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84 year old mother & Windows 8
Old 01-28-2014, 10:11 AM   #1
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84 year old mother & Windows 8

My mother is a healthy, active 84 and has been digital since the days of dial-up. One of the best days of her life was the day her small town finally had access to DSL. I bought her an Apple Macintosh for her first computer and she migrated to windows based computers soon after that.

I'll never forget the time I called her a few years back and asked what she was doing and she replied 'defragging my hard drive'!!

Anyway, she just bought a new computer and it's got Windows 8... she absolutely hates it.. although she really hasn't given it much time to explore the changes.. she's searching YouTube for some videos on the basics (I'm an Apple guy, so I can't help much).

Are you happy with Windows 8?
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:13 AM   #2
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Are you happy with Windows 8?
NO!

I'm on my trusty XP machine now. The laptop has it and its trying to puch you to web pages all the time. I downloaded the Win 7 shell and made it work like Windows 7.
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:32 AM   #3
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I'm not sure what the fuss is about. Simply tell Windows 8 to switch from the new tiled interface back to the more standard Windows interface and it operates much like 7.
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:38 AM   #4
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I'm not sure what the fuss is about. Simply tell Windows 8 to switch from the new tiled interface back to the more standard Windows interface and it operates much like 7.
that would be great... where in the program would she do that?
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:38 AM   #5
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Nobody likes Windows 8, except perhaps for a few Microsoft engineers.
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:40 AM   #6
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to me Windows 8 is worthless. Have it on a laptop and unless you have a touch screen it is extremely difficult to use. Dumbed mine back down to Windows 7 using some program I found on line.
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:42 AM   #7
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I'm not sure what the fuss is about. Simply tell Windows 8 to switch from the new tiled interface back to the more standard Windows interface and it operates much like 7.
It still isn't the same, better but not the same. I hate it even with getting rid of the tiled interface.

That is awesome that she is 84 and so computer literate!
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:47 AM   #8
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I would make sure she's running Windows 8.1 and you can set it to default to the desktop mode. It's not perfect, since hitting the start menu takes you back to tiles, but it's a lot better than Windows 8.

Here's a link that shows you the steps: How to boot to desktop mode in Windows 8.1 | PCWorld
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Old 01-28-2014, 10:53 AM   #9
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Sounds like the problem is Windows 8, not the 84 year old Mom. She seems to be problem solving independently. I'm sure she will come up with a fix.
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:09 AM   #10
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I found Win 8 intuitive enough when I first tried it (probably because I'd been using an iPad for years), so I have been inclined to give Win 8 the benefit of the doubt when asked. If I needed one I'd buy a Win 8.1 laptop, but I'm basically neutral on the OS. DW is thinking about a new Win 8.1 laptop - she hates Macs.

But there's no question Windows 8 has not been well received by customers or hardware suppliers. Windows 8.1 has seemingly been a little better though maybe because it's so much easier to switch it to the old Windows desktop mode. I seriously doubt Win 7 will just come back, or that Microsoft could abandon Win 8.x, but we'll see.

At the same time, the new Win UI is so different, I am sure my reasonably tech savvy parents could never adapt to it.

It's interesting, desktop PC sales are declining ever faster in favor of more and more capable mobile devices and the cloud(s). Reportedly Win 8 has hastened the decline, and the Mac computers make less and less sense vs mobile every day as well. Only serious power users/gamers and professional users even need desktops anymore.
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:31 AM   #11
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DW is getting a new laptop to replace her Dell tower with XP home on it. First question she had for me is how dump the tiled interface of 8.1. She is a keyboard demon. When she types, it sounds like a machine gun on full auto with a 300 round magazine.

My quick research says just switching 8.1 to desktop is slightly better than useless. I am looking into third party software to emulate win 7. There are a few out there, once she gats the machine then will try a few. Have another week before machine gets here.
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:41 AM   #12
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I didn't like it for the first day or two, then quickly figured out that once you get past the new Start screen, with it's array of app icons that make it look a bit like a tablet, the rest of the interface looks and acts surprisingly like older versions of Windows.

I upgraded from XP and am happy with Windows 8.1

Edit - from reading some of the above posts, it looks as if Windows 8 was more problematic and 8.1 is more user-friendly.
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:47 AM   #13
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It seems this was part of the reason Steve Ballmer is retiring this year.
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Old 01-28-2014, 11:53 AM   #14
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Windows 8 does not have the option of starting in the desktop 8.1 added that. I installed an aftermarket app to do that on 8 but when the free upgrade came out problem solved
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Old 01-28-2014, 12:13 PM   #15
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I am happy with Windows 8. That said, I'm happy with it because I downloaded and installed Classic Shell. The desktop mode in 8.1 solves some of the problems with Windows 8 but Classic Shell solves more of them and gives you the old start menu with all your programs and such.
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Old 01-28-2014, 12:35 PM   #16
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May want to take a look at StarDock (stardock.com). Lots of stuff that makes W8.1 bearable for those that feel it is unbearable.
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Old 01-28-2014, 12:37 PM   #17
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I have Windows 8 on my desktop. I don't have a problem with the Windows 8 environment, but I also would not recommend it as an upgrade. It needs a touch screen to be really useful. The interface is a little different, but if a developer doesn't keep up, they will get left behind in a hurry. (Anyone used the CPM operating system recently?)
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Old 01-28-2014, 12:50 PM   #18
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I am shopping for a new computer and seriously considering a switch from Windows to Mac.

I'm currently using a high powered gaming Windows desktop that my son built for himself in 2007. It was a hand-me-down that he gave to me in 2010 when he built himself his next high powered computer. I don't play games at all, I just do a lot of normal browsing and spreadsheets. I used to do audio and video editing and TV capturing but I don't anymore.

A few weeks ago I started having BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) crashes. My son took a look at the error logs and traced it to the graphics card, which is a high end NVidia GeForce thing that was his baby when he built this. He suggested that I open the case, do a thorough vacuuming, remove the graphics card and re-seat it. I did this last weekend and I still had BSOD crashes.

He brought over an older graphics card that he had from a previous computer and we installed that one. No more crashes, it all is working fine. But when he was inside my computer he noticed a capacitor that was misshapen and discolored. Not a good sign at all and he recommended that I consider buying or building a new computer.

He and I configured a shopping list for new small form factor PC. He suggested an Intel NUC which is a small case, an Intel processor, motherboard and power supply. Then you add the RAM, hard drive and operating system, which would be Windows 8.1. We configured it to have the OS on an SSD (flash memory) and then a hard drive for storage. He's done this on his last 2 computers and likes the fast access and cooler temp.

An alternative to this is a Mac Mini, which I am seriously considering. I have an Apple Ipad mini and just love it. Our other son is a 100% Apple user (Iphone, iPad and Mac laptop) and he loves the Maverick OS. He says I'd love the Numbers spreadsheet program.

I already can use my iPad mini for 80% of what I need to do and I am very comfortable with all the Apple ways of doing things.

I've considered a laptop but when I've tried DHs laptop the screen is not in the correct area for my trifocals and I already have a large desktop monitor that I enjoy. Since I have the iPad mini I don't need the portability of the laptop.

Intel NUC with Windows 8 = $750-$800 depending on our choices
Mac Mini = $599 for the basic one with 4GB RAM and 500GB hard drive.

I can afford either option.

The optical drive on my current computer hasn't worked in a few years and I haven't missed it so I think I'd go without and add an external down the road if needed. They are very inexpensive.

So far I'm leaning toward the Mac Mini. One of the main reasons is that from what I've seen of Windows 8, (my son's laptop) I'm thinking it may be time to transition to Apple. I may be ready to let go of how I've always done something and try a proven alternative.

My son says you can make Windows 8 look like Windows 7 that I'm used to. Really, once I'm in the browser (Firefox) it doesn't really matter what OS you are using.

Still mulling over the options as the old PC works fine for now (until the capacitor fries) and I have birthday in a few weeks.
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Old 01-28-2014, 01:03 PM   #19
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An alternative to this is a Mac Mini, which I am seriously considering. I have an Apple Ipad mini and just love it. Our other son is a 100% Apple user (Iphone, iPad and Mac laptop) and he loves the Maverick OS. He says I'd love the Numbers spreadsheet program.

+1 for the Mac Mini. I have one that's two generations old and still our primary computer. It's rumored that Apple is going to update the Mac Mini sometime in February, so if you're not in a hurry, it might be worth waiting.

I don't use Numbers, but it's my understanding that there's no XIRR function. That would be a deal breaker for me. I use GoogleDocs instead. It has XIRR plus a GoogleFinance function that makes it incredibly easy to get stock/fund info into your spreadsheets. The only downside for some is that all your data is stored in the cloud. I use two-factor authentication with a strong password, so this doesn't worry me. the plus side is that you can access all your data from your other devices, such as your iPad.
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Old 01-28-2014, 01:10 PM   #20
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I am shopping for a new computer and seriously considering a switch from Windows to Mac.
In early 2009, when the economy was at it's crappiest, the local TV station that I ran opted to buy Mac Minis to replace the aging commercial production editing computers because they were cheap and they were Apple products, meaning they worked out of the box. We edited pretty high end TV commercials with Final Cut on those Minis. A year later as things improved, we bought the high end Apple towers. I'd probably buy an Apple toilet if they made one....it's still early to tell if the loss of Steve Jobs will lead to their decline, although their stock is currently taking a beating.
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