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Old 12-29-2012, 08:12 AM   #1
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Initial User Experiences on Windows 8.

As per alleycat's suggestion, I'm starting this thread purely for user experiences of Windows 8. As he rightly pointed out, the other thread (that he created) was about the pros and cons of Win7 vs. Win8. So if you want to discuss Win8 vs. another OS, it might be better in AC's thread.

Anyway, I installed Windows 8 today (after some headaches that prevented me from doing it last night). Here follows my thoughts on this OS from the past hour or two of use.

1. I still think the new Start menu is ugly as sin.

2. It took me about 10 minutes to find My Computer to actually see whether my files survived the upgrade from XP. (For those curious, there's a Document Folder icon on the taskbar in Desktop mode - as near as I can tell, this is the only way to actually get into your folders and the such.) I dragged and dropped "Computer" onto my Desktop after I found that, and now it's actually directly accessible from the desktop. Hooray!

3. All of my files survived the change-over, but I had to reinstall some programs to actually be able to do anything. If you haven't upgraded yet, I'd recommend downloading the Installer files for your favourite programs beforehand. This way you aren't Googling a bunch of things after the long process of installing Win8.

4. I still have to reinstall a bunch of programs, especially Office so I can at least pretend to be a writer sometime this week. This will add a lot of time.

5. I had a thought, and thus discovered my first "trick" on Win8. Pressing the Windows key on my keyboard takes me back to the start menu automatically, without having to go into the corner of the screen. This will be useful sometimes, though sometimes frustrating, as I tend to accidentally hit that key on occasion when typing.

6. That ugly Start menu page, while it has a bunch of options such as Games, Music and Videos, don't actually list the files I have on my computer. (I found that out when trying to access My Computer.) I'm not sure how to add things to the Start menu's tiles, for simple Music access or whatnot. Something to look into, I suppose.

7. Windows 8 doesn't come with a video player. Knowing this beforehand, I downloaded VLC last night and kept the Installer. So I installed that after Win8 was done loading, and it seems to solve the problem. Except that a DVD I was watching crashed, and quitting out of VLC was a time-consuming nightmare. Even Ctrl-Alt-Del and End Task was slow as sin - not getting those options up (that was fast) but actually closing the program. I later loaded a music video, which played fine, so I'm not sure if the problem was with VLC or my DVD.

8. I'm not actually sure how I'm supposed to shut Win8 down... I need to go to the shops in a minute, and it might take me a while to figure out how to actually shut down my computer without pressing the Power button!

...

Overall, it's not a bad system so far. I guess it would be no more annoying than installing ANY new OS, what with reinstalling programs, except that I got to keep my files (I had backed them up and was expecting a lengthy transfer time).

It'll be a learning curve for a while, trying to figure out the actual point of having a separate screen for Start menu stuff... But I haven't torn my hair out yet.

It wasn't as bad as I was expecting, but I wouldn't call it amazing or anything.

Anyone else care to share their thoughts on Windows 8?
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Old 12-29-2012, 08:45 AM   #2
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Quote:
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3. All of my files survived the change-over, but I had to reinstall some programs to actually be able to do anything. If you haven't upgraded yet, I'd recommend downloading the Installer files for your favourite programs beforehand. This way you aren't Googling a bunch of things after the long process of installing Win8.
I could be wrong, but this might have had to do with your installing a 64-bit Windows 8 over a 32-bit Windows XP. At least it's better than Windows 7, where there was no upgrade path at all from the 32-bit versions to the 64-bit Windows 7 (that I know of).

Quote:
8. I'm not actually sure how I'm supposed to shut Win8 down... I need to go to the shops in a minute, and it might take me a while to figure out how to actually shut down my computer without pressing the Power button!
Open Settings from the Charms menu (top or bottom right hot corners). Power->Shut down.

What's puzzling me at the moment is how to change tabs in the Modern UI version of IE.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:12 AM   #3
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I could be wrong, but this might have had to do with your installing a 64-bit Windows 8 over a 32-bit Windows XP. At least it's better than Windows 7, where there was no upgrade path at all from the 32-bit versions to the 64-bit Windows 7 (that I know of).
No, I had to install 32-bit. I got a message when I inserted the 64-bit disc that said because I was running a 32-bit XP, I couldn't use 64-bit Win8.

Not sure if I can change it over to 64-bit now that I have Win8 running... But at this point, I don't care too much. I only have 4GB RAM, and won't be buying any more yet. I only have 1 RAM slot left in my computer, actually... I had 4, but 2 had 1GB RAM in each, and I just put 2GB RAM in the 3rd the other day.

When I decide to upgrade my RAM again, I'll look into putting 64-bit Win8 on this machine, if it's possible. (The 2 version came on 2 separate discs.)

Quote:
Open Settings from the Charms menu (top or bottom right hot corners). Power->Shut down.

What's puzzling me at the moment is how to change tabs in the Modern UI version of IE.
Okay, thanks. I figured out how to shut down the long way... Start Menu screen, click on User, Log Out, scroll the title page thingy, click the power icon, choose shut down.

I was certain there had to be a quicker way that that!

As for IE, I use Firefox instead. The IE that came with Win8 didn't seem to have any menu options... I had no idea how to even make a bookmark. *shrug*

...

Okay, one new thing to add:

Booting up my computer now is a LOT quicker than on XP! It took about the usual amount of time to load to the main screen, but after that it was super fast, and I had 2 programs open in about 10 seconds, whereas on XP it'd take a bit longer to boot, then load background stuff, then I'd have to wait about 30 seconds for programs to open (so soon after the boot - normally it was quicker).

Windows 8 is edging ahead.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:20 AM   #4
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No, I had to install 32-bit. I got a message when I inserted the 64-bit disc that said because I was running a 32-bit XP, I couldn't use 64-bit Win8.

Not sure if I can change it over to 64-bit now that I have Win8 running... But at this point, I don't care too much. I only have 4GB RAM, and won't be buying any more yet. I only have 1 RAM slot left in my computer, actually... I had 4, but 2 had 1GB RAM in each, and I just put 2GB RAM in the 3rd the other day.

When I decide to upgrade my RAM again, I'll look into putting 64-bit Win8 on this machine, if it's possible. (The 2 version came on 2 separate discs.)
Whether you can install Windows 8 on your machine depends on whether you have a 64-bit CPU. If you have an Intel Core 2 Duo or better, you should be fine. A clean install isn't a problem.

It's upgrading from a 32-bit OS to a 64-bit OS that's trickier. It's impressive that Apple made it so seamless, so Mac users never had to worry about this.

Quote:
Okay, thanks. I figured out how to shut down the long way... Start Menu screen, click on User, Log Out, scroll the title page thingy, click the power icon, choose shut down.

I was certain there had to be a quicker way that that!

As for IE, I use Firefox instead. The IE that came with Win8 didn't seem to have any menu options... I had no idea how to even make a bookmark. *shrug*
There are two versions of IE on Windows 8.

There's the Modern UI version, which is probably what you saw, which is pretty barebones, but optimized for touchscreens, and then there's the desktop IE, which is just the same IE 10 as before.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:59 AM   #5
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Ah okay... Thanks.

Update time: VLC really isn't liking DVDs right now. The first time I got through half an episode. This last time? As soon as I made it full screen on the DVD, it crapped out. So I don't think it's my disc.

Full-screen music video files work fine though.

Also, can anyone recommend a good free anti-virus software? I used to use Avast, but my installer file says it's not compatible, and I read a review on Google that Avast and Windows 8 don't work well together... Something about blocking the internet connection on your computer.

I don't have the money to buy an anti-virus program, but something along the lines of Avast would be ideal. I never had any viruses since using Avast (after my computer died last time, at the start of this year or end of last year, when I wasn't using Avast).

I'm off now to install some more programs (Office, here I come!) and then try looking for a new DVD-playing program that won't crap out on me.
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:10 AM   #6
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Frankly, I think if you're tech-savvy, Microsoft Security Essentials should be enough.

If you're particularly prone to malware, maybe not.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:12 AM   #7
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Well, I've stopped being so adventurous on the Internet since last time my computer died...

So now, instead of following any old link because I'm bored, I stop and think about things. The few times I almost got in trouble, it was actually Firefox that warned me the site looked dodgy.

What I mostly used Avast for was scanning new downloads for viruses before opening them.

In other news, however, I've been installing Office for about 45 minutes, and it's somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 done... *faceplant* At this rate, it might take longer to install than Windows 8 did.

Not sure what the problem is... It didn't take this long to install on XP, if I recall correctly. One thing I have noticed is that my DVD drive hasn't been making much noise during the install. So I was wondering if maybe my drive has started to crap out on me.

But the thing is, even though it's not making much noise, I'm still progressing with the installation.

*shrug*
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:14 AM   #8
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Forgot to add:

I've already had 3 program failures on Win8 in about as many hours. And each time, when I go through Task Manager to shut the program down, it takes a LONG time. Much longer than it did on XP, or even Win7 (which I have on my laptop).

Once, even Task Manager got a "Not Responding" error!

Methinks Win8 is still a little buggy.

ETA: Office just finished installing! After taking 45 minutes to get 2/3 done, the last 1/3 was quite quick. And my DVD drive was noisier during the last 5 minutes... Hmm.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:21 AM   #9
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I've already had 3 program failures on Win8 in about as many hours. And each time, when I go through Task Manager to shut the program down, it takes a LONG time. Much longer than it did on XP, or even Win7 (which I have on my laptop).

Once, even Task Manager got a "Not Responding" error!
*shrug*

Sounds like the experience I remember from Windows XP.
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:39 PM   #10
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Okay, final update before bed.

The disc I was having trouble with works fine on my laptop (running Win7). So I think the problem is VLC.

I just remembered an old program, PowerDVD, that I saw mentioned somewhere recently. I'll try to download that tomorrow morning, and if that is no better, I'll go looking at DVD playing software in stores, to get an idea of prices.

In any event, the people in the tech stores should know what will work well in Win8.

ETA: Aside from programs crashing, the only real negative I've come up with for Win8 so far is the lack of ability to play a DVD reliably.

I still don't especially see the point of the Start screen... I'm never in there except when the computer starts up, and when I was first playing around with it... When I know more about how to actually use that screen, it might open up some useful things. Maybe not.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:28 AM   #11
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One last thing I've noticed: Last night I wound up choosing a bunch of desktop images, putting them in a folder, and setting that folder (on random) as my background. I knew I could do that from Win7 on my laptop.

But what I've found after doing that, is that the theme colours within Windows (for instance, the taskbar and the title bar of programs/folders) change according to what background image is currently up.

I don't recall that happening in Win7. Sure, the shade would change slightly in that see-through kind of way, but the colour itself wouldn't.

Not sure if I like this or not... I know I can change it, but I'm going to give it a chance. It seems like a nifty feature, but some of the colours that pop up are kind of... Not good.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:53 AM   #12
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Okay, final update before bed.

The disc I was having trouble with works fine on my laptop (running Win7). So I think the problem is VLC.

I just remembered an old program, PowerDVD, that I saw mentioned somewhere recently. I'll try to download that tomorrow morning, and if that is no better, I'll go looking at DVD playing software in stores, to get an idea of prices.
Paying for software to play a DVD? In 2012?

If VLC doesn't work, try downloading Media Player Classic.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:01 AM   #13
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Will MPC even work in Windows 8?

I guess there's only one way to find out...
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:13 AM   #14
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My laptop doesn't have a disc drive, so I can't really help you out much here.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:32 AM   #15
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That's alright.

It's just a matter of finding the time to download some players and see what works best. Last night I wound up watching 2.5 episodes on my laptop. It started as "Watch the last half of that episode while you remember the first half and also see if it's the disc that's the problem." It soon turned into, "Well, the laptop's on right now, may as well watch some more."

So yeah... If all else fails, I'll just watch DVDs on my laptop until I get this sorted out. It's actually kind of useful in a sense. I have a habit of putting off important things and watching a DVD instead. Now, if my desktop is on, but my laptop isn't, I'm more inclined to do writerly things instead of watching a DVD.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:41 AM   #16
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I've installed it on my little zenbook thing just to try and so far it's OK, but I also had to search around for ages to find the power options in order to shut the silly thing down.

What I haven't fathomed yet is how to close a running program from the actual program window, rather than going back to desktop or start menu and then right clicking on the little preview thing you get when you hover the cursor over the left hand side. That is probably me being dense though.

I only just got the app store working as I installed 8 over Christmas whilst at Dad's house, and his internet was down, but other than my touchpad not working until I got the drivers from some French site, so far everything's running OK.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:15 AM   #17
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What I haven't fathomed yet is how to close a running program from the actual program window, rather than going back to desktop or start menu and then right clicking on the little preview thing you get when you hover the cursor over the left hand side. That is probably me being dense though.
I'm not sure exactly what a Zenbook is. Is it a tablet?

Anyway, if I'm using a program, I just shut it down like I've always done - the X in the top-right corner. But I don't use the programs from the Start menu... Only my own programs on the desktop.

Honestly, I've used the Start menu page only at start-up, and when I was first checking it out. It seems to basically be some sort of store that requires a Windows Live account.

If anyone knows how to put my own files in those Start programs, that might make me use it more often... But yeah, essentially it's been just like Windows 7, except with an ugly Start page that I never use.

ETA: Okay, yeah, I see what you mean. I just went into "Photos" off of the Start page, and couldn't find a way to close it down without doing what you did, and going over to the left of the Start page... Huh. That's annoying.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:25 AM   #18
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What I haven't fathomed yet is how to close a running program from the actual program window, rather than going back to desktop or start menu and then right clicking on the little preview thing you get when you hover the cursor over the left hand side. That is probably me being dense though.
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ETA: Okay, yeah, I see what you mean. I just went into "Photos" off of the Start page, and couldn't find a way to close it down without doing what you did, and going over to the left of the Start page... Huh. That's annoying.
Grab it at the top of the screen and drag it down to the bottom.

The Modern UI apps are like iPad apps, though. You're not meant to worry about quitting them. The system will suspend them if it needs to reclaim the resources.

PS. The Zenbook is an ASUS ultrabook. It's not a tablet.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:32 AM   #19
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Ah, thanks on both counts, Kuwi.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:02 PM   #20
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I've been using Windows 8 RT for around three months now on my Surface, and I'm pretty much used to it. The start screen is not very useful with a mouse, but very very useful with a touchscreen; the swipes etc. work well to bring up additional menus etc.

I do find I have to do more physical actions to do stuff than on my W7 desktop - to shut down on W7 I click once on the start menu and once on "shut down", whereas here I swipe in from the right to bring up the charms, then press "Settings", then press the Power icon, then choose whether I want to shut down, sleep, or restart. But it's not a big deal.

Because this is Windows RT I haven't any experience with trying to use legacy programs or peripherals. I will say that my music-making PC is staying W7 for the foreseeable future, because it's stable and I do not need the hassle. For a touchscreen device, though, Windows 8 seems pretty good to me.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:53 PM   #21
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Grab it at the top of the screen and drag it down to the bottom.

The Modern UI apps are like iPad apps, though. You're not meant to worry about quitting them. The system will suspend them if it needs to reclaim the resources.

PS. The Zenbook is an ASUS ultrabook. It's not a tablet.
Ah, thanks! That was the one thing that was bugging me. I'll try shutting them down that way (just like to keep things tidy).
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:34 PM   #22
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I've been using Windows 8 RT for around three months now on my Surface, and I'm pretty much used to it. The start screen is not very useful with a mouse, but very very useful with a touchscreen; the swipes etc. work well to bring up additional menus etc.

I do find I have to do more physical actions to do stuff than on my W7 desktop - to shut down on W7 I click once on the start menu and once on "shut down", whereas here I swipe in from the right to bring up the charms, then press "Settings", then press the Power icon, then choose whether I want to shut down, sleep, or restart. But it's not a big deal.

Because this is Windows RT I haven't any experience with trying to use legacy programs or peripherals. I will say that my music-making PC is staying W7 for the foreseeable future, because it's stable and I do not need the hassle. For a touchscreen device, though, Windows 8 seems pretty good to me.
I'd be interested in trying a Surface Pro as my main machine if my work weren't so much easier on a Unix system. Until that changes, I guess I'm sticking with Mac.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:38 PM   #23
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I've been using Windows 8 on a new laptop for a month now, and I'm not impressed.

I've had numerous instances of the computer freezing. It most commonly happens in Firefox, but IE and Chrome have been affected too. My two and a half year old laptop, which runs Windows 7 Pro and which this laptop was meant to replace, freezes less often and for less time. I've not even installed much software on the laptop yet: just AVG, Libre Office, Dragon and Firefox. Goodness knows what it would be like if I put everything on it that was on my older laptop.

I can see how Windows 8 might work for a touchscreen device: but this is a laptop, not a pad.

The hot corners (hotcorners?) are difficult to trigger when I want them to work, but frequently swing into action when I don't want to use them. I spend a lot of time trying to click back to the desktop because the start page has appeared when I didn't want to, only to find that as soon as I try to move the cursor again I'm taken right back to the start page. It's infuriating.

This issue is made worse because I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking a lot, because I have severe RSI and shouldn't type. And guess what? Dragon won't work on the start page. So each time this happens I have to use the touchpad to bring the computer back to the desktop, in order to start working again. I have noticed a significant upsurge in my RSI this last month as a result. It's further aggravated by the increased number of clicks required to get anywhere or do anything, thanks to Windows 8 having both a start page and a desktop, and there being no start button (for example, to close down my old laptop I click start > switch off; to close this one down I have to make several swipes to get the charms bar to appear, then I click settings, then I click power, then I click switch off).

Yesterday I had to help my husband with a problem with his laptop, which runs Windows 7. It was a huge relief to use it instead of this one, and I realised how much I dislike Windows 8.

I'm going to return this laptop and buy a different one with Windows 7. I don't recommend Windows 8, and won't be using it again if I can help it.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:59 PM   #24
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Sorry you didn't like Win8.

For what it's worth, I haven't had the Start page come up for no reason while using Win8 yet... Only when I press the Windows button on my keyboard, or when I go through the hotcorners and click on the right things.

I can only imagine how annoying it would be for the Start page to come up all the time at random.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:11 PM   #25
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One thing I've read that I haven't seen pointed out yet--you already have an antivirus program. In Windows 8 they upgraded Microsoft Security Essentials and renamed it Defender, so the Windows Defender of Windows 8 is not the same thing it was in older OS versions. All you have to do is make sure it's enabled.
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