Review

Review: Windows 8, the hybrid OS has arrived

Before you read another word of this review, I need you to do something very important. Take all of your preconceived notions about what Windows is today and what you are familiar with, and put them aside. It’s time to reinvent the desktop OS and Microsoft is leading the charge. 

At the end of this review, you will see three scores. One score is for using Windows 8 with a keyboard and mouse, one is for using Windows 8 as a touch-based platform and the final is a combined score. The reasoning for this is that each input method offers two distinct experiences and to combine them into a single score would not accurately reflect the true value of the product; the summary score is made up of the two independent scores. 

Installing Windows 8: 

When you first get your hands on Windows 8, you need to make a decision: are you going to do an upgrade or are you doing a clean install? We performed both with no issues to speak of. The upgrade was performed on a machine running Windows 7, and the clean install was performed on a Windows 8 tablet (Samsung Series 7). The install time varied on each platform and is highly dependent on your internal hardware. 

The initial install was painless on both the tablet and the desktop. One minor hiccup on the tablet was getting a virtual keyboard to open up so we could type in the product key but beyond that, the install process was smooth sailing.  

Microsoft has built in a few customizations into the Windows installer. Up front, Microsoft lets you choose the color scheme for the install and later on, this theme will transition into the new Start Screen/Modern UI. It’s a quirky feature - but is it relevant to the install process? Certainly not, but it doesn't distract either, although it could be argued that it does slowdown the process as it requires manual selection from the end user.  

Among the many screens that you would expect such as install location, language selection, you also get to select your Wi-Fi network to search for updates that may already be available for the installation process.  

Like many other software products, you are given the ability to either customize your install or select the “Express” settings, as Microsoft calls them. For both installs, we used the express settings as this will be the likely install scenario for most consumers.  

If you do decide to go the manual route, you will be presented with a plethora of options (all of which can be changed once Windows is installed). You will be presented with connectivity options, the choice of providing Microsoft with anonymous data about your usage, and security settings. 

During the install process, Microsoft will ask for you to sign into your Microsoft Account to help streamline your transition into Windows 8. Assuming your account is located, you will be asked to sign in (this is dependent on an Internet connection). 

Seeing as we had already installed Windows 8 on another machine, we were able to login with our Microsoft Account and the installation process continued. We should note that you do have to “authorize” the PC to use your Microsoft Account (which came in the form of a text message for us as we had previously authorized this type of contact) which provides a layer of security to maintain your PCs authenticity to your account.

Once you are all squared away your account, the installation process will continue and you will also be presented with a Windows 8 tutorial on how to use the new hot corners, access charms, and some of the other features to help get you prepared for Windows 8. 

The installation process took about 25 minutes from install to landing on the new Start Screen. This time included digging through the advanced settings, changing the install color theme, and activation of our Microsoft Account. For a Windows install, it was an improvement over Windows 7 in terms of usability and friendliness for non-technical users but as noted below, it was a tad slower than Windows 7 from start to finish.  

The installation process, as a whole, is well refined for Windows 8. With simple questions and customization, none of the essentials are overlooked in the install process; nothing feels incomplete. The demonstrations will play a key part in helping first time users adopt to Windows 8 and the new features of the platform. 

The desktop install and the tablet install proceeded along near-identical lines with one small difference: on the desktop we were shown mouse gestures and on the tablet we were shown thumb gestures for navigation. Not a big thing, but Windows 8 appears to be able to detect if you are a 'traditional' PC user or on a tablet.  

Microsoft Account:

After you jump through the initial hoops to select your settings, Microsoft will start to gather information from you and at this point, you have a critical choice to make. Windows 8 is able to sync with your Microsoft Account. This means that, if you have a Skydrive account, Xbox Live account, Windows Live Messenger and other Microsoft services, linking Windows 8 to your account will streamline the process of setting all of these services up.

If you do not have an account, it's best to start clean from here and begin registering for SkyDrive, Skype, and other Microsoft services as the tight integration with Windows 8 enhances the end user experience.

The single biggest benefit of registering a Microsoft Account is that if you swap computers or login at other locations, Microsoft (if you provide permission) can sync your settings to any PC that you use. This will allow you to use Windows 8, in any environment, with your own settings, to quickly get you up and running. And if you utilize SkyDrive, your files will be available too. 

While it may take you a few extra steps to get all of your Microsoft services aligned, we highly recommend it. The upfront setup will pay huge dividends as your build out your Microsoft ecosystem and will give you a better overall experience using Microsoft's products.

Start Screen/ Modern UI: 

After the install process, you will be kicked out to the new Start Screen and for many, this may be a confusing experience. Microsoft has chosen boldly to make this your first impression of Windows 8.  

You are presented with the basic apps right out of the gate that include Mail, Internet Explorer 10, a slew of Bing apps (including Maps, Sport, News and Weather), Messaging, the Microsoft Store, Music, Video Games, and a few others. The new Start Screen replaces the Start button/orb in Windows 7, Vista, XP, ME, 98, and 95. 

The large Live Tiles present content to you (where enabled) without the need to open the application. It’s best to think of the Start Screen as a dashboard and not an application launcher because of how Microsoft has chosen to utilize this new segment of the OS. 

With many of your applications being able to display content without the need to being open, you can quickly ‘glance and go’ without being required to open each individual application for an update.  

Microsoft has included customization options for the Start Screen too. While not as robust as we would like (you can’t select your own background image, for example) the options do run rather deep beyond this notable exception. 

Much like in the installer, you can change the color theme of the Start Screen with 25 different options and you can update the background with 20 different patterns (also rather colourfully known as "tattoos"). Even with the numerous combinations available, Microsoft has limited the choices to what it has pre-determined to fit your needs. You can’t select your own color themes or images - a bit disappointing. 

You can arrange the Live Tiles by long-clicking and dragging the icons around to fit your needs for layout. You can also adjust the size of the icons to either be a square or a larger rectangle. When you bring up the context menu by either right clicking or 'plucking' the icon, Microsoft gives you several options such as pinning the icon to the start bar, uninstalling the application, opening the app, opening a new instance, or running the app as administrator. The options available are also dependent on whether the app runs on the desktop environment or if it is locked to the Modern UI/Start screen.  

Keyboard / Mouse: 

Getting used to the new Start Screen takes some time with the mouse and keyboard. The Live Tiles are large and make for easy clicking and a right mouse click brings up context menus to manage individual tile options. 

Horizontally scrolling does not feel natural at first and the large tiles can take some time to navigate too if your preferred app is at the end of the list. One benefit of the keyboard is that it is quite easy to search for apps or anything for that matter. Simply click anywhere on the screen and begin typing and Windows 8 will switch to searching and instantly pull up the search pane which makes finding your app, file or setting; a very simple process.  

I’m not sure if it’s because I am now accustomed to using touch for the Start Screen but I really wish you could left click on an open area and drag the screen to scroll. The horizontal bar works but does not feel intuitive and seeing as the Start Screen is about pushing boundaries, forced scroll-bar usage is an unfortunate legacy navigation tool that was carried over. You can also use the scroll wheel on a mouse to move across the Start Screen, but again, it feels counterintuitive to scroll up and down with the mouse in order to scroll left and right on the screen.

It is apparent in its use that the Start Screen is best used with touch input as the screen’s large icons and layout make using the mouse and keyboard more cumbersome than we prefer but it’s a necessary evil. It's not that keyboard usage on the Start screen is a poor experience by any means; the quick search feature is fabulous, for example, but even this is imperfectly implemented, as it is not an obvious or easily discoverable feature for the uninformed.  

Touch: 

It is apparent that the Start Screen is where you will live when using Windows 8 with a tablet. The Start Screen works wonderfully well when using your finger for input. The large Live Tiles make for easy targets to launch apps, the gesture support works flawlessly and navigation is effortless and logical.  

Horizontal scrolling to see more apps is with a simple swipe of the finger but moving icons is a bit more cumbersome. To rearrange tiles, you must long press and then drag the tiles up or down. The tiles appear to be stuck and then snap out of the location. It works, but having to move multiple tiles is a tedious process. There is certainly room for improvement here as heavily manipulation of the Start Screen with your finger is not a pleasant experience, once or twice is fine, but to truly rearrange all the tiles will drive you nuts. 

Scrolling is fast and fluid, touch response time and accuracy is second to none and with a quick pinch on the screen you can zoom out to see all of your apps. (More on the specific charms and gesture support below.)

When you start to use the new Start Screen with your finger, you begin to see how the hybrid OS works with two input methods, and two distinctly different environments, Microsoft has built an OS that works with both inputs and connects them though shortcuts such as the charms bar.

Desktop: 

The Desktop is, of course, the iconic workspace that Microsoft has been utilizing since Windows 95. The Desktop has been revamped from Windows 7 but is not the complete overhaul that some may have been expecting. It remains familiar with icons along the bottom on the taskbar and can be customized to the same degree that you could in Windows 7. Pinning, grouping and drag-and-drop relocation is all still there.  

File Explorer also received an update too. If you like the "Ribbon" interface that Office uses, you will love the new File Explorer layout as it draws directly from Office to deliver a similar workflow experience. We see this as an improvement and we know there are those who do not like the ribbon layout but most, once they adapt, will prefer the layout as it makes common tasks, much easier. 

Copying files also got addressed with Windows 8 too and Microsoft has improved this process dramatically. It's one of those features that you will hardly notice at first, but what is going on under the hood is nothing short of awesome and includes copy conflict resolution that is now faster, smarter and is easier to use.

Right clicking still brings up the context menus that we know and love and most of the settings remain unchanged but have been relocated in some cases. The most notable change will be the lack of the Start button that adorned the desktop since Windows 95. Microsoft has removed this iconic button in favor of the new Start screen that is discussed in depth below. 

Other than the hot corners and a few other tweaks, the updates to the core desktop are basic which is likely a strategic move as Microsoft will have wanted the desktop to feel familiar while introducing the new Start Screen. 

Storage Spaces

One feature, that may not get a lot of attention upfront, but definitely deserves some love, is Storage Spaces. The idea is simple, it takes multiple drives, adds a layer of redundancy and then displays that pooled storage as a single drive.

If you have multiple drives in your machine and desire a single location for storage, Storage Spaces will be your new best friend as it makes creating a single pool of storage easy and it's also dynamic.

In addition to making your life easier, it also ads the ability for redundancy as well. This requires two or more physical drives but once enabled, you can mirror your data on multiple drives to prevent data loss when a drive inevitably fails.

This is a small feature addition to Windows 8 but for those who take advantage of the tool, they will instantly love for its simplicity of setup and ease of data replication.

Hot Corners:

The most noticeable change is the lack of a Start button on the left side of the task bar which has been replaced by "hot corners". For those who miss the button, you will be happy to know that if you place your mouse in the bottom left corner, a hot corner is activated which prompts a Start 'hover' to appear which, when clicked, will take you to the Start Screen to launch your applications. (In a rather lovely example of Microsoft's attention to detail, the tiny hover graphic that appears is actually a minute representation of your actual Start Screen, including the positioning of your tiles.)

In the top left corner of the desktop you have the app switcher, by quickly clicking the top left corner you will switch between your current task and the last application you had open. If you keep your mouse there for a bit longer, then you will open a task switcher bar that will let you jump to any of your open apps. 

One issue we have is that the top left corner button and the back button on a browser are really close together. There were several instances where we go to click the back button on the browser and initiated the fast task switching. This happened frequently enough that it is a cause for concern as sloppy clickers may have this happen more often than those with fine motor skills. 

It is possible to turn this hot-corner off in the settings menu but you sacrifice the ability for the fast app switching. 

The other two hot corners activate the charms bar which gives you quick options to search, share content, jump to the Start screen, see connected devices and quickly access settings such as Wi-Fi, sound, screen lock, notifications, power and the keyboard. 

The Charms bar is implemented far better than the other two hot corners and is rarely initiated by accident. The bar is available on both the new Start Screen and the Desktop which provides for a consistent experience for users needing to access these controls. 

The Charms bar is a consistent experience if you are on the Desktop or the new Start screen but the bottom left hot corner changes depending on the environment you are in. On the desktop, the bottom left corner will take you to the Start Screen; on Start, the bottom left corner is the last application you had open.  

It would be a better implementation, in our opinion, if the bottom left corner only switched between the desktop or the new Start screen. Keep it fixed to those two options so consumers know that the bottom left corner will offer a consistent click experience, as it stands right now, it's mixed. 

Settings

There are two settings panes on Windows 8, which do find a bit confusing, but they offer up a boatload of options to tweak Windows 8 to your liking. The traditional Control Panel offers up all of the same features that you are used to in Windows 7 and the customization window in the new Start screen provides a new method of tweaking your OS.

Microsoft offers up the ability to customize the background of your login windows, your Desktop and provides a limited selection of 'tattoo' designs for the Start Screen backdrop. (We are not sure why you can't use a custom image here but we suspect that that functionality may come at a later point in time.) You also have the ability to customize which apps can be viewed from the lock screen and there is also the same color theming pallette that you can select from under the 'Start Screen' tab to change the entire OS color theme.

Notifications are also present in Windows 8 and in the customization section of the new Start screen you can quickly turn off or on which apps use the notification features. Additionally you can select where the notifications will appear and if they will make a noise when displayed. As with notifications, you can also tweak which applications have the share functionality too.

The Settings pane in the Start Screen is easy to navigate and there are hundreds of options here. It is worth your time to dig deep into this section because if there is something you don't like about Windows 8 (besides enabling the Start button), there is a strong possibility that it can be adjusted to fit your needs.  

Lock Screen:

As we noted above, Microsoft offers quite a few options for the lock screen including new password features. There is the standard password and pin functionality but Microsoft has provided a new method of logging in that use touch-points on a picture to create a secure pattern for unlocking your device.

The setup process for this is easy as you mark a few gestures on an image with your finger or mouse, repeat the pattern, and then you have created the password. Microsoft claims that this is more secure than the traditional password but we will leave that opinion up to you.

Apps

Windows 8 brings an important new feature to the platform: the Windows Store. As the name implies, Microsoft has built an app store right into Windows 8, but it has a catch - the Store is geared towards the Modern UI. While technically traditional desktop applications can reside within the Store, they simply provide a launcher and do not have the same benefits as a true Modern app.  

The Windows Store provides everything you would expect from a Microsoft built product. Easy search, plentiful number of categories, easy purchase and trial options. The Store is slowly being populated with a greater quantity of apps - but considering it is a brand new store, at this stage, the selection is acceptable for a launch product. With a few thousand options from day one, there is likely something to fit your needs and the fall back is that if you can't find the app you want, the Desktop is only a click away that has everything you need (note, Win RT does not have the Desktop option). 

Microsoft has done some thinking when it comes to apps and rather than the typical one at a time we see with iOS and Android, with Windows 8, you can run the apps in full screen mode or snap them to the side of the screen to allow for true side-by-side multitasking.  

The snapping works in the Modern and Desktop environment and is a feature that we love. With the dedicated apps that are masters of one trait, such as our personal favorite MetroTwit, you can now use those applications snapped to the side while diving deep into another application.  

Applications conform to a rubric as set forth by Microsoft and all align to a certain feature set. Swiping up from the bottom will bring up the app bar (context menu); search can be done from the right side charms bar; and swiping down from the top of the screen to the very bottom will close the app. These universal gestures keep application features consistent for the end user and help to avoid navigation fragmentation. 

Recovery

Windows 8 brings a few notable recovery features that will be lifesavers if you are the family "tech repair specialist". Windows 8 brings with it the ability to "Refresh" your PC, which leaves all of your files in place but cleans up your machine and allows you to get back up and running quickly. The other option is to remove everything and start from step one; this is useful if you have malware that got on your machine, for example, and you have no other option to remove it from the PC.  

These restore options work quite well in practice, as we have used all of them for different scenarios to test their ability to get us back up and running and both worked flawlessly. You do have to be logged in as administrator, which will prevent children or other users from accidently wiping the machine.  

Windows 8 also has a feature called "File History" that allows you to view cached versions of documents you have been working on. One decision we can't understand is that this feature is disabled by default and we highly recommend that you turn it on as it can be a lifesaver if you accidentally save a file after making a terrible mistake. This feature has actually been in Windows for some time, but Windows 8 makes it more accessible and easier to use with a wizard to recover files and documents that you may need at a later time.  

Performance:

With any platform update as significant as Windows 8, one would expect performance improvements across a wide variety of metrics. We tested Windows 8 across install time, daily operations (boot, shutdown, and resume), and the amount of time it took to launch applications. We tested the OS on a machine with the following specs: 2.83 GHz quad-core Intel Q9550, 4 GB of DDR2 RAM, NVIDIA GTX 560 Ti, 7200 RPM hard drive) and the OSes used were Windows 7 Ultimate x64 and Windows 8 Pro x64 - both clean installs on a freshly formatted hard drive.

Even though the overall time for the install took longer with Windows 8, this is attributed to the tutorial and feature selections that are presented as part of the install process. Accounting for that additional content, Windows 8 would have installed faster if it were not for these additional screens.

There is no question about it, Windows 8 boots much faster than Windows 7 and there are marginal gains when shutting down the OS. Windows 7 did take the cake, slightly, on resuming, but the difference was hardly noticeable to the casual user. These scores were obtained by testing the processes three times and then presenting the averages. 

Windows 8 showed the most notable improvements when launching applications. It took the crown when launching three different applications three times each, with the biggest gains coming when launching CS6. 

This is a big performance win for Microsoft as operations such as rebooting and resuming occur less frequently than the launching of applications. By improving the speed at which applications launch, Microsoft has made Windows 8 feel light on its feet and it certainly shows with the chart above.

The improvements in Windows 8 demonstrably extend far beyond just an updated UI. With speed enhancements such as the items noted above, Microsoft will be able to say that Windows 8 will make you more productive as you will spend less time waiting for your machine to boot or applications to launch.

Enterprise: 

The other half of the equation for Windows 8 is the enterprise market. For Windows, in general, corporations are slow to adopt new platforms and the prolonged existence of XP reminds us of this. With Windows 7 being claimed as the replacement to XP, Windows 8 will have a tough time breaking into the massive corporate domain. 

Of course, Windows 8 will have one major advantage: its tablet friendly interface that Windows 7 does not currently provide. In a nutshell, if you want a fully functional tablet in the corporate world, it will need to be a Windows 8 machine. 

Some of the notable features that Windows 8 will bring to this environment are Hyper-V virtualization, BitLocker encryption, File History (with support for network shares and local client), Windows To Go, Direct Access, BranchCache, AppLocker and more. 

Of all of the features, Windows To Go has to be the most exciting as it allows you to build a fully managed Windows 8 instance on a USB drive. This feature alone will help desk techs sing with praise as it will make troubleshooting and fixing field PCs much, much easier. It is easily our favorite enterprise feature, if not our overall favorite feature. 

Creating a Windows To Go USB drive takes just a few clicks with a wizard, after which your drive is good to go. Our installation took a little over 10 minutes and of course, there are tons of options such as blocking access to the Windows Store, media access, and many others that an admin may need to make secure use of W2G. 

In practice, Windows To Go will save hours of troubleshooting and along with other Windows 8's built-in restore features, removing malware from PCs will become a much easier process. 

Another benefit of Windows To Go is that it will allow the BYOD experience to be propagated more easily throughout corporate environments. When an employee brings their machine into an office, instead of having to hand it over to make all of the necessary modifications to ensure secure access to the corporate network, a W2G stick can be utilized and the employee will have the secure environment that the IT department requires, without sacrificing the soul of the laptop to the company. When the employee heads home from work, pull out the USB drive and the machine is back in the user's control. 

Conclusion: Using Windows 8: Keyboard and Mouse 

Windows 8 is a departure from Windows that we know and love and those that tell you it is Windows 7 and more, they are right, but that "more" portion is not always good for input devices that are older than the modern Windows experience.  

Getting used to the hot corners and lack of visible Start button takes some time; there will likely be some fumbling in the early stages until you get used to having to pin all of your applications to the desktop taskbar or to your Start Screen. Is it a bad experience? Certainly not after you adjust to the new layout but it takes time to get used to and for the crowd that were heavy users of the Start button, some initial "Start button" shock may be part of the initial experience.

It becomes clear that the Windows 8 Desktop experience and new Start Screen are two independent entities that are loosely tied together with features such as the charms bar and snapped apps. It is entirely possible to use the desktop without ever having to navigate to the Start Screen but it takes time to perfect this type of use and may require heavy customization up front. It's a learning curve that will take new users, or those jumping from XP, time to get used to, and for those with little patience, it may lead to negative first impressions of Windows 8. 

Once you get used to the new workflow, Windows 8 is a leap forward over Windows 7. We do suspect that the new hurdles to productivity may be too high for users who are stuck in the old way of operating a PC but for those daring to give it a shot, they will be rewarded. 

There are those who will defend to the death the notion that Microsoft did the correct thing by removing the Start orb, but we would not be one of those. Microsoft could have transitioned out the Start button by preserving it for now and making it launch the new Start Screen, but it chose instead to make the hard cut to hot corners which often leads to misclicks.

It's these misclicks that are most frustrating as an attempt at clicking the close button in the top-right corner of a fully maximized desktop window can activate the charms bar; a back button in the top-left of a browser can inadvertently initiate the app switching hot corner; and the bottom left hot corner is a bit to close to the first item pinned to the taskbar.  

We must admit that after some conditioning, our misclicks dropped significantly and we were able to adjust to the new workflow over time. But when first impressions are everything, the hot corners could present an awkward first date. 

Conclusion: Using Windows 8: Touch 

It is clear that Windows 8 was designed primarily for touch input and for that, Microsoft has does an excellent job at defining a new workspace; the Modern UI and touch input are a match made in heaven.  

The charms bar and app switching are natural and intuitive to use and genuinely make using the Modern UI, a joy to use. When you toss in live tiles  stylus support and a curated app store, Windows 8 has hit a homerun of performance and usability.

Microsoft's gamble to build a touch friendly environment will pay dividends down the road and the foundation we see today, is a fantastic pivot point for Microsoft. 

It's clear that Microsoft wanted to attack the tablet market with a full-bodied OS with Windows 8 and they hit the nail on the head. Using a full-featured tablet with Windows 8 is the best experience on the market, hands down.

In a tablet world, Windows 8 reigns supreme. 

Wrap-Up: 

Microsoft has made a massive gamble with Windows 8. They focused on optimizing the OS for the next generation of devices and made a few sacrifices to the existing Windows workflow. Unsurprisingly, some may say that these changes are somehow heretical against the pure doctrine of Windows that we've been taught to believe in for so many years. 

If you are willing to put aside how you expect Windows to operate and open yourself to the new workflow, Windows 8 has a lot to offer both tablet and traditional PC users. But, you can't overlook that the learning curve is far steeper than the previous iterations of Windows and that may cause unrest among those who are stuck in the ways of yesterday. 

To put it simply, Windows 8 is a progressive operating system that works conveniently with existing hardware; this is an OS for today, and tomorrow.

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Since I did not care to lose my existing Windows 7 OS, I installed the Windows 8 Pro on a separate drive, and now have a dual boot environment. My initial views about Windows 8 remain valid... being pushed into the Metro/Modern/Microsoft tablet UI by default remains a major failing point. Inconsistencies in the interface remain a failing point. Inconsistencies in accessing programs on the Desktop remain a failing point. Since I want to be productive and not have to deal with lots of unnecessary items, I've had to...

1: Disable all live feeds. If I could, I'd permanently get rid of them as well, but I doubt Microsoft would allow such a thing.
2: Installed ClassicShell in order to have a working start button/menu (I mean something that's functional and easy to understand, not the hot corner/keyboard annoyances).
3: Remove the hibernate file (20GB?? Is Microsoft out of their mind?) (I have 24GB of memory... making it 75% of your available memory was a MAJOR failing there.)

In short, I had to make my Windows 8 into what's being referred to as a Windows 7.8 version, just to make things easier to work in. And yes, there are usability experts who are publicly stating that Microsoft has made their UI into a confusing mess (as you can see here: http://www.nbcnews.com/technol...ndows-8-pc-confusing-954680 )

I upgraded mine from Win 7 to 8 instead of doing a fresh install which I usually always do. Pretty pleased with the install process but for a minor hiccup which was it blue screening on me because of the graphics driver.

SojIrOu said,
I upgraded mine from Win 7 to 8 instead of doing a fresh install which I usually always do. Pretty pleased with the install process but for a minor hiccup which was it blue screening on me because of the graphics driver.

it also blue-screened here while installing the nvidia driver...

Everything was going so well until I started to re-install GFWL games. The client is installed and I can login but when I launch the like of Batman Arkham City or Batman Arkham Asylum GOTY, my gaming profile isn't available.

I just can't understand why people would totaly judge it or write it off without trying it on an actual pc in their homes for more than a day.

1. Learn the hot corners.

If you look at all the various FUD videos of people confused with the new Start screen, you will soon learn they are very similar to all the videos of people confused with how to use the mouse.

How many time s have you actually pressed the Start button to get to a program this week? Three or four?. I rarely use the start button anymore. I have them pinned to the start bar or just type the program name after pressing the windows key.

Now with the Start screen at least the "icons" that are scattered on my "desktop" tell me more than a pretty picture while having the classis desktop full of icons and shortcuts.

Seriously, if you learn the new paradaigm, W7 begins to feel clunky really fast. All this FUD is the same vitriol that people were spewing about W7.

I can assure you that all of you will eat crow.

quazl said,
I just can't understand why people would totaly judge it or write it off without trying it on an actual pc in their homes for more than a day.

1. Learn the hot corners.

If you look at all the various FUD videos of people confused with the new Start screen, you will soon learn they are very similar to all the videos of people confused with how to use the mouse.

How many time s have you actually pressed the Start button to get to a program this week? Three or four?. I rarely use the start button anymore. I have them pinned to the start bar or just type the program name after pressing the windows key.

Now with the Start screen at least the "icons" that are scattered on my "desktop" tell me more than a pretty picture while having the classis desktop full of icons and shortcuts.

Seriously, if you learn the new paradaigm, W7 begins to feel clunky really fast. All this FUD is the same vitriol that people were spewing about W7.

I can assure you that all of you will eat crow.

I happen to use the Start Button on a regular basis, at least 10 times a day. This is because I don't like cluttering up my desktop with icons, or having them 'pinned' to the start bar. I may have a dozen windows open at once, and pinning icons takes up space that is better used keeping track of what windows are open and what tasks I'm doing at that moment.

I use the mouse quite a bit more than the keyboard, particularly for moving from window to window. Yes, I know Alt-Tab but I don't like scrolling through 10 windows just to get to the one I need to be working in next. A mouse and a click, and I'm there.

To me, it's not a new paradigm, it's an attempt to look cool by Microsoft while hiding everyday functionality. The engine may be a 12-cylinder supercharged delight, but the chassis (the UI) is a Model-T design meant to slow you down.

A friend passed me an MSDN ISO of Win8 Pro, I used one of the many blocked keys to pass the installation then choose to activate, gave me the option to buy a genuine license, paid the £49.99 and I'm now activated.

How is Windows 8 with multi-monitor support?
Do you get desktop on 1 screen and start screen on another? Or can it be customizable to how you want it?

Multi monitor support is great. The task bar stretches across all screens, and you can choose whether the icons you pin to it show up only on the screen where the application is running, or on all screens. One is identified as the "primary", and shows the time/date/icons. The charm bar will work on all screens.

this review needs to be re-written by an IT professional.

I'm a sys admin and looks after hundreds of windows PC's within my enviroment, we have been testing windows 8 and it basically just sucks for anything corp related.

it's neo-win. so keep your expectation low. in fact. any i.t. professionals posting any win 8 articles on neo-win would be credential-less on my book.

I am confused. Why does it suck? Is the software incompatible with W8?

If it isn't it is the same experience with W7. What "corp" related thing are you talking about?

2 things against Widows 8 right off the bat:

#1
"If you do not have an account, it's best to start clean from here and begin registering for SkyDrive, Skype, and other Microsoft services as the tight integration with Windows 8 enhances the end user experience."

I DO NOT and WILL NOT ever have an accout with ANY of those places/services. So what then?

#2
I DO NOT and WILL NOT ever use any type of hibernation as that crap has ALWAYS caused issues some where along the line for anyone and everyone I know. One of the very first things I always do on any computer is disable that junk crap!

Other than the fact Windows 8 is guaranteed to be another flop like Vista, I see absolutely no reason to upgrade any of my 8 machines. I have used Windows 8 on most of them and didn't really have any issues, but it's not worth the trouble or the time. There is absolutely nothing to it that blows my hair back and with the changes MS is trying to force on people, I see it going next to no where, although simply by having it on new computers, MS will still make money.

#1: The Microsoft account integration is for automatically logging into Microsoft services but you can still choose to make a "local account" during setup as on previous versions. You can also turn a Microsoft account into a local account (or vice versa) in a couple of clicks should you wish to change the account type later on.

#2: The new fast startup is not the same as hibernation; it stores the system state but logs you out of the user account. Restart does a full shut down before starting the system again, so the system state is cleared every time you restart. You can disable the new shut down behaviour altogether by unchecking "fast startup" under Power Options>Choose what the power buttons do; shut down will then do a full shut down every time as on previous versions.

There are many other new defaults introduced by Windows 8 that can be changed back to the Windows 7 settings in a similar manner. The only noteworthy change that is actually "forced" is the Start Screen replacing the Start Menu.

cork1958 said,

#2

Translation: I have absolutely zero experience whatsoever with Windows 8 and have decided to stubbornly and angrily judge it on nothing more than past experience with entirely different products.

And don't make claims like "I used the preview" or "I'm running the enterprise trial" or anything to imply that you do, in fact, have experience using Windows 8, because one thing everybody learns 30 seconds after installing it is that they don't have to create a Microsoft account.

You are literally the sort of person who lets himself get enraged over something you have never personally interacted with. I'm judging you at the character level here: that is not a trait of a good person.

Touch on a desktop set-up isn't very useful. This is specially true with the new generation of ultra-liteweight monitors. In fact, touch with a monitor at 90 degrees is cumbersome and even painful for many.

I hope we'll see a new generation of monitors that can be use near-flat or at a 45 degree angle much like the way people angle their laptop screens. That would provide a far better touch experience on a desktop. Uses more real estate though.

This is the first Windows OS I am not looking forward to, and I've enjoyed almost all of them except Millennium. I started on Windows 3.0 and stop on Windows 7. byeeeeeee

Windows 8 is bull****,for me ) But i expect ill give it a try
It reminds me of buying vista,used it one week then went back to XP
I om running win7 now,does what i want,when i want,how i want
Touch screens for me is useless,what next?...Taste screen?

Interesting story. I liked how you *tried to stay kinda neutral in tone.
That is what you SHOULD expect from a tech site news story or editorial.

And i kinda laughed when you referred to "CS6" loading faster.
I thought oh great. my Adobe FIREWORKS CS6 is gonna load faster lol
nope.. Photoshop of course and PS can kiss my butt !

I'm doing some tests at some point and would like to double check the application start up times. There may be a variety of factors for that..

ANd 5th comment in with the most "Likes" I see the usual crap spewed..
"BRINKZZZ BAK DAH SMART MENUSZZ" commentary
who hell is saying that ? maybe its been said but far from the amount of times people like that guy is trying too imply ..gimme a break.
These people have clearly missed the point. ITS NOT ABOUT THE START MENU
Its about options and customizations. The point is the underlying Metro framework
should have been made so it could be disabled if people want and NOT jammed in peoples faces.. I don't expect any version of windows to be how i want it out of box.
there has always been a list of things i change when i install the OS and win8 just makes waaaay more things i would have to kill on a fresh install (compared to win7)
Want a massive list of crap i would kill on a fresh install of win8 ?
Stay tuned it's coming

And fanboys you have to smell the coffee..
Reality is different than the propaganda being spread.
Enough with the insulting bs. Like "Bring back the start menu"
just because people don't like Windows 8 and teh metro UI and the icons and the Ribbon UI and the color scheme and the Aero'less windows etc...
Doesn't mean we are retards.
So drop the condescending bull and get off your little M$ fanboy high horse.

I am Not PCyr said,
Interesting story. I liked how you *tried to stay kinda neutral in tone.
That is what you SHOULD expect from a tech site news story or editorial.

And i kinda laughed when you referred to "CS6" loading faster.
I thought oh great. my Adobe FIREWORKS CS6 is gonna load faster lol
nope.. Photoshop of course and PS can kiss my butt !

I'm doing some tests at some point and would like to double check the application start up times. There may be a variety of factors for that..

ANd 5th comment in with the most "Likes" I see the usual crap spewed..
"BRINKZZZ BAK DAH SMART MENUSZZ" commentary
who hell is saying that ? maybe its been said but far from the amount of times people like that guy is trying too imply ..gimme a break.
These people have clearly missed the point. ITS NOT ABOUT THE START MENU
Its about options and customizations. The point is the underlying Metro framework
should have been made so it could be disabled if people want and NOT jammed in peoples faces.. I don't expect any version of windows to be how i want it out of box.
there has always been a list of things i change when i install the OS and win8 just makes waaaay more things i would have to kill on a fresh install (compared to win7)
Want a massive list of crap i would kill on a fresh install of win8 ?
Stay tuned it's coming

And fanboys you have to smell the coffee..
Reality is different than the propaganda being spread.
Enough with the insulting bs. Like "Bring back the start menu"
just because people don't like Windows 8 and teh metro UI and the icons and the Ribbon UI and the color scheme and the Aero'less windows etc...
Doesn't mean we are retards.
So drop the condescending bull and get off your little M$ fanboy high horse.

It goes both ways. Just because people find Windows 8 better does not mean we are fanboys. We have different usage, different needs, and getting too worked up on the OS choice seems a bit too much.

interesting perspective prove anything you said has a shred of truth to it.
worked up ? yeah ok lol
want worked up ?

M$ M$ M$ M$ M$ M$ M$ M$ M$ M$ M$ M$ M$ M$ M$ M$ M$

now sit back and wait for the usual crew of neowin "fanboys" who have different usage needs to jump all over me for a 2 letter abbreviation.

sorry but your comment is worthless
it goes both ways goes with out saying.. the rest is neowin comementary bull.
care to respond to something i said specific ?
THAT is the reason i commented in the first place.
not so someone can go out of their way to ignore the effort i put into bringing up specific issues by changing the subject and by attempting a sly ploy to make me out to be an excessively aggressive hater of sorts.
Why try and talk with someone if they are only going to change the subject and try and dismiss everything you said but going on the attack directly or indirectly in an attempt to discredit you and in turn promote "your side"

I have no doubt many people around here have made it their personal mission to promote Windows 8. Mine ? To discuss it but its hard when you get ignored and told you woke up on the other side of the bed. is that not insulting ?

omg friday cannot come fast enough for me to order this... I may be in the minority, but I love what they have done.

Skin said,
omg friday cannot come fast enough for me to order this... I may be in the minority, but I love what they have done.

I have one copy i grabbed from inTune and i'll be buying 3 more at the 40.00 launch price.. laptop, desktop and media center upgrades incoming.

My 3 biggest gripes (and they arent deal breakers):

1) The hot corner target size is roughly 15 pixels. Then it shows an thumbnail of the app, etc but the hot spot doesnt grow to the size of the thumbnail and stays the same 15 pixels. Most people will be tempted to move and re-center on the larger visual hot spot of the thumbnail but in doing so they will mouse out of the 15 pixel section and the thumbnail will close.

2) Dual monitor setups with the hot corners are incredibly annoying. Again the hot spot is too small and requires WAY too much accuracy with dual monitors and thus reduces overall speed of use. That and the Aero-snap doesnt work for two programs on a single monitor since the shared gutter space isnt treated as an edge anymore.

3) The Start button is gone, big deal. The Start Screen is nice but the start MENU was a nice size. Heck they could've made it even a bit bigger and left me to see the rest of my screen and then had the Start Screen as a central hub place to go. I hate my screen gets covered up to type-launch an app.

AmazingRando said,
My 3 biggest gripes (and they arent deal breakers):

1) The hot corner target size is roughly 15 pixels. Then it shows an thumbnail of the app, etc but the hot spot doesnt grow to the size of the thumbnail and stays the same 15 pixels. Most people will be tempted to move and re-center on the larger visual hot spot of the thumbnail but in doing so they will mouse out of the 15 pixel section and the thumbnail will close.

2) Dual monitor setups with the hot corners are incredibly annoying. Again the hot spot is too small and requires WAY too much accuracy with dual monitors and thus reduces overall speed of use. That and the Aero-snap doesnt work for two programs on a single monitor since the shared gutter space isnt treated as an edge anymore.

3) The Start button is gone, big deal. The Start Screen is nice but the start MENU was a nice size. Heck they could've made it even a bit bigger and left me to see the rest of my screen and then had the Start Screen as a central hub place to go. I hate my screen gets covered up to type-launch an app.

1) Slide arrow up, then the user can click on the full preview.

2) Multi-monitor, you can place the screen arrangement so that you aren't dealing with hot corner issues. Also, there is a good change with a Multi-Monitor setup, you have a keyboard and can hit the Windows Key or hit Win-C for Charms.

3) You act like the Start Menu being smaller was beneficial. It was a popup dialog, that disappeared after you used it. This is fundamentally the same thing as a 'popup' full screen that disappears after you are done using it. (Hit the Windows Key to flip back to what you were doing if you don't move on to a new App.)

These are things that dealing with Windows and having 5 minutes to learn or lookup should resolve for the majority of users.

However, you are correct that some people will fumble along, but they do this today on Windows 7 too. I have watched a well paid Tech flip through clicks after clicks to find a program in the Start Menu, when they could have typed RECOvery and at the O, the Start Menu would have displayed it for them without the 2 minutes of clicking.

There are users that don't realize they can use Paths, and various CLI type commands in the Windows 7 Start Menu Search just by typing.

This is also true on Windows 8, and you can dig through folders faster on the Windows 8 Start Screen to see what is there than you literally can in the Command Prompt or via Windows Explorer. If you start typing, it predicts the path, and shows you what is under it as you go along. Something 99.9% of users have never tried.

The Run command is no longer needed either, as just typing in the command in the Windows 7 Start Menu works the same, just like it also does in Windows 8.

(There are simple and great features that even brilliant and very skilled techs and power users fail to ever notice or use, and don't use the most efficient methods. That is the nature of people and UIs.)

For people that think Windows 8 isn't for a keyboard, try these simple things on it:

Hit Windows Key, start typing: cmd press enter

Hit Windows Key, start typing: c:\users\
(notice a list of all the user folders, which you can continue to type or arrow down and hit enter)

Hit Win-F, type: kind:music green
(If you are a green day fan, you will get a list of all their music, and you won't get other files that have the word green in them.)

Notice that all the same search syntax of Windows is still there and working, just like in Windows 7 if you used it.

And it does things Windows 7 doesn't, like you can hit the WinKey and type 'Clerks' and arrow down to Netflix or Hulu and look for the Movie without having to open a browser or the App manually.

Since Apps open in less than a second, you can literally look for movies on Netflix, Hulu, Xbox Video and find what you want in a few clicks. This is the stuff that IS NOT POSSIBLE on Windows 7 and previous versions.

Once people actaully give it a chance they will realize that it is better. I already feel i can get things done quicker. It soulds so silly, but it is more connected to the internet. Things are much, much more close at hand now.

i just buy the new AMD FX-8350 Vishera 4.0GHz (4.2GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 125W Eight-Core Desktop Processor MAN this bad boy its fast , this baby is good as sex.

I will agree that there are some things, primarily "under the hood" that makes Windows 8 potentially worthwhile. But that's for someone who has a tablet or a notebook with a touchscreen, not for someone like myself with a desktop and a wide screen monitor. The UI remains to me the biggest failure of the OS, and this is speaking as someone who has used a wide range of UI systems and OSes over the years. For someone like myself, the UI is very counter-intuitive, somewhat conflicted, and often simply infuriating to work with using a keyboard and mouse. And yes, I have tried to work with Windows 8, I loaded the Enterprise evaluation copy, and was back working in Windows 7 soon enough having removed Windows 8 from the drive I installed it on.

Windows 8 is not exactly what I'd call a hybrid OS, it's more like a Tablet OS with PC functions kludged on in order to maintain some kind of normality about it. I cannot imagine myself being able to do work, real work, in the Modern UI, it's eye candy for the most part and I'm not interested in eye candy, I'm interested in usability. And if someone like me who has dealt with the quirkiness of KDE, Gnome, CDE, OS X, NeXT and others can't get comfortable with Microsoft's newest offering, what do you think the average user is going to be doing, besides cursing the names of Gates and Ballmer for what's been provided?

Tal Greywolf said,
I will agree that there are some things, primarily "under the hood" that makes Windows 8 potentially worthwhile. But that's for someone who has a tablet or a notebook with a touchscreen, not for someone like myself with a desktop and a wide screen monitor. The UI remains to me the biggest failure of the OS, and this is speaking as someone who has used a wide range of UI systems and OSes over the years. For someone like myself, the UI is very counter-intuitive, somewhat conflicted, and often simply infuriating to work with using a keyboard and mouse. And yes, I have tried to work with Windows 8, I loaded the Enterprise evaluation copy, and was back working in Windows 7 soon enough having removed Windows 8 from the drive I installed it on.

Windows 8 is not exactly what I'd call a hybrid OS, it's more like a Tablet OS with PC functions kludged on in order to maintain some kind of normality about it. I cannot imagine myself being able to do work, real work, in the Modern UI, it's eye candy for the most part and I'm not interested in eye candy, I'm interested in usability. And if someone like me who has dealt with the quirkiness of KDE, Gnome, CDE, OS X, NeXT and others can't get comfortable with Microsoft's newest offering, what do you think the average user is going to be doing, besides cursing the names of Gates and Ballmer for what's been provided?

The only major difference in desktop mode is not having a start button. Once you pin your commonly used programmes to the start menu, everything is the same as it were. If you need further administrative tasks, right click the left hand corner.

What specific things did you find difficult with the UI in desktop mode?

djpailo said,
..., everything is the same as it were. If you need further administrative tasks, right click the left hand corner.

I think this makes it 1000x better. However I do agree with some admins that trying to hit a scaled down hotcorner in an RDP session using RDP management software sucks.

The only thing that would make the right click better would be the addition of powershell admin command line.

deadonthefloor said,

I think this makes it 1000x better. However I do agree with some admins that trying to hit a scaled down hotcorner in an RDP session using RDP management software sucks.

The only thing that would make the right click better would be the addition of powershell admin command line.

This is why Admins should be a bit smarter than the average user, and know they can use Alt-Home or the other RDP features so they do not have to hit the Corner of a freaking RDP Window.

If I saw an IT person doing this and complaining without having looked up a solution or educated themselves on how to do it properly, I would seriously consider firing them on the spot.

thenetavenger said,

This is why Admins should be a bit smarter than the average user, and know they can use Alt-Home or the other RDP features so they do not have to hit the Corner of a freaking RDP Window.

If I saw an IT person doing this and complaining without having looked up a solution or educated themselves on how to do it properly, I would seriously consider firing them on the spot.


Point is, I'm not an Admin. I'm more of an average user who has to support a wide variety of OSes in the company I'm employed by. This means I'm dealing with Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Window XP x64, Windows 7 along with the occasional Mac or Linux box. My job is not to administer them, it's to keep them running without having the users frustrated over not being able to do their work.

And that's exactly what I expect to happen with Windows 8. We're evaluating it at the company, but the verdict already is a very strong *NO* to migrating to it. Not until the problems with the UI are addressed, as that seems to be everyone's biggest complaint who has been evaluating the OS.

Excellent review! Thoroughly enjoyed reading. Right now I'm running Windows 8 Pro in a VM (three cheers to DreamSpark for my free copy!) to gradually get used to it, but I imagine I'll be taking the plunge and doing a clean upgrade eventually.

I'm loving Windows 8 now some quality apps are starting to be released. The Netflix app alone is pure class, and the new Skype app is very nice too... both really show what can be done on the Metro platform. The desktop and general performance improvements are also must enjoyable, and I find it difficult to go back to Windows 7 now.

TCLN Ryster said,
I'm loving Windows 8 now some quality apps are starting to be released. The Netflix app alone is pure class, and the new Skype app is very nice too... both really show what can be done on the Metro platform. The desktop and general performance improvements are also must enjoyable, and I find it difficult to go back to Windows 7 now.

any other apps i would avoid at all costs ?
how about a twitter app or angry birds app i wouldn't touch with a million foot poll ?

Aida64 app ?
OllyDBG app ?
dbPoweramp app ?
Avidemux app ?
EVGA Precision app ?
UltraIso app ?

What good would Metro do for,

Winamp ?
Office ?
Visual Studio ?
Fireworks ?
Photoshop ?
Perfectdisk ?
Tag&Rename ?
Peerblock ?
uTorrent v2.2.1 ?
Steam ?
Shark's Codec Pack ?
Xpadder ?
Sysinternals Autoruns ?
Axialis IconWorkshop ?
Explorer Suite ?
HD Tune Pro ?
Proccess Monitor ?
Mkvmerge ?
Paragon Alignment Tool ?
Prime95 ?
Ralink Wireless Utility ?
Rockbox Utility ?
UltraEdit ?
Sandboxie ?
WinRar ?
Cuetools ?
Graphstudio ?
LinX ?

get the point yet ?

I'm happy you have a Netflix app lol

The answer to your question is easy and your point provees that you haven't used or given W8 a try. Any one of those apps would benefit from just showing that last file that you opened or showing some process that is running.

You really should give it a try and you will see that it is superior to W7 in almost everyway.

derekaw said,
I just read the Surface/RT Review on The Verge. Their Surface RT review is very very disappointing.

The verge review was written by Joshua Topolsky who is a known Apple fanboy and Microsoft hater. He is truly a piece of garbage. He is very biased and so his crony Nilay Patel.

derekaw said,
I just read the Surface/RT Review on The Verge. Their Surface RT review is very very disappointing.

You were reading the verge. serves you right.
That animated gif of them breaking the kickstand made me cry.

deadonthefloor said,

You were reading the verge. serves you right.
That animated gif of them breaking the kickstand made me cry.

I have read other reviews that were not better. Honestly I don't see why the Surface exists. MS had 10 years to get this right and they missed the mark.

bigempty said,

The verge review was written by Joshua Topolsky who is a known Apple fanboy and Microsoft hater. He is truly a piece of garbage. He is very biased and so his crony Nilay Patel.

Rage much?

derekaw said,
I just read the Surface/RT Review on The Verge. Their Surface RT review is very very disappointing.

The review at Anandtech is quite positive.

bigempty said,

The verge review was written by Joshua Topolsky who is a known Apple fanboy and Microsoft hater. He is truly a piece of garbage. He is very biased and so his crony Nilay Patel.

So, how can you make sure this article's reviewer is not biased? What can you defend if I say Brad Sams is Microsoft fanboy?

Tuanese said,
So, how can you make sure this article's reviewer is not biased? What can you defend if I say Brad Sams is Microsoft fanboy?

His twitter feed.

Tuanese said,

So, how can you make sure this article's reviewer is not biased? What can you defend if I say Brad Sams is Microsoft fanboy?

Review their professional credentials and their body of work.

People that spend years writing about Apple, and working for companies that were focused on Apple, and continue to paint Apple products in a better light than the average review is about as much of a 'hint' as you are ever going to get.

Currently building a new PC and by the time its finished (which will be soon) I will be ready to install Windows 8 on it .. I can hardly wait any longer
Nice review!

I have found with AHCI enabled now for my SATA drives (and Windows 8 on an SSD), boot time is unbelievably fast. Under 10 seconds now, and it seems like it's gotten faster in the last two weeks. It's like I'm coming out of hibernation, but not!

Win8 is real good. I get between 8-12 more fps in games and iz3D is virtually lag free on skyward sword. Beautiful!

I don't really understand the charms bar. I have never used it other than to shutdown and that is only when I forgot to do alt-F4

djpailo said,
I don't really understand the charms bar. I have never used it other than to shutdown and that is only when I forgot to do alt-F4

The charms bar only really becomes useful when using Metro apps. It's pretty useless if you're at the desktop all the time. However in Metro, it's how you print, it's how you share data between apps, it's how you adjust settings in your apps, etc. All from a single place, which can really help to reduce confusion and ensure consistency across apps.

djpailo said,
I don't really understand the charms bar. I have never used it other than to shutdown and that is only when I forgot to do alt-F4

As the previous post notes, there are a lot of things it does for Metro Apps.

It is also how you search while inside a Metro Application, as the Share/Search/Settings/Devices are context sensitive to the Metro App itself.

This is why Devices only will show something like 'Second Screen' in Apps that do not have support for Printing or other 'Devices'. In the Metro IE10, a list of printers appear along with the 'Second Screen' and other device options.

If you are using Metro Apps for anything, you need to be using the charms bar for searching, settings and accessing things like printers.

The 'Start Button' on the Charms bar is one of the few features in Windows 8, that is mainly there for Tablet users, for when they swipe open the charms bar and hit it to flip to the Start Screen, since there isn't a Windows Key on a tablet.

I might be mistaken, but I don't think Windows to go will help technicians at all. I think it completely prevents access to the installed hard drives. I think Windows to Go is intended to allow a traveler to have Windows isntalled on a USB drive and be able to "borrow" the CPU, memory and internet access from any available computer with a USB drive.

mfinn999 said,
I might be mistaken, but I don't think Windows to go will help technicians at all. I think it completely prevents access to the installed hard drives. I think Windows to Go is intended to allow a traveler to have Windows isntalled on a USB drive and be able to "borrow" the CPU, memory and internet access from any available computer with a USB drive.

The more important thing to note, is that needing a 'bootable' version of Windows on a USB drive to remove malware or do maintenance is a thing Windows techs haven't needed to do for nearly six years now.

Windows Vista/7 boot to a workable PE that is no longer just an emulated interface, and it is available at Start up even if you don't have a bootable DVD or USB stick.

Windows 8 takes this a step further with the fill Windows 8 Environment isolated, and it isn't even limited to the Windows 7 PE restrictions.

So if people are needing to 'work' on a Windows installation, the tools are already built in, making whether you can gain local HD access from Windows to Go irrelevant.

Very nice article, well done.

My op is that Windows 8 on a tablet is brilliant even an old tablet laptop, keyboard and mouse work well although I have to use a pen with the screen it still works well. The feel of it is like a grown up version of windows phone which I have had for about 2 years so the interface came more naturally then I would suspect to a new user.

But the big test is corporate/desktop environment which at the moment I am still on windows 7 and with IE10 coming out for Win7 I don't see me moving to Win8 any time soon.

PS - On win8 enterprise I have installed one of the many programs to bring back the start button, but I find myself using this less and less as I get to grips with the Modern UI.

SpyderCanopus said,
Why does it look like you have Aero on the System Properties image?

Aero, or glass? Because Aero is still there in Windows 8. Glass is what's gone.

Anyway, there's no glass effect there. What you might be noticing is the way Windows 8 will match the color of your taskbar/windows to the color of your wallpaper. If it's overwhelmingly blue, so too are the OS elements.

First time ever though that I am not using the latest Windows version. While it has its pros, I still can't find enjoying having to use the full screen apps forcefully by the OS to do certain tasks, it baffles me why they would force me to. I want more, not less choices.

In two years, there wont be any desktop, the full screen apps is the thing you will see. Are you still sad about DOS deprecated?

Mike Depo said,
In two years, there wont be any desktop, the full screen apps is the thing you will see. Are you still sad about DOS deprecated?

In two years there will still be a desktop, and if I still don't enjoy the lack of productivity or annoyances with full screen apps I'll simply search for an OS where I don't have to deal with it.

Mike Depo said,
In two years, there wont be any desktop, the full screen apps is the thing you will see. Are you still sad about DOS deprecated?

It's funny you say that since DOS was full screen apps too. So you're saying the future of Windows is the 80s?

As I've mentioned in an earlier article, I am well aware that Windows RT does not execute x86 applications. However, I am trying to figure out as to whether or not the Microsoft Surface and other RT devices are capable of running Notepad, MS Paint, a command prompt to execute batch scripts, and ARM-compiled desktop applications from another online source. If the command prompt still exists in Desktop Mode in Windows RT alone, prepare to take my money, Microsoft! The new Windows alone is growing on me and I'm starting to realize its potential. Excellent detailed review, as well!

I wondered from the very beginning whether there'd be some sort of 'jail-break' to allow installing ARM-based desktop applications, but it isn't a conversation anyone seems to be having.

For myself, I'm wondering if/when we'll see metro VM clients. Bringing a virtualized 'desktop' to ARM could pose some pretty interesting stuff. Tho' I suppose remote desktop apps are more likely to come first.

stvnwst said,
As I've mentioned in an earlier article, I am well aware that Windows RT does not execute x86 applications. However, I am trying to figure out as to whether or not the Microsoft Surface and other RT devices are capable of running Notepad, MS Paint, a command prompt to execute batch scripts, and ARM-compiled desktop applications from another online source. If the command prompt still exists in Desktop Mode in Windows RT alone, prepare to take my money, Microsoft! The new Windows alone is growing on me and I'm starting to realize its potential. Excellent detailed review, as well!

Yes, core applications work on Windows RT, There was a blog entry about it somewhere...

oliver182 said,

Yes, core applications work on Windows RT, There was a blog entry about it somewhere...

Oh, excellent! I'm definitely in, then. Thanks for your answer.

The built-in apps like notepad do work on Windows RT but there is no way to install additional ARM apps on the desktop. For example, you couldn't install an ARM build of Sublime Text 2 unless they made a Windows Store version. (There are a few built-in apps that are not present on Windows RT, like Windows Media Player, but the bulk of them are there.)

Joshie said,
I wondered from the very beginning whether there'd be some sort of 'jail-break' to allow installing ARM-based desktop applications, but it isn't a conversation anyone seems to be having.

For myself, I'm wondering if/when we'll see metro VM clients. Bringing a virtualized 'desktop' to ARM could pose some pretty interesting stuff. Tho' I suppose remote desktop apps are more likely to come first.

No windows media player though. so you are stuck with the xbox music and video players, which are lacking for users with huge collections.

remixedcat said,

No windows media player though. so you are stuck with the xbox music and video players, which are lacking for users with huge collections.


*shrug* Google Music.

Joshie said,

*shrug* Google Music.

No they want 'easier', not more convoluted and poorly implemented.

Seriously, comparing Google Music to Xbox Music is a knee slapper. (Streaming, Cloud Sync, Sharing, and on and on and on.)

thenetavenger said,

No they want 'easier', not more convoluted and poorly implemented.

Seriously, comparing Google Music to Xbox Music is a knee slapper. (Streaming, Cloud Sync, Sharing, and on and on and on.)


Hey now, I like the Xbox Music UX and all, but the issue was just users with large collections. If all someone wants is a place to dump thousands of songs with a WMP-style view of lists by title, album, artist, and custom playlists, Google Music at least manages to do that.

I don't think GM is perfect, but I also don't think it's especially complicated when you compare it to, say, Amazon.

Thanks for this review. After (much time) reading this, my decision has been solidified to not get Windows 8 for a desktop PC. Tablet, phone, and all that is fine, it looks nice there, but it just doesn't work on a desktop, for me. Appreciate the unbiased article, helped me come to a solid decision.

Perfect72 said,
Thanks for this review. After (much time) reading this, my decision has been solidified to not get Windows 8 for a desktop PC. Tablet, phone, and all that is fine, it looks nice there, but it just doesn't work on a desktop, for me. Appreciate the unbiased article, helped me come to a solid decision.

A review helped your decision? So you haven't used it on a desktop, or at best given it a chance on a desktop?

A lot of people are finding they were mistaken about Windows 8 on the desktop, and if nothing else, give it a chance at some point when you have the time/luxury.

Just missing out on the new Windows Apps is a hit that I have already found to be annoying when moving back to Windows 7 on a test machine.

thenetavenger said,

A review helped your decision? So you haven't used it on a desktop, or at best given it a chance on a desktop?

A lot of people are finding they were mistaken about Windows 8 on the desktop, and if nothing else, give it a chance at some point when you have the time/luxury.

Just missing out on the new Windows Apps is a hit that I have already found to be annoying when moving back to Windows 7 on a test machine.

Why, in the SmartGlass article, and now this one, you say something about my decisions?

I am 100% fine and happy with Windows 7. 8 has nothing I need anymore than what I use a desktop for with Windows 7. Why would I spend money to upgrade, when I am completely overly-content with Win7?

Get off my back, I am not a Window 8 fanboy such as yourself, is that an issue?

Good review.

Should've mentioned the new Task Manager which is absolutely indispensable at finding which applications are hitting the disk or network.

In addition, should be noted that the File History replaces volume shadow copies of your personal files, since VSC for personal files has been deprecated. It's strictly used for system files. File History is closer to Time Machine than VSC as it makes full copies based on what files were changed, instead of making differential block-level copies as VSC does.

Denis W said,
Good review.

Should've mentioned the new Task Manager which is absolutely indispensable at finding which applications are hitting the disk or network.

In addition, should be noted that the File History replaces volume shadow copies of your personal files, since VSC for personal files has been deprecated. It's strictly used for system files. File History is closer to Time Machine than VSC as it makes full copies based on what files were changed, instead of making differential block-level copies as VSC does.

I think the Task Manager is mentioned. Also side note "Resource Monitor" that is available on the Performance Tab of Task Manager is also available in Windows 7 to track down which processes are hitting the CPU, RAM, DISK, Network.

I do agree that having Win8's Task Manager cleanly displaying this information is rather nice and handy, and far for user friendly.

Thanks Brad, great review and it sounds like any little issues that win8 might have for some are easily correctable or learned. It seems as though MS is taking so much criticism lately for everything there doing. I mean I read a review on the Surface at the Verge where a supposed tech guy complained about not being able to use the kickstand in bed!!! And reading on a 16x0 screen well you can forget about that,,,,stupid comments. What a dbag. I don't understand where all the hate comes from but its pretty rampant by now. And if you need a start button that bad and your a tech guy your lame as well.

patseguin said,
Nice review, and I love Windows 8 (at home). Pretty much a disaster at work. :-(

Wow, and so far out of 5,000 users in our first trial run, 99% of them prefer it over Windows 7.

Of course we did the 5 minute training thing of "The Start Menu is Full Screen" and here is how the Corners and gestures work, and here some keyboard shortcuts.

(You know the heavy hitting training that is needed, taking up almost the full 5 minutes when users have questions.)

I'm running Windows 7 on a 2011 McBook Pro (Boot Camp) and just timed Photoshop CS6 launching and it took 32 seconds. Do you think maybe something is wrong with my computer?

I'm hoping I can wipe everything and do a clean Windows 8 install without having any driver issues since Apple wants to install all their janky stuff.

Enron said,
I'm running Windows 7 on a 2011 McBook Pro (Boot Camp) and just timed Photoshop CS6 launching and it took 32 seconds. Do you think maybe something is wrong with my computer?

I'm hoping I can wipe everything and do a clean Windows 8 install without having any driver issues since Apple wants to install all their janky stuff.

You are on the right track to use as little of Boot Camp as possible. However, with Apples EFI control, you need Windows to also bypass/overwrite the EFI to be optimal for Windows and not the 'reduced' speed settings that Boot Camp locks in.

Apple hardware is also not as strong as what Apple wants it users to believe. When system 'integration' is not properly 'paired/tuned' even high end components run slowly when improperly paired with cheaper chipsets/controllers/etc.

Apple puts in nice CPUs, but often gives users a rather low end GPU. And CS6 on Windows likes to use the GPU, beyond just on screen acceleration and drawing.

Macs are Macs, users can't buy them and expect them to be also sexy 'Windows PCs', as Apple does not want and will not let Windows run optimally.

Even with that said, Apple hasn't been able to close off the differences completely, as there are still circumstances with games and even products like Adobe CS6 applications that will 'still' run faster un Windows x64 than on OS X on the same MacBook.

Good luck and do some research to bypass and undo the Apple constraints for running Windows.

Just a correction, there's no "long press" involved in rearranging tiles. You can just yank a tile straight up/down out of the grid. Rearranging tiles is nicer if you know this,

Also, personally with mouse I prefer using the scrollbar to "click and drag" (an awkward motion with a mouse). The scrollbar has the advantage of allowing you to jump directly to any part of the page/document faster than clicking and dragging on the surface would.

This person speaks the truth. After you get the hang of the up/down drag in thirty seconds or so it's insanely fast. You can also zoom out and rearrange entire groups of tiles with similar ease.

TravisSpomer said,
This person speaks the truth. After you get the hang of the up/down drag in thirty seconds or so it's insanely fast. You can also zoom out and rearrange entire groups of tiles with similar ease.

Although I do still agree it's annoying there's no way to move multiple tiles at once. (you can move a group at once, but then how do you get the tiles into the group to begin with?)

contextfree said,

Although I do still agree it's annoying there's no way to move multiple tiles at once. (you can move a group at once, but then how do you get the tiles into the group to begin with?)

Considering how fast you can move tiles and how 'infrequent' you need to move them around, this is not an issue.

If you are talking about newly installed Apps, they are dropped into a 'new group' that you can drag to the areas you need to shuffle tiles out of the group to where you want them, without having to scroll from the far right to the far left 10 times for 10 new apps, instead bring the group once, and then shuffle the tiles onscreen as needed.

contextfree said,
Just a correction, there's no "long press" involved in rearranging tiles. You can just yank a tile straight up/down out of the grid. Rearranging tiles is nicer if you know this,

Also, personally with mouse I prefer using the scrollbar to "click and drag" (an awkward motion with a mouse). The scrollbar has the advantage of allowing you to jump directly to any part of the page/document faster than clicking and dragging on the surface would.

I find it strange that the author had trouble with 'hitting' the Start Screen corner. It sounds like they are hovering and waiting for the Start Menu preview to appear and trying to click on it, which doesn't work so well.

(EVERYONE - just move to the lower left corner and click, you do NOT and should NOT wait for the Start Screen preview to pop up and then attempt to click on it.)

There is also not enough attention on the swiping gestures used by the Mouse, and the Author seems to miss this based on their description of fast app switching.

If you wan the list of running Apps to appear immediately, move mouse to upper left corner and swipe/slide mouse down. This opens up the entire list of Running App and not just the 'last App' used. (This also works from the bottom left corner and swiping/sliding up.)

The same is true of the Charms Bar, move your mouse to either the top or bottom Right Corner of the screen and swipe/slide it up or down to get the Charms bar to instantly appear, with no clicking or waiting.

There are also simple Right Click/Menu Key tricks that are handy for mouse and keyboard users. Using the Menu key, a keyboard user can navigate the OS and rely on the mouse far less than previous versions.

There is also moving your mouse to the lower left corner and right clicking, which is the 'power user' menu of things like Device Manger, Control Panel, Task manager, Run, Search, etc etc...


There are so many little simple things that are not immediately obvious, but make Windows 8 so simple, fast and smooth one users notice them.

thenetavenger said,

Considering how fast you can move tiles and how 'infrequent' you need to move them around, this is not an issue.

Maybe for you, but I find myself wanting to rearrange my tiles fairly often (if I want to make a group for a certain project I'm working on, for example). Besides, if there were a general convention for multiple drag & drop / rearrange in the system, it would make the whole system more powerful. (I'm happy to see that a lot of apps recently added support for desktop-like Shift-Click mouse actions for multiple selection, btw, though unfortunately it doesn't work in the start screen).

FalseAgent said,
i'm actually blown away by the fact that photoshop cs6 launches 2x faster on windows 8!

I can confirm that, All my Adobe applications and 3D applications launch and runs faster on WIndows 8

simrat said,

I can confirm that, All my Adobe applications and 3D applications launch and runs faster on WIndows 8

Windows 8 has been a beast at launching apps in general.

FalseAgent said,
i'm actually blown away by the fact that photoshop cs6 launches 2x faster on windows 8!

Improved caching system, again optimized from Windows 7, just like Windows 7 was optimized from Vista's new 'learning' caching technologies.

Improved memory priority flagging, again optimized from Windows 7, just like Windows 7 was optimized from the new feature in Windows 8.

And the list of optimizations could be quite extensive, yet not something you will have seen ANY tech site having talked about.

Even the GPU changes will improve Application load times, as the OS can use the GPU more often, and even has new liberties of GP-GPU operations on things that didn't get GPU acceleration in Windows 7. So there is a new list of what Windows 8 can and does and will be using the GPU.

With Windows 7, many things were accelerated like Fonts, some GDI, image decompression, vector drawing, rendering, and of course the final composition; however, they were a set/defined set of acceleration.

Windows 8 uses these and 'more' as needed/possible, adding in new sets of image codec compression/decompression that are beyond the inherent image formats that 3D GPUs used in that Windows 7 could use is one example. This is utilizing the more robust GPU scheduling/threading management and incorporating GP-GPU operations where and when possible.


The full time DWM in Windows 8 also moves more legacy application on screen drawing techniques into the composer, not only with acceleration but also in keeping image states alive in the composer when the Window is loading or no longer visible.

(Notice games flip to Start Screen and back to the game instantly, as the Game drawing was only 'slowed' not suspended as Windows 7 does, and it does this without the 20% loss in performance of running Games under the DWM like it did in Windows 7.)

I know it's not the common way to use Win8, but those hot corners are a real pain when using Win8 inside a windowed VM.

Let's not forget that Modern UI may be a blast to use with touch, but the fun turns to pain when you need to work in the Desktop using touch. They tried to aleviate that with Office 2013, but it's still painful considering some item are quite small for fingers...

TruckWEB said,
I know it's not the common way to use Win8, but those hot corners are a real pain when using Win8 inside a windowed VM.

Let's not forget that Modern UI may be a blast to use with touch, but the fun turns to pain when you need to work in the Desktop using touch. They tried to aleviate that with Office 2013, but it's still painful considering some item are quite small for fingers...

This... in a windowed VM the hot corners don't work right.

remixedcat said,

This... in a windowed VM the hot corners don't work right.

Actually, they do if you setup your VM properly.

Here are some suggestions:
1) Turn off the Mouse seamless integration, so that the mouse 'catches' on the corners of the VM Window.
2) Run the VM full screen.
3) If you are ONLY running Apps from the VM, run them on the desktop seamlessly, instead inside the VM desktop.

It is strange to see people still complain, which is where a lot of the 'hate' for Windows 8 navigation came from, as they were only running it in a VM and didn't know how to get the mouse 'gestures' to work properly.

This is really not complicated and if VirtualBox and VMware were 'smarter' we wouldn't be seeing these problems, as they would at the very least increase the hover hit testing timing when moving to the corners of the VM.

Also try swiping 'through' the corner and then back into the Window moving up from the bottom corner area. This should flip out the full 'App/Start Bar' so you can easily click on the Start Screen or other running Apps. Do the same for the Charms bar on the right hand side of the screen. This eliminates the need to hit the 'corner' perfectly, as you can easily click on the opened bar items and not jus the corner.

Bing/Google other VM tricks, tips and fixes that are designed to work with Windows 8. There are a lot of tips and information out there that would help VM users.

And if all else fails, Alt-Home should work in RDP sessions for the Windows Key. (Going from Memory, so if it is not the right combo, Bing/Google it.)

thenetavenger said,

Actually, they do if you setup your VM properly.

Here are some suggestions:
1) Turn off the Mouse seamless integration, so that the mouse 'catches' on the corners of the VM Window.
2) Run the VM full screen.
3) If you are ONLY running Apps from the VM, run them on the desktop seamlessly, instead inside the VM desktop.

It is strange to see people still complain, which is where a lot of the 'hate' for Windows 8 navigation came from, as they were only running it in a VM and didn't know how to get the mouse 'gestures' to work properly.

This is really not complicated and if VirtualBox and VMware were 'smarter' we wouldn't be seeing these problems, as they would at the very least increase the hover hit testing timing when moving to the corners of the VM.

Also try swiping 'through' the corner and then back into the Window moving up from the bottom corner area. This should flip out the full 'App/Start Bar' so you can easily click on the Start Screen or other running Apps. Do the same for the Charms bar on the right hand side of the screen. This eliminates the need to hit the 'corner' perfectly, as you can easily click on the opened bar items and not jus the corner.

Bing/Google other VM tricks, tips and fixes that are designed to work with Windows 8. There are a lot of tips and information out there that would help VM users.

And if all else fails, Alt-Home should work in RDP sessions for the Windows Key. (Going from Memory, so if it is not the right combo, Bing/Google it.)

Ctrl Escape is the easiest key shortcut, I find, for the Win Key!

jimmyfal said,
Lead, follow, stay behind, or get out of the way!

Apple fans have been accused of this mentality so long... funny to see things change...

Well, at least Apple users are still buying "overpriced designer crap", right?

GS:mac

Tuanese said,
Mark my word, WINDOWS 8 WILL FAIL HARD!

About it, where are the guys that protected Vista?. I remember reading a lot of news (on Neowin) about how Vista rules...

Tuanese said,
Mark my word, WINDOWS 8 WILL FAIL HARD!

i'd love to agree with you but i bet it will be considered a success.
simply because they are pandering to the lowest common denominator..
the Mom's and Pop's that re facebooking with grandma etc
and these people probably don't have the attachemnet to many old "ways/features"
and really couldn't care less i think about customization options.
To them it'll be nothing short of ,
Oh wow look no more 1,000 icons on my desktop.. windows 8 is great !!111

Great article! .. really one of the best I've seen for some time!!

My one gripe with Win 8 so far is the *Power Menu* which you get to by taking your mouse to the bottom L/H corner and R/H clicking? ... very nice and easy with a mouse , but there doesn't seem to be a touch-screen equivalent , unless someone knows otherwise?!?

Please share if you do!

After a week's use, the charms bar became natural to me, using the WIN+C key.. as well as the (universal) search feature, using the WIN+Q key. If someone can post a link with all the shortcut keys, it would be a great start for everyone, and then you really don't need the start button

vhaakmat said,
After a week's use, the charms bar became natural to me, using the WIN+C key.. as well as the (universal) search feature, using the WIN+Q key. If someone can post a link with all the shortcut keys, it would be a great start for everyone, and then you really don't need the start button

Google them. Even on this site there are a plethora of them.

vhaakmat said,
After a week's use, the charms bar became natural to me, using the WIN+C key.. as well as the (universal) search feature, using the WIN+Q key. If someone can post a link with all the shortcut keys, it would be a great start for everyone, and then you really don't need the start button

Moving your mouse to either right corner and swiping up or down is also a fast way to get the Charms bar to appear when you are using a mouse.

The swipe/slide gesture also works for running Apps on the left hand corners.

Maybe I will have my techs create a list of all the 'swipe/slide' gestures that make things appear faster than the default hover times.

Very insightful article. Microsoft did err when making a hybrid OS--neither platform is going to be served each of their advantages. Much better, an OS for each platform and then a seamless way to communicate between the two of them. This takes advantage of the strengths of the two platforms and way their way of using an OS.

Neowin said,
It would be a better implementation, in our opinion, if the bottom left corner only switched between the desktop or the new Start screen. Keep it fixed to those two options so consumers know that the bottom left corner will offer a consistent click experience, as it stands right now, it's mixed.
You're thinking in terms of the desktop being the home view of Windows, with the Start Screen acting as a fancier Start Menu, but this is not Microsoft's intent; the Start Screen is the new home view of Windows 8, displacing the desktop from this role. The desktop is now treated like an app, so this hot corner behaviour is unfamiliar but consistent.

Arkose said,
You're thinking in terms of the desktop being the home view of Windows, with the Start Screen acting as a fancier Start Menu, but this is not Microsoft's intent; the Start Screen is the new home view of Windows 8, displacing the desktop from this role. The desktop is now treated like an app, so this hot corner behaviour is unfamiliar but consistent.

Actually if you think of the start screen as the new start menu (which it is), it works exactly the same as in Windows 7 and before. Hit the Windows key or the button/corner to open the start menu/screen; if it's already open, hit the Windows key or the button/corner again to close it returning you to where you were before.

i didn't get through what is the difference between the versions released on AUGUST 1st week and the ones about to release on FRIDAY!!!
can someone bother to explain me please??

sibu said,
i didn't get through what is the difference between the versions released on AUGUST 1st week and the ones about to release on FRIDAY!!!
can someone bother to explain me please??

The RTM build is the same build, they just gave it out earlier to partners and developers as they always do. However, we will probably see them release some patches and updates once the public release is live.

Really like that you broke it up between the two, balanced review covering a lot of things, really nicely done.

Nicely done, makes me re-think putting it on my desktop. Maybe eventually once the driver's become more solid. Thats not saying they arn't. But I think everyone can aggree that its not a good idea to jump in the gate. I have a hard enough time getting my windows 7 to act nicely with all the extra hardware I run.

I look forward to a surface pro with windows 8 as my w500 iconia feels dated with win 8

"if you want a functional Windows 8 tablet in the corporate world, it will need to be a Windows 8 machine" - Really

Not a bad review overall tho and seemed to outline some fair criticisms of win8 until the end score which seemed generous considering all the flaws pointed out.

Wouldn't have wanted to be the guy who got assigned this review, given the general reaction in the community to Windows 8, but this was surprisingly balanced. Great work Brad

-------

As someone who hasn't yet tried Windows 8 with any real effort (I installed the developer preview in a VM), I'm still concerned about the whole hotspots thing. I think the idea of having invisible parts of a screen that perform functionality is quite contrary to good usability guidelines. This, and only this, is the reason why I think the Start button should be included in the desktop experience in some form. Even if the button is simply there to make all the start screen and charms bar appear.

I got to point out that the difference between the boot times is because Windows 8 doesn't do a normal shutdown. It puts the computer in some sort of hibernation. See it for yourself: the next time you boot the computer after a W8 regular shutdown, check the OS's uptime, and it will be higher than the current uptime you think it has.

Setnom said,
I got to point out that the difference between the boot times is because Windows 8 doesn't do a normal shutdown. It puts the computer in some sort of hibernation. See it for yourself: the next time you boot the computer after a W8 regular shutdown, check the OS's uptime, and it will be higher than the current uptime you think it has.

Don'y you start about the "it's only hibernation" crap, go read about it on the Windows 8 blog.

How else do you explain the uptime differences, then? I also noted that the boot time was higher when doing a restart. When doing a boot after a shutdown, it was quicker.

Setnom said,
How else do you explain the uptime differences, then? I also noted that the boot time was higher when doing a restart. When doing a boot after a shutdown, it was quicker.

well, just put out the battery of your laptop (or unplug your desktop) and test it yourself... in SSD W8 boots to the lock screen in less of 10 seconds!

Setnom said,
How else do you explain the uptime differences, then? I also noted that the boot time was higher when doing a restart. When doing a boot after a shutdown, it was quicker.

As suggested, just go read the MS blog on this because i can't be bothered with people like you. You shouldn't spout this crap when it's all explained and well known already.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/arc...oot-times-in-windows-8.aspx

And if you still think it's just hibernation then simply unplug the power cord from the PC, as hibernation needs power to work. You will see that on boot up Win 8 is still just as fast. And yes Win 8 shutdown does sort of work in a similar way to hibernation but it's a lot more than that and works without any power to the system.

Edited by NoClipMode, Oct 24 2012, 2:27pm :

ingramator said,

Don'y you start about the "it's only hibernation" crap, go read about it on the Windows 8 blog.


Well, it's logoff + hibernation...

That was an interesting test. Like WinRT and NoClipMode suggested, I removed the battery from my W8 laptop.

On booting the laptop to make the test, I checked the uptime of the OS: 30 days and 23 hours and 46-47 minutes (give or take).

Then, I shutdown the laptop, removed the battery, plugged it back in, started the computer again. Checked the uptime of the OS once again, still 30 days, 23 hours and 47 minutes.

From the link NoClipMode posted:

Now here's the key difference for Windows 8: as in Windows 7, we close the user sessions, but instead of closing the kernel session, we hibernate it. Compared to a full hibernate, which includes a lot of memory pages in use by apps, session 0 hibernation data is much smaller, which takes substantially less time to write to disk. If you're not familiar with hibernation, we're effectively saving the system state and memory contents to a file on disk (hiberfil.sys) and then reading that back in on resume and restoring contents back to memory. Using this technique with boot gives us a significant advantage for boot times, since reading the hiberfile in and reinitializing drivers is much faster on most systems (30-70% faster on most systems we've tested).

It's faster because resuming the hibernated system session is comparatively less work than doing a full system initialization, but it's also faster because we added a new multi-phase resume capability, which is able to use all of the cores in a multi-core system in parallel, to split the work of reading from the hiberfile and decompressing the contents. For those of you who prefer hibernating, this also results in faster resumes from hibernate as well.

So it IS in fact some sort of hibernation. It's not a regular shutdown like in previous versions of Windows.

Setnom said,
So it IS in fact some sort of hibernation. It's not a regular shutdown like in previous versions of Windows.
Yes it is logoff + hibernate but why does this matter? You turn on the computer and it's in a usable state quicker...the user doesn't care WHY it's quicker or if the OS is "cheating" by doing less. If it's doing less then that's a good thing as it's not doing unnecessary stuff (it's called optimization).

ps. hibernate has never required power, it saves state to disk and powers off, unlike suspend, which keeps state in memory.

mog0 said,
Yes it is logoff + hibernate but why does this matter?

I find it interesting because it better explains the differences between the shutdown times and provides more information. I understand the "normal user" doesn't care, but I myself am curious on the workings of these functions and therefore wish for more people to know it too.

NoClipMode said,

And if you still think it's just hibernation then simply unplug the power cord from the PC, as hibernation needs power to work.

Hibernation has always worked even if you pulled the power. It saves the current state your HDD which is non-volatile. Sleep saves it to RAM and will not persist through power cycling.

Its in the very article you posted

Hibernate is also a good option for this since it similarly has no power draw, and many people really like it.

Our solution is a new fast startup mode which is a hybrid of traditional cold boot and resuming from **hibernate**.

Now here's the key difference for Windows 8: as in Windows 7, we close the user sessions, but instead of closing the kernel session, we **hibernate** it. Compared to a full hibernate, which includes a lot of memory pages in use by apps, session 0 hibernation data is much smaller, which takes substantially less time to write to disk.

Did you even READ the article?

Setnom said,
From the link NoClipMode posted:

So it IS in fact some sort of hibernation. It's not a regular shutdown like in previous versions of Windows.

Let's make this easy...

Hibernation is a powerless state that seamlessly leaves the user logged in, and all content, applications and work in its current state.

The fast boot of Windows 8 is accomplished in two ways. But to make it easy to understand, it is essentially a 'no-change' state boot, so when the system is booted this 'state' is preserved before user interaction

When the system is shutdown and turned back on, this 'clean boot state' is restored, giving Windows 8 nearly instant boot times. (The boot times provided above are not using fast boot.)

Fast boot only works if the user has shutdown the PC, and not a 'restart' and it only works if there have been no updates, driver changes, or hardware changes. It also only works if Windows 8 is set as the default boot OS. So if you are dual booting Windows 7 and Windows 8, with Win7 set as the default boot OS, fast boot doesn't happen.

So hitting restart and measuring the 'boot time' will be the normal non-fast boot time. During the monthly Microsoft update patches, the subsequent boot will not be fast boot.

Windows 8 has other new mechanism that depending on the hardware can boot faster than Windows 7, this has to do with EFI vs BIOS, legacy hardware, etc. (Again not reflected in the tests in the charts above.)

As for it being 'hibernation', no it technically is not, as it uses a different load method than hibernate, as it doesn't use ACPI states, nor does it have to deal with extensive reinitialization and syncing that happens when returning from hibernation.

However, for 99.99% of the users out there, they should be using Sleep and Hibernate and NOT FREAKING shutting down their PC. This is why hibernate and 'powerless' suspend technology exists, so that people do not have to restart or wait for a computer to boot up.

Since the timeframe of Windows XP, people 'shutting' down their PCs is a waste of time, when they could be using the OS level hibernate which is also a full power off state. With Windows 7 and newer variations of hibernate and sleep and hybrid modes, use the OS power states, and stop thinking about powering off your computer, and let Windows handle it for you. If you are a control freak or want to be sure things are off, set the Power options so that the power button initiates hibernate. The stability of Windows Vista/7/8 is to the level that it can literally run for years if needed with a 'refresh' or restart, this is not Win9x and it is not even XP that had driver stability issues.

The reason Microsoft put work into Fast Boot is for Tablets, and when users encounter a situation where they didn't hibernate and still need the device to turn on as fast as possible. The same variation of technology is in Windows Phone 7. (Notice that WP7 boots faster than Android or iOS, and is a full clean boot state.)

So no it is not hibernate, but borrows loading the 'state' from the HD like hibernate does.

nub said,

Hibernation has always worked even if you pulled the power. It saves the current state your HDD which is non-volatile. Sleep saves it to RAM and will not persist through power cycling.

Its in the very article you posted

Did you even READ the article?

This is true about hibernate as it is a powerless suspend state.

However, what users are noticing on notebooks comes from a couple of thing, with the newer ACPI feaures.

1) Some MFRs use laptop battery to maintain a low power pulse, even when it is turned off. This also happens when the system is shut off, and is not related to hibernate. There are notebooks that have Remotes that turn them on, and other low power features depending on the MFR and what technology is in the notebook.

2) The other way power can be consumed, is Windows can use ACPI features so that scheduled tasks can 'wake up' even a fully hibernated system. There is nothing scheduled in a default install; however, a user messing the task scheduler or 3rd party software can request to wake up the computer. (Again this is handled in the low power pulse, which is why hibernate will consume a tiny amount of battery if left hibernated for a several weeks and there is a battery/power source. If there is no battery or power source, the low power pulse doesn't happen, and the ACPI wakeup states will not fire.)

So between these two things, users get confused.

There is also Hybrid Sleep on Windows, which is a sleep/hibernate state, that will hibernate the system, but put it in Sleep mode for a short amount of time in case the user needs instant resume, and if they don't it will seamlessly fully power off after a few minutes. (This is less used in default settings by MFRs, as it also confused users.)

It is sometimes just easier to teach people basic suspend states.

Sleep = Low Power, but running

Hibernate = No Power, not running - (This is what people need to be using instead of doing a Shut Down)

On Windows 7 and Windows 8 with a modern Desktop or Notebook, Sleep wakes up instantly, and Hibernate wakes up in a few seconds.

Setnom said,
How else do you explain the uptime differences, then? I also noted that the boot time was higher when doing a restart. When doing a boot after a shutdown, it was quicker.

Uptime differences can be explained another way.

It either crashes less - or mostly *not at all*.

Yes - Windows 8 does have that hybrid sleep/hibernate mode (which, unlike the predecessor sleep and hibernate modes in Windows 7, has far fewer issues with motherboards or desktops with quirky implementations of sleep or hibernate; my P5G41M-LX2 is one of them), but lack of crashes is, at least to me, a better uptime indicator. In my experience, I can push Windows 8 harder before it starts acting ugly compared to Windows 7 (same applications/games/hardware) - that alone makes it worth upgrading to.

First off, whenever you shut down Windows 8 it does indeed go into a sort of hibernated state, But as others have pointed out, it is not your typical hibernation. Basically, Microsoft found that it is quicker to load services in their fully functional state than it is to get Windows to reload all services from scratch. This basically means that when Windows gets shut down, only the operating system and services are put into hibernation. This means that the next time that you boot Windows 8, the operating system and services are just piled back into the RAM in their previous state, while everything else boots as normal.

The only time that Windows 8 truly shuts down is when you tell Windows to reboot. This is because reboot is commonly used, in most cases, to reload components in order to apply changes, or because something is misbehaving. In this instance, loading services and the operating system in the state that it was currently in would not be acceptable, due to the fact that everything must be reloaded in order to load in a fully working manor.

PGHammer said,

Uptime differences can be explained another way.

It either crashes less - or mostly *not at all*.

Yes - Windows 8 does have that hybrid sleep/hibernate mode (which, unlike the predecessor sleep and hibernate modes in Windows 7, has far fewer issues with motherboards or desktops with quirky implementations of sleep or hibernate; my P5G41M-LX2 is one of them), but lack of crashes is, at least to me, a better uptime indicator. In my experience, I can push Windows 8 harder before it starts acting ugly compared to Windows 7 (same applications/games/hardware) - that alone makes it worth upgrading to.


Even pushing beta software and drivers, Windows should NEVER start acting ugly.

If this is truly your experience, I would suggest that you review your hardware, as you possibly have an issue and do not realize it.

The stability level of Windows 7 is at a point that flaky hardware or poorly configured hardware is often compensated for so well by the OS, that they don't present themselves easily. From bad RAM, poorly chosen BIOS/EFI settings, to even silly things like a bad SATA cable bent too sharply.

Start with the event log and see where the failure is occurring and what is happening at that point.

Windows 7 is sitting on top of a new network, sound, video stack and also uses a more evolved isolated general device driver stack. This combined with the PAC technology in Windows 7 and its realtime recovery/switching of drivers makes it REALLY hard to bring down.

When you can literally yank out a PCI/E video card while the OS is running (with active DirectX games) and reinsert it without more than a 'recovery' message on the taskbar, even leaving the game states in tact, it is handling driver recovery at a far higher level than any other OS is capable. OS X or Linux, you won't necessarily crash the kernel doing this, but it will dump the GUI layers and dependent applications.

Remember that the same binaries that are running on x64 of Windows 7 are the SAME binaries that are running Windows Server 2008 R2. The only fundamental difference is the registry based licensing and identity of the OS for what is allowed. Most user mainboards do not support hot swap of RAM, HD, Video - but the OS is capable of handling them if they are available.

Windows Server 2008 R2 is capable of live migration to a HyperV VM to even the Azure NT cloud without restarting, so this is not only a complete hardware change, but even a distributed virtualized hardware change.

Also go look up the PAC technologies in Windows 7 or Windows 8. It is some of the most impressive stability technology ever created, bringing native code software closer to managed level reliability.

The PAC in Win7/8 can catch in realtime bad calls, bad memory references, and even 'correct' them in realtime, so the poorly written 3rd party software goes on to work without causing the user problems.

PAC also uses a monitoring technology, that if a poorly written DRIVER/SERVICE, or process/application/thread fails, it will try to compensate the next time the software is used, as the failure it was able to perceive is added to the system PAC database that is used to correct flaws in 3rd party software. (Which Microsoft also updates from their collection of crashes.)

The PAC in Win7/8 is why a badly written piece of software can start to run right after a few attempts, as the OS continues to compensate and implements new translation methods to correct it.

We run so many things on various levels of hardware, including test systems that are known to have specific issues. If any tech, developer or user is 'having' to restart Windows 7 or Windows 8 for stability, we know something is up with the system, or the developer was writing a very low level driver knowing that it would knock out things like the USB controller driver, etc.

In practice, the only 'restart' or shutdown our systems see, no matter how much they are general use or tech is one a month, when we implement Microsoft updates and also roll out our own updates for various things like newer Video drivers at the same time on several thousand clients.

You are correct that the recovery and PAC technologies in Windows 8 are better than Windows 7, but if you find Windows 7 starting to 'act ugly' or 'flaky' you need to review your hardware as there are probably issues that Windows is compensating for and are not healthy.


The last two 'ugly' 'flaky' systems I personally dealt with were things that were not easy to catch.

One was a bad SATA socket that when used with a specific cable, would tweak the connection enough it was creating crosstalk, and the system would run fine for a week, and then dump with an I/O error as the connection would not recover at the SATA controller hardware level.

The second one was a bad power supply, it was a respected brand name 750watt power supply, but was dumping voltage on one RAIL for a microsecond, and Windows 7 was doing well in recovering these drops, but under load with a drop, often the hardware itself could not recover on the mainboard, and would result in either a crash or 'flaky' behavior as RAM values were changed, etc.

Do not accept anything but 99.99% stability from hardware and Windows 7. The days of restarting and needing to reboot are long gone.

NoClipMode said,

As suggested, just go read the MS blog on this because i can't be bothered with people like you. You shouldn't spout this crap when it's all explained and well known already.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/arc...oot-times-in-windows-8.aspx

And if you still think it's just hibernation then simply unplug the power cord from the PC, as hibernation needs power to work. You will see that on boot up Win 8 is still just as fast. And yes Win 8 shutdown does sort of work in a similar way to hibernation but it's a lot more than that and works without any power to the system.

Hibernation does NOT need power to work. Hibernation is ACPI state S4 or Suspend to disk. S3 on the other hand allows pretty much everything to shut down, but the PSU still provides power to RAM thus if you unplug the power card you lose the state.

Nice piece Brad and good how you kept it neutral, with arguments for and against certain areas of the OS! Unlike others who say "BRINGZ BAK DA START BUTON"

ingramator said,
Nice piece Brad and good how you kept it neutral, with arguments for and against certain areas of the OS! Unlike others who say "BRINGZ BAK DA START BUTON"

load of bull.
I've seen that a couple times 99% of the time i see advanced / experienced computers users leaving explicit comments as to why they don't like win 8.

your point is a complete load of crap and so are the random people clicking like.

I am Not PCyr said,

load of bull.
I've seen that a couple times 99% of the time i see advanced / experienced computers users leaving explicit comments as to why they don't like win 8.

your point is a complete load of crap and so are the random people clicking like.


It would appear you need to get up on the other side of the bed. . .

dangel said,

I wonder why he doesn't get likes..

i also never get any intelligent replies so whats your point ?
i get the classic obligatory neowin unrelated to the story snotty one liners.

perfect technique for having nothing to say in response to someone
quickly change the subject and attack them.. popular but not very innovative lol