I have been using Windows 8 now for over a week. I feel that I have got at least a basic understanding of the OS and any issues that people will face when using it for the first time. The first thing to note is that the start button is no longer available. This is something that I personally have come to use all the time. Getting used to using different methods to do the same things takes some getting used to. I am really getting accustomed to using the windows key options these days. Often I unconsciously just go for the start button to open the run command, or to open a newly installed program. Not any more. Now I use the Windows key + R. I still find myself looking for the start button to shut down or restart. Now its Windows key + I. These little things take time to learn. Especially since I have used the start button Since Windows 95. I am finding it a bit annoying at first especially when I am in a hurry, but I am getting along without it. The good news is there are several apps that you can get that add the start button back. Here is a list of some apps like Pokki. Pokki seems to be the one of the best available so far. http://www.extremetech.com/computing/141702-how-to-bring-the-start-menu-and-button-back-to-windows-8
Shutting down and restarting can be an issue if you don’t know where to look. The easiest is still ctrl + alt + del, but you can also use Windows Key + I and click shutdown or restart there. Here is a link to a comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8. http://www.winbeta.org/guides/comprehensive-list-windows-8-keyboard-shortcuts
Searching is a bit easier to use in Windows 8. You access the search menu by pressing the Windows + Q keys. You can search files, folders and apps both locally installed or from the apps store. This is a nice feature and it works well.
Program compatibility has not been much of an issue for me. I did have to upgrade my Adobe Acrobat X, Nero 10, and quickbooks 2012 applications to work with Windows 8. Acrobat had to be upgraded to version XI, Nero 10 had to be upgraded to Nero 12 and Quickbooks 2012 had to be upgraded to QuickBooks 2013 R3. Everything else already worked and had no issues installing or running on Windows 8. I do recommend you check the vendor websites and make sure all programs have the latest updates. QuickBooks 2013 must have R3 patch to work with Windows 8 properly.
IE 10 has a few issues with some website I have visited. I found that most of the issues can be easily solved by simply putting that page into compatibility mode. All issues I had with viewing web pages were easily fixed with that setting. I have had no other issues to report so far with IE 10.
Upgrading from windows 7 is a simple task with Windows 8. I upgraded my laptop and it was very easy and no issues during the upgrade process. In fact it works much like the Mac OS upgrades do. Download the update (4 GB) and run the upgrade program and it will do an in-place upgrade for you. You can also make the Install media on a bootable USB or DVD. Remember to run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant tool first available here http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/upgrade-to-windows-8. This will check for compatibility issues with installed drivers and programs.
I like Windows 8 so far. I was not expecting to be moved by yet another Windows OS release, but I was pleasantly surprised. It is stable, I have had no issues so far that would cause me to go back to Windows 7 on my personal computer. As far as work computers I would not rush out and start trying to upgrade my office computers for a while yet. The start button issue and desktop make it a bit of a learning curve for most Windows users and I think this would be a huge productivity loss for the workplace. I do like the start screen tiles and apps and the desktop mode works just like I expected. I think that Windows 8 will be really useful on the Surface Pro tablet. I think it will shine on the tablets more so than on desktops. I even have it running on my MacBook Air with Parallels and I have no issues to report yet. So, I say if you are getting a new laptop for yourself or your child for christmas, school or any other reason and you want to get it with Windows 8, I don’t see any reason not to do it. If you still want to stay with Windows 7 but would like to upgrade later, don’t worry you can get an upgrade to Windows 8 for $14.99 if you buy a qualified Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013. For more information go to the official website http://www.windowsupgradeoffer.com/en-US/Home/Faq
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