ComTech: IT Support Stirling

Is Windows 8 really that bad?

The dust has settled and Windows 8 has now been with us a while so I thought I would share some of my thoughts regarding Microsofts newest (and best?) offering.

When Windows 8 first arrived I was one of the many people who hated the new interface.  I thought it was overly complicated and so completely different that the average user would find it very difficult.  To use the interface effectively you need to remember that to access anything move the mouse to the top right hand corner of the screen or alternatively use the Windows key to return to the Start screen.  After using it for a while you do get used to it however it is still so completely different from previous versions that a lot of people still hate it.  People just don’t like change.

The lack of the Start button was another issue I didn’t like.  Again after using Windows 8 for a while I will be honest and say I don’t really miss it.  If you pin your most frequently used programs to the ‘Metro’ interface you will have access to them the minute Windows 8 starts.  As for the ‘traditional’ desktop I can say that I am using it less and less due to the fact that any installed programs are automatically attached to the Start screen meaning that I don’t have to go looking for them.  If your programs are attached to the Start screen then what is the point of the desktop? In my opinion Windows 8 doesn’t really need it.

One big plus I only found out this week is that you don’t need to install antivirus onto Windows 8 as it already comes with some installed in the form of Windows Defender.  I didn’t really see the point of Windows Defender in previous versions of Windows as I felt it just got in the way and caused more hassle than it was worth.  In Windows 8 it has the same functionality as Microsoft Security Essentials and seeing Security Essentials is a very good product to start with then surely this is a bonus.

The boot time for Windows 8 is another big plus.  It is very fast at startup and this is very welcome.

I haven’t really begun to explore the inner workings of Windows 8 yet.  For the most part under the hood it is still Windows 7 (Control panel, Computer, Device Manager etc) but the way you access the different menus is completely different.

The big question is would I advise a client to upgrade to Windows 8 or not?

Upgrade to Windows 8 – no.  I am a firm believer that if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it and Windows 7 is definitely not broke.  It is still a really good operating system so if you have it on your system my advice would be keep using it.

What about buying a new system?  This is tricky.  At the moment it is becoming more difficult to buy a system with Windows 7 on it.  I have a lot of clients who use XP and like it because in their eyes it is what they are used too.  A lot of these would find it very difficult to transfer over to Windows 8 without a lot of training so to these I would recommend Windows 7.  As for the rest I would say try Windows 8 but explain to them that the interface is completely different and to approach it with an open mind.  Windows 8 is different but it will grow on you.

About the Author


Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.


Windows Vista – the forgotten OS?

As the new kid on the block Microsoft is pushing Windows 8 hard.  They are also trying to get people still on XP to upgrade to either Windows 7 or even Windows 8, however there is no mention of that other OS Vista.  Now I know that Vista isn’t liked very much (by both the public and Microsoft itself) and Microsoft would rather it went away but the fact is it is still used by millions of people worldwide.  So lets take a look and see how bad it really is.

First the good points.

1. New flashier interface.  Vista looks good especially with the new Aero interface.  The icons look snappier and navigation around the menus is good.

2. The Network Center.  At last Microsoft put networking at the centre of the OS.  Setting up either a wired or wireless network on Vista is a breeze.

3. Security.  Vista is a lot more secure than its predecessor Windows XP. In XP the user runs with administrative privileges by default which means that if the system gets infected with a virus and that virus compromises the user account it would then have administrative privileges for the system.  This could not happen on Vista because of the UAC (User Account Control) which asks you to specify a password before you carry out administrative tasks.

4. Reliability and Performance Monitor.  I love this and was surprised Microsoft dropped the Reliability monitor from Windows 7.  The ability to produce reports about the current state of the system is invaluable from a troubleshooting point of view and coupled with the ability to monitor the system over a period of time using the Reliability Monitor is priceless.

Now onto the not so good stuff.

1. Resource hog.  To run Vista you require much beefier hardware than what was required for XP.  Vista loves memory and if you don’t have enough of it to say it is slow is an understatement.  You can run it on 1 Gb but watch what happens when you try installing software and actually using it.

2. Drivers.  When Vista came out it wasn’t compatible with a lot of the peripherals (eg printers) that users were using at the time.  This should be largely sorted but the damage to its reputation has been done.

3. Pricing.  Vista came in 6 different versions starting from Basic and ending up at Ultimate which cost a whopping £160 (approx).  This was more than its predecessor Windows XP.

4. The interface.  Yes the Vista interface was better but it was also too different from XP for a lot of customers.  Customers didn’t want to relearn how to use the system.

5. The UAC.  This was the biggest complaint from users by far.  When you try and do any administrative task in Vista the UAC appears and asks for a password (usually preceded by a blank screen) and shocks many users.  It is very intrusive and a lot of users turned it off which kind of defeats the purpose of having it there in the first place.

6. Windows 7.  Basically Windows 7 is what Vista should have been out of the blocks and because of this many people and businesses are bypassing Vista on their upgrade paths and going straight to Windows 7.

From a personal point of view I would rather work on a Vista system than an XP system anyday. With the inbuilt troubleshooting tools it is much easier to diagnose problems and fix them plus everytime I have had to reinstall XP on a system it never loads all the drivers. Vista doesn’t have this issue.  I will probably miss it when it eventually goes but I know of many that wont.

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter








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