At the moment every spare second in the working day is spent studying for my MCSA in Windows 8. Since I already hold the MCSA in Windows 7 all I have to do is pass the upgrade exam. There is no point in just learning for the exam so I am also getting my hands very dirty under the hood. This has allowed me to have a look at all the changes and decide what I think is a good idea and which of those are absolutely rubbish (don’t worry this is not another Windows 8 review but my own personal preferences).
First the good stuff.
Boot time is bloody fast. Under the hood (for the most part) it is still Windows 7 and having the ability to pin all my applications to the Start screen and actually group them is a real bonus. Then there is the ability to configure storage pools and file history which I think are really good ideas.
Now the other stuff.
Why change the way a user enters Safe Mode? I know they sacrificed the old BIOS for boot speed but in doing so they have also made a simple task MUCH more complicated. Before Windows 8 you simply pressed the F8 key at startup (nice and simple) but now there is variety of ways to enter it with most only being an option when inside the operating system. Why oh why?
Next is the BIOS and this to me is the biggest ‘niggle’ with Windows 8 (I am seeing this from a system admin point of view and not a user and personally I like the Start Screen anyway!!)
Sent to the grave are F2, Delete or F12 for entering the BIOS and instead we have PC Settings, holding down the shift key while restarting the system or a command which can be run from the command line. All of these options are available when Windows 8 is running. I can fully understand why the old BIOS setup wouldn’t work with Windows 8 but the new one is not upto the job and the following scenario will illustrate my point.
I had a customer last week who had a pretty bad virus on his system. The system would boot as per normal but once up an running it slowed to a crawl. Using the mouse became a chore and carrying out any simple task was not an option. For instance he couldn’t select restart but instead had to hold down the power button instead. Usually I would boot the system with a Linux Rescue CD and then remove the virus but this is not possible with Windows 8 unless you enter the BIOS and change the boot order. Guess what? I couldn’t access the BIOS as the system was running that slow. I had to remove the hard drive and plug it into another system and clean it out that way instead. This may not sound like a big deal but it makes a techs job just that little bit longer and fiddly which will cost the customer money.
Overall I like Windows 8 but one thing that comes apparent when using it for a while is that some things have changed for what feels like little gain. Windows 8 doesn’t feel finished yet and hopefully Windows 8.1 will address some of these issues (don’t miss the start button either).
About the Author
Hi I’m 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 Perth.
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