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  1. #1
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    So then, upgrading to windows 8 or not?

    (hopefully avoiding knee-jerk reactions and moaning about how awful metro is).

    So, I have a laptop that came with windows Vista Ultimate. I bought it a few weeks before they announced Windows 7 and they had a really evil upgrade system in place from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7. Ultimate was excluded from the special pre-order pricing and I wasn't impressed with the idea of having to pay 300 bucks to upgrade on OS i just bought. So I basically just stayed on vista and forgot about it.

    I've actually had no real complaints with Vista, but recently my laptop is feeling a little sluggish, and all the hype for win 8 has started to kick in - talking about how 7 and 8 are less resource intensive, so i was thinking it might be a way to slightly rejuvenate and freshen up my laptop.

    But a win 7 ultimate upgrade still seems to be insanely expensive. A win 7 Pro upgrade is a little cheaper, but requires a full re-install. I wasn't that interested in win 8, but the pricing seems to be really low ($30 vs $120). I guess they're hoping to make their profits on the app store / dlc.

    I have a few issues with the app store's monopoly, but I'm not as fervently anti the ideas of win 8 as some people.

    What do people think? What are the pros/cons of upgrading to win7 or win8 these days?

    Also, I'm currently on vista 32 bit. When i got it there were a fair number of compatibility issues with 64 bit. Is that all sorted out now? How about running older software? Win7 had a XP virtual machine right? Does win 8 have that, or will half my older games/software stop working?

    Also, have MS snuck in any sneaky DRM/Anti-consumer tech this time?

    There was a win8 demo right? Is that still available? Does it dual boot with your existing OS and how long does it take to set up? Is there a live cd?

    (I'd like to get some balanced opinions rather than the usual rants about vista or about win8 being dumbed down for tablets.).

  2. #2
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    I'm not sure whether I'm reading your post right, but if you did buy a Windows Vista laptop shortly after the arrival of Windows 7 you may be eligible (or at least, might've been) for a free upgrade. Google "Windows 7 Upgrade Program" and try finding info about your laptop's brand. It's worth a shot I guess.

    Otherwise, I'll be honest: Windows 8 has a fair few features that make it a legitimately interesting upgrade, but buries it under a clunky interface. It's a faster OS with better features, provided you can live with the interface formerly known as Metro. In my few weeks running the Server 8 preview, I did get somewhat accustomed to it, but some of the interface decisions still felt downright bizarre, such as hiding shutdown/restart in a panel many clicks away (I ended up resorting to Alt-F4 on the desktop a lot more than I ever did) or having those giant buttons that don't really help with a mouse driven interface.

    If you've seen the interface formerly known as Metro already and feel like you can get used to it (or ignore it as much as possible and abstract out the rest), then I'd say it's a worthwhile upgrade. Otherwise, Windows 7 is still a very solid OS and likely will become the new Windows XP.

  3. #3
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    Nah. The win 7 upgrade program came into effect a few weeks too late for me. It was very frustrating at the time.

    I don't know if i'd get used to Metro having not tried it yet, but I tend to get used to things like that really quickly, or be able to ignore small changes/annoyances. There do seem to be a few interesting points to win 8 such as the security features. Frankly though, the main appeal of win8 is the incredibly low price. If win 7 and win 8 were comparable in price i'd probably go with 7. But paying 5x more to get an older OS seems wrong somehow.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Windows 7 is fine and plays the games I want, is still supported against security holes and all mainstream software runs on it. Also, steams "big picture" has out paced everything I've seen about metro even if i did start playing on my TV with a wireless controller.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    I've been running Windows 8 as my primary OS on my desktop for a while now (TechNet RTM), and before that I used the previews extensively. Metro is not particularly good or useful on desktops - I never use the tiles. But in terms of losing the Start menu, you get over it very quickly. It works the exact same way as I use the Start menu in Win7: open it up, type what I want, press Enter. That part has never changed. I spend almost all my time in classic desktop mode without any issues. In general I find Win8 to be a bit faster, and it was a LOT faster at booting on a HDD than Win7 (particularly on my old laptop's slow HDD). With an SSD, the difference is less noticeable, but BIOS takes longer than Win8 booting on my SSD.

    x64 issues died out with Vista - WinXP x64 was terrible, but that's far in the past. The only important point to remember is that 16-bit support is entirely dropped in every x64 version of Windows. Unless you rely on legacy software, I find no reason not to use x64.

    Regarding DRM - Metro is supposedly locked down by Microsoft so that you can only install Metro apps from the Windows store, done as part of the cross-platform design methodology. Yet installing Google Chrome will also install a Metro app, which is absent from the Windows store. I'm guessing it still must be signed by MS or something, not sure. In terms of regular x86/desktop apps, there's absolutely no change whatsoever. Anyone who tells you different is making stuff up. You can install whatever you like. It's only Metro that's locked, but I highly doubt you'll care.

  6. #6
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    RE: locked metro apps: I think i read on the product matrix that the more expensive/professional versions can install apps from other sources, but the basic versions can only install from the MS store.

    I almost never use the start menu, I just type into the box like you. So I'm thinking that metro isn't going to be a big issue for me... it might even be a nice little extra replacing something like rainmeter.

    Anyone know any other issues to be aware of. I'm worried about getting older games to work, and about using older legacy software. (i dont' do it often, but i don't want to lose a useful peice of software. ) Does it still have a built in XP emulator?

    I must admit, I'm a little worried by the low price, it feels like a trap. I worry there's a catch later!

    Thanks for info so far!

    PS/ Have they done anything annoying like forcing you to use Bing or integrating some MS service so deeply into the OS that it can't be avoided?
    Last edited by BillButNotBen; 07-10-2012 at 11:13 AM.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    I used Windows Vista 64-bit and apart from the very beginning never noticed any problems with compatibility. Win 7 - also 64-bit - on my new computer has been smooth sailing so far. I see no reason to think Win 8 would be different in that regard.

    As for the low price, Microsoft is expecting you to fork over extra cash via the new app store.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    I'm worried about getting older games to work, and about using older legacy software. (i dont' do it often, but i don't want to lose a useful peice of software. ) Does it still have a built in XP emulator?
    If it worked on Vista/Win7, it should work on Win8. It's not such a massive fundamental difference like the jump from 98->XP or XP->Vista. So far I haven't had any problems with software failing to work under Windows 8... but some software apparently can't cope with there being a web browser under Metro and a web browser under the classic desktop. Steam for example won't open up a browser window when you click on say the forums link from within Steam (Steam's internal browser works fine). Other software seems to have a similar issue. It's weird.

    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    PS/ Have they done anything annoying like forcing you to use Bing or integrating some MS service so deeply into the OS that it can't be avoided?
    Not really. Bing has a live tile by default, as does Skydrive, but you can ignore/hide them if you like. You have the option to log into Windows with a Live account, or you can just use a local account as you have since forever. Logging in under a Live account should (theoretically) sync Metro UI changes across devices, but in my testing it apparently does absolutely nothing of use, so either it's broken or it doesn't do what it suggests that it does. Service integration is fairly superficial. Also you can change Metro program defaults, so you don't have to use Internet Explorer or whatever to open file type X under Metro.

    Classic desktop has no integration with any of those services. Amusingly, despite Metro UI featuring a Skydrive client, there's no such client bundled with the OS for Windows Explorer/classic desktop. The only thing that annoys me is that Win8 uses a lot of the bundled Metro apps to handle various files by default - for example, audio files are opened up by the Metro Music app by default, which is a pain because it's a pretty crappy app and ill suited for the desktop. You can of course change this easily enough, but it's slightly annoying nonetheless.

  9. #9
    Activated Node Adam's Avatar
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    I'm fine on Vista Ultimate 64-bit. Since SP2 I have never had any problems. If I did upgrade then I would install Windows 7. Microsoft products are too expensive and I can't afford to upgrade every so often.

    If I didn't play games regularly then I wouldn't even bother with Windows. I wish I could use a good Linux distribution instead, such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint. Sigh!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    I'm fine on Vista Ultimate 64-bit. Since SP2 I have never had any problems. If I did upgrade then I would install Windows 7. Microsoft products are too expensive and I can't afford to upgrade every so often.

    If I didn't play games regularly then I wouldn't even bother with Windows. I wish I could use a good Linux distribution instead, such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint. Sigh!
    I'm in a similar situation. I'm fine with vista.. but on the other hand i'd like to freshen things up a little... I've gotten a little bored with it. (and getting an android phone has highlighted how user-unfriendly windows is in a few places).

    Ordinarily I'd agree about the price, (especially for Ultimate!), but the current price for win8 seems to be less than that of a single game... (under 25 quid for standard upgrade!) so it's tempting, but a little suspicious. (I wonder if they're planning to go to a more rapid release schedule like android / iOS? Given that it's aimed at tablets too that has to be a major possibility.).

    I'm with you on the linux thing to some extent, but I just keep running into cases where the software isn't available on linux. Which is a shame.

    I'm definitely tempted... i need to see about installing a preview or virtual edition so i can check it out without destroying my existing setup....

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    Ordinarily I'd agree about the price, (especially for Ultimate!), but the current price for win8 seems to be less than that of a single game... (under 25 quid for standard upgrade!) so it's tempting, but a little suspicious. (I wonder if they're planning to go to a more rapid release schedule like android / iOS? Given that it's aimed at tablets too that has to be a major possibility.).
    All indications show that we'll likely be going back to the old Windows release schedule, which we've sort of half-returned to as it is - a new release every one to two years. The gap between XP and Vista was abnormal and unintended - I'm sure you'll remember that back in the 90s up to 2001 we had Win 3, 95, 98, 98SE, 2000, and XP, not to mention the NT line. The 6 years between XP and Vista was never supposed to have happened. Windows 9 will hit in a year or two, you can put money on that.

    But in returning to the more rapid update cycle, Microsoft seem to be dropping the price. But it's important to note that they only seem interested in selling upgrade copies to the general public as things stand. I don't know if OEM versions are going to be available for retailers outside of the system builders. In other words, I don't know if the days of buying an OEM copy of Windows with your new motherboard will still happen.

  12. #12
    Lesser Hivemind Node Feldspar's Avatar
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    In all likelyhood I'll maintain my usual Windows upgrade policy, that is to say I'll upgrade it when I replace my system. I can't be arsed with faffing around on a system that works perfectly as it is, there are no new features on Win8 that I desperately need.

  13. #13
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    I'm not seeing a compelling reason to upgrade the desktop at this point in time, however I am considering getting a Surface Pro tablet (assuming they live upto promise) and maybe a windows 8 phone and if it makes sense to upgrade the desktop so all are intergrated fully I might consider it. However we're talking a way off yet.

  14. #14
    Windows 7 is pretty cool, I don't think I'll be upgrading until at least the first service pack for Windows 8 comes out.

  15. #15
    Activated Node rider's Avatar
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    Do we have any idea if W8 will be more resourceful system requirements wise? As in, comparing 7 and 8, what are the basic ongoing requirements on the hardware to keep them going.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Windows 8 has the same system requirements as Windows 7, which has the same system requirements as Windows Vista. Each generation is also generally optimised a little more in areas like memory management and boot time. Hardware drivers may be a little more mature for Windows 7/Vista, but 8 should catch up very quickly if it hasn't already by the time it launches. So performance-wise, Windows 8 gets a thumbs up.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rider View Post
    Do we have any idea if W8 will be more resourceful system requirements wise? As in, comparing 7 and 8, what are the basic ongoing requirements on the hardware to keep them going.
    Benchmarks show that Win8 is faster than Win7, though that margin of speed might not be a whole lot to write home about. On a conventional HDD though it does boot an awful lot quicker.

    The only part where it lags slightly is in 3D performance, due to immature GPU drivers, but you're unlikely to notice it.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Also, there's been talk about improved thread scheduling possibly affecting the module-based AMD CPUs (where AMD counts each module as two cores, but it's really somewhere between 1 and 2 depending on the workload and the way the OS feeds it to the CPU). It's not enough to make Bulldozer the equal of Sandy/Ivy Bridge, but could be the little extra something Piledriver needs to compete.


    ... until Haswell comes along and inevitably crushes AMDs dreams.

  19. #19
    Activated Node rider's Avatar
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    Interesting. I saw a review somewhere (NZ PC World, maybe) which said that by their testing some games had a minimal increase in fps while say Crysis (I know I spelled that wrong, but I can't think of what wrong :P ) was with a lower fps, so I guess it will depend quite a bit on how the games have been written.

  20. #20
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    If you enjoy indie games or older titles, do not get Windows 8. I've tested it out (for development purposes) and its a bit of a shambles many games glitched out or didn't work. No idea how they managed to break it, since it's mostly W7 under the hood anyway.

    Modern AAA stuff runs OK, didn't see any performance upgrades.

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