Windows 8 – neat!

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Finally I got it installed on my old laptop that I was thinking of throwing out! So the good news is that, at least, the preview version will work on the minimum requirements it set out: 1GHz, 1or 2 GB RAM. Mine is 1.6 and 4.

There is a bit of learning curve to find where things are (10 mins), cause the familiar “Start” button is no longer, kind of. Instead there is a start mini-screen now, left bottom corner, that I find it is sometime hard to get to, it disappears if the mouse is not in the right place. On top left, mini screen(s) will open for your previously open windows, that you can point and go to: like the Aero in Vista and Windows 7 that I never use. However, this is a bit more intuitive.

I have seen the Windows Phone layout in commercial, so I know how it looks. First, you have large rectangular tiles and half-size ones of various colours. Each is like an icon, or app (that’s what it’s called), and you can certainly move them around. If the app is about weather, current weather will display, and if it is news, the pages will change on the tile, etc. So it means screen-savers can be a thing of the past. There is a little zoom button on bottom left that will allow you to shrink the start page, I assume this will help if you have lots of apps. Right mouse button click on start page will get you the All App, that’s where you find those familiar things like control panel, calculator, computer, etc.

The Desktop tile will get you into a page where the IE icon and Windows Explorer is on a taskbar. To get to the settings, you can point your mouse to the bottom left, five transparent icons will show: zoom,share,start, devices and settings. Inside settings, more pc settings give you more choices and the selections look prettier than the old control panel, which you can still get to BTW.

Since Microsoft really wants to promote cloud-computing, you now even can connect directly to Window -Live when log-in, so to save a step. Once connected, your email and calendar tiles will show you if you have new mail and appointments.

There is an app-store, it’s just called Store. Same premise, some are free, some are not, like Mac’s and Android’s.

After installation, I didn’t seem to have driver issues. My USB wireless adaptor is working, webcam is working, and so forth.

So far I like it, it’s different enough from all previous Windows versions, which mostly were the same from Windows 98 to Windows 7, am I right? It works well with a mouse, but it should be interesting with a touch device like tablet, or Windows coffee table (using the table top as monitor)? I still need to be convinced for a touch desktop ( Acer and HP had tried it) though: who want to stand and swipe all day long?

Cheers.

P.S. still looking for the shut-down button without logging out as user first.

Windows 8 consumer preview(free)

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April 9, 2012: Okay, it is installing now. I am using the 32-bit from DVD boot. After you key in the product key, use “CUSTOM” install, and not “Standard”! Using that gives you an option to partition your drives as well. We’ll see how it goes!

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As usual I don’t want to bash Microsoft, when we must use it for our daily work-life and most likely at home too, but a good consumer product is good when a consumer doesn’t get frustrated!

Okay, I read somewhere this morning that Microsoft has Windows 8 consumer preview for free download. After reading the fine print, I was hesitant to download it on my new laptop, cause the install will wipe your existing OS and you must re-install from recovery if you decide Windows 8 is not your cup of tea. After a while, I pulled out my old HP tx1100ca, blow-dried it again, and it booted,so I figured it would be fun and cool to do it. Went to the site http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/download downloaded the ISO image,burn to a DVD disc, and I thought the installation should be easy. Ah ha, think again!

First hurdle: there were two choices, 32-bit and 64-bit, since it was an older laptop I figured best I used the 32-bit version. The download file size was 3.2 GB, and took about 30 mins to download, guess the server had throttle control, so transfer rate was at about 1,100 kb/sec (yawn …zzzzzz). Finally, I burnt the image using Roxio… Okay, everything was good. I re-booted the computer, and DVD was in,changed boot from DVD and all was good. I managed to put in the purchase key, and then it said I needed to boot while Windows 7 was running, why? Since I could not proceed, I boot to Windows 7 and run setup, and then it said, my Windows 7 64-bit was not compatible with the 32-bit Windows 8. Really!

Second hurdle: Since I had time, I downloaded the 64-bit version which was at 3.5 GB. Patiently I had the image burnt. Ran it inside Windows 7, it gave me two error messages, so no go. Re-boot, blah, blah, same process above. Now it got to a point and said, “Load Driver: A DVD driver your PC needs is missing. If you have a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive with the driver on it, please insert it now. Note: If the installation media for Windows is in the DVD drive, you can safely remove it for this step”. Seriously !!!! Laptop has CD/DVD driver for over 10 years, and Microsoft was asking me to find a freaking driver for my DVD-ROM, and burnt it and continued with the process?! Maybe I had missed a step to get the drivers first from Windows 7 ( like MAC boot-camp that creates a drivers -disc first), but I doubt Microsoft is that thoughtful or thorough.

At this point, I give up, that’s after three hours tinkling with it! Who cares about Windows 8. Now even Ubuntu Linux does it right: we can create a boot-able disc with totally useable OS, and only if one likes it he can install it on a new partition or wipe out Windows altogether. As I say at the beginning, we have to keep using something that is popular-mediocre just because.

Perhaps, someone who is reading this can enlighten me with the installation. Wait, I hardly interest in messing with this new OS, 7 is fine.

Cheers.

Frozen Windows…

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Microsoft Windows wordmark

Microsoft Windows wordmark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By now, all people have experienced frozen screen when using Windows (whatever version), and it is the most frustrating experience, cause nothing moves, no sound, no hourglass, just nothing-less. Yes, you can try the three-finger salute (Ctrl-Alt-Delete) to “Shutdown“properly,but sometime that does not even do anything. Well, the only thing to do is to shut your computer down with the actual on/off button, and hope for the best.

Wait, there is one thing you must do when you turn it on again, it saved my laptops many times, that is to do a “Safe Boot“! If you know about this, good for you. I bet some people have no idea. Essentially, “Safe Boot” is to boot up Windows with minimal components, and it is most useful with the above scenario. Here is the how: when you turn your laptop or computer on again, shortly after the brand prompt (HP,Acer,..),¬†Press and Hold F8, until a blue screen shows up with Safe Boot choices. I usually pick without network connection. Use your up-down button to select a choice, I usually choose “1”. Windows will boot up, and once it finishes, use your Start¬†menu like usual and Shutdown properly.

Whenever I suspect my laptop has virus, worms, malware, adware,… that causes problem, I will also do a Safe Boot and use my virus/malware scan at that level, if things are detected, it will be cleaned, which may be the reason your Windows having problem shutting down in the first place.

I wish Windows 8 would finally resolve all these issues, and I am a dreamer!

Cheers.