GuruBrew’s 15 Minute Windows 8 Survival Guide

GuruBrew Windows 8 Survival Guide

One thing very common to all of us is our reliance on operating systems in our hobby life. If that OS is Windows then you could be in for quite a shakeup with Windows 8. Many readers are Linux or Apple users and couldn’t care less if Microsoft is releasing an entire paradigm shift in desktop navigation. However, you just might find yourself facing this new OS and you’ll look like you’re on training wheels if you don’t get acquainted now, and considering the number of computers being released with Windows 8 its inevitable that day will come soon.

So if you haven’t been behind the wheel of Windows 8 then checkout [Steve’s] Windows 8 Survival Guide from the Guru Brew Tech Show. This is an excellent overview of the new touch screen navigation methods you’ll find in the Windows 8 desktop including hotspots, charms and tiles to name just a few. You’ll also learn tips to get around with a mouse and keyboard. It’s not a complete tutorial on using Windows 8 but you’ll at least know how to navigate, search for apps, work with multiple apps and find tools like task manager, control panel, file explorer as well as your familiar desktop.

Follow the break to watch the short survival guide video.

132 thoughts on “GuruBrew’s 15 Minute Windows 8 Survival Guide

      1. I ran Vista on a PC once. I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. Then I got Vista on another salvage machine, wow! Words cannot express how messed up that box was. But having seen the two installations I’m going to have to go with user error for what I saw bad about Vista. So I’m kind of torn at this point with the Vista fuss issue. On the one hand I’ve seen it working, but on the other how can an OS allow itself to get so shot up? Vista was like Jekyll and Hyde in my limited experience with it.

        Of course I deleted both of those OS and installed Linux. Windows always has to go, house rule. I’m on the Jekyll PC right now in fact. Although the Hyde PC is perfectly fine now too.

        1. I’ve got a Toshiba Vista laptop (I bought brand new), my dad got Vista on a Sony Vaio and my brother and his wife bought a pair of Dell’s with Vista. None of them worked well. Mine runs Ubuntu now, my dad’s runs Win7 very well. My sister-in-law’s is sitting dormant under my desk (she bought a mac book) and I think my brother’s is sitting dormant on his desk these days.

          I’m not crazy about Win8 but at least it isn’t Vista.

        2. Vista was basically the new Win ME, ie something intentionally slowed down and crippled in order to prevent users to make direct comparisons between the old system and the new one. By putting ME between 98 and XP, and Vista between XP and Seven they made people say that both XP and Seven were “faster than the previous one”, which would not be the case if ME and Vista didn’t exist.

          1. Microsoft does seem to run a good, bad pattern with their OS offerings. Now whether there is any intentional malice on their part is conjecture. It is feasible, but the truth might be more mundane. It could simply be that is the best they can do. Which wouldn’t surprise me to learn that was the case.

          2. pcf11, think about it. Who buys windows today? OEM.

            So it microsoft releases $newWindows today, nobody will buy a PC with $oldWindows. So whatever microsoft launches, will sell because of that.

            What microsoft does? instead of a new windows every 4 years, they launch a $newShittyWindows right before the $newWindow. So in that time, everyone will still not want to buy $oldWindows, even though the only alternative is $newShittyWindows. So OEM buys that with fears that they will not sell PCs. Then they launch $newWindows

            if it’s malice or incopetence, nobody can tell. but it does work.

            8 -> ?

            Vista -> 7

            ME -> XP and 2000

            NT 3 (stolen from IBM) -> 95 and NT4

    1. Sticking with XP is a bad idea; it’s the better part of thirteen years old, and will no longer receive any security patches from Microsoft after April 8th of next year. How many people still use Slackware 8.0 as their day-to-day OS?

      Win7 is getting mainstream support through 2015, and will get security patches until 2020. Plus, if you buy a new PC that has Windows 8 Pro, you have downgrade rights to use 7 Professional on it without buying another license.

          1. Maybe if enough people leave it to the last second, MSFT will extend the support period once more. If not, I’ll just keep using my XP machine, but disconnect it from the internet.

      1. I still support some Windows 2000 systems, primarily used for legacy hardware that’s still useful and too expensive to replace; but they’re sometimes used for general tasks, including web browsing.

        Though Microsoft dropped support on July, 2010, these systems didn’t get overrun by virii and exploits. In fact they haven’t seen a single one, because the users of these systems are knowledgeable enough to avoid clicking on questionable things. Simple as that.

        That’s the kind of user who will stick with XP past the official support date too. And who will find the lack of a constant stream of updates, necessary only as a futile attempt to protect stupid users from themselves, completely irrelevant.

        1. You don’t honestly believe that, do you? I can promise you that the majority of users who will stick with XP are going to be the users that (by their own admission usually) “aren’t good with computers”.

          They bought an XP machine years ago and either got used to it well enough to get around on their own or can’t afford to upgraded. I work with people like this every day for my job. When they come in asking me to fix their 8 year old PC, I inform them that XP will be EOL in April.

          But unfortunately many of them spent a lot of money on their computer when they bought it and can’t see that it’s not worth a fraction of that now. So, they spend $200 to replace a motherboard, get some RAM upgraded, and have me fix it the best I can with what they give me.

          I do let them know that we have brand new systems, running Windows 7 even, for $400. Not many listen…

          1. Everything after XP is mostly just bollocks in general. Usability has gotten only worse with every new version. Microsoft also wants to get that 30% revenue share from all the software sold for windows. I think that people better show them a finger.

          2. Regarding the people who actually come here and will therefore see [Anonymous]’ comment or my reply, yes I do believe that. I limited my comment to that context for brevity’s sake.

            But I also know of the type of people you’re speaking of. A lot of those who readily admit they “aren’t good with computers” often learn just what they need to know to accomplish a very limited set of tasks, and rarely try anything new Ironically, as a result they don’t frequently expose themselves to risks either. They still do get malware sometimes, but it’s not for lack of a patch or the age of their OS – it’s simply because they trusted and gave permission to something they shouldn’t have.

            Yes, they’ll often gladly pay whatever is needed to fix an ancient machine, rather than being persuaded to buy a new machine with a new OS, which will often require new applications as well. Rightly so, because they most value not having to relearn what came so hard to them in the first place.

            And though they may not be computer-savvy, that doesn’t mean they lack worldly wisdom. You’re trying to convince them to buy a new computer based on something bad that MAY happen after April. That doesn’t mean it WILL, or even that it is likely. They can at least make that distinction, even though they can’t estimate the level of risk for themselves on a technical level. Should they suspect there’s any chance you’re misrepresenting the risk, they will immediate dismiss your recommendation as an attempt to make a larger sale through scare tactics.

            If they distrust you for that reason, or because you failed to understand why they don’t want a new OS, they won’t bother to argue the real issue. They’ll give other, non-technical, less embarrassing, and easier to defend reasons for not upgrading – just like the one you quoted. And maybe later, tell the full story to someone else they trust. It’s a story I’ve heard many times.

        2. Web browsing huh? And what if there is an exploit for win2000 that you’re not getting patches for?
          FYI If there’s an exploit you are vulerable to, you don’t even need to click something. Just by visiting a site you can get screwed.

          1. True, it is a possibility. But the experience I’ve posted shows that type of exploit is more rare or avoidable than you expect. Over three years now since the last patch, and still no issues; because these users don’t mess about with questionable websites. Additionally, no new exploits like the exceptional sasser/blaster worm have surfaced, that required no user action at all to infect, and could only be protected against by OS patch.

        3. When Micro$oft pulls the plug on XP support, the virus baddies are going to have a feast. Something like 40% of all windows machines are still running XP. Rather than kill off XP, they should just re-release it.

        1. Yes, we need coreboot (formely LinuxBIOS) support for our computers. I don’t feel confortable using this laptop with UEFI, who knows what is can do since it can bypass the operating system control… it could appears conspiracy theory until mr. Snowden show us it is not!

    1. There isn’t really anything to learn about metro beyond how to disable it. It’s utterly useless for a desktop platform.

      But once you figure that out, you get to play around with the actual improvements over win7, such as the Win+X menu, the new task manager, and picture passwords.

  1. I took one look at the main screen and hated it. I asked the sells person if there was a way to turn it off and he said no, so I went and payed up the more then should have price for a Mac Book Pro!

    It may be targeted for touch screens but not everyone like that kind of layout.

    Windows 7 is the best Windows !

      1. Not quite – the distinction between “Metro Apps” (approved) and Normal windows-apps now exists.
        Its not merely cosmetic changes, its Microsoft trying to go towards an app-store mentality. Given they already have defacto control over the Bios of most of our machines, its a dangerous trend we should be careful of.

    1. Nope. I think all the haters are people without touch screens. I got an ultrabook with a touch screen and Win8 Pro, took me about 2 hours to get used to it and I haven’t had a single issue in 7 months of almost continuous use.

        1. I agree. Fellow PC non-Metro user. Win 8 is fast and snappy. Only things you need to teach a new user is how to click the ‘Desktop’ button after boot (hurr), Win+X, and Win+F to find a program.

    2. Nope. I’ve been using it since last November on a laptop and a Surface RT tablet. My only real gripe on the laptop was that the charms bar would pop up when I was mousing up to the top-right corner to close an application on the desktop. With 8.1 that feature can be disabled. Otherwise, it’s a perfectly fine OS, and I like my live tile updates on the start screen.

  2. Took me 15 minutes to get the hang of it, and another 5 minutes to restore the start menu and make the computer boot to the desktop.
    People who complain about Windows 8 have either never used it or are too lazy to spend the miniscule amount of time it takes to adapt to it.

    1. and another 5 minutes to restore the start menu and make the computer boot to the desktop.
      People who complain about Windows 8 have either never used it or are too lazy to spend the miniscule amount of time it takes to adapt to it.
      You mean… to undo it?

      1. Is that what we’re moving to – humans ADAPTING to computers?

        Um…. I’ll pass – the object is for the computer to make MY LIFE easier, not for me to adapt my life to the way the computer THINKS I should use it. Microsoft has forgotten what OS stands for – it’s OPERATING SYSTEM, not Front End to Apps Store.

        Windows 8 sucks – some of the low level stuff is clever but the UI is abysmal. I have 3 1920×1200 flat panels and a high end programmable keyboard and mouse – I NEVER want to take my hands off the keyboard to freaking TOUCH the screens. My desktop is not a tablet or a smartphone – and I LIKE IT THAT WAY.

        1. Why does the appearance of the start menu matter? With the keyboard, it’s FAR FASTER for me to access any start menu program hitting the windows key and typing the first few letters of the program than to click on it with your mouse. It’s been this way since Vista, which still had a “start menu button”… The four or five programs I’m opening most frequently take up the upper left corner of the “horrible win-8 metro start menu”, requiring three or fewer keystrokes to open them.

          Yes it looks different. If you aren’t on a tablet or touchscreen, and are a power user as “i never want to take my hands off the keyboard” suggests, use your keyboard, use the short cut keys that have gotten better with each rev of the OS, learn some of the added short cut keys (like win+x for your main control panel items) and be faster than you were with win-7.

        2. Not humans adapting to computers, nerds adapting to a design for which they aren’t the target audience.

          Also, the start screen still has Win7’s search box. Just start typing. If you ever need to click anything on the start screen you are Doing it Wrong.

    2. This. If anything it’s easier to use now, but it’s different and people don’t like different. My mom was outraged when she saw her new laptop didn’t have a start bar until i told her just to press the windows key and start writing. Doing that brings up a very very nice search frame. Now she really likes it. Many people are so insecure about their computer setups that any change is a bad change regardless of intent,performance and or ease of use. If it’s not a drop in replacement it’s shit.

          1. Heck, I still write windoze. I have 2 PC’s from family members sitting here, they are complaining that their M$ windoze is too slow. This windoze rot is annoying me beyond belief. So yeah, I don’t touch M$ software. It is toy software.

        1. Wait, so command line stuff is bad now?

          That search thing popped up in Access (of all things) first, IIRC. I didn’t care for it at first, but I prefer it now.

          Rummaging around menus looking for stuff isn’t that great either, especially when things get installed under the company name, not the product name.

          “What the hell is Initech, and where’s that game?”

          1. Correct me if I am wrong, but what you are saying is, people like Windows 8 because it copied the Unity dashboard?

            Why not just use free, faster, better supported, Ubuntu LTS then?

  3. Problems with Windows 8:
    1. Device driver signature enforcement requires reboot to install unsigned drivers. I am unaware of a way to permanently disable this “feature”.
    2. UFEI Secure Boot makes booting live linux distros obnoxious
    3. Metro Interface/No start bar <-WTF Were they thinking!?

    1. ???
    2. Keep dreaming
    3. "Classic Shell" gives a Windows 7 desktop experience with the enhanced features of Windows 8 File System Explorer.

      1. Its still a very dangerous trend.
        Microsoft has made OS’s other then their own second class citizens. They either need approval from Microsoft, or the use has to do steps that implies their pc is “less secure”.

        This makes it a lot harder and, frankly, more scary, for anyone wanted to try Linux.

        Imho, this really should be an antitrust case.

  4. I was at a Staples store yesterday, having a look at their ridiculously overpriced micro SD cards and RAM. I heard the computer service guy telling a couple who looked to be in their 50’s that he could install Classic Shell on their new Windows 8 laptop so they could have things more like their old computer.

    1. I work at a staples and my boss goes to an older couple looking to buy their doughter a computer for college. They were looking at our clearance $379 pentium with 4GB of ram and my boss told them that unless the computer has an i3 or an i5 it “won’t be fast enough to be able to connect to a college network” and “4GB of ram is not enough to run ms office, you need 8GB” I facepalmed so hard I broke my face, I could connect to any network with a pentium 2 and run office in a server 2003 VM in about 1GB of ram (256 linux 768 windows) maybe less. Staples is horrible…

  5. I watched the whole video.

    MS has made it take twice as long to do anything and you can only work with two things at a time with everything else in the background.

    WTH were they thinking, making it so screwed up just to close a program? It’s always been *simple*, just one click! Now you have to hover at the top of the screen then click and drag to the bottom. Everything else is scattered all over the place instead of being *easily accessible* from *one* location. With the Start menu anything on it can be launched in only two clicks. By that I mean the *good* Start menu, the one without any crazy scrolling and typing just to find the one program you want to run.

    It’s no longer “Windows” because in the new UI windows don’t exist. The square tiles, some with live content, in bold blocks of a limited color palette are such a throwback to Windows 1.0.

    How about calling it “Scrolls 1.0” as a combination of all that sideways scrolling and the Windows 1.0 style tiles?

    Fast and Easy. That is what a GUI design should always aim for. Windows 95 through 98SE, Windows NT4/4.5 and Windows 2000 were that out of the box. Windows Me, XP and Vista required switching to the Classic Start menu and a few other tweaks to get there. Windows 7 requires Classic Shell to get back to Fast and Easy. Without it, 7 is like “Revenge of WinMe default Start Menu: You thought you’d banished it 14 years ago but it’s baaaack and this time – There Is No Classic!”

    Even without changing anything on Me, XP, Vista and 7, if you’d only used the original Windows 95 before jumping to any of those, they were easy to figure out because one could just click once on the lower left and open the door to everything.

    Windows 8 complicates, obfuscates and inserts multiple extra steps to do everything.

    I shall spread the use of Classic Shell far and wide. Haven’t yet had a call from anyone with a new Scrolls 1.0 PC but I’m betting it won’t be much longer.

    1. Windows 8 is designed for a new computing paradigm: touch. I personally think it works well. Try using it in the correct paradigm before you call it rubbish because it doesn’t do things it wasn’t designed to do.

      1. Touch isn’t a new paradigm. In fact calling something like that “computing paradigm” indicates one don’t know sh*t about computing at all.
        The majority of Win 8 machines are standard notebooks so all people that want to do work with their machines should just shut up because you say so?

          1. The point is, touch interfaces have proven to be inferior. They have been around longer that Microsoft and were never appreciated for anything but intermittent interaction when a keyboard wasn’t available.

            There is no point in ‘getting used to’ something that has been shown to be inferior just because a major company wants to sell you hardware you don’t need.

          2. Capacitive touch made the difference, previous tablets were resistive and that is crap. (And there’s the RF stuff that drawing tablets use).

            Basically the tech has caught up to the idea, so now it works – as demonstrated by the iPhone.

            I have no problem seeing a lot of people toss their keyboards, just like they’ve tossed their mouse. (Yes, there will always be a niche for keyboard & mice, but it’ll be a niche.)

            In future it might be Kinect-style once that catches up.

      2. Well, my new laptop did not come with your “correct paradigm”, i.e. touch screen so why on earth did it come with the metro crap which makes any sense only with touch screen? Just for kicks I tried to use Win8 for a while, but I had to first start disabling the new “features”. No, I don’t want to get into previous app after moving mouse after a click. No, I really do want to shut down the machine in order to boot from USB, not to go into hidden sleep mode.

      3. Yes you are right, ‘computing paradigm’ is not the correct term in this context. I was referring more to mobile than touch, but touch is inherent in that. This is what I meant:

        I agree that Windows 8 doesn’t add that much to the desktop experience, but that doesn’t make it a bad OS. i.e. my original comment. And, as many others have mentioned and I have found, as a pure desktop/touchless OS it’s as good or better than Win7.

      4. Win8 “Metro” should be where it belongs. On Slate “windows-powered tablets”. It should NOT, I repeat, NOT be on desktop systems. There is a good reason Android OS, for instance is not reigning supreme on desktop systems. It is not designed optimally for such use. Not to mention all the UEFI nonsense.. Antitrust look out!

        1. Android is not reigning supreme on desktop systems because no ARM processor manufacturer has tried to break into the desktop market yet, and Android for x86 is a joke.

          Android, however, is picking up in the laptop space.

          1. Have you tried to use Android with a mouse and keyboard? On my android-tv-on-a-stick the usage by mouse really sucks and it is only usable for starting programs. If the UI and apps are designed for touchscreen, they suck without one. And the other way too, no matter how much Microsoft, Ubuntu and Gnome3 try to tell people.

  6. The Windows 8 section of the Microsoft Community website also has some helpful information. The top two answers, as rated by the community:

    1) “How do I downgrade to Windows XP? – Windows 8 Sucks bad”
    2) “I hate windows 8. How can I deinstall it and load windows 7”

    It’s not just that it’s a different interface, it’s a BAD one. It offends the instant you first lay eyes on it – with gaudy colors that look like they were chosen by a five year old. Maybe it’s a strategy to sell everyone an extra operating system, as people flee from what’s installed by default on their new computers.

    1. The software isn’t as much a problem as the hardware. The software is still somewhat BSD, so Unix-y stuff works fairly well. But, when was the last time you saw a serial or parallel port on a Mac? Granted, most tinkering these days is done over USB, and if you’re experienced enough you can get around any platform-specific hurdles to using USB for tinkering.

      I think the real issue is that in this instance, the stereotype is rendered true: The target market for Macs is the opposite of tinkerers, therefore you won’t find many hardware hackers sporting Macs as their main or only PC.

      1. >> The software is still somewhat BSD, so Unix-y stuff works fairly well.

        The software is actually certified UNIX, not merely UNIX-y. “UNIX-y” software that doesn’t work on it isn’t UNIX-y, rather more likely to be Linux-y.

        Serial ports? I’ve got a pile of them, from full on RS422 and 232 implementations, all the way down to 1.8v TTL. They all work over USB, and the vast majority don’t require drivers. Plug ’em in, they work.

        Should I mention that even when you do need to install a driver, you don’t need to reboot?

        As for the “target market”, I think you’ll find I’m far from being the only one who moved from Linux, which required constant tinkering and upgrading, “running to stand still” if you like, to a more stable and usable platform.

        And yes, I do hack on hardware.

        All of which is rather irrelevant when you’re talking about “how to make the new Windows tolerable”, unless the solution is “Hackintosh”

        1. “I’m far from being the only one who moved from Linux, which required constant tinkering and upgrading”

          No one ever forces anyone to upgrade. You tinker at your own discretion too. Once I’ve set a Linux system up I don’t fuss around with it anymore. I’ve had plenty of systems work fine for me with no intervention on my part for many years. So I don’t know where you’re getting this claim from that “tinkering and upgrading” is “required”. Now I think I’m going to have to call BS on your assertion unless you can provide some kind of a backing citation. Because your outrageous claims go contrary to my own personal experiences.

          Actually I think you’re a fool. But like you say, you’re far from being the only one.

          1. Actually, back in ’09, ICQ did force me to upgrade. They broke compatibility with the version of Pidgin on my year-old Ubuntu install. In order to compile a new Pidgin from source, I’d have had to compile a new libssl, which meant a new mono (?!), which wouldn’t compile at all with some agoogleable error message that I got no help for when I posted it on the forums I knew at the time. Eventually I used update-manager to update to the next version of Ubuntu, which broke my sound card driver.

            At that point I just broke down and bought a copy of Windows Vista.

          2. Wow ICQ, there’s a blast from the past. I think I gave up on that stuff before 2009. But hearing about it again you’re making me want to install a client for nostalgia. I never did use Pidgin for it though. I think I used their client for Linux? I remember something about a green flower with ICQ. I hate to say it but your problems don’t sound show stopping to me. Broken sound might have just been an enabled mute. That is the most common reason sound is “broken” on Linux. Often Alsa initializes on install with mute enabled. It is a courtesy thing. They don’t want to blow you out of your seat. But it does lead a lot of people to believe their sound doesn’t work.

        2. >> The software is actually certified UNIX

          Not all of it. Behind the scenes it’s FreeBSD with a Mach microkernel (so even at that level it’s a hybrid), not to mention the Aqua GUI derived from NeXTStep. Not that I find any of that to be a flaw, just being specific.

          >> Serial ports? I’ve got a pile of them, from full on RS422 and 232 implementations, all the way down to 1.8v TTL. They all work over USB, and the vast majority don’t require drivers. Plug ‘em in, they work.

          I thought it was obvious I was speaking of a built in serial or parallel port on a Mac, something not seen since the mid to late 90s. Serial-to-USB adapters fall under the USB category when dealing with modern Macs, but that wasn’t the focus of my comment.

          I’ve also been a long time Mac user, both before and after OS X was released. I don’t hate the platform; far from it, OS X is actually on my short list of favorite all time OSes. I’ve just learned to be realistic about its limitations in certain areas, and I fully understand that the target market is most certainly not hardware hackers. To say otherwise is to be disingenuous. Even the (previous gen) Mac Pro and and G5 Power Macs, which were the most expandable Macs by far, could only be tinkered with to a certain degree. That’s the way Jobs wanted it, and obviously it worked for the company.

      2. I’m making Multi Platform software. And let me tell you a story on MacOS from last week. Suddenly, my software failed to compile, it failed to compile in a file that had not been touched for months.
        It took me a while to figure out, but apparently, the power went out, and the Mac rebooted. With this reboot, it installed updates (without asking!) with these updates came a compiler update with added an extra compiler error. I never want updates on this machine, it does not even have an iTunes connection (which it needs for some reason when you tell it to look for updates), but still, it installs updates without asking.

        If you think Apple is an improvement over Microsoft then you haven’t looked properly at what they are doing yet. There is also the issue of “older developer tools” which some other developer can download from their developer site, but I cannot see them, because my developer account is newer. Same page, same URL, different downloads. Apple is deciding what they think is good for you. Is that what you want?

        1. Ok, I’ve got two issues with your scenario…

          1) Apple doesn’t update their software unless you specifically say it’s ok to update it and if the update writes to the file system, it requires your password. If the machine updated software, someone knew about it. Maybe not you but someone with a password.

          2) You need an APC on that machine so that the power doesn’t go out on it.

          I haven’t seen that developer tool issue but I’ll have a look.

          What I do have trouble with on the Apple side is that when you upgrade from say 10.6 to 10.8 all the nifty settings you spent time on like XCode, Git, MySQL, Apache, etc… and you get to start over again.

    2. What really? What’s so difficult about a flippin unix shell?

      Event the glossy hardware is hackable… Just grab a usb breakout board and start flipping bits. I was on Dos, then Windows for a long time and also running variants of linux before making the leap to OSX and I haven’t looked back. I fire it up and not only do I have all the tools I need but it just works and has done for the last three years.

  7. I started using Windows about 20 years ago. I write software. I’ve got an MSDN membership and I beta tested Win8 when it was circulated. I don’t really like Metro and these days I just don’t seem to need Windows. For the past couple of hears I’ve worked primarily on a Mac or Linux. It’s just more productive for what I do. I do think Win7 was a decent OS and if I had to use a Windows machine, that would be my choice.

  8. ummm….
    1. Not to offend hackaday writers…but this is one of those articles that doesn’t fit the hackaday feel/theme or whatever. Its not a hack..its a f*****ing OS tutorial for a super easy OS. Love you guys to death…but really?

    2. I like windows 8. Hate on it all you want. I’m not some idiot with a puter..I actually do a lot of stuff. From 3D and 2D design to software development to hardware programming, robotics, and even film editing and animation. I was hating on w8 before I actually used it…and for some weird reason metro ui actually improves my work flow. There is some useless fluff, but it makes it easier and faster to peg out what I’m looking for. The improved search feature is ridiculously useful especially since you can search settings real quick and have all the results pop up in a way that isn’t an eye sore. So hate on it all you want…but I actually do stuff and I actually find it useful, so quit bitching..because fricking really it is stupid how far people will go to avoid w8. Its an improvement, get over it. It is still pretty much the same damn OS.

  9. Windows 8 has this “feature” where they “virtualize” the file system such that different users can have different versions of the same file in the same place. With this wonderful “feature” they make windows disk I/O even slower and also create yet more nightmare scenarios for third party technical support.

    Some of us are old enough to remember the “bugs” in the Microsoft C preprocessor that made it impossible to use a single codebase between unix and windows. We also remember how it was not possible to write useful windows applications unless you had a friend at microsoft who could look things up for you and provide you with the undocumented structures. We also remember that lawsuits were required before the samba folks were allowed to look at documentation.

    We remember these things and we see that little has changed and we are happy that unix systems: OSX, linux, android and IOS, are all healthy and thriving and evolving while windows has changed little since Microsoft took it from DEC. Aside from fancy window dressing it’s still NT 3.51 in there.

    1. To be fair, file systems are badly in need of an update in general. The hierarchy metaphor should have been replaced by now – building patchs ontop of it is just poor attempts to overcome its shortcommings.
      We have huge amounts of space now, a low-level database system of some sort should be implemented. One that allows arbitrary attributes and searches on those attributes. One that doesn’t pretend a file can only go in one metaphorical “place” (that bares no relation to the disc location anyway). Rather then files and “shortcuts”, you have instances of the file wherever you like, and usable by whatever you like….opening up all sorts more workflow possibility’s.

      1. So you want to use an Extended File System. Where you can put the same file anywhere you like, including multiple locations?

        Maybe someone should create oh, idunno, four versions of this Extended File System, each one adding more features than the last.

        1. No he/she doesn’t.

          You’ve entirely missed the point, in that current filesystems encode exactly 3 pieces of metadata about the data you put into them: “name”, “file type”, and “location”, the latter being severely restricted by arbitrary rules imposed by whatever operating system(s) might use that file system. Yes, you might be able to make multiple links to a file, meaning you can subvert the “name” metadata, but you can’t go any further than that.

          twdarkflame is talking about a database, which, while also capable of presenting a “traditional” hierarchical interface, can be considered entirely flat, can store unlimited metadata, and no one piece of metadata is considered automatically more important than any other. With a fully metadata based storage, one could store “files” with no name at all, and still recover them based on other metadata (“Give me the source files I was working on yesterday between 3pm and 4pm”, “give me the last -but-one movie I watched”, etc), provide alternate hierarchical views (hierarchy based on most recently accessed, hottest files, etc) and a whole load of other stuff beside.

          Unfortunately, this also means rethinking a lot of the current crop of operating systems, and getting past 30+ years of “good enough” inertia…

          Filesystems are already databases. They’re mostly pretty shitty ones, though.

          1. None, they’re all hierarchies of folders.

            At the moment in Windows you have the indexer going through your system and ‘tagging’ everything. You type a keyword, it finds all the matches.

            The idea is to flip that around, to build your hierarchy based on those tags.

            Apple iTunes does it, your music vanishes into a black hole (your files are renamed to a random string) and iTunes uses the info in the files to present different views (by artist, by album etc).

            itunes could rebuild a folder structure easily enough (say Music\Artist\Song\Title, or anything you wanted) so why not extent that to other types of documents?

            That’s how reporting on databases works, you can arrange the data any way you want.

          2. I think the real problem is education. If an OS is really a new and a radical change, shouldn’t the roll out involve more than thrusting it on an unsuspecting community with little more than a: “Here; educate yourself” mentality? If MS did their jobs, videos like this would not be neccessary

  10. My few cents’ worth:

    1) I hate the “pastel” colours in Windows 8, which make it nearly impossible to tell which is the active window, or where the sliders are in scrollbars etc.

    2) Be aware that there’s a program called Classic Shell ( which restores a lot of features from previous versions (start menu, up button etc)

    3) The search function is diabolical. In WinXP, I can easily specify file types, where to search, extensions, blah blah. Don’t see that in 8.

    4) In WinXP, I use a shell extension called Folder Size, which displays a folder size column in the explorer. Very useful for tidying up the drive. However, they removed the API hooks for columns in explorer, so it now doesn’t work.

    5) In WinXP, I use VirtuaWin to get multiple desktops and switch between then with Win key + 1,2,3,4. In Win 8, these key combinations activate the quick launch buttons on the taskbar, and I haven’t found a way yet to disable them.

    1. So you hate win 8 cause your 3rd party apps shortcuts are not working / triggering different actions ? :D

      Appears that we have a lot of linux users here who hates win 8 cause its not linux, win xp users who hate it for not being identical with win xp and couple others who heard that it sux so they hate it ? ;)

  11. I understand that old people or technologically illiterate people can have an hard time getting used to Win8. But honestly, I would expect better from people that visit HaD.

    I agree that the metro interface is kind of useless for non-touch devices, but since you can use the normal desktop interface I don’t see what the fuss is all about.

    Even in new menu you can still put there icons for the non-metro apps, so you can make it act like the old menu for the most used apps, and for the less used ones just type what you are looking for.

    I find the new search functions useful.
    win+X shortcut is nice.

    I could live without the metro interface.

    1. But this is a transition OS. They want you to use the metro. They want you to do everything in the cloud and own it all. Hell even games like minesweeper and spider solitaire are gone. Oh, but you can pay to use our online offering for… Cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud. It’s regressing back to the VAX days where we end up with dumb terminals and everything is out of the users hands. One of the original appealing qualities of what MS offered was that, once bought – it was yours. Ever since they made it big, they have been moving away from this. Sure, you could buy MSDev, but oh, you want to use help, that’s a yearly subscription.

  12. If all the eye candy is turned off and navigation is the same as before I would be happy. I don’t use Windows Exploder on line and I don’t want to use it inside the computer.
    Back and up gotta be there. Blind people use keyboard shortcuts. This should come under ADA because of this case. Full legacy support for any upgrade as to operation, preferred defaulted to legacy. Turn on gimcrack and new learning experience, click here.

  13. It absolutely amazes me how people are willing to massively downgrade all the usefull advances we have made in multitasking and GUI interfaces, just so they can use their figures all over their screens.
    Any version of windows works absolutely fine with a stylus, and people have been using pens and pencils of serious sorts for thousands of years.

    Why has suddenly everyone decided the best instrument is our figures :?

    1. In my opinion the real problem is that somebody with more power than sense decided that people like androids so we will make our operating system more like that. They forgot that a 26″ monitor and mouse don’t work the same way as a 10″ hand held touch screen. Large icons are required to accurately hit with finger and annoying with a mouse because you could have half a dozen good sized mouse icons in the same space. Full screen only apps are fine on a small screen because you probably need it for the interface but, on a large monitor the lack of having multiple “windows” on the screen can be annoying.
      I think most of the people who like Windows 8 have touch screen laptops or tablets not desktops, because that is what the android interface was designed to function on. If Microsoft wants to branch out into tablets that is fine but they should not try to force the changes into places where they do not belong.

      1. I agree that the touch screen on smaller devices had a role to play, and this may not be an ideal interface for a desktop environment. I’m not so sure if it’s about MS branching out to tablets than it is to have an OS that can be used with both notebook with touch screens and desktops. Serving notebooks with touch screen likely may win out. Notebooks serve a market that need a portable device with keyboard and mouse/touch pad. Other comment here indicate as delivered 8 can be configured to work well with desktops without touch screens. In the end the market will decide.

    1. LOL ,but AOL failed for reasons beyond it’s user interface. That blasted Al Gore drafted legislation that gave the general public access to the internet, Congress went and passed it, GHWB signed it. A for profit corporation can’t compete with free content, when the investment would earn more invested elsewhere Hackaday Google etc. are toast if if ROI falls to a certain level. Although AOL did well when serving those computer users who didn’t want to make the effort to use free BBS’ using when the telephone modem was how most home computer users went “online”. Besides corporations make computer hardware, and the components that are used to manufacture that hardware. Good luck in escaping corporations controlling your computer experience.

        1. Yes Linux certainly is adaptable. But even our use Linux is dependent on what hardware corporations make available or discontinue. You read like a person that believes complete independence is possible in a world that has always operated on interdependence. This is a conversation that could evolve into running in circles, I don’t do that; you have the last word.

          1. I do believe a reasonable amount of independence is possible when it comes to computing. For a case in point I can use the machine I’m on now as an example. I bought it for a dollar at a senior center sale. Now how was I involved in any way with any corporations? The fact that corporations manufactured it at one point is moot to me. I’m sure plenty of corporations were involved in the manufacture of this hardware but from my immediate perspective this PC could have simply popped into existence for all it matters.

  14. This is not hackaday quality material. This is some b*llsh*t you’d see on lifehacker or one of those other shill-addled sites. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE HACKADAY I ONCE LOVED?

    1. Hackaday has plenty of adult readers I’m sure, even if comments make it appear as if they don’t ;) Reality is that a good portion of Hackaday readers will be using a computer will be using a computer with Windows 8 installed. For that reason I’m collecting information as this to save me time I do the same for Linux and Android as well Anyway it’s a simple matter to scroll past an article that doesn’t interest us.

  15. I have yet to update a current Microsoft OS installation, to the latest release so I’m always behind the newest OS. To date I have gotten by waiting until my current hardware is showing its age, and on its last legs physically; the replacement is when I get the latest MS OS available. Until the Linux community gets the lack of simply installed drivers taken care of Linux is always going to be an also ran. Understanding I most likely will be using 8 to keep my computer use seamless I will be saving item like this tutorial to save me time when I do have a machine with 8. Like the time and frustration as how to command 7 to lock my desktop icons to where I wanted them.

    1. I’m curious what Linux hardware drivers are you having difficulties with? Most hardware drivers are built into the distributed kernel. My accelerated video driver (Nvidia) is an exception to that, but I don’t think it is particularly hard to install. If anything Linux is light years ahead of Windows on the hardware driver front. You can literally load a live image on a system, boot off that, and everything works in Linux without even touching the keyboard. You land on a desktop, online, ready to go.

      I mean what else do you want? Do you want Linus himself to come over personally and boot your system up for you? Is that what it is going to take? I can ask him. Because as things stand now that is all I can think of that could improve things.

      1. The short as possible story. While I had used an Ubuntu live CD I never installed Ubuntu on a computer, until I went to overwrite a XP installation onl to find the CD package that I paid for when I purchased the computer was missing a XP disk, I then installed Ubuntu worked great. As time went along the on board Ethernet circuitry failed. No big deal just buy a WiFi dongle next time I’m at Walmart right? I understood that it might not include a Linux driver, but I was aware of the utility that allows the windows driver to be used. Put the busted computer on the bench with portable connected to the net to read to how to go about using the utility. First the driver CD that came with didn’t have file with the file extension the utility needed. I downloaded what was supposed to be the latest driver for the dongle, but it didn’t have a file with the extension the utility wanted. With nothing to loose I renamed the file to show i to have that extension that didn’t work. While I understand it’s a Broadcom proprietary issue more than anything, at the time I tried Ubuntu on the Mini nine it would work with the wireless card, I have bookmarked the page that details the procedure to remedy the mini 9 issue but have done so yet. I hadn’t given up on on them yet. I have and went through and will go through more effort than the average consumer will go though, that is while meant by the driver issue makes Linux not ready for prime time. Not that I’m ragging on the average user because sales to them is what keeps a computer affordable for me. No I don’t expect Linus to come by I ever expected Bill to come by either

        1. Well if it was me in your predicament I’d try to see what the OS thought of the hardware, then search for a solution from that angle. Because I looked for what you mentioned, a “mini 9” and that yielded nothing useful at all. Perhaps you do not know how to query the OS though? Because you called the device a “dongle” I’m going to assume it is some kind of a USB device. If that is the case then you can issue the command lsusb and see it in a listing of USB devices. Failing that you can tail syslog and see kernel messages there too (tail -f /var/log/syslog is a useful command). Then if you can get what Linux identifies the device as you can perhaps use that information to locate a solution pertinent to your situation.

          But that is just me. Anyhow good luck. Every tragedy is an opportunity in disguise. Yours just may be a chance to learn a bit more about Linux. One thing I’m fond of saying is, the more you know about Linux the better it is!

  16. Steam OS for life.

    Honestly all modern OSs are easy to use for anyone who actually knows how to use a computer. Not being able to switch between the top 3 OSs for computing is a complete fail. If you care that much about what OS your computer, phone or tablet use chances are using it’s because you haven’t taken the 10 minutes it takes to learn the basics of it’s operation. They are tools and there is this awesome thing called a search engine that will tell you how to use those tools.

    IMO the differences between OSX and Win8 are now down to personal preference, not fundamental flaws in design. I am not a fan of having to switch between screens to launch apps on Win8 but how often am I really doing that. If there is an app I need to launch over and over again I can always put a shortcut on my desktop. Linux is catching up slowly. Ubuntu was the first real distro to focus on the user experience in a meaningful way imo and it still falls very short. I think that the SteamOS has the potential to draw enough users, and thus open source talent, to be made into a really competitive product for the consumer market. Many *nix power users complain that they lose too much control with other OSs. That may be true but that doesn’t mean that *nix can’t have a compelling user interface, with all the power users settings hidden for those who want them. Need an example, just look at OSX; in many, but not all ways, it is the best *nix experience to date.

  17. I’m pretty sure that the reason Windows 8 really isn’t catching on is because it’s too hard to pirate. How many of you out there are running pirate copies of Windows 7? It’s so easy to do, all you need is the Digital River ISO and a copy of a tool that I won’t name because I’m not familiar about the commenting rules regarding encouraging piracy.

    1. w8 hard to pirate??? WTH? first info about that :-) why would anybody pirate free OS
      1. download free RTM iso from MS
      2. get free KEY from MS
      3. write 5lines of commands in notepad with free MS issued W8 key and online KMS server > save as *bat … then run it and you’re good for 180 days
      nothing to pirate
      problem with W8 is that so many people never learned to use shortcuts like Win+D or Win+R (or even simple launcher app like Launchy)

  18. I hear AMD is releasing a ‘project mantle’ thing with a special driver that makes games faster by accessing low level stuff more directly than DirectX. And that games like battlefield 4 will release updates to make them work with it.
    The interesting thing for me and on subject of this thread is that since it’s not DirectX it makes it possible to use DirectX 11.1 and 11.2 graphics, without having those Windows8-only versions, and you’d have things work in w7 if all goes well.
    And maybe AMD will make a linux version? Then you’d have more game options on linux-steam, again making it possible to avoid Windows (including 8).

    Anyway, nice to get support for avoiding W8 :)

  19. The really really real problem is the commerce and the masses. Many of us have been doing the computing thing forever. I was on arpanet, I was a beta tester for Mosaic. Before Mosaic, it was all ftp and archie and gopher. Mosaic, then Netscape, then IE, etc. The browser became a defacto “platform” for the unwashed masses. Enter marketriods and their need to sell, sell, sell. Remember when you could search for information on the web and what you wanted was the first hits, and not what corps wanted to sell you that sounded similar? Everything on the web is now either a sales pitch or cat pictures on reddit. MS is selling a selling platform, not a productivity platform. You are the product, not the consumer.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.