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Windows 8? Sounds Confusing....
Old 10-20-2012, 09:45 PM   #1
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Windows 8? Sounds Confusing....

Anyone out there going to get the new Windows 8? Just when I was getting comfortable with Windows 7, I made the mistake of reading this article and now I'm more confused than ever .

Making sense of the confusing world of Windows 8 | Common Sense Tech - CNET News
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Old 10-21-2012, 01:45 AM   #2
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The overly-simplified situation is that when buying an OS with/for a PC/laptop Windows 8 is the next version of Windows and will run traditional Windows apps as well as WinRT apps from the app store (although I'm not 100% sure on that last bit). If you buy a lightweight "Win8" tablet and aren't spending more than a high-end iPad you will get Windows RT which does not run traditional Windows apps at all, but will run WinRT apps from the app store that nobody has programmed anything for yet. (Perhaps a slight exaggeration on that last point.)

Things get really confusing because they keep changing the names of things:

Windows Runtime (WinRT): An application framework MS wants developers to use for Windows 8 and Windows RT.
Windows RT: The market name of the OS for tablets that are cheaper than high-end iPads. (More specifically, ARM-based tablets and possibly small netbooks if some manufacturer thinks that form factor will sell with Windows RT.) Wikipedia says "RT" doesn't stand for anything, but it looks suspiciously like WinRT/Windows Runtime to me.
Metro UI: What Microsoft called the new interface until it recently decided it didn't like that name anymore.
Modern UI or Windows 8 UI: Apparently what they want to call it now...or at least last week. Who knows what they're calling it now? In any case, whatever they call it takes up the whole screen and is what you see instead of the start menu.

I've been running the Consumer Preview Win8 for a few months on my PC. I had really grown to like the Win7 start menu and miss it, but I can still search by typing when the tile UI is showing, although apps, files and control panel items are three different results sets that aren't shown at the same time, whereas in Win7 it will show you some of each and usually get what I want in there.

The desktop sort of still exists as an application, but any attempt to bring up a start menu takes you back to the Metro UI. But the Win7-style task bar is there on the desktop, and you can pin apps to it and place shortcuts on the desktop. You can also mirror the taskbar on multiple displays, confine it to one or stretch it across multiple displays, so that part is cool.

I have not grown to like the Metro/Modern UI, and I mostly avoid it. As such I find it jarring when launching a PDF, photo or media item from the desktop opens a Metro UI app, so I've generally found ways to stay in the desktop, although I am slowly learning to navigate the Metro UI. Initially I was frustrated that closing apps was so freakin' hard, but it turns out I'm not supposed to worry about that. Modern UI apps stay in the background and eventually die off if you are doing other things and the system needs the memory.

Using a mouse on a PC, the four corners are the key to faster navigation. The upper-left cycles through apps (including the desktop); pulling down from the upper-left gives a list of open windows and moving to the upper-right and pulling down brings up several useful things including the most convenient way to shut down or reboot the PC.

Perhaps I'll eventually learn to use and like the Metro UI, but for now I am barely tolerating it but mostly not caring because I stay on the desktop.

But Windows 8 is faster, and I have had almost no issues with running legacy software or older hardware (stuff that works on Win7, anyway). The only compatibility problem I can think of was that Netflix suddenly didn't think my system time was set correctly and refused to play. I searched the internet and renamed a file to get it going again. I'm not sure that was a Win8 issue, but it seemed like several Win8 users had the problem.

If anyone is going to use Windows Media Center as a dedicated DVR, be aware there are no improvements from Win7 to Win8, and in fact they are taking out the DVD reader codec in Win8 to save a little licensing money. So your Win8 DVR won't play DVDs. There is a way to get that back, but you have to get a more expensive version of Windows *and* pay extra for the codec. So my dedicated DVR that boots straight into Media Center will stay Win7 because I like to use it to play DVDs because my Blu-Ray player is slow and difficult to control. (Because it's old and cheap.)

Once my Consumer Preview expires I'm not sure if I'll go back to Win7 or get Win8 on my PC.

As for the tablets, I'm getting my popcorn ready. MS has marketed Windows 8 as a common OS for desktops, tablets and phones. But this Windows RT-on-ARM tablet that people are going to be comparing to iPad and Android tablets won't run existing Windows apps, and I'm not sure the consumers at large get that yet. The tablets that will run existing Windows apps already exist with Win7 on them but almost nobody buys them because they're really expensive.

I may be confused, but my current understanding is that apps developed in Windows Runtime will run on both Windows RT tablets/phones and traditional PCs running full-blown Windows 8. So if Microsoft can pull this off it could be pretty neat. But my assumption so far has been that their foray into tablets and app markets will fall flat on its face and Windows 8 will be like Vista: it comes on new PCs, but almost nobody upgrades to it and businesses wait for Windows 9. Heck most businesses I've seen are still rolling out Windows 7 and have a significant portion of their userbase on Windows XP.

Additional note: My brother-in-law had been holding out for the Win8 tablet for a year or more, but he just bought a Toshiba Ultrabook (a PC version of a MacBook Air) instead. I haven't inquired as to why he seems to have lost his Win8 tablet enthusiasm.
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Old 10-21-2012, 03:49 AM   #3
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My thought is... "When will Win 7 no longer be supported?"

I'm still on Win XP.
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Old 10-21-2012, 06:31 AM   #4
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My thought is... "When will Win 7 no longer be supported?"

I'm still on Win XP.
I know lots of biz are still on XP... , because it is the most stable thing M$ has produced, their spicific application for their biz is supported on XP and it works. Can't see any of them movint to 8.
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Old 10-21-2012, 06:33 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Calgary_Girl View Post
Anyone out there going to get the new Windows 8? Just when I was getting comfortable with Windows 7, I made the mistake of reading this article and now I'm more confused than ever .

Making sense of the confusing world of Windows 8 | Common Sense Tech - CNET News
No, not until forced to. Certainly not until it is debugged and the first service pack releasd. Just installed 7 about a year ago... but I use linux for the most part.
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Old 10-21-2012, 06:38 AM   #6
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The overly-simplified situation is that when buying an OS with/for a PC/laptop Windows 8 is the next version of Windows and will run traditional Windows apps as well as WinRT apps from the app store (although I'm not 100% sure on that last bit).
They would not be compatible, RT is for ARM architecture and would not run on Intel hardware. They may have both versions of an app but not compatible with each other.
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Old 10-21-2012, 06:48 AM   #7
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My thought is... "When will Win 7 no longer be supported?"

I'm still on Win XP.
One should not upgrade unless there is a specific need. I liked XP but lost it when changing HW, have Vista on one (yuck) and 7 on the other. The user interfaces are different and for casual users that is terrible - a big mistake. Looks like they will continue to change.
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Old 10-21-2012, 08:47 AM   #8
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One should not upgrade unless there is a specific need. I liked XP but lost it when changing HW, have Vista on one (yuck) and 7 on the other. The user interfaces are different and for casual users that is terrible - a big mistake. Looks like they will continue to change.
I'm thinking on the line of Win XP no longer having security updates in 2014? But if I jump away from XP, it's probably be Win 7.

Looks like Win 8 is trying to make their desktop a tablet instead of a PC.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:15 AM   #9
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I use Win7 in both business and home environments and find it as stable as XP ever was. I am not budging for awhile...
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:20 AM   #10
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We're due for new laptops and I've been waiting for Windows 8. We like to go with the latest version.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:27 AM   #11
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I had an older PC with Vista, and it finally BSOD'd enough to corrupt the file system.

I took the opportunity to do the Consumer Preview of Win 8. I lived with it for about 6 months, but eventually gave up and bought a copy of Win 7. So I'm now running Win 7 and am very happy.

Here's why I dropped Win 8.
  • Device compatibility: I could not get an older laser printer to work right. The manufacturer (Samsung) didn't and wasn't going to support Win 8 for it. It "kind of" worked. The worst kind of working.
  • PDF support: I hated the spin out to the Metro interface app for PDFs. I would be in the legacy compatibility mode, and click on a PDF and it would spin me out to Metro. Just hated that. Hated it.


I got used to the Metro interface. It was OK, but since I was using this as a desktop, I really didn't appreciate my computer trying to act like a phone. Did not like that. But I got used to it enough to learn the "go to the corner" trick with the mouse. Not a big deal.


As for speed, I don't notice much difference from Win 7 to Win 8. But both of those blow away that garbage called Vista.


I'd consider Win 8 for a tablet or something. There really won't be a choice. I'd stick with Win 7 for a true desktop. That's MHO. If you have a desktop now running Win 7, I see no good reason to update at all.

For a laptop, it depends how you use it. If you are just diddling around with it and not hooking up printers and doing business-like activities, Win 8 is probably OK. However, if you are going to be printing a lot and dealing with documents, I don't recommend Win 8 at all -- at least from the preview I saw. Win 8 wants to act like a phone. You don't hook printers up to your phone. Q.E.D.
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:26 AM   #12
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They would not be compatible, RT is for ARM architecture and would not run on Intel hardware. They may have both versions of an app but not compatible with each other.
I think Windows Runtime is analogous to Java. It's not machine code, it's a cross-platform runtime environment. If so, the same WinRT app would run on both x64 and ARM like a Java app would run in Windows, MacOS and Linux. (That is, if anyone ever codes anything in WinRT while both iPad and Android/ChromeOS platforms are established with big userbases and most of the PC world is on WinXP and Win7. <cough>WebOS</cough>)

Windows Runtime - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia :

Quote:
Windows Runtime, or WinRT, is a cross-platform application architecture on the Windows 8 operating system. [...] WinRT applications natively support both the x86 and ARM architectures, and also run inside a sandboxed environment to allow for greater security and stability.
(Bolding mine.)

(Once again, note that "Windows RT" is an OS name, and "Windows Runtime" and "WinRT" are an application framework.)
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:51 AM   #13
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I only pickup new OS's which are significantly smoother AND provides better support for new hardware. Windows 7 did this, it is on par with xp for smoothness and is much more compatible with SSD's, which for me are an essential hardware upgrade. I doubt Windows 8 will deliver this, it takes Microsoft a long time to put out a solid OS, the one's in between are there just as a money-grab for the most part.
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From XP to Metro UI
Old 10-21-2012, 11:57 AM   #14
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From XP to Metro UI

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We're due for new laptops and I've been waiting for Windows 8. We like to go with the latest version.
You may hate it if you use XP now. I have been urging my older brother to get his laptop before Win8, because I know, it will be hard for him to jump from XP to Metro UI. I can hear him yelling: what do you mean use the four corners? Where is my Start? What is this?
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:21 PM   #15
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I only pickup new OS's which are significantly smoother AND provides better support for new hardware. Windows 7 did this, it is on par with xp for smoothness and is much more compatible with SSD's, which for me are an essential hardware upgrade. I doubt Windows 8 will deliver this, it takes Microsoft a long time to put out a solid OS, the one's in between are there just as a money-grab for the most part.
I am not aware that the Win8 driver architecture is any different from Win7. As far as I know any Win7 driver works with Win8.

The big leap with Win8 is the push to the new interface and application platform, but everything I've thrown at it that worked on Win7 has worked on Win8, too.

After rereading your post I think I just fully supported what you said. At first I thought you were suspecting a Vista-like problem with hardware support--which I don't think will happen--but now I'm reading that you're looking for improvement, and aside from some speed tweaks I'm not sure it's there in Win8.

-----

I'm running Win8 Consumer Preview (newer than Developer Preview but older than Release Preview), and this Win8 talk spurred me to enter the app store (for the first time in months) and poke around. My preview supposedly expires Jan 15, 2013, but the app store said it doesn't support my version of Windows and directed me to the Win8 site to download Release Preview. That's a bit annoying. It would be more annoying if I cared about any of the Metro apps. But really? Lock out the older preview from the app store? Is this a harbinger of things to come? "Sorry, you can't update your apps until you update your OS!"
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:39 PM   #16
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Looks like Win 8 is trying to make their desktop a tablet instead of a PC.
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I got used to the Metro interface. It was OK, but since I was using this as a desktop, I really didn't appreciate my computer trying to act like a phone. ...


I'd consider Win 8 for a tablet or something. There really won't be a choice. ... Win 8 wants to act like a phone. ...
There was a similar situation in the Ubuntu/Linux world. I was on the 10.4 LTS Ubuntu release (Long Term Support, 10.4 refers to an April 2010 release date), and very happy with it. I had my desktop customized just the way I liked it, with multiple virtual desktops that I could sort and re-arrange on the fly, handy keyboard shortcuts for things that I wanted to be able to reach from the keyboard, a hierarchical 'apps' menu that I could organize the way I want, and it was very easy to set these up. They worked far better and easier than Apple's implementation of 'Spaces', or 'Expose' or whatever they call it now.

Since support was nearing an end for 10.04, I started to look into the next LTS, which was 12.04. They went to a "Unity" interface, similar sounding to W8 - a tablet/iPad/phone style desktop. Fine if you like it, but it really didn't work for the way I use my computer (and a lot of people agreed).

Fortunately, in Linux it's almost trivial to install and activate a different desktop interface. I went with the Xubuntu release, which drops the Xfce interface on top of the core of Ubuntu. If you keep multiple interfaces installed can actually just choose which one to use when you log in. Very easy to try out and compare. Or you might even choose to use one or the other depending on the task. You just don't get that flexibility as easily in Windows or Apple.

-ERD50
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:42 PM   #17
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I am not aware that the Win8 driver architecture is any different from Win7. As far as I know any Win7 driver works with Win8.
I heard the same thing, BigMoneyJim. But my experience was not so. Most drivers were fine, but I definitely had issues with the printer driver. This was last summer up to July, so perhaps newer versions are better. Not sure.
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:48 PM   #18
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Fortunately, in Linux it's almost trivial to install and activate a different desktop interface. I went with the Xubuntu release, which drops the Xfce interface on top of the core of Ubuntu. If you keep multiple interfaces installed can actually just choose which one to use when you log in. Very easy to try out and compare. Or you might even choose to use one or the other depending on the task. You just don't get that flexibility as easily in Windows or Apple.

-ERD50
Well, in Win 8 you sort of have the old Win 7 interface in there if you go to the corner and call up the desktop. It is "almost" Win 7, with a few things missing that you wish you had (most mentioned above).

What I didn't like was the fact that they integrated some things into Metro, so it would jerk you out of desktop in those situations. The one I mention is PDF support. Now, perhaps I could have found the widget to make it behave differently like Adobe on Win 7 would, but I just didn't have time to burn in that quest.
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Old 10-21-2012, 01:30 PM   #19
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I know lots of biz are still on XP... , because it is the most stable thing M$ has produced, their spicific application for their biz is supported on XP and it works. Can't see any of them movint to 8.
A surprising number of very big companies still have some major, bet-the-business applications written in ActiveX (often to avoid Y2K issues) and thus needing IE6, because MS dropped ActiveX after XP. Windows 7 can boot a copy of XP in a virtual window (on certain levels of Intel processor), almost entirely so that these corporate desktops can still run their IE6 apps.
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Old 10-21-2012, 03:19 PM   #20
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One should not upgrade unless there is a specific need.
That's been my MO all along too. I've never paid to upgrade an OS yet, and I bought my first PC on 1981 with CP/M. My current PC has Vista, and it's fine for my needs. My MegaCorp was still using XP when I left early summer 2011.
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