Etc.


— 8:58 AM on November 5, 2012

Morning, folks. Hope you had a good weekend. I am typing to you this morning from my recently upgraded main PC.

On Friday, I did something I hadn't even considered doing with past versions of Windows: running the upgrade script to update my main system, taking it from Windows 7 Pro to Windows 8 Pro. I've preferred clean installations for ages, but after hearing the process could be relatively painless, I decided to give it a shot. After making a full image backup of my system, I downloaded MS's upgrade tool, paid my 40 bucks, and let the script work its magic.

The only real casualty was Acronis TrueImage 2012, which the installer insisted was incompatible with Win8. I had to uninstall it, and then everything else went off essentially without a hitch. When the process was completed, my PC was running Win8, and all of my settings were still very much intact—network shares, permissions, remote desktop config, installed software, the works. I had to reinstall my printer drivers, but everything else seems to work just like it did before the upgrade. So far, I've not run into any problems that would shake my confidence in it.

And, yes, like Cyril noted, Win8 feels an awful lot like Win7. I'm not complaining, though, since my big worry was that the desktop experience would somehow be compromised. Instead, Win8 feels faster than Win7. The one place where there's a big UI change that affects everday use is the Start menu, but it turns out the new Start screen is shockingly pain-free to use. You still roll the mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen and click to use it. Yes, it fills the screen, but the GPU-accelerated Modern UI stuff runs stupid-fast on a powerful desktop. Instantly, then, you can start typing in order to find the program you want, which is how I used the Start menu 90% of the time in Win7. Once you've picked your program, the GUI transition back to the desktop is again instantaneous. The Start screen works just as well as Win7's menu, despite the different look.

Also, I've been playing with Win8's Modern UI on my laptop, a little dual-core Pentium CULV system that's just a half step above a netbook. On it, installing and updating Modern UI apps feels reasonably fast and smooth, like a fairly snappy tablet running Android or iOS or maybe a bit better. When I ran the same initial set of app updates on my desktop PC, though, the progress bars flew by with rapid violence. Like a dork, I laughed out loud at it, the contrast was so huge and comical.

It's kind of nice to have the same software running on hardware spanning the gamut from a couple of watts to hundreds, so that comparisons are possible. Desktops may end up getting a new sort of respect out of this arrangement, once folks compare Surface to Sandy Bridge.

   
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