Skip to comments.Windows 8 pro review (upgrade XP to Windows 8 with Classic Shell)
Posted on 01/30/2013 6:22:15 PM PST by daniel1212
Windows 8 pro review (upgrade XP to Windows 8 with Classic Shell)
I am writing this hasty and imperfect review of Windows 8 for fellow Freepers (etc.) in case someone is looking into buying it, and as the 39.99 (about 42.00 with taxes) upgrade ends tonight. Better late then never i suppose. And the the media center upgrade is only fre till then ($10.00 afterward) which should be standard. And no, I have no affiliation with MS.
My review is on how W/8 runs this old PC (used mainly for Christian ministry). This is a 2005 Sony VGC-RA840G (Asus P5LP-VX 64 bit. mobo), 2.8ghz Intel 945p dual core cpu, 3gb ram (total cap. 4gb), and A new PC is not affordable, and I am trying to get more life out of this one, as XP would use up most of my 3gb of ram after a while due to 80+ tabs open on Firefox (Chrome or Opera is not an answer, nor Linux), and with many documents open in various stages of completion. And since 64bit can handle more ram and I heard W8 was better on older PCs than Vista and even W/7, and I could try it for free, I installed the W/8 preview/evaluation (here) off a USB (using the MS W/7 USB installer).
The short review is that W/8 does well on an old PC as this (and should enable me to use more ram), and is more stable than XP and also fairly responsive, if not as quick as XP for basic tasks on this box. But it boots to usability quicker (it puts the kernel in hibernation) and launches apps quicker. Ram use seems about the same (or less after some tweaking).
For me its value is that of providing a better social networking or a better interface, and in fact the metro interface seems more fitting for a school yard, and I have long used hot keys to get to where I regularly go to, or to launch main programs/apps. Nor do I follow many of Windows defaults for things like documents, pictures, graphics. Therefore the attraction is because it has some improvements and it is not bloated and unduly interrogative (Vista), and with the help of 3rd party apps you can option out of the defaults and customize it to fit your needs.
Almost all my software works under W/8 pro, but I have no real use or desire for the playground type metro, and so Classic Shell is critical. Also Right Click Extender allows you to add a lot of things to the right click menu (like Shutdown,Standby, Reboot, etc.), while Windows key and Q will bring up all your apps and the search bar (hit Esc twice to get out) and Windows key and I will bring up PC Settings (images coming below), and Windows key and E will bring up Windows Explorer and your drives.
Because of its qualities bought the W/8 pro upgrade DVD (30.00 at NewEgg last Dec, with the 40.00 Visa reward card rebate, but which takes over a month to get, and you have to use it in 6), as well as a 2gb stick of DDR2 667 memory (15.00 on Ebay). However, it turns out that unlike later Intel 775 socket boards, the Intel 945 will not map memory beyond 4gb, and only 3.37 is available under W/8 64 bit, although now I can use the ReadyBoost feature. And unlike past OS licenses (ex$ept retail) , the W/8 one allows you to remove it from one PC and put it on another.
I found out that to get the 64bit download of the evaluation copy, you need to download the W/8 file from a 64bit machine. Having done so the install went well, but I unplugged all my XP drive just to be safe and installed W/8 on a different drive, then reconnected the XP drive (but for the upgrade version you need to have XP, or Vista or W7 installed, and not just a CD/DVD OS).
Surprisingly, when I installed the full W/8 pro off the DVD, although I kept the XP drive plugged in so it could see I have a valid upgrade path, it did not place that in a Windows.old folder and erase things so that you cannot use it, and instead it left it alone, and put the evaluation copy in the Windows.old folder. As I know that I cannot go back to it, I erased that partition myself, after having copied the Documents and Settings folder and other things first.
I needed some updates to fix some issues, [a shortcut for launching Windows update is to just hold down the Windows key and tap the letter r, then let go and paste C:\Windows\System32\wuapp.exe in the Run box and hit OK, or move your mouse to the far right of the Taskbar, and hit the gear icon settings, and then PC info and then look in the lower left] but most everything works, even my old Lexmark Z32 printer. But the USB faithful powered Canon LIDE30 scanner (a very good buy at the time) will not, despite hacking attempts to get another 64bit driver to work, while no sound would come out of the jacks. However, I remembered I had bought a USB sound card for a buck (total) on ebay (from Hong Kong) because I thought I could use it, and sure enough that provides sound.
The ability to go on Standby was missing until I or MS installed some more updates (we both did).
Programs and Services:
I copied my profile files from Firefox and OpenOffice and Bible and other programs from their respective folders in XP to W/8, and installed both programs, and they work well. Most of my programs I use under XP work in W/8, though it is best to look for 64 versions for them. One of my favorites is PhoneTrayFree (now shareware), which uses your modem (if you have one) and caller ID to let you know who is calling in, and to keep unlimited record of calls, and even to zap the telemarketers, play messages, etc. and to my surprise that worked though it is only 32 bit (I have a US Robotic PCI modem).
What I miss is TclockEx (customizable, shows seconds and free ram, etc.), which was an improvement on the Windows clock, but under 64bit it would not work even in compatibility mode, and I have yet to find one as good as it.
A big plus is that AutoHotKey works, and with a little adaptation of paths from W/7 I was able to have my shortcut keys working, which is a big plus for me (see below for some examples), and which helps in what follows.
Task Manager is improved, and replaces the Start up tab functions in the System Configuration utility.
Two issues I had was that of Windows Defender, which I always found too independent for me, and using Process found it running too often and too much, and as I can usually hear my PC working I also would hear my HD being written to constantly when I was not working on it, though I disabled both Defender and Search in Services.msc. So I right clicked on each drive (save one) and deselected allow files on this drive to be indexed.. and now there is peace.
I also found livecomm.exe using a significant amount of resources sometimes, so I uninstalled mail. I use an email client instead.
Along with some others, I had and have no real use for the Metro, but the free Classic Shell took care of that, and gives back the Start Menu (not that I use it a lot, but I have lot of programs and it helps).
Per usual with other OS installs, I also quickly went to folder options and changed the default view to Details, and enables viewing of all the things MS thinks (with some warrant) most should not see. I also found where the Quick Launch folder was and made a New toolbar in the Taskbar for it, and found the location for the Send to folder, and made a shortcut to it, and placed the shortcut in it. I then made shortcuts for things like the Startup folder, the Quick Launch folder, the Desktop, Favorites, Program Files, and certain applications, etc. and sent them to the Send To folder. By so doing you can place a shortcut to anything in the Send to menu, and send whatever is appropriate to it, which can be more what Windows offers by default.
Note that if you want to reduce the size of things on the Desktop, hold down the Ctrl key and mouse scroll.
And I imported my non flashy custom theme from W/7 which I have on a Desktop. Thank God for both units.
The TaskBar is improved from XP, as it does a better job of showing you what is open, and you can move the icons around, which in XP requires a freeware app like the taskbar button manager, but unlike that, you cannot move items to a different order in the list that pops up. And like as in some Linux distros, you can pin things to the TaskBar.
All for now.
I bought the $39.99 upgrade version but I haven’t installed it yet. I was wary of replacing Win 7 on my desktop computer with 8 as I am not a fan of Metro. Are you saying they did include the classic start menu option? I was told several times that Microsoft was not going to include the classic menu. Did they include this in the 11th hour? Also are you saying if you downloaded Win 8 upgrade from a 32 bit computer that the version that will be 32 bit and not both? I bought the Win 8 Upgrade, but I have a 64 bit laptop I’d rather install it on.
(Classic Shell with classic Start Menu)
(Windows key and Q brings up Apps)
(Windows key and Pause/Break)
(Firefox This is the Orange Fox theme, but the NOIA theme is better, with Colorful Tabs and TabMixPlus extensions, so you can get multiple rows and reduce tab width)
There was and is no need i know of to replace W/7 with W/8. Why did you want to do so, outside of price? The only advantage is that you can take it off one PC and put it on another that you own: http://www.zdnet.com/how-the-new-windows-8-license-terms-affect-you-7000003028
Are you saying they did include the classic start menu option?
No, but the capability is there. Just hit the link in the article to Classic Shell and install it. Get the R.Clk extender also. Unzip it and run.
Also are you saying if you downloaded Win 8 upgrade from a 32 bit computer that the version that will be 32 bit and not both?
Yes. Only the DVD has both unless they changed it recently. So do as I described.
I bought the Win 8 Upgrade, but I have a 64 bit laptop Id rather install it on.
If you downloaded it on a 32bit then you should call Microsoft (1-800-642-7676) and try to get the 64 bit.
W8 seems to boot faster than W7.
Also W8 comes with Hyper-V (if you have the horsepower to support it).
BTW you can also configure it to boot directly into a Hyper-V VM, and it will run as though it were your desktop OS.
Both my desktop and laptop are running W8 now and I have no issues with it. Metro annoyed me for about 20 min, until I figured out where everything was hiding. I’ve had no other issues with it.
I also took advantage of the $40 offer and run Windows 8 with classic shell.
Thank goodness for classic shell, so I don’t have to deal with metro ever.
Other helpful links for upgrading:
Download Upgrade Assistant http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=261871
Call Customer Service at 1-800-642-7676
AMD Driver Autodetect http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/windows/Pages/auto_detect.aspx
Intel® System Identification Utility http://www.intel.com/support/siu.htm
Intel® Processor Diagnostic Tool (32-bit)
Intel® Processor Diagnostic Tool (64-bit) http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=19792
That is a common and warranted complaint. However, as said, it can be customized to be just as quick as XP or W/7, with more functionality than the former.
I use AutoHotKey to make keyboard shortcuts for numerous things, and do not use some of the default places MS provides for user docs and images etc..
A second drive is also recommended, or at least a partition for your main drive.
Let me know what takes you extra steps. Have you tried Classic Shell? (See article.) Are you familiar with the Run command (Windows key and R)?
You can also try Start8 from stardock. It works well and only costs $4.00 if you wait for the trial to near end.
Thank God for freedom to customize and those who provide it. Imagine what computing would be like if the government was in charge, or the liberal elite dictated what is best for us. Firefox is an example of what an customizing community can do within the boundaries of proper coding, and God did not make us all clones.
I figured when I launched the setup.exe once Win8 downloaded, that the option that says CREATE DVD MEDIA or something, would be like Win 7 Ultimate where you could select x32 or x64 once you are ready to install from the DVDs. I didn’t think they still had separate Windows versions like this since Windows XP or Vista.
Maybe I’m missing something here .. I read this thread from top to bottom and I have only one question.. Why? There isn’t one instance cited as to this being any sort of an improvement or of this giving additional functionality .. all I’m seeing is people obsessed with having the latest toys and listing ways to fix it’s shortcomings so that it works as well as the old stuff.
You’ll never get those hours/days back that you spend fixing this thing up.
What’s this obsession with a frigging OS all about anyway ... it’s the apps that matter ... nobody ever wrote a proposal with Windows XP they used an office suite... or coded anything with Vista ,, they used a language and a compiler ... The OS just needs to be stable , allocate memory for you and control dataset/database access.
I have had computers since before Windows .
I have run a server.
I have had every single Windows operating system to date .
I have built my own computers too.
Here is the pathetic thing ....
it took me half an hour to figure out how to shut down Windows 8 and another half hour to figure out where they hid notepad lol
Good thing - it does boot faster than Windows 7
Other than a new mail program I have not added anything yet as I am trying to learn the OS to be able to help others that always ask me questions when they end up switching to it but I plan to instal it this week .
Shutting it down is really annoying lol
. Did you read,
I am trying to get more life out of this one, as XP would use up most of my 3gb of ram after a while due to 80+ tabs open on Firefox (Chrome or Opera is not an answer, nor Linux), and with many documents open in various stages of completion. And since 64bit can handle more ram and I heard W8 was better on older PCs than Vista and even W/7, and I could try it for free.. .[and] now I can use the ReadyBoost feature.
What i left out was that even after much diagnostics and (root inspections also) and a clean install XP was freezing up sometimes, and that support for XP will end a little over a year from now, thus no more security updates.
And that it boots and loads apps faster than XP, and tests even show a slight advantage over w/7, testifying to efficiency, and it has more functionality now than XP (including its Resource Monitor, Disk Management, File recovery, Speech recognition, etc,.), and perhaps more to come (XP had 3 service packs).
And i could try it for free and buy it for 30.00 with the mail in rebate (i would only recommend it now for people who have faith in Jesus and the patience of a saint!), or even 42.00 download, both unheard of prices for any Windows OS upgrade as far as i know.
So for myself, for 45.00 (including the memory) i can have the latest OS with more functionality and a support cycle perhaps longer than the Constitution may last.
HOWEVER, as i later stated, I see no reason to upgrade from W/7 (though i use Classic Shell with that as well), but at least in my situation an upgrade from XP was worth it i believe, though i would not have agreed to pay more than the 42.00 price
LOL -- Glad I'm not the only one who [ab]uses lots of tabs.
You’ll be extremely sorry to replace your wonderful Windows 7 operating system with the execrable piece of crap knows as “Windows 8”.
I agree. Classic Shell is a big time saver with new Windows versions. Microsoft should have added its functionality to Windows a long time ago.
get a refund on that laptop and go buy a Dell Latitude E5530 or E6530 laptop with Windows 7 Pro pre-installed. Dell is being forced to offer ALL of their business class PC line with Windows 7 Pro as the pre-installed default option because the enterprise and government will NOT be “upgrading” to Windows 8. They’re skipping it just like the skipped Vista because the know it’s a total piece of crap. Vista was a disaster for Dell because they unsuccessfully tried to push it on the enterprise. Dell wishes to stay in business a few more months, so they’re selling Windows 7 to businesses. On the other hand, Dell continues to screw their consumer customers like they always have.
“W8 seems to boot faster than W7.”
That’s because W8 isn’t really booting. It’s just pretending to boot, while under the hood its really just going into and out of hibernate mode.
I have not has PCS as long, but learned a while ago that if i hit Alt and F4 (together) once or twice (or more if not at the desktop), then it will shutdown any present program in the way and bring up the shutdown dialog.
But i always used the free reliable PowerOff utility (http://www.snapfiles.com/freeware/system/fwshutdown.html, and Snap files is a reliable source), since the days of W/9x, and it still works.
And i added the Quick Launch to the Task Bar, and also made a shortcut to the Send To folder and place it in it, and then send shortcuts to programs or folders such as the Quick Launch folder to it (right click), and so i can send whatever i want to whatever i put in there.
Plus you notice that i recommended the neat Right Click extender, which (unzip it and run) offers many options, including Shutdown, etc.
Pray and press. If you are thinking, "why doesn't Windows do this, then Google for an answer to for freeware. One time i was considering my keyboard, and thought, i wonder if anyone has turned this into a piano, and so is searched for freeware, turn keyboard into piano, and found KB piano, which was quite versatile. not that i can really play anything of course. And the free version does not work on anything past XP, even in compatibility mode.
If you want to just select a word and hyperlink it, or make paragraphs, etc., italics, get Firefox and use the BBCodeXtra add on. i can give you some scripts, even though i really do not know html.
“Maybe Im missing something here .. I read this thread from top to bottom and I have only one question.. Why? There isnt one instance cited as to this being any sort of an improvement or of this giving additional functionality .. all Im seeing is people obsessed with having the latest toys and listing ways to fix its shortcomings so that it works as well as the old stuff.”
And ding, ding, ding we have a winner! You’ve read the situation perfectly correctly. Now magnify this little discussion by a million and you understand what’s going on in the technical chat rooms across the Internet.
“Whats this obsession with a frigging OS all about anyway ... its the apps that matter ... nobody ever wrote a proposal with Windows XP they used an office suite... or coded anything with Vista ,, they used a language and a compiler ... The OS just needs to be stable , allocate memory for you and control dataset/database access.”
This is the way I look at it; but you have to admit that Microsoft had to do “something”. They have to attract new customers without alienating the older customers. This is a very, very difficult needle to thread, but it must be done.
Firefox -is- a memory leak, and multiple tabs seems to aggravate the situation.
And sometimes i stated afresh, but still end up with lots. Praidse God. And then there’s them bookmarks! You can use Xmarks to sync. And SendTabs to copy all urls to tabs.
Bump for bookmark
And the Right click Extender and WinPatrol ought to be standard also. And a clock that digitally shows seconds in the system try. Its 2013!
“Maybe Im missing something here .. I read this thread from top to bottom and I have only one question.. Why?”
Microsoft’s motto: Change for the sake of change with total disregard for actual improvement.
That is true, and i had rarely shut down under XP, but used the old Slawdog shutdown app which would go into standby after the time of nonactivity that you choose, and i still use it under W/8 (like XP, the native powercfg will not standby as programmed), but W/8 still boots faster to usability even from cold start.
W/7 on the laptop is fast booting though. I thank God for both.
I know. :(
I am... disappointed with the quality of "acceptable" software, being a programmer myself.
I should have it clear (despite my rush) that i was not recommending this for W/7 users at all, but that in my situation, and with support for XP ending in April 2014, then perhaps for some other users, the chance to upgrade to the latest Windows OS for about 42.00 makes sense, if they know it will run well on older PCs (unlike Vista).
You are correct, and sometimes the CPU will be up around 50% continually after coming out of stand by. And so i use Process Explorer to restart it and then it is OK, plus Session Manager saves multiple sessions well.
For me there has been no substitute for FF with the speed i still get having tabs all before me, plus other features. Chrome does not even do multiple rows, and besides other things, the width of tabs in Opera cannot be reduced to anything close to what i do in Firefox and ID them well. Thank God for all such wonderful tools!
Try VueScan to drive your scanner.
I was able to use it to drive a Nikon scanner that was no longer supported.
I went from windows 7 to 8..i do not like the fact that every tile on the start screen is sending back info to MS...you have to right click each one and turn off the live tiles...IN my opinion if you have 7 stay with it..
Pray and press is right lol
Thanks for the tips .
I really only use my laptop for listening to sermons and for my electronic Bible , surfing the net etc (have other computers for serious stuff as laptops are not really reliable )so it’s not so bad but I would not recommend anyone install it at all .
To me this os is not ready to go by any means.
It needs much tweaking to make things comfortable .
I don’t think it is worth upgrading to especially if you do any kind of serious work on the computer.Even as a cheap upgrade from Windows XP - it is worth to spend the extra and pick up a copy of Windows 7 for any kind of serious work.
Oh I almost forgot ... have you actually tried hitting alt F4 since you installed Windows 8 ?
It brings up a screen to switch/add a new monitor .
There is no reason to upgrade from Windows 7 , not one.
It’s not an upgrade for any kind of serious computer use.
Now if you are a social media kiddie you will love all the garbage apps it comes with .
I did not like that at all myself and uninstalled most of them even before I shut the computer off for the first time.
It’s all about data collection for them .
I don't use either, but it looks like I should use both. Thanks.
heh--I run the Noia theme with TabMixPlus and Colorful tabs! (as well as Adblock Plus, NoScript, and Yet Another Remove It Permanently).
I only see what I want to see.
Great write up. Are you able to download the update WITHOUT installing over WIN7? I want the upgrade bits, but don’t want to install over my current Win7. Microsoft is characteristically unclear if downloading the bits overwrites the current install.
I’m waiting for the “Windows 8” Gnome 3 theme.
I tried adjusting to Win8. Googled “alternatives, start menu, windows 8” or something like that, and found classic shell and a half doz other apps to do the same thing, all reviewed on one page by some kind soul.
None of them quite did what I was looking for, and Win8 still had other annoying features.
I did get the desktop arranged so I would rarely have to go to that silly Start thing that Fisher Price designed.
Put all the important stuff on the taskbar and put the taskbar on the left, trying to make it look like a start menu.
Windows 8 is like this: You have a ten-room house you’ve been in for many years. One day someone takes ten rooms of furniture and all the contents of every last drawer, and puts them in a house with twenty-five rooms. You move in there one day and have to find your stuff. Are you very, very patient? Because it takes a while just to find stuff, never mind make it a habit to go to them in new places.
It is a certifiable PITA. And when you log out, there is almost nothing you can do without a degree in programming, to get rid of that %#@$*! World’s Fair Space Needle image. A parting poke in the eye.
There are plenty of computers around here so I finally staked out an old xp that is far more to my liking.
Advice: avoid 8. The only thing worse is 7 starter edition.
I saw no mention of a graphics card in your attempts to improve performance. If you are using on-board vid, it is probably sharing some of that precious and limited 4g of RAM... And the on-board is likely to be a 512mg card.
If you were to add a vid card, not only will you gain the RAM the on-board vid is using back to the system, but if you get a 2g vid card (off-brand should cost you in the $40 range), you will be astonished how much faster the machine will render to the screen. I believe you will see what feels like a 25% improvement on top of what you have already done...
I just bought a new laptop with Win8 installed and I almost took the thing back.
Win8 is not intuitive at all (I just came from XP)
Looks like I need to get Classic Shell
If I use the touchpad, Win8 is very aggravating. Looks like I may need a mouse as well.
Thanks for this thread!
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