Alienware 17 R4 2017 review
I really thought this forum would be full of questions and opinions on W8 once the CP (consumer preview) was launched.
Here are some of my findings and opinions :)
I tried it for several days, initially installed as a dual boot with Vista and that didn't work well. For some reason I kept getting error messages about disk inconsistencies and "your PC needs to be repaired", this will take up to an hour. The dual boot option didn't work correctly. All in all not good but not perhaps W8's fault.
W8 failed to find many drivers, not unexpected I guess. Were I a typically consumer I would have been lost at this point being stuck with a basic graphics driver and low resolution text. Windows update said the best driver was installed. You always see "go to xxxx site and get the latest drivers" Well that never works for many PC's like laptops and just gives the no compatible hardware messages. The hardware is looking for a specific .inf file that allows the driver to install. I used a Vista one with a modified .inf that would allow install onto any Nvidia GeForce 6100 hardware.
Next a clean install of W8. That worked well and W8 itself as an OS seems very decent but there are to me some major issues. Without going in to the Metro debate one of my big whinges is the way files and folders are handled.
You can not customise them or the explorer windows they are in. By that I mean having the option to freely arrange folders in the explorer window. W7 lost that feature too over Vista. Unbelievable ! The easy customise option to add custom pictures to folders also went in W7 although there is a convoluted route to do it. Same with W8. What is worse though, is that having allocated custom images and you then at some point run a disk cleanup then the custom settings are lost. You would have to reallocate each and every thumbnail on folders manually again.
The inbuilt security software. As a punter you wouldn't know it was there. It's actually a slimmed down and less option laden version of MSE but it's hidden away.
The image backup facility could be so so good and is what every use should have and be familiar with. In W8 it's actually called "W7 file recovery" and seems initially similar to W7. Until you try and run a backup made previously that is. Knowhere could I find the "Use a previous system image" I was expecting. The answer I got to that was you need to insert the W8 ISO disc and use "repair your PC" and then the backup should show and be available. To involved to convoluted... give me Acronis every day.
W8's inbuilt spellchecker was great for tiyping on furums souuch as this as it would have picked that up :)
One problem I couldn't overcome. Constant error reports on shutdown (and just finding the shutdown buttons became an adventure in using Bing/Google). On reboot I was told an error had been encountered and that I had restarted... and I never had.
No doubt these are all minor issues that will get resolved. On the plus side W8 really is light on resources, typical RAM usage was down from around 40% with Vista to 30% or a shade below. The CP was quick, and I have to say absolutely stable while up and running (bar the shutdown issues)
The biggest problem with W8 for me is that it seems to place the using of a PC to do work and organise stuff as way down the list of priorities. Use the Metro some say... what for folders? sub folders, sub-sub folders all neatly arranged and logically organised... this is where W8 falls down.
At the moment given the choice of W8, W7 Vista or XP I would unhesitatingly take Vista every time... why, because it is the most customisable for all the things I do. And unless you are actually using it daily and having problems please don't be biased against it... it's a mature stable OS
There's plenty more but I think that is enough for now.
Acronis to the rescue with a full install of all my partitions from before installing W8.
I hope MS take note of the folder issues...
As someone who has nearly 30,000 albums all neatly recorded in their own hard drive complete with all covers I know what you mean about folders as moving from XP to Win 7 meant I no longer had pictures of the album covers on each file.
I have just about got used to the Win 7 method of at least having 2 pictues represented on each folder although Win 7 tends to chose which pictures it uses, ie sometimes a front cover sometimes an inside cover or back cover or even the CD cover.
You have me very worried that a disk cleanup could lose all these folder covers for me and the thought of replacing 3o,000 of these does not exactly appeal to me.
This file and folder thing (at the moment in the preview) is a big problem. With 30K of albums losing that is going to be a massive problem.
You see with Vista I make a tiny .jpg image of what I want the folder cover to be. I then name it Z_name and put the picture in the folder it's to display on. Then, using Vista's right click customise option (which neither W7 or W8 have) and using the "choose picture to display" button select that image.
Well the pictures here show what I mean better, http://www.eightforums.com/general-discussion/4246-can-you-do-w8-files-folders.html
If you look at the first picture at the bottom right is a small .jpg called Z_Application Icon. In the second picture you can see how that image is displayed on the top left folder that is called "Applications and.... ". Some of these folders of mine have many layers of folder, sub folder etc often with mixed content. Every folder I create has a custom icon.
When I run a disk clean and all thumbnails are deleted all the customised options rebuild themselves.
When I tried the same in W8 (by using the customise button that only appears when you find each folder via the "Computer>Users>Music" for example route and then at some point do a disk clean all the customising is lost and just defaults to the standard folder view. No good for me !
As an infrequent user of W7 I can't say whether W7 deletes those settings as W8 does at the moment.
I'll wait for the release version before I make a final judgement, but based on what I've seen so far I have to say that I'm distinctly underwhelmed by Windows 8.
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