Windows 8/8.1 - Positive experiences, tips, and what would you have added?


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techbeck

I posted this in another thread, but that one appears to be dead....

 

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TPreston

Some tips for Xbox Music and Video.

If you want to store your files on a server it needs to be running windows or windows server (with the indexing feature enabled and the drive added to the indexing options on the server)

Don't add mapped network drive to the music library (doh) add the full \\\myserver\media

There's no option to rebuild the database but you can uninstall/reinstall as a workaround

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Dot Matrix

Well, who here has updated to Windows 8.1? What are your thoughts, first impressions, etc.?

Personally, this is the update Windows 8 deserves. A great addition to a solid base set with RTM.

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  • 2 weeks later...
moeburn

What would I have added to Windows 8?  I would have added everything they took away that Windows 7 had. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
startscreennope

I've already posted to this before, but here is what I would have added to Windows 8.1, in addition to boot to desktop and the option to disable edge shortcuts:

10 Things MS can improve on with Windows 8.1

 

See, I've listed exactly which pieces of functionality I'd like to see return, and it doesn't involve "bring back the start menu". These are concrete features that can be added without removing the Start Screen or disrupting what MS is trying to do with their unified UI approach.

 

This is a far cry from posters here and elsewhere who will simply insult and dismiss you for refusing to use Windows 8 for its lack of functionality.

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Richard C.

Personally I don't miss Aero, I like the new desktop skin, it's simple and effective and doesn't need much customisation,while not looking as horrible as Aero Basic. (I cannot stand transparency, while it looks nice it adds nothing functional to the OS). I agree that Modern Mix is better than the start screen, since I have anything from 20 - 50 windows open at any one time. 

 

Otherwise I've found the windows 8 experience positive, the desktop is fast and snappy, the OS pretty much worked out of the box (apart from drivers for my graphics card, I had far less to install than I did with Windows 7 / XP to get the system working.) The lock screen can be configured to vanish if you press ctrl+alt+del, making it a more attractive & more functional version of the Welcome screen in Windows 7. 

 

Using an Ethernet connection I've had no need at all to change anything in the networking dialog, however I found it no different to the one in Windows 7 unless I clicked on the taskbar icon for network connections, an icon that can stll be disabled. 

 

I have the windows 8 pro 64bit OS, so I was thrilled to find that many of the older apps and games I have still work fine, some apps I had (for example version 1.0 of Dance E-jay and the software for programming Lego robotics, (both programs designed for Windows 95) which didn't run at all under XP 64 work perfectly fine now. 

 

The only modification I've made to Windows 8 is to install startisback for $3. Configured to still allow access to the start screen with a different hotkey (ctrl + winkey) it seems to meet most my needs. 

 

In summary Windows 8 has made some great improvements to the classic desktop, including the new non transparent UI, the ribbon explorer is neat, and I like how I can set the theme to change colour automatically when the picture changes. (I have the 30 minute slideshow mode enabled). Backwards compatibility is impressive for a 64bit system and the system is refreshingly snappy. My computer feels like I've made a hardware upgrade rather than just an OS upgrade comparing desktop performance from Windows 7 to Windows 8. 

 

I've yet to try 8.1 but I'm hoping most of what I've said here is still true.

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+therealDamien

I would of liked it if. they would of just used everything from windows 7 and add then a modern apps section to it along with the enhancements and tweaks they made.

 

like how windows 7 has the game section, that way the could keep the start menu, but then alas it wouldnt be cross platform like they want it. 

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+therealDamien

I like the memory usage in windows 8 compared to windows 7.

 

in windows 7 with all my services running at startup and with chrome and steam running, memory usage is close to 4gb

 

in windows 8 and doing the same memory usage is almost 3gb.

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  • 2 weeks later...
+jamesyfx

I'm primarily a Mac user and I recently obtained a laptop with Windows 8 on it, and while at first I had to sit down and think of where everything was (including how to do Windows Update, access the Control Panel and Shut Down / Restart of all things!), 

 

I gotta say I quite like it actually. But it seems to take ages to wake up from sleep compared to the Mac. Is that common?

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Richard C.

Windows has always been slower than Mac at waking from sleep, WIndows 8 is actually faster at it than previous versions, this is one of the few things that will cause a jarring effect going from OSX to Windows, I've often found that using the new hybrid boot option is faster than allowing the computer to go to sleep.

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+jamesyfx

Thanks for the tip! I'll switch to Hybrid Boot on this laptop then. :)

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  • 1 month later...
DConnell

What would I add? I'd give the option to integrate desktop apps into Metro, simulating a Metro version of that application. Effectively, a mini-desktop running a single application, so that each running application shows up in the running apps on the left. Or at the very least, the ability for programs running on the desktop to show up on that list/previews. I'd like Metro to be aware of the programs running on the desktop. I use a mix of desktop and Metro, and a minor annoyance is having to remember if the program is Metro or desktop. It'd be nice to be able to manage both in one location.

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  • 4 weeks later...
zoharzenica

Great Performance out of box. I miss Aero. Installed Start 8, uninstalled all Metro apps (don't visit Metro Screen at all). Life is good :)

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chrisj1968

I would implement during installation, a total system analysis to determine whether a system were touchscreen enabled or not and if not, insert the legacy start menu for those of us who have no touchscreen abilities and needs.

 

8.1 in general is nice, boots fast as heck. my experience is the way I want it. I simply added a 3rd party app, classic shell.

 

my personal opinion is, as long as MS drives windows in the direction it is with regards to win 8/8.1 and they make it possible for 3rd parties to create apps for us legacy users, I think we could find a happy medium as a whole.

 

so in other words, when MS gives you lemons, make lemonade!

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  • 1 month later...
+therealDamien

I just wish other company could keep up and make working drivers..

 

 

I bought a new soundblaster ZxR and it sound great except for midi music when not using windows default midi. 

 

Im using bassmidi driver and Im getting static and skips in midi music.

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Dot Matrix

I would implement during installation, a total system analysis to determine whether a system were touchscreen enabled or not and if not, insert the legacy start menu for those of us who have no touchscreen abilities and needs.

 

8.1 in general is nice, boots fast as heck. my experience is the way I want it. I simply added a 3rd party app, classic shell.

 

my personal opinion is, as long as MS drives windows in the direction it is with regards to win 8/8.1 and they make it possible for 3rd parties to create apps for us legacy users, I think we could find a happy medium as a whole.

 

so in other words, when MS gives you lemons, make lemonade!

 

Why does wveryone want to go back to such a dated UI? How is Microsoft add features to its UI and cling to a 90's era interface at the same time? That just doesn't work.

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chrisj1968

Why does wveryone want to go back to such a dated UI? How is Microsoft add features to its UI and cling to a 90's era interface at the same time? That just doesn't work.

 

Because not everyone is into bells and whistles. We all don't work a certain way. As a Photographer, I need the desktop for my Adobe Photoshop CC subscription. I'm not going to take the same route you are by asking why do people have a problem with a legacy or dated UI when it has worked for a very long time?

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Dot Matrix

Because not everyone is into bells and whistles. We all don't work a certain way. As a Photographer, I need the desktop for my Adobe Photoshop CC subscription. I'm not going to take the same route you are by asking why do people have a problem with a legacy or dated UI when it has worked for a very long time?

There is nothing preventing Adobe from porting over Photoshop to the new API. Having Windows scan your system and install outdated components is a waste of time, energy, and resources. Not only that, it raises support costs, and deters interest in the new environment.

 

Just put it this way: If 20 years ago you heard someone say "Windows should scan my system, and if it doesn't detect a mouse, install a CLI as opposed to the ugly and unintuitive GUI," what would you say?

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Buttus

I installed it on my wife's computer, and it's ok.  I does seem a little faster than my win7 computer, but that might just be that it's a fresh install.  some of the metro apps are nice, but nothing special.

 

I do wish they would put an option in to make the metro app screen scroll up and down, vs left and right.   It's like having to view web pages that only scroll right and left!  it doesn't make any sense for a desktop computer.

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FunkyMike

Has anyone had issues with Printer/Scanner devices on Windows 8.1?

I have tried finding the "right click to scan on this device" option that was present on Windows 7 but 8 seems to have removed this ability.

The metro app didn't pick up my printer/scanner (Canon).

Kind of a shame since I haven't set up the Canon device onto the network and only use it through USB on occasion. Probably my only complaint.

Otherwise 8.1 is a huge improvement over 8 and 7 with my switchable graphics.

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DConnell

I would implement during installation, a total system analysis to determine whether a system were touchscreen enabled or not and if not, insert the legacy start menu for those of us who have no touchscreen abilities and needs.

 

 

I would hope if that were implemented at some point, the decision could be overridden. I never want to see a Start Menu on a computer I own ever again. I'd seriously rather have Program Manager back.

 

At the very least, if Modern were removed from the main 8.x system, I'd hope we'd get a desktop version of the Start Screen. The Menu needs to stay dead.

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PGHammer

Also accept change :D People find it very hard to accept changes !

And there is one thing that the critics seem to have forgotten - like Vista, Windows 8 was targeting the new PC market.  Problem is, how many people are buying new PCs?

 

Guess what - it's actually far fewer than bought new PCs in the Vista era - because the economy has been far worse.

 

Contrariwise, Windows 8 is doing better in the upgrade arena than Vista did (and on par with 7, oddly enough) because the actual hardware requirements (compared to 7) went nowhere.

 

I've been pointing out that my own hardware dates back either to the launch of 7 or earlier.  Here's something else for you to chew on - exactly NONE of my hardware upgrades since the launch of Windows 8 were OS-driven.  (None.  Zero.  Zip.  Nada.  Even if I had stayed put with 7, the upgrades would still have taken place.)  Even the major upgrades left on the plate - CPU and motherboard - not only predate Windows 8 as OS, but are ALSO not OS-driven.  (The upgrades had been planned going back to the first anniversary of Windows 7 - prior to the Windows 8 Developer Preview.  Money - lack of it, that is - is why the upgrades haven't happened yet.  While Windows 8 does take better advantage of certain hardware features - specifically, Second Level Address Translation support via Hyper-V - that is an outlier. (I'm not going to blow smoke up anybody's posterior and say that it's not an outlier - I know better than that.)

 

So, if none of the upgrades - hardware or software - are OS drivers, why upgrade the OS?

 

That's actually the easiest question to answer - better utilization of the hardware AND applications I have now, and better utilization of future hardware and applications down the road.

 

Isn't that, after all, the entire point of changing - either whole-hog or as an upgrade - the OS on your computer in the first place?

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Dot Matrix

Has anyone had issues with Printer/Scanner devices on Windows 8.1?

I have tried finding the "right click to scan on this device" option that was present on Windows 7 but 8 seems to have removed this ability.

The metro app didn't pick up my printer/scanner (Canon).

Kind of a shame since I haven't set up the Canon device onto the network and only use it through USB on occasion. Probably my only complaint.

Otherwise 8.1 is a huge improvement over 8 and 7 with my switchable graphics.

Are the drivers up to date from Canon?

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PGHammer

I would implement during installation, a total system analysis to determine whether a system were touchscreen enabled or not and if not, insert the legacy start menu for those of us who have no touchscreen abilities and needs.

 

8.1 in general is nice, boots fast as heck. my experience is the way I want it. I simply added a 3rd party app, classic shell.

 

my personal opinion is, as long as MS drives windows in the direction it is with regards to win 8/8.1 and they make it possible for 3rd parties to create apps for us legacy users, I think we could find a happy medium as a whole.

 

so in other words, when MS gives you lemons, make lemonade!

chrisj - I don't have a touch screen.  I've only used ONE PC with such a screen (that was running Windows 8) - the HP TouchSmart 310 that I upgraded to 8.1 (from 7).  If you are addicted to the Start menu, that is a user preference - not a StartScreen issue.  I find the StartScreen perfectly usable - not merely without touch support, but even without a mouse.  (On the other hand, how usable is the Start menu - or any of the Start menu bringbacks - without a pointing device of some sort?)

 

By definition, I am the very epitomy of a legacy user - standard desktop formfactor, standard flat-panel SINGLE display, and mostly desktop applications.  Yet I have had no problems whatever adopting the StartScreen as my preference, and especially compared to the Start menu.

 

Not all users of legacy software are "married to their pointing devices".

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chrisj1968

I know I can use it, I just have no desire to use the modern UI much. I'm 99.95% of the time on the desktop. to boot; I installed classic shell to get windows 8.1 as I want it.

 

hey, simply put, use windows 8.1 as it pleases you. My entire point in, not everyone is on board with the new UI. That is the way MS designed it to be. I personally enjoy the same UI I have always used.

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