ComTech: IT Support Stirling

Windows 8 – The journey from pure hatred to new best friend

I had a call from a home client last week who wanted me to take a look at his new Windows 8 laptop.  When I asked him what the issue was I got the reply “I cant do anything on it.  It is just so ****** different.  Can you please come out and show me how to use it”.

No problem.  I turned up on site and it was obvious from the start that he hated Windows 8. He knew his way around a Windows 7 system and thought he would take to Windows 8 with no problems.  He was wrong.  So I asked him to be a bit more specific about what he was trying to do on the system.

Problem Number 1 – I don’t know how to open up any programs.

“What is this new start screen rubbish everytime I start the laptop”. These were his words regarding the new Start (aka Metro) interface.  I explained that Microsoft was trying to have the same interface across all devices.  So if you had a tablet, laptop or smartphone with Windows 8 you would see the same interface no matter what the device.  “I guess there is some logic in that I suppose but how do I get to my programs”

I showed him how to pin his most used programs to the Start Screen and told him that the Windows Key was now his new best friend.  Press the Windows key and you go back to the Start Screen where all his programs now were.  This he did like – very much.

Problem Number 2 – Where has the Control Panel gone?

I showed him how to search for the Control Panel and that in fact once opened the Control Panel is almost identical to the one in Windows 7.  I then again showed him how to pin it to his Start Screen so he would not have to go looking for it again.  Again this he liked very much.

Problem 3 – Where is Microsoft Office?

This you can’t blame on Windows 8.  The client had been using Office through their work computer for years and this being the first home laptop they had purchased themselves thought it came with Windows 8.  Once I had explained the finer points of Microsoft subscription charges (this they seriously didn’t like) and showed them how much Office 2010 would cost them I showed them Libreoffice which it turns out would satisfy their word processing needs.  This was installed and automatically pinned to the Start Screen.

The main thing my client wanted was to be shown how to use the new interface.  Once I had shown them that underneath all the new shiny stuff it was still the Windows they had used for all these years they were very happy.  They love that you can pin all your programs to the Start Screen and using the Windows Key can find them in an instant.  Rather than go through the Start button and search for them (by the way they don’t miss it) all their programs are there in one place ready to be clicked on.  Boot time is much faster than they were used too and when I left I heard the immortal words “I am actually beginning to like this”.

One more happy client.

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 Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

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!!



Which browser is best?

The anwser to this is not that simple.  You see it depends on what you want your browser to do so lets take a look at what your main options are:

1. Microsoft Internet Explorer 9

Plus: A lot more secure than previous incarnations.  IE 8 adheres to internet standards rather than just ignoring them.  It is good at identifying potential harmful sites and offers the user a private browsing mode.

Minus: Although IE 9 is more secure than previous incarnations it still has a lot of room for improvement compared to its rivals.  Compared to Firefox there is not the breadth and choice of customising.

2. Firefox

Plus: With Firefox you can customise almost any part of the browser by using add -ons.  Most modern browsers now use add – ons but in this respect Firefox leads the way.  It is also very easy to use and is secure.

Minus: Firefox does have a tendancy to use up a lot of your computers resources when you have lots of tabs open.  This can make it slow and prone to crashing.

3. Opera

Plus: Many of the features found on other browsers where pioneered on Opera.  The main feature of Opera at the moment is Opera Turbo.  Web-sites are compressed before they are loaded which allows them to load faster.  This works especially well on slower internet connections.  The interface is also minimalistic and uncluttered.

Minus: Because Opera is not used by a lot of people (relatively speaking) some websites have not be tested with it (e.g uploading pictures onto ebay).

4. Chrome

Plus: Developed by Google to be the fastest browser on earth Chrome is faster than any of its rivals.  It has a very  minimalistic interface (similar to Opera) and is a lot less crash prone than its rivals (especially Firefox).

Minus: Users coming from IE8 or Firefox will find the interface confusing (lack of bookmarks etc)

5. Safari

Plus: Focuses on usability.  Very quick with a stylish interface.

Minus: Very little in the way of customising available.  Can slow down and crash under heavy use.

There you have it.  There are more browsers on the market but here we have covered just the main 5.  Each of the browsers has its merits but also its pitfalls.  For my money I use Chrome because I like the interface and its speed, however the choice is yours.

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ComTech can set up your software so that it just ‘works’.  Once configured I can maintain it for you if needed on a schedule which fits you.  For more information go to


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