Windows 8 - First impressions

Hello everyone,

A week ago, I installed Windows 8 (kindly provided for me by my work :)).
I thought it might be a good idea to start a thread, where people who are considering upgrading to Win8 can ask questions of those who are already running it.
I’m actually quite enjoying it, so would be happy to share my experiences.

Thanks for offering to share your insights with Windows 8. :slight_smile: As I will be buying a new computer soon and I will be stuck with Win8 installed good or bad, I have a question.

Is it possible to choose some sort of classic desktop mode or are we stuck with that silly tablet wannabe mode where you have to mimic swiping motions with your mouse and stuff like that? Is Win8 useful as a desktop OS for work purposes (as most of us traditionally use a desktop for) or is it more geared to touch screens?

I have another question maybe someone can help me with. In the past, when you purchased a new computer you received an OS reinstallation disk which enabled you to boot to the disk, format the hard drive (or a new hard drive), and reinstall the OS and factory software. It seems that most manufacturers have stopped providing a disk, Dell certainly has. I have read that they have a partition with a “recovery image” or something on it so you can create a recovery disk on DVD. I’m not quite sure if that means you can create your own set of DVDs with which you can boot to, format a drive, and reinstall the OS just like you could with a factory-provided reinstallation DVD. Can anyone who has purchased a new computer in the past year or two provide any clarification or confirmation? It sounds like you can, but I want to be absolutely certain what I’m getting into.


This was one of the main things I was worried about, too.
Happily, there is indeed a possibility to choose classic desktop mode (with start button).
Unhappily, this is only possible using third party software.

Let me explain:
After installing Win 8, the first thing I wanted to do was install all of the MS updates and download and install an antivirus program.
So, I’m stuck on the start screen with lots of tiles flashing away at me, but luckily I can see IE, so I click on it.
And get my first unpleasant surprise - all Metro apps run in full screen mode. You can’t change this.
Anyway, I download my antivirus program, but now can’t seem to minimize or even close IE. WTF??
Luckily Win + D does the trick and shows me my desktop. Then I can install my antivirus program.

After that I’m searching for the Control Panel. So, I move my mouse into the top right of the screen, a menu appears, I choose Settings -> Control Panel. Bam! Full screen again.
M’kay. I’m going to need to google a fix for this. So, how do I get back to IE? Oh, doesn’t seem that I can.
Double WTF??

Long story short. There is no way you can be productive like this!
At first glance, Win 8 seems like a horrible mish-mash of of an OS that doesn’t know if it belongs on a tablet or a desktop.

Enter Classic Shell

If you install this program you really can have the best of both worlds.
It recreates your start menu and essentially lets you work exactly as you would in Win 7.
It separates your programs from your apps (which still run in full screen mode) and diverts everything from the new menu to a sane alternative.
For example: when I move my mouse into the top right of the screen, a menu appears, I choose Settings -> Control Panel and … Control Panel opens, just as you would expect.


Please note that Windows 8 also brings a load of great new features with it. For example if you are running multiple monitors you now get your task bar on each monitor. The ribbon-style dialog in the file explorer is a great improvement and provides you with some very useful options. I also love the “flat” style of the UI.

I’ve bought and installed several new laptops this year (for other people) and basically what you guess is correct.
When you turn on the machine for the first time, it asks you for some personal info (User name etc.) then is ready to use straight away.
What you then have to do is go straight to the manufacturer’s recovery program and select “Create backup disks”.
This will, as the name suggests, create a series of backup disks (ca. 5 single layer DVDs), with which you can return your machine to its original state, should you need to do this further down the road.
I normally burn one set of disks straight away, then remove all of the OEM crapware and bloatware, then burn a second set of disks.

Hope that helps.

Windows 8 is something new for Windows users because its quite change as compare to Windows XP in interface and people will also need to purchase a new computer for Windows 8, but i am personally using it and its quite impressive and hit like Windows 7.

That really does not sound appealing. It sounds downright dreadful.

I was doing some reading and it seems that Windows 8 doesn’t even provide much of a media player. The Windows Media Player doesn’t even offer DVD playback capability. It seems like Microsoft is stripping out features just to make more money from app store sales. It also sounds like they are trying to make the OS difficult to use.

The first thing that comes to my mind is that somebody in management probably making over $1,000,000 per year gave the go-ahead to this project. I just read that there is no more X button at the top right corner of windows to close the program. It sounds like you have to use keyboard shortcuts for everything.

Microsoft is kind of famous for not giving people what they want, but telling people what they should want and then forcing it onto them. Windows 8 sounds like they took that policy to an extreme degree.

I really do not see how anyone working in an office could find Windows 8 to be anything other than a detriment.

I have to wonder why Microsoft didn’t build this functionality into the OS.

It doesn’t sound like the new features come close to offsetting the inconvenience of the new desktop, or whatever you call it. I guess they call it “modern user interface”. It sounds more like “pain in the butt”. I am thinking that Windows 8 might be Microsoft’s biggest blunder ever.

So the backup disks can be used to format a new hard drive and install the OS and factory software on it? Restoring your computer to its original state doesn’t necessarily mean being able to install the OS on a new hard drive. I want to be absolutely sure that I will be able to burn backup DVDs and boot to them to format a new drive, install the OS and factory software.

Maybe I missed it before, but it looks like you can choose to have Windows 7 installed on a new Dell. Windows 8 isn’t something I am going to do.

I need to have a basic computer that I can run stuff like Open Office, Apache web server, MySQL, PHP, and any programs I might use to make a website like a PHP IDE, GIMP, and the like. I don’t need anything fancy for gaming. And I would like to get back into C++ so I will need to run Visual Studio Express. The question is whether I can get by with Windows 7 Home Premium or do I need to fork out the extra $70 to upgrade to Windows 7 Professional.

Any ideas? I don’t want to pay an extras $70 for something I don’t need.

Thanks for taking the time to clue me in on Windows 8. :slight_smile:

You are right :frowning:
They have also removed Spider Solitaire which is now only available through the MS store. They are copying Apple’s business model, as they have realized that they can get a cut of what you install on your box.
Of course Spider Solitaire is free to install, but they are still forcing you to use their store, so that the idea of getting your software from there seems gradually more acceptable.
Once that is the case, it is only a short jump to making it so that you can ONLY install software from the MS store.
Welcome to the future.

True, but you can get this back with the aforementioned “Classic Shell”.
I can see how this makes sense for tablets, as everything just gets frozen to memory, but on a PC this is a great hindrance to getting anything done.


One OS to rule them all, one OS to find them …
This is their big play. In contast to Apple who (sensibly, it would seem), have one OS for Mac and one OS for tablets and phones, MS wants one OS for all devices.
MS is betting the farm on this. Only time will tell if this was a wise move.

There will be some kind of hardware “fingerprint” in play. That is, you will not be able to burn some recovery disks, then install them on another machine. It might even prove difficult if you change your original config too much.

Not sure about the Premium vs Professional argument. Maybe this will help:
Apart from that, it sounds like you want to install Linux.
I can highly recommend any flavour of Ubuntu. I run “Mint” on one of my home machines and that works pretty damn well just out of the box.
I would be using that for everything if my work didn’t always want to get me the latest Windows OS.
It’s a hard life … :slight_smile:

I hope this helps you. Feel free to come back with any other questions about Windows, or Linux for that matter.

Happy Christmas.

We recently purchased 5 All - in - One computers and all came with Windows 8. They are for a small convention we will be doing for our hosting business. I have to tell you users really had a hard time getting around them. The current setup is suppose to be on a tablet, not on a desktop PC. I think it’s going to end up like Vista.

  • Daniel :slight_smile:

From what I’ve read around on the net about win8 I can’t see any reason to ever, ever upgrade to win8. Even if I had a touch screen monitor I couldn’t see myself moving over to win8. Normally I wouldn’t consider migrating to the newest version of windows until the newest version had reached at least service pack 1 (by which time hopefully any really serious bugs would have already been found and patched). With Win8 I can’t see myself going near it ever, even with the longest barge pole in existence.

How well does Win8 fare when two or more machines are linked together? I used to find Vista a PITA to get to talk with other machines over a network. Not networked Win7 with an older OS yet but I’ve found Win7 to Win7 networking to work well.

Not networked Win7 with an older OS yet but I’ve found Win7 to Win7 networking to work well.

How did you make it work? I’ve been trying to network a Win7 box with an XP box and haven’t succeeded. Probably a Win7 firewall issue, but I haven’t cracked it, yet.

Give some of the solutions in that link a go. I’ve always found it to be a PITA when different machines on a network are running different versions of Windows

Thanks, SpacePhoenix. They look good. As soon as I replace the fried Power Supply in the Win7 box, I’ll be able to give 'em a go. Cheers.

Hi SpacePhoenix,

Yup. I think a lot of people feel like that. I’m usually well up for trying out stuff, just because it is new, but Windows 8 seems so ill conceived as to be untrue.
As I stated above, beneath everything it is a great OS and brings a lot of improvements in comparison to Win 7, yet as TmzHosting mentions, out of the box it is a tablet OS, not a desktop OS.
I cannot think of one person I know (who isn’t a computer geek) that would be able to work productively with this.

Win8 to Win7 is very easy and works completely as one would expect.
I haven’t tried Win8 to XP, but I have an old XP box here somewhere, so it would be possible to test.
Would you like me to do that?

Windows8 user interface is wonderful as it is, with all its designs ans styles. But if its compared to Windows7, I would prefer Windows 7 though, because Windows7 is easier for me! :slight_smile:

What didn’t you like?
What stood out to you as a particularly bad or good idea?
Did you only work with Metro?
On a tablet or a PC?

Actually, there was a full review of Windows 8 a few months ago…

Since I’m not changing (I don’t see the point of it, it has no advantages for me at the moment) I didn’t pay much attention to it… so I don’t know if adds anything new to the debate.

Still, itmitică did an extensive review, I think

Hey molona,

Thanks for that :slight_smile:
That is certainly an informative thread.
Nonetheless, it was started and ended in August. Windows 8 wasn’t released until the end of October.
People are now starting to notice that they can’t buy Laptops/ PCs with Win 7 (so easily), so are maybe taking more interest in the subject.

Quite true. I’m glad that I bought my laptop in July! :smiley:

key to windows 8 is performance (way above anything windows 7)… particularly boot up speed is impressive…

I like the touch feature very much .

Been using windows for many years but it was the first time i felt that it behaved so different to me. I still prefer working on Windows 7. Maybe i’m too old to adapt into new environment lol