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Windows 8.1
Old 03-31-2014, 06:57 PM   #1
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Windows 8.1

Our Windows XP computer is on its last legs. Even surfing is getting harder.

I'm looking at new (low priced) laptops and it looks like I'm headed for Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 unless I search really hard.

The issue is minimizing the learning curve going from our other computer, which uses Windows 7, to the new one.

We don't own a smartphone, so something that "looks just like your phone" isn't an advantage at this point. I'll probably try to keep the new computer "clean" at least for a while as it will travel with us and I want to minimize any personal information on it.

I've heard that people have had a lot of issues transitioning from W7 to W8. Windows 8.1 was supposed to make that easier.

Any experiences or advice?
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:06 PM   #2
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You will get many responses, some better than others.

I have considerable first hand experience with most Win OS's including XP, Vista, 7 and 8.1 - my home PC is now 8.1. While Windows 8 made the dumbed down Metro UI hard to avoid, Win 8.1 does not. Both 8 and 8.1 also included the desktop UI that you're familiar with, and unlike Win 8, you can set Win 8.1 to default to the desktop UI and avoid the new Metro UI almost entirely. The Win 8.1 desktop UI is almost identical to the Windows 7 UI, so there's really little reason to ask for Win 7 anymore, though many people still are based on all the bad Win 8 reviews - though that's out of date.

And while I doubt Microsoft will back away from the Metro UI, they most certainly realize they alienated scores of loyal Windows used with Win 8 and Metro - subsequent revisions from Win 8.1 and after will only make the familiar desktop UI easily accessible.

Make sure the feedback you get is not based on Win 8 as it's now out of date (there's tons of it out there, and many people are still basing their views on 8), and that it's not from those of the Apple devotees who categorically dislike Microsoft.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Independent View Post
Our Windows XP computer is on its last legs. Even surfing is getting harder.

I'm looking at new (low priced) laptops and it looks like I'm headed for Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 unless I search really hard.

The issue is minimizing the learning curve going from our other computer, which uses Windows 7, to the new one.

We don't own a smartphone, so something that "looks just like your phone" isn't an advantage at this point. I'll probably try to keep the new computer "clean" at least for a while as it will travel with us and I want to minimize any personal information on it.

I've heard that people have had a lot of issues transitioning from W7 to W8. Windows 8.1 was supposed to make that easier.

Any experiences or advice?
With 8.1 you can boot to the desktop directly. You will still have to worry about the charms, but you can still paste shortcuts to programs you use on the desktop. Note that you may get a computer loaded with 8.0 go to the store download windows 8.1 and after the time it takes to download 3.6 gb you will have 8.1.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:10 PM   #4
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I recently switched from Windows XP to Windows 7. I didn't like how programs navigated from the start button so used the free "Classic Shell" program to make the navigation look more like XP.

A big complaint is with the tiles of W8 instead of a familiar desktop. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe in 8.1 one can easily set to use the desktop by default. Also, "Classic Shell" should work on W8, 8.1 to make the look more familiar like XP or 7 is that's what you want.

Do a search for old threads here and you'll find some discussing W8 and XP going away.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:11 PM   #5
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I have 8.1 The start screen with the colored squares is basically the new program start menu that used to be in the bottom left in the older windows versions. One of the blocks on the start screen is titled 'desktop'. Click on that and the old Windows desktop shows up.

to exit windows, right click on the pop up box in the bottom left corner (where the start button used to be). select shut down from there.

I was using windows 7 before also. What I like about windows 8 is it boots faster, and runs better (for me). We have it on a PC and an older 64 bit windows 7 laptop. Windows 8 pushes the limits older laptop, but as long as I don't add a lot of applications to the start screen, it works fine. I probably should have left the older laptop running windows 7. However, on my fancy 64 bit ASUS PC, windows 8.1 works really well. I do occasionally bring the start screen up to start an application- the same reason I would have used the start button before. But I also have a lot of the typical windows program icons on the traditional windows desktop.

another item I like about windows 8 is by hitting the bottom right of the screen with the curser brings up a menu on the right side of the screen. I've found the search function there to be really useful. and the settings button.

I was reading somewhere on the internet that the next release, 8.2, will make it possible to select PC or tablet use, and set it up accordingly. Although I've found that Windows 8 works just fine with a mouse.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
, you can set Win 8.1 to default to the desktop UI and avoid the new Metro UI almost entirely. .
Here are instructions for this task. How to boot to desktop mode in Windows 8.1 | PCWorld

Thanks Midpack, I had not realized that, because I use the metro start screen sometimes and the metro UI does not bother me. Some of the news and magazine type apps are very nice. The internet explorer app is loathsome, however.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:31 PM   #7
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Make sure you upgrade to windows 8.1 as soon as you start new computer. Change it to start to desktop on start-up and the learning curve is not too bad. I got the touchscreen and would recommend it, esp. if you get a laptop. Very handy at times.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:45 PM   #8
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I have Windows 8.1 and love how quickly it boots up. If I had to choose today, I'd probably choose 8.1 instead of 7 because of the speed differences, even though I don't use the new "Metro" interface and actually have never used the apps on the Metro interface other than the desktop app. I just stay with the desktop interface.

I went from Windows 7 to Windows 8 (not 8.1) overnight with no warning when my laptop fried. I ran down to Office Depot ASAP and bought a Windows 8 laptop without knowing the slightest thing about this new operating system. Despite that somewhat graceless introduction to Win 8, and despite some initial trepidation, the transition turned out to be smooth for me and I have been fine with it right from the start.

But bear in mind that I love playing with new operating systems in general. From what I understand it may be a little frustrating at first for those who don't.... Win 8.1 is a good improvement compared with Win 8 so get 8.1 if you have a choice.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
...

Make sure the feedback you get is not based on Win 8 as it's now out of date (there's tons of it out there, and many people are still basing their views on 8), and that it's not from those of the Apple devotees who categorically dislike Microsoft.
Hey, don't leave out us 'Linux devotees who categorically dislike Microsoft'.

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Old 04-01-2014, 08:12 AM   #10
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If upgrading I would also recommend going to the Pro version of Windows 8. It has Bitlocker which allows you to encrypt your internal hard drive and just about any external drive including thumb drives. Worth the extra cost to me. Bitlocker is also available in some of the Windows 7 versions.
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:23 AM   #11
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Still using Vista...
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:49 AM   #12
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Independent View Post
Our Windows XP computer is on its last legs. Even surfing is getting harder.

I'm looking at new (low priced) laptops and it looks like I'm headed for Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 unless I search really hard.

The issue is minimizing the learning curve going from our other computer, which uses Windows 7, to the new one.

We don't own a smartphone, so something that "looks just like your phone" isn't an advantage at this point. I'll probably try to keep the new computer "clean" at least for a while as it will travel with us and I want to minimize any personal information on it.

I've heard that people have had a lot of issues transitioning from W7 to W8. Windows 8.1 was supposed to make that easier.

Any experiences or advice?
If by a low price laptop you mean $600 or higher Microsoft is offering a $100 discount for trading your XP machine. This offer is good until June 15 and it's available at the Microsoft store.
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:27 AM   #14
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If upgrading I would also recommend going to the Pro version of Windows 8. It has Bitlocker which allows you to encrypt your internal hard drive and just about any external drive including thumb drives. Worth the extra cost to me. Bitlocker is also available in some of the Windows 7 versions.
+1

As soon as I got the Pro version of windows 8, I immediately installed bitlocker on my travel laptop. I don't have Trusted Platform Module (TPM) on this laptop, so I have to log in separately to bitlocker. So when you are getting a new machine, get one with TPM. Maybe all machines come with that anymore, I don't know.
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:13 PM   #15
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Classic Shell does work on W8. I bought a new laptop recently and it was W8. All I can say is W8 sucks to use on a laptop, I downloaded the classic shell and much happier since. I did do the W8.1 upgrade also. Microsoft screwed up big time and will probably be digging out of this hole of W8 for a while......
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:22 PM   #16
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Still using Vista...
I used Vista until 8.0 came out. I got a discount for an early version and thought I should keep somewhat up on new technology. Never had any problems with Vista and didn't have problems with 8.0 for that matter.
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:30 PM   #17
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Thanks to all. The "faster boot up" is surprising to me, I'd just assumed newer = more lines of code = slower boot.

I think I'll make this simple and just be sure I get something with 8.1 and not worry about trying to find a W7.
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:33 PM   #18
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There are still issues -- the main one is that even with 8.1, there isn't the traditional "start menu" as there is with XP, Vista and 7. But 8.1 is MUCH better for desktop and laptop users than 8 was. (Windows 8 was an overzealous attempt, IMO, to converge OS technologies between PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones, and for PCs it was too skewed toward tablets and phones.) But 8.1 makes that an easier transition for PC users accustomed to XP, Vista and 7.

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I used Vista until 8.0 came out. I got a discount for an early version and thought I should keep somewhat up on new technology. Never had any problems with Vista and didn't have problems with 8.0 for that matter.
You probably had the last service pack for Vista if you had no problems with it. Vista was a train wreck until the last service pack -- after which it was actually pretty decent -- but by then, the reputation of Vista was so trashed (mostly deservedly) that it never really gained much mindshare. In reality the first rollout or Windows 7 wasn't that much different than Vista with SP 2 installed.
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Old 04-01-2014, 09:51 PM   #19
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You can get a $100 discount when you upgrade from Windows XP
Store Offers - Microsoft Store

DW bought a notebook with a touch screen and loves the metro interface. On a non-touch screen, I find it very hard to use, so move back to the traditional W7 desktop.
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Old 04-01-2014, 10:48 PM   #20
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Forget about 8.1-here comes windows 9

http://bgr.com/2014/04/01/windows-9-features-and-release-date/
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