Test Driving Windows 8

| July 18, 2012 | 6 Comments

I decided to take my own advice and give Windows 8 a test drive tonight.  It was time for an OS refresh anyway, I have been running Windows 7 for a while now and, as with any Microsoft operating system, after a while they don’t feel as peppy anymore.

After carefully backing everything up, it was time to wipe it all out and start fresh.  With the evaluation version of Windows 8, there is no upgrade path so its going to be a full install.  This will probably not be the case with the production version of the product.  You have a choice in the evaluation version of 32 or 64 bit.  Like my Windows 7, I’m sticking with 32 bit for now as I already know from past experiences that not all my applications will like 64 bit.

As I sit here typing out this post on my new Windows 8 desktop, the first thing that comes to mind is this is different.  And if you are like me, when it comes to getting work done, I don’t like to monkey around with production systems in order to experiment with bleeding edge toys.  There is a bit of a learning curve here.  But I feel there are two easy safeties here.

  1. The conventional desktop that we are all accustomed to is an included app.  Worst case scenario, you load the desktop app and everything is familiar again, but without the start button.
  2. If you are not in the desktop app and having trouble with something, just think to yourself how you might accomplish the task if you were on your smart phone or tablet, you will probably find the answer.

So before we go on, in all fairness I should remind everyone this is an evaluation version so there are bound to be bugs.  But for an evaluation version, its pretty good.  The setup of the OS is pretty similar to Windows 7.  I would estimate the installation takes a little longer than Windows 7.  Two reboots is what it will take to be off and running.  They are using a darker blue default color which I don’t really care for.  In fact, every time there is a new MS OS, they seem to like to monkey with the blue color.  I think it is a little too dark and harder on the eyes.  You do get your choice of some pre-chosen colors during the installation setup.  I’ll have to figure out the color codes to get my old blue back.  The boot up splash screen is nothing fancy at all, just black and white with some grey, but crystal clear unlike the old ascii boot screens with large blocks.

One thing I forgot about is when you choose your computer name, choose a different name than the username you want to use.  The setup will not let both be the same.  There was no option to go back and change the computer name so I had to choose a different username and get it all straightened out in the control panel later.

My 37″ 1080P HDMI TV/monitor was recognized right away with the default video card drivers and I must say, I’m considering not using my AMD ATI Radeon drivers as the fonts seem a little sharper to me when I look at the desktop icons lettering.  Using a TV for a computer monitor has been tricky as I have experimented with a few models.

As previously mentioned, there is no start button menu in the desktop app.  This will take some getting used to.  You will have to monkey around with hovering your mouse pointer in the 4 corners of the screen to get different menus to appear.  Also, the windows key on your keyboard will bring you back to the main screen where all your apps are located.  Alt-Tab will switch between your apps.

In conclusion, I’m happy so far with the exception of my missing blue color.  I haven’t tried to install any software yet so that is next.


Windows 8 Quickbooks Pro 2009 installation compatibility is ok.  Quickbooks has always been a pain with each new version of Windows requiring a new version of Quickbooks at several hundred dollars.  I’m happy to report Quickbooks installed without issue, including the latest patch R14.  However, I’m having a problem with creating PDF invoices.

Windows 8 and Paperport version 12 is having a problem with installing.

Windows 8 allows you to mount ISO files now without third party software, much needed feature!

Here is some additional pics.  The first one shows the default screen.  If you look closely I have three active blocks, an email block showing I have one new exchange server message, below it the current weather, and then in the next column a test calendar appointment from my exchange server.

The second picture shows the email app from my Exchange server.  The first column is the folders, inbox and sub folders.  The second column is the contents of the folder, and the third column is the actual email message.

One thing I don’t like so far about the Microsoft email app is that it first required me to sign in with my Microsoft Live account in order to configure it further for my email (why??).  Also, I am not seeing an option to add more than one email account in this app.  I’m sure there will be better email apps soon though from third parties.

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  1. Chris says:

    Tom –

    Great feedback so far!

    Is there any chance you could take a few screenshot’s and post them here so we can see what the new OS looks like?

    That would be awesome!


    PS – I am loving Geekport! Hope I win the Kindle!


  2. Tom says:

    Anything particular you want to see? So far, I’m just using the desktop “app” for a more familiar windows, have ventured any further than that yet.

    • Chris says:

      May be the control panel – if it still exists, the system properties menus, firewall/services/registry windows or anything that you might find intriguing to Windows desktop technicians.



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