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.
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