Last week I had some days of free time so I decided to upgrade my Windows 7 computer to Windows 8. I had received a free copy from Dreamspark premium (trough my university) so I thought: Why not? I had some problems with my old SSD being too small (an OCZ Vertex 2 60GB) and filled up a lot even though I tried keeping most software and data on my HDD (some stuff required to be installed or install components on C:, like visual studio). After taking the wrong bus and traveled for 4 hours (that’s another story), I managed to buy a SanDisk Extreme 120GB SSD. I live in a town with few hardware stores and that was the best I could get my hands on without ordering something online and waiting for it to shop.
My current system spec are:
- CPU: Intel i7 950 3.06GHz
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R
- RAM: Corsair XMS3 Vengeance DDR3 PC12800/1600MHz CL9 3×4 (12)GB
- GPU: Kfa2 GTX 570 1280MB
- SSD: SanDisk Extreme SSD 120GB (550MB/s read, 510MB/s write)
(I kept the OCZ Vertex 2 60GB and the 250GB HDD)
Windows 8 Installation
The installation went really smooth. Nothing different really from the Windows 7 installation, just a lot faster but maybe that’s because the new SSD. It was done in some 10 – 15 minutes (I thought it would take longer, so I had planned to clean my apartment for once when I’m without a computer, but I guess that’s for another time).
The post-install was really smooth. Everything worked perfectly from the start and most of the drivers were automatically installed trough Windows Update. The only thing I had to install myself was the (awful) Logitech Gaming Software to be able to configure the macro buttons on my keyboard, mouse and headset.
After that was done, I had to install my software again but it wasn’t something special about that, just the same stuff you do on every os.
The new UI
The new thing, as probably everyone know by now, is the new UI. When I see people talking about Windows 8, it is mainly about of how awful, bad and table-centered the new UI is. I disagree with this. Ever since I got Windows 8 I’ve had much more fun using my computer than before. Sure, it takes a bit of time to figure stuff out, but once you do it’s really easy to use.
A lot seems to be annoyed with the missing start button in Windows 8, but in reality, metro is the new start button and it does pretty much what the old start button does. It lists all your installed programs, but it also displays apps and widgets. You can still start typing to open the application you are looking for, no need to look trough all tiles for the app you wanted.
The hover bars
The hover bars are the bars that popup when you hover the left or right part of the screen. The left one contains the start button and all running windows store applications, and normally desktop (desktop applications are still in the taskbar when in desktop mode). It’s pretty straightforward. The right bar contains functions like a search button, settings, sharing and such.
A problem I’ve discovered is that it can be rather hard to open the bars if you have multiple screens as me. Luckily my main screen is 1080px high while my secondary is only 1024px high so I get some space in the top-right corner where the mouse cannot travel to the other screen, but if it were screens with identical resolution it would be rather hard to get the menu open.
Windows App Store
I think it’s decent but it needs some work. The first thing I had issue with was: how do I search? The search button is placed in the right hover bar and I know it’s meant to be the same location for each app, it’s nothing you remember easily. Then add in the difficulty to open it if you have a second screen on the right side. Win+F seems to open file search and from there you can select to search in the app store and such you don’t have to hover the bar, but still cumbersome.
Next issue was a setting “Find it easier to find apps in my preferred language” that was on by default. A more accurate name for that setting is “Exclude all apps not in my language”. There was just a dozen apps in Swedish and I was confused why I couldn’t find stuff.
Other than that, there isn’t much to say really.
In my opinion Windows 8 was a worthwhile upgrade from Windows 7. It’s fairly easy and fun to use and there are a lot of new possibilities. I might just even try creating a few apps, it looks interesting so I have to decide on what I should create.