Posts Tagged ‘ Windows 8 ’

Windows 8.1…from a users perspective

Many of my customers ask my advise before buying their next computer.  My advise is based on a how they use their current computer and their future needs.  Some of my customers use their computer just to check email and surf the Web, others use their computers for work related functions such as documents and spreadsheets.  My first question is “Are you looking for a desktop, laptop or a tablet?”  If the customer is looking for a desktop replacement and they don’t have a touch screen, then I would recommend Windows 7, but if a customer is looking for a touch screen laptop or a tablet, then Windows 8.1 would make sense.

I’ve used Windows 8 since it became available as a public beta.  Windows 8.1 is a major improvement to the initial release of Windows 8.0, but the experience on a non-touch screen device versus a touch screen device is like night and day.  I use a laptop for my business projects and I spend a majority of my time programming, so a touch screen computer or tablet is useless to me.  Using Windows 8.1 on a non-touch screen device is a bit…well…clunky.  Steps that previously required two clicks of the mouse now takes three, ie shutting down from the Windows Start button or from the “Charms” bar.

Recently, one of my customers sold her house and moved to the Carolina’s.  Before moving, she wanted to buy a laptop or tablet so she wouldn’t have to be chained to her desk when she wanted to go online.  I was concerned to promote Windows new OS for a few reasons…

  • New OS…most of my senior customers do not like change.  Their philosophy, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
  • Her computer skills are limited
  • Windows 8.1 is radically different from the Windows XP experience that she was used to

As a service to all of my customers, I offered to go with her to Best Buy so she could hold a laptop and tablet in her hands.  I pointed out considerations such a weight, screen size, battery life etc.  After kicking the tires on just about every laptop and tablet they had on display, she decided she wanted the functionality of a full size keyboard that a laptop has to offer when she needs to type a letter and the convenience of a tablet when she just wanted to check her email and surf the Web.  With that said, she purchased the HP Envy x2 that sports a laptop and a tablet all in one.

After setting up the hybrid computer for her specific needs, I was surprised to watch her get around with ease even though she had never been exposed to the new OS.  I decided to kick the tires myself on this touch screen experience.  What I discovered was adapting to Windows 8.1 is less about the age of the user and more about the device they were using it on.  

As more of my customers make the switch to the new OS and devices continue to develop, I will continue to report my findings and their experiences in a future blog.

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Windows 8…from an installers perspective

As a computer service company, I have installed Windows on various computers since 2001.  When a reinstall is necessary due to a hard drive failure or upgrade, I can usually count on the customer telling me that they don’t have the restoration CD/DVD’s.  As time went on and PC’s became cheaper and cheaper, new computers, accompanied with physical restoration CD/DVD’s, became a thing of the past.  With that said, I always bring my laptop with me so I could download the OS (operating system) and adjacent drivers from the manufacturer’s Website.

Recently, I have installed Windows 8 on a number of various laptops and desktops from ASUS, Dell, HP and Generic brands alike.  What I’ve experienced during each of these installs, was that my laptop was no longer required to get the job done.  Windows 8, from an installation perspective, just works!  After installing Windows 8, I was able to connect to the Internet and register the product without the need to hunt down drivers for the Ethernet card.  Along with installing the correct Ethernet drivers, Windows 8 installed the proper sound, video, mouse and keyboard drivers as well.  In each and every installation, Windows 8 also installed the correct drivers for the various brands of wired and wireless printers and scanners.

What about Bluetooth connections?  Although my customers Bluetooth devices are limited, my personal collection of Bluetooth connected devices have worked with two notable exceptions.  Since I upgraded from Windows 8 Pro to Windows 8.1 Pro on my laptop and upgraded to Amber on my Nokia Lumia 920, the two devices can no longer communicate with each other via Bluetooth.  This is not a deal breaker because Microsoft Skydrive keeps my files and pictures on the two devices synced at all times.  The second device was a Logitech K810 Keyboard.  Although it works well on my laptop, it doesn’t work with my Nokia Lumia 920.  It’s only fair to mention that when I purchased this particular keyboard, Logitech clearly stated that it does not work with the Nokia Lumia 920.

As time goes on and more customers upgrade to Windows 8.1, my installation experience may change so stay tuned for future blogs.