My Windows 8 Upgrade Experience

This entry was posted in General Musings, Productivity, Software by Cleave on

Windows-8-LogoNow I know that there have been many many articles about Windows 8 out there on the net and in the news but I feel that it would be nice to hear about the experience of a everyday user of Windows. Sure I use Windows for more then just blogging, I also play games on it, write on it as well as doing graphic design on research on it. My machine is my everything and everyday machine. This is the machine that I use day in and day out and is not optimized or overclocked for anything other then reliability and some speed. I just hate to wait for things to load.

When I first heard about Windows 8 I was thrilled and as more and more information came out about it I hated the thought of upgrading more and more. I like my desktop and the thought of having to go in and out of it in a very unnatural way, well it drove me nutts. I don’t want a tile list of the things that I might use, hells I have a rather large list of programs on my computer. There are all the games that I review, all the games that I play for fun, all the html tools that I use and maintence programs and more. Can you imagine that all on one tile page? I couldn’t and knew that I would never do that. I know this is about upgrading Windows but I can tell you now that I do not have that tile monstrosity that is more designed for phones and tablets then that of a desktop computer that has nothing that is touch enabled. So if I was ever to upgrade I needed something else to be able to take the place of the “Metro”, Charms, Tiles interface. So I started digging for solutions. Come to find out that there are several solutions for the desktop, some free and some not. The one that I chose was Classic Shell that first came out in November of 2009.

Classic Shell was first made in response to the menu and UI changes that were made to Vista. It was a way to have the computer feel like it did with Windows XP and it does just that. It makes your computer look like it did, for the most part, as it did when you had Windows 7. You can even make the start button act like Windows XP if you wanted. This was the solution that I was looking for and after looking at a lot of the Start Button programs out there it was Classic Shell that I ultimately chose. Now that I had a way to keep my desktop and my Start Button menu I bit the bullet and bought a copy of Windows 8. I will say I didn’t get it directly from a retailer but instead got a new purchase of Windows 8 off of eBay. Seems that some people in the rush bought more then they needed or they just didn’t like after they bought it, so they sell it on eBay to try and get some of their money back. No problem, it saved my $20 and shipping to get a new version of Windows on disk. I really don’t like to have download only software, I prefer to have disks near by in case the worst happens. Some of you might like download only stuff, but it just isn’t me.

Now that I had everything ready it was time to start the update. I will say that I had on piece of software that slowed down the process and it was Norman 9 Security Suite. If you upgrade with software that is incompatible it will slow it down A LOT. If you try and run with incompatible software you will also see your boot times go through the roof. Once I removed the incompatible software my boot times went from about 50 seconds from post to about 15 seconds from post. And the system is now more responsive and quicker then when I first installed Windows 7 on a clean system. That says a lot about the new version of Windows but there was still the matter of the UI to take care of. As to the install it took about 45 minutes total to upgrade from Windows 7 and it has 20 gigs of data and settings to deal with. That is how big the Windows.old folder was when it was all said and done. As I said, I have a lot of programs on my computer. So I played some Skyrim while I waited.

After several reboots and setup changes I now installed Classic Shell. It was a very quick process and after a reboot I saw the new Windows 8 UI for about 2 seconds or less and then had for the most pat, my old desktop back. Sure I had to update and reconfigure a few programs and settings but nothing like what I expected I would have had to do on such a major update. I did have a few panic moments but they were because of me and not reading what I was supposed to do when the answer was right there on the screen, blinking even to tell me what to do. So about an hour after the install my computer was flying faster then I ever had seen it do before.

So, if you hate the idea of all the tiles, there are solutions out there and not just the one that I listed here. As to the Tiles, I just disabled all the Live Tiles that would auto update and then just kept going. There is much that you can do with the new OS. So if you hate the idea of a Live Tile board there are options, even when Microsoft thinks otherwise.

If you have recently upgraded your system to Windows 8, please comment and let others know how your upgrade went.