pre-releases of Windows 8, I knew what to expect from the upgrade and its new look.
My PC is nearly 4 years old with a 320 Gig Hard Drive, 4 Gigs of RAM, 1 Gig Nvidia Graphics card and a USB Wireless adapter.
I created a new spare partition from the free space on my Hard drive and copied over all the documents and data that I wanted to keep. I already had another copy of documents and data on DVD.
I powered up my machine and set it to boot from the Windows 8 DVD. I selected clean install, resized and formatted my first and second partitions. The installation was fairly quick and I had Windows 8 installed on my machine in under 1 hour.
Windows 8 had installed most drivers apart from my printer, Wireless Adapter and Graphics Card. I downloaded the latest drivers for my USB Wireless adapter and had some trials at getting it to work. Looking on the Internet I found that other people had the same issue and the solution was to install the driver in Windows 7 compatibility mode. Doing this I got access to the internet.
I ran the Windows update in the Control Panel and this downloaded a further 750 Megs of updates.
Once all the drivers where working I installed Office 2010 and other standard applications, and customised the Windows 8 Start tiles.
Finally I created a standard user account which I use for everyday use.

I have now been using Windows 8 for a couple of weeks without any problems, and no crashes.
I'm used to the interface and have created a few shortcuts on my desktop's start bar.

Should you upgrade to Windows 8 ?
If you are still using Windows XP, then remember that Microsoft will stop supporting it from 9th April 2014.
If you are still using Vista then Microsoft will stop supporting it from 18th April 2017.
If you are using Windows 7 and happy with it then the choice is yours if you want to upgrade to Windows 8. Support for Windows 7 will stop in 15th January 2020.
(That is the current dates for extended support from Microsoft. The products themselves will of course still work).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2013
Upgraded from XP 32 bit to Windows 8 64 bit. You need to do a custom installation to achieve this. If you have some computer experience you can continue to use your existing files (but many applications will need to be reinstalled). I think it's best to install Win 8 onto a separate hard disk if you have one.

I like the new Windows. There is no Start button in the Desktop window, but think of the new 'Home' screen as one big start menu. You can find all your applications by typing a few characters into the search box, and they open up either in full-page mode, or inside the Desktop window.

Windows 8 has its own anti-virus and firewall, so no need to get a separate program to slow it down.

Review update - things I forgot to mention 1st time round:

* You are confronted with your 1st tough decision upon installing... should you set up a Microsoft account or a Local account?? Here's my advice:
Set your *1st* account up as a *Local* account, it is the admin account. You won't have access to any apps in the App Store etc. but the admin account does *not* need these features (App Store apps are installed per-user, not for the whole computer). Once ready, you can create your user accounts for all the users you need, and these are suitable as Microsoft accounts - all the new features of Win 8 will work.

* Win 8 had a built-in driver for everything on my computer - it's 6 years old, so not surprising. Old logitech webcam does not work, nor does bluetooth modem.

* I can dual boot with XP after custom-installing on a separate drive - I do not enjoy going back to XP, but it's there if I need it.

* I am resisting re-installing iTunes, it pretty much destroyed my XP performance, and I don't want to risk ruining Win 8 - which is smooth and fast enough, even on my old computer.

* If you previously used Windows Live Mail: You can install it again in Win 8, and point the mail store to your old location. It upgrades beautifully, and all you will need to do is put your passwords in again. All your messages, accounts etc will be set up. You need to export your contacts from the old installation and import them into the new version. Search the web for detailed instructions on locating and setting the mail store for Windows Live Mail. It needs .Net 3.5 and I could only install that from the Win 8 DVD, it did not work from the web - again, search the web for installing .Net 3.5 in Win 8.

2nd update:
Also worth mentioning Windows 8 has built-in parental controls, using Microsoft logins. For your children's login accounts, you can get detailed activity reports, and the ability to block various web sites and applications if you need to.
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301 of 322 people found the following review helpful
Windows 8 runs well but is very different and the new tablet focused interface is somewhat jarring on a desktop PC. That this has been designed for platform devices to compete with the dominance of Apple is very apparent in its whole design.

When you boot, the first thing you see is the new Start Screen. This has replaced the old start menu and pulls apps and services together into this one screen presented as "live tiles" integrating deeply with Windows Live and it's services.

The look and feel is now very clearly optimised for tablets and it's going to be a shock to the system for a lot of people and you have to question whether it's of any real use to Windows 7 users who have all they need.

Programs are all now available via the "apps" search from the start screen, you need to search for them and can then pin them to there or your task bar. Once you start to get used to where things are it does fall into place. A tip for easier navigation is to press the windows key and just start typing the name of what you want to do.

If you prefer to work with the desktop in the traditional way then you'll want to hit the "desktop" option from the start screen.

I've tested a range of my programs and most worked fine for me. The only thing I've had to change was to switch to using Windows Defender for anti virus as my old one didn't work anymore.

Windows 8's main strength is in performance. It runs well and is slightly snappier than Windows 7 was. Having said that, you will get a much more significant speed boost if you install a Solid State drive, that brings huge gains rather than small boosts though I have experienced some reliability concerns of late with mine.

So windows 8... runs well but is very different and I couldn't recommend it for those happy with their current set-up.
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405 of 437 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2012
The new UI that greets you when you first log on to Windows 8 definitely takes you by surprise - and takes time getting used to. It definitely makes sense on a touch-enabled device, but very little on a traditional desktop/laptop. There are nice sides to it (weather app, easy searching a few others) - but I still find Microsoft's decision to "impose" it on non-touch users rather pre-mature.

HOWEVER - the moment you switch to the traditional desktop mode, this version shines. It loads/shuts down faster, it clogs your PC memory less, there are many small tweaks here and there. It's the "leanest" version out there - absolutely no bloatware (and the few "New UI" apps can be easily uninstalled - compare that to Vista!).

Very easy installation and initial setup.

So, to sum up - if you are using conventional desktops/laptops, most likely you won't use the New UI much - but in no way will it make your traditional desktop experience less efficient and productive. Treat it as just a new form of the now gone Start button, and it's a better form of it. Yes, you have to change the way you do a few things - but without that we'd be still stuck in the DOS era.

If you are using anything older than a Windows 7, go for it - it's a no brainer at this price. If you are using Windows 7 - you might stick to it... However, it is obvious that touch interface is the way forward - there is no coming back to the old ways. So why not embrace the new Windows and master it earlier, rather than later?..

PS Go for the upgrade version available through Microsoft website - it costs only £24.99, is only a 2GB download, and you can still use it for a "clean" install if you wish. Plus you can get the Media Center Upgrade for free for limited time on Microsoft's website as well.

EDIT Some of the readers seem to be confused by the "clean" install I mention in my "PS". Essentially, if you buy Win 8 from Amazon or download it directly from Microsoft, you have 2 options:
1) "Upgrade" to Win 8 - and keep your files, settings and programs (depending on Windows version you currently use).

2) Make a "Clean" install - that is format your system drive, thus deleting all your files, settings and programs etc, and install Win 8 from scratch. This has been the better way of moving to a new OS for ages, whether we talk about Windows, OSX etc. However, if this is something that sounds confusing for you, just ignore this option and enjoy the easy "upgrade" path:).

UPDATE 28/11/2013

So, more than 12 months into using the system, I must say most of the above points still hold (to clarify - have been using it on 2 desktops and 2 non-touch laptops):
- I have never got to using 'Modern UI' apps, bar occasional use of Weather and News apps
- The OS has proved very stable and 'light' in terms of resource footprint
- Shines on new hardware, boots up and shuts down instantly
- Very fast installation, especially on newer hardware

And with the free 8.1 update, I am ready to up the score to 4.5 out of 5:
- You can now boot directly into desktop
- You can switch the 'Modern UI' into showing 'all apps' instead
- The 'Start' button is back - sort of; it takes you to 'Modern UI' if you left click on it, but gives you all the key options when you right-click on it
- The above 3 points essentially allow you to avoid 'Modern UI' 99% of the time if you don't like/need it, giving you an extra light and fast OS without forcing you to adapt to new UI
- 'Modern UI' apps have been significantly updated, which has made them somehow useful even on a desktop PC
- SkyDrive native implementation is so convenient that it is my default folder for documents now.

Bottom line - with 8.1 update Windows 8 has removed the most annoying innovations while keep all the good stuff, and I see no reason to buy Windows 7 now at all, especially if using newer hardware.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2012
I bought windows8 mostly out of curiosity, and to upgrade my Windows XP desktop machine. The instalation was easy and took only about half an hour.
Having played around with it now for a couple of weeks I can only say I am a little dissapointed. It certainly does not live up to all the hype. I have still to find any of the Windows Apps to be at all interesting, though to be fair I have only looked at the free ones. I have installed Office which works fine and one or two other programs which also ran OK.
So far I haven't managed to dfo anything that I could not have done on Windows 7.
Maybe I will make more use of it as time goes by, but first impressions are a complete non event, which has added nothing new to my IT experience, so the best I can give is two& a half stars
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2013
The PC version of Windows 8 is an early attempt by Microsoft to merge tablets and computers into the same concept. To do this, they have created an interface that works on both and a single application store similar to Apple's IOS or Google's Android. Although the traditional ways of working on the desktop still exist, it is clear from the default way the Modern (Metro) interface loads first, the lack of a conventional Start Menu and the App Store itself that Microsoft's priority is the new tablet-style interface.

The problem is that computers and tablets are used differently, typically the former will be used for more complicated tasks. However, anybody trying multi-tasking on more complicated jobs using the Modern (Metro) interface will soon discover the flaws of a tablet-style approach. Simpler does not mean more efficient in this case. The same case can in fact be used to justify the mouse over the touch-screen. A touch-screen may be more intuitive, but the precision a mouse gives cannot be matched by the new technology.

In short then:


* Simplicity - Windows 8 may appeal to those people who are unfamiliar with computers in general, the Modern interface does simplify things.

* Boot times - As the operating system hibernates instead of shuts down every time you turn it off, boot times are much faster. However, this may ultimately impact on stability.

* Desktop - For now at least, we can largely still use the traditional Windows ways of doing things.


* Less efficient - It's hard to justify how using the new Modern UI is more efficient than the old one.

* Compares poorly to Windows 7 - After using both, Windows 8 clearly feels less streamlined, professional and polished than the previous version. This is obviously not a good thing for an upgrade

* App Store - The fact that all Metro apps must be installed from the Microsoft store threatens to undermine the sheer flexibility that made computers so popular over the last 15 years.

In conclusion, Windows 8 is only a good upgrade for those relatively new to computers or those looking for future-proof investments, All others should probably stick to Windows 7.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2013
I have tried to love Windows 8. I installed it around 6 months ago now and I have followed it's bizzare and uncoordinated evolution. All I can say is Microsoft have massively misunderstood what market they are actually in, and have created the Frankenstein of operating systems - the body of one, with a wierd head badly-stitched on top of it.

OK, so to the review.

There are now two ways to do most familiar windows tasks in windows 8. The 'modern interface' way - in which everything is cartoonishly-large, and at low resolution, in order to fit the tablet you aren't using this on (yes, I know...). There are two browsers, but like Cletus, Microsoft has named both its children the same (in this case Internet Explorer 10). If you are in the 'modern interface' (formerly 'Metro'), you get a version of IE10 designed for the tablet you aren;t running Windows 8 on. It's freakishly large and only runs flash via a whitelist (pre-approved by Microsoft), so most of the multimedia web doesn't work properly. (STOP PRESS: This has just been changed via windows update as Microsoft begins what *MUST* be a series of u-turns on this weirdest of all operating systems). If you are in the traditional desktop, well then you just run 'Internet Explorer 10' (I know) and it acts like it always has..
If you try to 'tile' windows in the 'modern interface', well, you can only tile two. That's because only two windows fit on the tablet that you aren;t running Windows 8 on...

Of course there's no start menu on the desktop. That's because Microsoft wants to to think of the 'modern interface' as your new start menu. A start menu designed to work beautifully on the tablet (you know - your tablet - the one you aren't running windows on).

Truly, I despair. Why couldn't microsoft have detected the platfrom and given a system that boots straight to desktop (or that uses desktop versions of the photo viewer, the browser etc) when it detects that it's on a non-touch system? Is that so hard?
Instead the system is built for touch. yes - that's right, built for touch-screens (currently less than 20% of the total market, and less than 5% of the desktop market). So Microsoft introduced a product that creates extra hassle for 95% of its users - hmmm. In addition, it's tied in very closely with the microsoft app store and the open-web. that's because its many thousands of big corporate users, with windows on very desktop, use the - er - oh - no they don't...

Microsoft's canceled tablet manufacturing orders, Windows 8 product-line creator's departure, reduced sales forcasts and the like surely only can tell a story of less-than-stellar success. If your core users are introducing third party software to get the start menu back in their droves, does that not tell you anything?
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2013
It would seem windows 8 was designed with tablet PCs in mind and they've implemented this horrible metro interface. They're tried to make this "Hip and down with the kids" but they've forgotten what most people want out of their operating systems and that's simple functionality. Even closing an application takes some fiddling around or searching for a guide, because a simple red x button or minimize would be such a hard thing to include(rolls eyes). There is ofcourse a desktop screen which is more familiar, but without a start menu. You can download unofficial third party applications to install a start menu and make it more like Windows 7, but why not just stick with windows 7 and have better program/game compatibility to.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 28 December 2012
I upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro three weeks ago and the writing of this review will be my last use of Windows 8 before I revert back to 7.

The radical overhaul of the user interface seems to be a feature that many users working on desktops just don't like -However, the UI isn't the sticking point for me. While it's a a whole new Windows experience, once you get a little accustomed to it, it's slick enough and relatively intuitive (bar Microsoft's well-documented but still bewildering decision to omit a 'Start' tab from the task bar in desktop view). The problem for me with Windows 8 is that the 64-bit version at least appears to operate more like a Beta than a general release and I've encountered several stability and compatibility issues.

From the outset, I had issues with vanishing interface icons. My particular issue is related to some sort of conflict between the system fonts and my own custom fonts (had the same fonts on Windows 7 without a moment of trouble), but a quick browse of internet forums readily demonstrates that Windows 8 icons are prone to disappearance for any number of reasons leaving users with an unusable interface or at best a dependency on the alt tags for navigation. Not good.

In addition to this problem, despite the MS compatibility checker informing me that my machine, peripherals and software were all compatible with Windows 8, I've since discovered that my Wacom graphic tablet has very limited functionality(depsite installation of the latest driver), Norton Ghost isn't compatible at all and hence won't work on Windows 8 (although admittedly Norton Ghost is now a bit ancient) and several of my Adobe applications have become very unstable since operating within Windows 8 (including Photoshop and Illustrator both of which are CS6 editions). I've tried to rectify the latter issue by uninstalling, reinstalling then updating the programmes but it's made absolutely no difference at all. Adobe 64 bit software just doesn't seem to like the 64 bit Windows 8 operating system.

My final gripe is with IE10 which (inevitably) comes bundled with Windows 8. I think there are very few people in this day and age who haven't yet realised that Internet Explorer is a piece of trash in comparison with other browsers and has been for several years now. I didn't ever expect IE10 to live up to the laughable 'blazing fast' claims of the MS advert and I wasn't disappointed. It's by and large the same piece of retrograde junk that it has been for the last decade with the additional 'bonus' of delivering the worst text rendering I've seen in a browser for a long time.

These issues combined make Windows 8 a dead duck for me. It's a shame because I actually think it could be a very good platform -it has some really nice features and the boot speed is very good indeed. I'll probably take another look at it after six months worth of updates have been released (or maybe when the first service pack is issued), but for now, it seems that there are just too many shortcomings for it to be an effective and efficient platform.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2012
This is a glorified update of Windows 3.1. I could not find the Start button to search for my usual programmes and what s on offer fills the entire screen, there is too much distraction here. In fact offering me too much of my own product to say nothing of manufactured software. I found it interfered with my printer and my Kaspersky settings. Sorry, I had to dislodge it. Dislodge is the operative word. I reverted back to my Winows 7 Ultimate by reformatting my laptop to start afresh. Maybe there are people out there who do like this Windows 8....if so, how many?
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