Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

My First Day With Windows 8 (Part One)

This weekend I did something I am going to advise you not to do..

Just so we are clear: I have been using personal computers since the term “IBM clone” was coined. I became a “computer nerd” (Geek) with the advent of the “graphical user interface” (click-able icons). I have been building/repairing Microsoft Windows PC’s since Windows 95 was launched, and have been “in the trenches” making each new tech advancement work with our machines ever since.
Windows 3/95/98/ME.. Windows NT/2000/XP.. Windows Vista/7. (The good, the bad, and the ugly.)

Since September, I have been aware that a “Developer’s Preview” edition of next Microsoft operating system, Windows 8, was available for download and trial (see Windows 8 Developer Preview available as free download) but have had neither the time, nor that much interest, to install it. This weekend I made the time.

A Tech’s First Impressions:
Windows 8 is Microsoft’s operating system of the future, and they are adapting to the fact that that future is being shaped by tablet PC’s and smart phones. Touch-screens. Gestures.

I downloaded and installed the smallest package – the plain 32-bit – onto a partition (“dual boot) of a HP Pavilion desktop PC. Installation went smooth, and was quite quick. After the second (and final) reboot, I saw a screen like this..

Okay.. now what?

Where’s the login?

Where’s something I can click?

So I started clicking at random all over the screen. And tried all the well-known keyboard shortcuts. And pounding both fists on the keyboard. Then I threw my wireless mouse at the wall, and – finally – something happened, I saw a plain, puke greenish login screen – yay! (I found out later, this is the “lock screen”, and I was supposed to ‘slide’ it up with my finger.. or, double-click on it [which I thought I had..])(The up arrow works too.)

Double-click.. why didn’t I think of that?

[attention Microsoft: the Android and Apple lock screens have WORDS on them instructing us what to do.. why don’t you copy the whole idea?]

Well, I know how to log in, so, next I saw.. the Metro interface

Uh.. what? Where’s the Start button?

Store. Shopping. Weather. Paintplay… no thank you.

Please.. where is the Start button???

I clicked on Paintplay. Why not? It was just as irrelevant as any other secret square.

This filled my entire screen.

Yippee. Don’t care about a doodle pad. So, time to try something else.

But.

How do I get out of Paintplay? Note that there is no “red X” in the upper right corner?

Whaaaat? No red X? Okay.. maybe the Esc key.. nope. Maybe that gray X in the lower right.. nope.

Backspace?

Alt+M? .. Ctrl+Z?

Maybe I could “grab an edge” and shrink the window to mere inches.. nope.

Holy jumpin catfish. I couldn’t get out of a program! So I killed it in Task Manager after I discovered that good ole reliable Ctrl+Alt+Del still worked.

10 minutes in, and I am feeling good and stupid.

Later, I went on the Internet and researched, and found out I was supposed to press the Windows key.

Why didn’t I think of that?

The Windows key! The one I practically never touched in 20+ years!

I clicked on other secret squares, and each and every time, whatever it was that opened, filled my entire screen.

This might be OK if I was on a 7″ tablet.. or smaller yet smart phone. But it is NOT how I compute and get work done. I use windows (often, side by side). I have rather large monitor.. I don’t need a 23″ wide doodle pad...
[attention Microsoft:
what is the name of your operating system? Why did you name it that.. all these years ago now??]

I simply could not figure out how to turn off my machine either. The power button has gone missing……….

Yes. I did find the “Desktop” secret square.

Out of time for today: I have run long, and out of time for today, but will be back with more on this. Yes, my first brush with Metro was incredibly frustrating, and for the first time ever, a new Windows version made me feel like a moron. (I know, some of you out there are laughing at old Tech Paul. But you take away my Start button, and it seems I am lost. The Start button has been there since Windows 3 {1990}) But I am not totally displeased with Windows 8. Not at all.
Just the Metro UI.

Hate it. Simply and utterly.

My first impressions of Windows 8 confirms what I have been reading: Microsoft is trying to make one OS fit all devices – tablets and phones and desktop PC’s.

But here’s the thing: One Size Fits All never does.
Ever.

Attention Microsoft: I want the ability to completely disable Metro to be a “one click” On/Off setting (call it “Classic mode” if you must) in Windows 8 — and I suspect I am not at all alone in that. Someday, when I buy a Windows tablet, I might prefer the Metro. But on desktop machines, controlled by keyboard and mouse, Metro is .. well, this is a family website; I cannot type what I really think, so I will simply say that I almost downloaded a file from a Russian server just to make it go away. I want Metro gone that badly.

Of course, my frustration with Metro would have been greatly lessened had I read this article first.

But come on. A professional technician has to research just to do basic computing moves? Like exit a program??? It’s not intuitive for a multi-decade Windows user??????

Maybe I’m just too old.. and should retire.
nah. Windows 7 is the cat’s pajamas. I’ll just stick withit (maybe forever?). But.. I will be back with more – happier – Windows 8 (Developers Preview) articles soon. Maybe.. tomorrow?

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<


November 14, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, Microsoft, News, PC, tech, Windows, Windows 8 | , , , | 12 Comments

What’s to say about Windows 7?

I first downloaded the public beta of Microsoft’s new operating system in January, and I have now been using it on a daily basis for five months.

Quite naturally, I wrote about my observations, and tried to describe for you, Dear Reader, what you can expect, and what I thought of this “new beast” that is supposed to replace the “much maligned Vista”.
(see A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 Part 1 of a series.)

imamac.jpg

Recently, it has made the headlines that Microsoft has announced October 22nd as the “official release date” for Windows 7. This is inline with what I expected — plenty of time to make the Holiday Shopping Season.

Yes, I have run the 32-bit ‘beta’, the 32-bit ‘RC’ (release candidate), and now the 64-bit RC. (see A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 64-bit.) You may remember from those articles (or click the links and read them) that – short version – I think there is a lot to like in Win7 and that it was the fastest, smoothest install(s) I have ever experienced… and I have done a lot of Windows installs.

So… we know when it’s coming… and we know that across the board Windows 7 is getting positive reviews. Lots of them.
So… I sit and I wonder, what’s to say about Windows 7? So I can write out an article for you to read… I have had no troubles at all to complain about. No difficulties. I’ve discovered no “bugz”…

Some of the other tech websites are writing articles trying to predict the future — will the public adopt Win7 in a big way? Or will it flop like Vista did? What about Business?
I, Dear Reader, will not try to predict the future: that is a shameless trend of modern “journalism” and it should be abolished as a practice.

Maybe people will camp out in front of the Microsoft Store to be the first to buy Win7 when they open the doors on October the 22nd, and maybe they won’t. Who cares?

So I won’t predict the future but I will say this:
* In spite of what you may hear or read somewhere, Windows 7 is essentially a zero learning curve. You needn’t fear it because it’s new.
* IMHO, from what I’ve seen, this is a speedy, stable, secure, and easy to use operating system and I believe it is Microsoft’s best effort yet. Yes it took a long time; but, yeah, they got it right.
* I will not race out and buy Win7 install DVD’s and go around upgrading my machines. My machines are now all Vista Service Pack 2, and XP is well-retired. But my next machine will be a Windows 7 machine (64-bit), and no I will not “wait for Service Pack 1 to come out”.

Have you been putting off buying a new machine because they all seem to come with Vista? Well, after October 22nd, your wait is over. After that date, go down to your local gizmo and gadget store and play with a quad-core, 6+ Gig, Win7 machine hooked to a 22″ (or bigger) monitor. My money is on that you’ll like what you see.

You can test drive Windows 7 on your current machine if you would like. I suggest creating a dual boot setup for that, and here is a video tutorial on how to make that work, Video Tutorial — How To Dual Boot Win7, and you can click here for the free download. (Please read the system requirements first.)

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

Share this post :

June 4, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, Microsoft, PC, performance, tech, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 64-bit

As I promised in yesterday’s post, Windows 7 and the Era of 64-bit, I deleted the partition on my machine containing Win 7 beta and installed a 64-bit version of the Win 7 RC.

I have to say that my first and most immediate impression is — I am disappointed.

Why?

SyProp_64

click on images = large

Because: the only thing that clued me that I was now “rolling with the 64” was — if I looked at my system properties — I could see a tiny, normal-sized line of text saying “64 bit Operating System”.

There was no banner — anywhere — that trumpeted, Success: CONGRATULATIONS PAUL! You are now rolling with the big dogs!

No balloons fell from the ceiling.

A marching band did not fill the room and play We Are The Champions.

There was, in fact, none of that.

There also wasn’t any glitches, snags, hang ups, curious error messages… and, when I clicked on Device Manager…

DevMgr_64

There was no yellow exclamation points, red X’s, etc., indicating that I needed to put on my safari outfit and go on a device driver hunt.

Huh.

So I tried plugging in a few USB devices — a camera, a multi-function printer, a joystick, and a storage device (I was, after all, all dressed for the hunt). All of them auto-installed with no action on my part — not even a click “Yes, search for drivers on the Internet”, or any of that.

Huh, again.

So I feel totally robbed. I was fully expecting to have to do some work… some troubleshooting… some driver hunting… feel some Installer’s Aggravation.

I was looking forward to it actually, as I thought it might make for some article fodder.. you know, Tech Paul Goes In Search Of The Elusive 64-bit Driver or What Size Hammer Made 64x Win 7 Fit My Machine.. or some such.

All I got was…
Fresh Windows 7 Install_Desktop

And, darned my luck, Windows Easy Transfer worked flawlessly too.

Huh.

Maybe (hopefully) I’ll run into trouble with networking… stay tuned.

[update: I did recently encounter a headache trying to install a device. See, Troubleshooting Installing Programs On Win 7]

Today’s free link: to see all my Win 7 articles, click Windows 7 articles.

Today’s free download: Click here to download Windows 7

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

Share this post :

May 27, 2009 Posted by | computers, file system, Microsoft, tech, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 RC

Like many people, I downloaded the Windows 7 “Release Candidate”, and I have been running it for a few days now. I will now describe to you, Dear Reader, my initial impressions of Microsoft’s newest operating system, as I did for Windows 7 beta. (drum roll please)

Win7RC (For those of you who would like to get a copy, please see, Click here to download Windows 7. For those of you who would like to read my earlier statements on Windows 7 first, please see, A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7, Part 1. Also, please read this warning Windows 7 RC gets its first bug, and it’s a doozy before you install)

Let’s get started: I opted to install the 32-bit version. I installed a “clean install”, though I could have “upgraded” an existing Vista or Windows 7 install (I recommend ‘clean install’ as a General Rule Of Thumb).

Microsoft is calling Windows 7 a whole new OS, and is expecting it to replace Vista.. in the same way that Vista is replacing Windows XP. I can tell you that it is not a whole new operating system. I can also tell you that it does not give us the new file system (WinFS) that was originally promised as one of the “three pillars of Vista”.

The install itself: My “clean” install on a freshly formatted volume took just 27 minutes, and involved three automated reboots. I then transferred in my settings tweaks and customizations, all my installed programs (except for my antivirus) and games, files and photos, etc., from the Win 7 beta in 20 minutes using Windows Easy Transfer.
It would have taken less time had I migrated the User Profile via my network, but I used a USB storage drive instead.

No device driver issues: I installed Windows 7 on a recent-vintage machine (it shipped with Vista Home Premium) and I had to install zero, zip, nada, device drivers — and this is a beta! Every device worked out of the gate. Microsoft claims Windows 7 is the most ‘backwards compatible’ OS yet and I believe them. A beta.. and no device driver installs??? Amazing.

In case you’re not following along.. From inserting the CD, to a fully tweaked, loaded, and ready-to-go state in 47 minutes.. without the use of 3rd-party programs, tools or special cables.

That is simply… OUTSTANDING! (Yes, I’m shouting.)
MyWin7_RC_Desktop

In my earlier series, (see link above) I wrote “My experience matched that of other reviewers: it was by far the fastest, smoothest, easiest Windows installation I’ve ever had. That this is a beta release makes this fact all the more remarkable.
The RC beat it handily .

Folks, I cannot count the number of Windows Installs, re-Installs, and User State Migrations I’ve done — I am a Support & Repair Tech, after all — but this last was something I had previously only dreamed of.

I’m going to stop here but I will add this statement — I will delay buying my next computer until they come with Windows 7 on them; and I advise you to do the same if you can. (Can you tell I’m impressed?)

More Windows 7 RC “impressions” to come..

Today’s free link(s): see second paragraph, and – if you’re thinking of installing Windows 7 and your machine is a little bit older (say, 2 or more years) please see Download Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor – Can You Handle The Ride!

Today’s free download: see second paragraph.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

Share this post :

May 9, 2009 Posted by | computers, Microsoft, PC, performance, tech, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments