Sounds like you have it sorted Brian. But why should you have to use a third party add-on to be able to use a new OS? As you say, "The big question is - why didn't Microsoft do that?" I'm sure an awful lot of people are asking that question right now. Microsoft need to learn the old adage - "If it ain't broke, don't fix it...."
The big question is, why did Brian feel so scared that he did not even try the new interface? Looks like he put the classic shell in without even exploring the possibility that the new shell has advantages justifying the change. I have Win8 running on half a dozen systems, from 10" tablet up to 30" desktop (and my favorite is a Dell 27" touchscreen). I do think the new UI makes the most sense when paired with touch, but on no machine have I felt the need to have the classic UI. The new UI has its own logic and self consistency. Things change. Touch systems demand new approaches, and the old UI does not work well on touch (I've had touch systems for a few years now).
(I do work at MS, but not in Windows, and the opinion is purely my own)
As you say, I was scared by the reviews of others especially those who said it was designed for those who want to view content rather than create it. I could not afford a large amount of downtime and wanted to be as productive as possible, as quickly as possible. So, I am not against the new interface but I want to be able to learn it when time permits rather than have the "hit" of learning it all at once. I am not stuck on the old shell, but want a slower transition.
"and then downloaded “Classic Shell” from sourceforge"
Was this step in the windows installation instructions?
You used your advanced knowledge of computers to bypass the problems with Windows 8. Most people don't know to do this. Windows 8 is not designed to improve productivity or the user experience. It's purpose is to get computer and lap top users trained in to the Windows system for tablets and smart phones. It's the same with Intel now demanding ultra books have touch screens. Microsoft and Intel want to leverage their dominance in computers and laptops to grab more market share in mobile devices.
Agreed - I had done some research beforehand and I hope I have now made it easier for many other people to make the transition. I do see aspects of Windows 8 that I like, but I want to bring them into my usage at my pace. Performance appears to be much better than Windows 7.
Happy new year, Brian! Improved performance seems to be a common finding in many reviews that I have read. I presume that you have factored out any CPU speed differences? (Trust but verify - I have faith in you!)
I will look forward to your reviews of EDA tools running on Windows 8. We are still working in an XP environment, b) as many engineering environments are still there and b) a minority have moved to Windows 7 (I'm about to make that move for my own machine, finally).
At SAME, I did an unscientific survey among the other EDA exhibitors and everyone was going to hang back on Windows 8 until there was significant take-up by customers.
Both my wife and teenage daughter use Windows 8, and for my daughter it was no big deal to learn the new Metro UI. My wife had an hour tutoring session before diving into Windows 8 in order to prepare her for all of the changes. If you love change, then you'll be attracted to Windows 8, however if you don't like surprises then keep Windows 7 running.
Strategically I predict that Windows 8 will be another failed attempt by Microsoft to glue together two unrelated GUIs: Metro and Windows 7.
I've got Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows XP all running virtually on my MacBook Pro, although I only use them under duress or to validate that a web site looks OK on Internet Explorer.
Brian, Thanks for the review of your Win8 install. I too am avoiding it for now. But your experience and suggestion to use the “Classic Shell” from sourceforge indicates that there is a viable upgrade path for me.
Personally I am tired of relearning how to use each new iteration of the Win OS. Especially since I can remember MS promise that the original GUI would "Standardize" the interface so we wouldn't have to re-learn it with each upgrade (another false promise from MS).
Windows 7 won't be around forever, so it's good to know that Windows 8 can be made to work efficiently also for non-touch-screen applications.
What I had predicted, at the outset, after reading all the complaints about the Metro UI, was that Win8 SP1 would incorporate something along the lines of "classic shell." If it does, then I guess there shouldn't be too much to complain about.
Brian, what did you have to do to your video drivers? That's the kind of problem that really hurt Vista. Driver problems, even with drivers that were theoretically supposed to work.
Here are the end-of-life dates for previous recent Windows OS:
Windows XP 4/8/2014
Windows Vista 4/11/2017
Windows 7 1/14/2020
Gartner recommends that XP users upgrade to W7 first, and leave W8 for later ...
From a personal EDA viewpoint, engineers have stayed with XP through the Vista years and there is a lot of inertia in upgrading to W7. Usually that involves a) a needed computer upgrade and b) no absolutely XP-dependent tool requiring the wiping of W7 in the delivered box to reload with the included XP discs.
Yes, but that's end-of-life, as in Microsoft not providing updates any longer. But if you go out and buy a new computer? Perhaps for some time you can order the new one with Win7 installed. Dell seems to be selling at least some of new ones with Win8 exlusively.
I've never had any trouble moving up through the Windows generations, starting with WFWG, Win95, Win98, etc. That was one of the nice features. Would be nice if that approach weren't totally abandoned.
Lets say I am not sure exactly. I did have to install different hardware to get the screen back and then deleted the drivers for the other board. I then did a fresh download from the nVidia site and second time around everything worked.
"Looks like he put the classic shell in without even exploring the possibility that the new shell has advantages justifying the change"
In my case I simply DO NOT WANT a Metro style interface!!! and as you are working for M$ please take the message to whomever needs to know, thank you.
I'm getting continually harassed by M$ to upgrade my new laptop to Win8 as I agreed to the cheap upgrade offer BEFORE I saw the mess win 8 is, did I say I simply DO NOT WANT?
Simply "update" to win7???? I have to buy new software worth many thousands of dollars according to the win7 adviser as it will no longer work. Will my 4 RS232 ports, 2 of which are on a card with a parallel port, still work?
I use them daily and working with USB dongles is a nightmare.
And finally I will have to throw away 2 perfectly working desktop PCs and one laptop so that M$ can keep on giving me stuff I simply DO NOT WANT or need.
Thanks for the opporunity of being able to post this here.
I hope you don't think I work for M$ - I most certainly do not. I have also documented some of the problems I had after this point in other blogs and continue to be somewhat cautious about Win 8. I have had to reload everything three times now, although one time was not M$ fault, but a bad memory stick that made software cause havoc.
You are right - I chose the classic shell based on reviews of other that described it as an interface tuned for users of content rather than for creators of content. I will probably try the3 new interface at times, but did not want to spend the time immediately having the learn a new interface.
Brian - The Classicshell was a good find. I have Win8 installed on a VM and I'm going to try that to see how much it changes my opinion of the OS. Realistically, I don't have a problem with Windows 8 except for the fact that the new UI can't really be switched off. It's only one thing, but it's pretty much a show-stopper for me.
I have found that just about everything that the Windows 7 and Windows XP UIs do can be found someplace inside of Win8, but for the most part, those things are difficult to find and poorly implemented. The way the "desktop" is supported on Win8 looks like little more than a poorly thought out, partially implemented midnight hack.
Going all the way back to Windows 95, Microsoft has given new OS users the ability to mimic the UI of the prior version with a single, very simple setting. Had they done that, I would probably have Windows 8 on my home machine already.
If Classicshell works out (or if MS issues a service pack with similar functionality), my upgrade decision will be no different than it's been with any other version of Windows: just make sure my software is compatible, then go for it.
Brian - I downloaded and installed ClassicShell on my VM Windows 8 installation and it was quite fast and easy to install. I won't be able to get much practical use out of it though. I just have a release-preview of Windows 8 and it reboots every hour (intentionally) or so to remind me that it's not the production version and the preview license has expired.
I still fully expect a service pack that adds native capability to switch to a more complete version of the traditional desktop, but barring that, this piece of software makes me relax a bit more about Win8.
Based on the limited time I spent with it, I'd be much more likely to try out Windows 8 for real. I'd have to do it on a secondary computer though for fear of compatibility issues with all of my various IDEs.