Microsoft

Windows 8 – RTM

I have been using Windows 8 Preview(s) for last one month as my main OS, two weeks back I moved to Windows 8 RTM got from my MSDN Ultimate subscription. I believe there is no upgrade path from Preview to final bits, so I didn’t try it. Instead I formatted the partition & installed “fresh” Windows 8 Release bits. My Workstation is a Dual-Boot setup with Windows 7 (for contingency) & Windows 8.

Everything I was using in Windows 7 got installed just fine in Windows 8:

Drivers including ATI Radeon HD 4800 Video Card, AVerTV6 Analog TV USB card & HP OfficeJet Pro 8500A

Desktop Apps that I use regularly – KeePass, MS Office 2010 (Office 2013 in Beta so I skipped), iTunes, Paint.NET, Skype, Adobe Acrobat Pro X, Windows Live Writer (which I am using to write my blog-posts including this one), Windows Live Mail (I am waiting for Windows 8 Mail app to evolve), Google Chrome (for using multiple profiles) & VLC Player. I am using K7 Computing Ultimate Security as the Antivirus solution. I miss having the Windows 7 Games (Freecell, Solitaire) in Windows 8. I tried to copy them from Windows 7 Partition, but I was not able to get them to work. Microsoft is releasing their equivalents through Windows Store as Windows8 Apps.

Instead of launching Applications every time from Start screen I pinned shortcuts to Desktop & Taskbar the once I frequently use. You can see the screenshots below:

Application shortcuts for quick launch from Desktop
(Shown above) Application shortcuts for quick launch from Desktop

Frequently used Desktop Applications that are pinned in TaskBar
(Shown above) Frequently used Desktop Applications that are pinned in TaskBar

The Windows 8 (Metro) Apps that I am using for now are a combination of:

Out of Box Apps like Messaging, Bing News/Finance/Sports/Finance & Weather, these look good & work fine too. I don’t like the Mail, Photos, Music & Video Apps, in my view they need significant improvements before they can challenge their Desktop equivalents (Windows Live Mail, Photo Gallery, Windows Media Player & VLC Player).

Windows Store Apps like tweeTRO, Wikipedia, OneNote MX, Microsoft Solitaire Collection, Microsoft Minesweeper, Dictionary.com & few others. I feel many of these Apps though impressive feel like early iterations. I am sure by the time Windows 8 officially launches in October end they will be significantly improved. You can see the screenshots of my Start Screen below:

Windows 8 Start Screen with Desktop Applications, Windows8 Apps pinned
(Shown above) Windows 8 Start Screen with Desktop Applications, Windows8 Apps pinned

Many of the common Windows Applets & Configuration Panels are still available in Windows 8, but it takes a bit of effort to search them through Search Charm before you can find them. One of them I was looking for was “Windows Backup” which is a hidden-jewel that ships in every copy of Windows Vista & above. If you are using 100% Windows 8 Apps you may not need this and the new “File History” backup which saves copies of your documents will do the needful. But in my case I was using majority of Desktop Applications which I have painfully configured & I can’t risk of losing / reinstalling. So I needed the full “System” backup provided by Windows Backup. After a bit of searching you can get to it either by using Search Charm, look for Backup, find File History & then navigate from there (or) go to Control Panel and use “All Control Panel Items” and look for “Windows 7 File Recovery” (as it is called now). You can see the screenshots below.

Windows 7 Backup in Windows 8

Windows 7 File Recovery

The need for these Windows 7 Applications  will go down (hopefully) over the months as Microsoft releases their equivalents as Windows 8 (Metro) apps through Windows Store.

Overall using Windows 8 for few weeks I found it be significantly faster than Windows 7 (which I consider to be the Best Desktop OS in the planet) & I love it. Internet Explorer feels comparable & even better than Google Chrome for everyday usage. One tip I can offer to smoothen your experience with Windows 8 will be to suggest you to familiarize yourself with Windows Key Keyboard Shortcuts (they are a blessing, especially Win+D, Win+X & so on) & reading the “Getting around in Windows 8” blog post by Windows team.

Enjoy Windows 8!