Customer Review

18 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK. No compelling reason to upgrade to it at this point except to get the special pricing, November 6, 2012
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This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8 Pro - Upgrade [Old Version] (Software)
I have been running Windows 8 for 1-week now. I upgraded to Windows 8 on two PCs. One was a three year old PC running Windows 7 and the other was a six year old PC running Windows XP.

The three year old PC upgrade went smoothly - I did the online digital download. Only took around 30 minutes to download. It was easy - everything was saved and I didn't have to reload any apps or drivers. I ran the assistant and upgraded/fixed as many things as I could before the upgrade.

The Windows XP machine is one that I gave to my mother. I first did the digital download and that went fine until I realized it did not upgrade to the 64-bit version of Windows 8. It took nearly 5 hours to download the upgrade! I was running the 32-bit version of XP on this machine. I contacted online chat a couple of times to discuss the issue. You cannot upgrade from Windows XP 32-bit to Windows 8 64-bit though the digital online download. What a crock of crap! The upgrade assistant looks at what you have and follows in its footsteps - if you have the 32-bit version of an operating system it will install the 32-bit version of Windows 8. If you have the 64-bit version of an operating system it will install the 64-bit version of Windows 8. This made me very unhappy - that it didn't give me the choice or inform me of this fact. The hardware on this machine is capable of running a 64-bit operating system and since the machine is getting old I want to squeeze out as much performance as possible. The online chat with support told me I needed to buy the DVDs in order to upgrade the way I wanted to. So, after spending $39.99 + tax on the digital download version I now had to spend around $70 for the upgrade DVDs - and this was after any promotional offers ended. Ugh! I checked with support and they said I could re-use the product key from the digital download on another machine. And luckily I still have one more machine to upgrade at some point, so not out any money. It sounded like I could have gotten a refund if I wanted one. I imagine they probably didn't give you a chance to select 32-bit or 64-bit when doing the digital download upgrade because they didn't want people upgrading to 64-bit if their hardware was not capable of supporting a 64-bit operating system. I can believe people would select this without really understanding what they needed as far as hardware to run the 64-bit version. I am not sure what would happen in this situation - if the Windows update would stop you or if it would install and then have problems.

So, I had to do the upgrade again after I received the DVDs from Amazon. Glad I didn't have to do a 5 hour download again. The DVDs are nice for that. However, if you look online there is a way to download the online digital download and burn it to a DVD to use it for installs. The directions were quite extensive and I didn't feel like dealing with that so I bought these DVDs from Amazon and with prime shipping had them quickly.

For getting to the 64-bit version - support didn't initially tell me and I couldn't find it documented anywhere - but what you have to do is go into the BIOS and change the boot order of the machine so the CD/DVD drive is the first item in the boot order, stick your Windows 8 upgrade DVD in the drive and reboot and then boot from the DVD. So, had to re-install Windows 8 again, re-install the apps and drivers and then everything was rocking at 64-bit. It doesn't seem sluggish or any slower than when XP was on it (it has a dual AMD Athlon X2 processor in it).

I have built several machines and am used to doing this type of thing. I used to re-install the operating system on a regular basis to clean things up. But for others if they are doing this for the first time I can imagine it might be more difficult to understand what you need to do. It would have been better (and cheaper) if Microsoft somehow could give you the option through the online digital download to upgrade to the 64-bit version of Windows 8 - for those still on a 32-bit OS and have capable hardware. I find this poor customer service on Microsoft's behalf.

Major issue #1 - IE would not work on the machine that was upgraded from Windows XP. I would click on it on the desktop and it would do nothing - act like it was going to open since the hard drive would click away a second or two - but then nothing would happen. From the new start menu it did the same thing except the screen would go blue as if it was going to open, but then would close. It was really annoying because I couldn't go online to try to find a resolution or contact online support - and I couldn't find a support phone number included with the DVDs to call. Went home and looked online but didn't find anything useful. Did get a phone number and called support, but they had just closed by the time I called since they are in a different time zone. I am on Central Time, so support here ends at 6 PM I think. So, I did a `refresh' which brought the system back to as if Windows 8 was just installed. Then I turned restore/recovery on. I installed the apps one at a time creating restore points. I never ran into the issue again. I think something may have been corrupted while installing apps. It did work after initially installing just Windows 8 - so it makes sense that an app corrupted something? Not sure.

Major issue #2 - couldn't find a driver that would work for the video card on the XP machine. Since the install wiped out all drivers and apps I had to reload everything. Apparently the video card was too old and does not have Windows 8 (or Windows 7) drivers for it. It is an ATI Radeon X1300 Pro card - a very nice card (128-bits). It would still be fine if it had recent drivers for it. Really this is an AMD/ATI issue support issue. However, since I initially used the download assistant - it would have been nice to have been forewarned that the video card was not supported under Windows 8. Guess the download assistant isn't capable of analyzing hardware. Everything display-wise worked fine except for solitaire - very slow and jerky and my mom likes to play it. So, now I have to buy a new video card. Granted because it is my mom's machine and she is not a gamer I can get away with a 64-bit inexpensive video card. I had to verify before purchase that the new card actually has Windows 8 drivers for it. This machine is a Dell and the power supply in it isn't very powerful (305 watts), so very limited to the video cards I can use. The video card (from Amazon) should arrive soon and this should resolve this issue.

The new UI is a lot to get used to at first, but it isn't too bad. The tiles are kind of cool - wish they would have included shutdown and restart tiles automatically instead of having to create these manually on each machine. It is much easier to use a tile to do these actions than having to go into settings, then power and then selecting the action. It will take some time to get used to the UI and finding things in new locations and in different ways. I spend most of my time in the desktop anyways which is like being in Windows 7 except no Start menu - which I am fine with. I don't mind having to go to the new tiled start menu to occasionally find/get at something.

Here are some things I have noticed on my machine - a 3-year old PC running a quad core I7 processor, 9 gigs of ram and a GeForce 460 GTX video card:

Starting up doesn't seem any quicker. Sure, you may get to the Start screen sooner, but if you click on anything from there it is really slow because the machine is still booting up. Startup times seem the same as when under Windows 7.

Shutdowns take a lot longer - and I don't understand that. I thought that was supposed to be faster under Windows 8. So far, shut downs have been much longer than with Windows 7. So slow that I walk away from the machine and come back later to verify it turned off.

There have been a couple of times where Windows 8 just starts opening over and over the last thing you clicked on - very annoying. Hopefully this bug gets fixed. For example - I click on Microsoft Outlook once and it opens dozens of Outlook windows. Very strange and annoying to sit and watch all these windows opening by themselves.

Well, that's my experience so far after 1-week of using Windows 8. Knowing what I know now about Windows 8 - I would not have upgraded right now. The $39.99 special price goes until the end of January 2013. I may have waited until sometime in January to upgrade to just get the special pricing before it ends. Otherwise I see no compelling reason to upgrade to Windows 8. End of support for XP is currently scheduled for April 8th, 2014. So, it would be good to get off of XP before then. Windows 7 was a great OS - the OS we always should have had. XP was good too. Vista was not very good. I even liked ME. Windows 8? Meh. If you are on Windows 7 I don't see a compelling reason to upgrade to Windows 8 at this point except to get the special pricing.

11/7/12 - I was looking thru what the upgrade assistant had said was compatible and what needed to be reviewed (I printed it off)- and it said the Radeon X1300 WAS compatible. So, the upgrade assistant failed and got this wrong. So, you can't trust it 100%.
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