Being mainly a Windows XP Pro shop (XP 62%, W7 38%) we are considering taking
advantage of the low pricing for upgrade ($40) and move altogether to W8. Of
course we could move all XP to W7, but does it makes sense to upgrade to an OS
that is already 2 years old?
So in order to know if this is possible we set to test W8 first on two savvy users'
PC and then expand on the test to five more users. This is what I have found after
a couple of weeks working on it:
The bad news: My MS Office 2003 won't work with W8 (see KB2777626); some users
have reported being able to install it, but it breaks Windows updates. The
graphics for the windows (application windows) suck, they are really hard to
discern from the windows in the background. None of my deployed with GPO printers
got deployed to the W8 computers; however I could right click on them and connect
no problem (all printers are very old-attached to a print server). My laptop's
nVidia card (Quadro FX350M) wasn't recognized; after some time spent on the net I
found the 64 bit driver for W7 on the MS Update Catalog which worked fine.
Bluetooth has played me a couple of tricks with my Logitech KB and mouse; I have
had to remove them and reconnect them a couple of times (this is a 6 year old
laptop). And finally the "metro" interface; I get it out of my face as soon as I
log in by going to the desktop with WinKey + D where I have all my shortcuts.
However I really think MS screwed up big time by not letting the user choose
between a "desktop" option and a "mobile" one when installing the OS. Having to
constantly go to the Desktop is an annoyance and not having a Start menu is going
to be a major adjustment for most users. And having to customize the start screen
to eliminate (or "unpin") a bunch of useless apps is going to be a pain for most
shops. Still there is no save as PDF option (or asimple PDF printer) on the many
applications included by default in the OS.
The good news: Fast boot. It feels faster over all, but I'll have to wait till
some time has passed to check if this is just an effect of being a clean install.
For shops that can't afford to pay for the Ultimate version, the adding of bit
locker encryption on W8 Pro is a god send. Regarding the deployed with GPO
printers mentioned earlier one good thing was that when I tried to connect to a
printer which has only the 32 bit driver in the printer server, W8 looked up the
64 bit driver by itself on the net and made it happen; with XP an error will pop
up that no suitable driver was available, meaning you will have to load the 64 bit
driver before hand on the server. If you're a KB shortcut user you will have no
trouble getting your way around the OS; all old shortcuts are still there and a
I will say that the main two issues when upgrading are: applications and hardware
drivers. If you get those sorted out then move on or plan what your next move will
be when XP looses its support in 2014.
Just my two cents...
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