So I took the plunge and went ahead and upgraded my Windows 7 computer to Windows 8 Pro today, the first day it was available to download.
Yeah, I am a trailblazer. It isn't like I didn't play with Windows 8 previously though, because I downloaded and ran the preview edition months ago and installed it in a VM.
The upgrade process was pretty painless, albeit it took HOURS! It started by me getting a link from Microsoft with a coupon code that I signed up for when I purchased my daughters laptop last month.
I clicked on the link and was asked to install the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant. The upgrade assistant told me that a few of my programs were not compatible with Windows 8. Would you believe Microsoft Security Essentials is one of them? This is because Windows 8 has Windows Defender that is the new er old name for their security product. Other programs along with Security Essentials I had to uninstall were a Roxio plug in and my Daemon Tools program. Otherwise I was good to go.
Well I continued on in the install process and was asked if I wanted to download and install Windows 8 or download the file and install at a later time. I chose to download and install Windows 8. It was a 2 GB download that took about 20 minutes to download on my 10gb cable connection. Your mileage will vary. Once downloaded the installation began. Thus ensued an over 3 hour most of the day process of installing Windows 8. Seriously, put aside an entire day if you are going to do this.
At one point my computer rebooted and nothing came up on the screen but my computers hard disk light was lit and the drive was flashing furiously. This went on for 10 minutes (maybe longer) I was very tempted to force turn off the computer and reboot it again so the screen would come up but my years of learning to be patient with computers paid off and after some time the computer rebooted again on its own and the screen came back up. So this is critical folks, just cause you do not see anything on the screen for a long time DON'T PANIC, JUST WAIT! My monitor light even was in saver mode (yellow) during this process.
So when Windows 8 came back up it proceeded to install and then after it installed it proceeded to migrate my settings. This took over an hour. Finally when Windows 8 booted I was presented with my login screen (I had multiple user accounts on my Windows 7 PC but it chose the one I had been using to upgrade by default) I entered my Windows password and was informed I could login with a Windows Live or Hotmail account so my desktop could be tailored to my preferences. I logged in with my Hotmail account and after a minute was presented with the familiar tile screen.
The first thing I did was select the Internet Explorer tile. All of my favorites and IE settings were intact and there! I went to my favorite download site for Windows Plugins called Ninite.com.
Ninite is a cool site that lets you select the Windows plug ins and programs you want by clicking a check box next to the ones you want and it will create an install file of all the programs you chose without all the google/yahoo/etc toolbar crap for you. All you need to do is click on the Install file Ninite creates for you and it will install it on your computer. But I went to Ninite for a particular reason. There is an open source program called "Classic Shell" you can choose on Ninite and voila you will now have back the Windows Start Menu that everyone is complaining is missing in Windows 8 when you go to the desktop by pressing Start + D.
I do not have a touch screen on my desktop computer and would not use it if I did. The mouse works beautifully in Windows 8. Along with a few keyboard shortcuts and the scroll wheel you can get around Windows 8 in a snap. The thing that changes the most is that instead of using the Ctrl button you are using the Start button much more often to access shortcuts.
A few of the most common keyboard shortcuts besides Start + D for the desktop you will use the most is Start + C for the charms menu Start + I for settings charm and Start + Q for the search Charm.
The biggest frustration I have had is getting the Photos App to recognize my pictures I had already on my drive. They are in the proper folder I "think" but the app tells me that there are none there. I know they are there because I can bring up File Explorer from the desktop and see them when I click on the Pictures library. It is not a big deal because I never used Windows native picture viewer in the past opting for Google Picasa instead, which still works fine as does iTunes.
And finally when you run a "live" app off of one of Windows 8 tiles it opens in full screen . It isn't quickly apparent how to close the damn thing. Well there are 3 ways I found to do it. First you can use the classic windows shortcut key Alt + F4 key to close the app. Really? Second you can press the Start button and you will go back to the Windows Menu, however the APP WILL NOT BE CLOSED! If you move your mouse over to the upper left corner of the screen the App Task menu will appear and you can right click with the mouse and choose close to close the app.
Finally you can use task manager(which I haven't found a shortcut to yet) to close the app.
The corners of the screen are your friends when you are in the Windows Metro screen or in an App. Each corner will take you places, or open something. The Top left corner opens the apps switch menu, the upper right opens the charms menu, the bottom right gives you the Metro screen or desktop depending on which you are in and the bottom right will work like the old show desktop if you hover there.
So there you have it, that is what I figured out so far. From start of installation to writing this blog entry approximately 7 hours of my time spent today on and off the computer getting this upgrade done. (took me about an hour to write this blog) Good luck folks and remember the word of the day if you are upgrading to Windows 8 is PATIENCE!