Windows 8 has (not yet) Changed my Life!

About one month ago, I took the bait on the very attractively priced (at Microcenter) Windows 8 Pro Upgrade on its first day of release. My “lab rat” for this experiment was a Core2Duo desktop with 3GB of RAM and a Radeon Pro graphics card, which had been running (don’t laugh) Vista Ultimate.

Metrics and deep-dive feature reviews have been covered by those more versed than I.

What I really want out of an Operating System is Speed and Stability (which implies Security).

I appreciate there are different priorities for Personal and Professional use – and I fall into one or the other category at any given time. Based on the above, here are some of my observations:

While I applaud Microsoft for making the Windows 8 Pro Upgrade available so affordably, I was not impressed that I was unable to apply the 64-bit upgrade to my existing 32-bit installation. Granted, a drive reformat would have been necessary, but I think that should be an advertised option. Since this DVD was specifically tagged as an Upgrade package, I was reluctant to attempt installation on freshly formatted media (with no existing instance of Windows). Has anyone been successful with this approach?

The Windows 8 installation did speed up this system’s performance, but I suspect any fresh registry (even reinstalling Vista Ultimate) would have pepped things up. Most applications launch much faster than before. I’ll let you know if that changes as the registry expands.

Lacking touch screen capability, the initial Windows 8 “live tile” interface is of little use. Just give me the desktop upon login, please.

IF one does have a touch screen, I can see a benefit to running Windows 8.

And, when funds permit, the next tool in my belt will be a Convertible Ultrabook, running Win 8 Pro.

The 11th hour decision to pull the Media Pack features out of Win 8 Pro was ill advised. I’m assuming, from the Product Matrix, that Microsoft wanted to simplify their offerings, when compared to Windows 7, but this simply reverts to the “Home / Home Premium / Pro / Ultimate” nonsense. The only good news is the Media functionality is currently available for free download. But, c’mon Microsoft – bundle it with the Pro install and call it a day.

I’ve been using IE9 for quite awhile now (though I do most browsing via Chrome). Didn’t quite understand the recent, giant Marketing campaign for that year-old browser – especially when there’s no product to buy (it’s a free download). But, that’s probably why I’m not a Marketing Mogul at Microsoft. The fact that each Tab has its own history, cookies and resources can be both a good and a bad thing. In general, though, I see no reason not to use IE9 over previous versions.

IE10, as it was released with Win 8 Pro, is of limited use for me (i.e. non-touch screen). Its minimalistic interface poses the classic challenge of “Where’s my stuff?”. I really like to know what a browser is doing – or, more particularly, sharing. As such, I prefer certain Settings and Features to be readily available, rather than buried deep within submenus.

The general tile-ization / ribbon-ization of applications inevitably results in more clicks to accomplish my tasks. Your mileage may vary.

But, I digress. We’ll see how IE10 matures as it’s rolled out for more users.

So far, I haven’t run into any Driver incompatibilities. Good news for folks (like me) who don’t change out all their peripherals with every OS upgrade.

Corporate environments would probably be wise to buy Windows 8 Pro “with downgrade rights” and run Windows 7 Pro for the time being. As is historically the case, Domain Controllers need to be running current versions before newly added Group Policy options become available. That means the upgrading of all DC’s to Windows Server 2012 should be complete before introducing Windows 8 clients.

So, to recap:

Provided Microsoft keeps the feature set high and the cost of entry low, there should be little resistance to Windows 8 adoption.

Upgrading to Windows 8 Pro did result in performance improvement, but it has not (yet) changed my life.

Heading off to Autodesk University ( #AU2012 ) soon. Hope to see you there.

Dave

About Dave Pluke

Dave Pluke served as "the man behind the curtain" (Principal and VP of Technology) of a successful Structural Engineering firm for over 2 decades. Overseeing the transition from two, stand-alone 80286 Personal Computers, through Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and Design to a fully networked, Building Information Modeling (BIM) integrated environment has provided plenty of "life lessons" (sounds better than "battle scars", doesn't it?). This blog's purpose is to share those experiences and apply lessons learned to better assist meeting the challenges of the future.
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