Windows 8.1

Handruin

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I tried to give the Win8 Metro UI as much of a chance as I could. But, it really just sucks on a PC. On a phone or tablet I could see it working just fine.

Feels soooo good to have Classic Shell installed. Thanks for the tip!

I love the Win8 file copy dialog box. It dynamically shows the file transfer speed as it goes up and down with different files (i.e. lots of small files go smaller than my larger video files when transferring over my network). 112MB/s is not too shabby from my WHS box to my PC, with no type of Raid. Got the same speeds with Win7 by the way.
I also like that if you start a file copy and then start a second one, the two group together into one file transfer window.
 

ddrueding

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I also like that if you start a file copy and then start a second one, the two group together into one file transfer window.
I also also like that, depending on the source and destination, it will queue some file copies/transfers until the first completes. Not sure how it determines which is faster, but it seems to be pretty clever.
 

Clocker

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Funny enough, I'm having an issue on my own machine. Win8 Pro that I added Media Center to. It let me do it in the first place, but now it refuses to activate. And when I go online, they say that this configuration isn't supported.
Ever get this fixed? Your post made me remember that I bought a WMC key for Win8 back when there was a special FREE deal on them. Went to install it, they recognized the key, then the install failed for some reason. Anything I need to do to get WMC installed with the key I got? I never even installed/used it prior to installing 8.1.

Thanks,
Clocker

EDIT: NEVERMIND:
** Windows 8 Media Center Pack is available at no charge for a limited time only through the promotional page on Windows.com. If you obtain Windows 8 Media Center Pack through any other location, fees might apply. Offer valid from October 26, 2012, until January 31, 2013, and is limited to one product key per email address. In addition, each product key can only be used with one computer. You qualify for this promotion if your PC is running Windows 8 Pro. Additional hardware may be required to watch and record live TV. You must provide a valid email address to receive your Windows 8 Media Center Pack product key. This promotion ends on January 31, 2013; your product key must be activated no later than February 1, 2013.
 

Stereodude

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How do Windows downgrade rights work? If I buy a new PC with Windows 7 Pro installed via downgrade rights, can I put Windows 8 or 8.1 on it? Will it have a product key or does it use / require a OEM key + BIOS activation?
 

Clocker

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Ever get this fixed? Your post made me remember that I bought a WMC key for Win8 back when there was a special FREE deal on them. Went to install it, they recognized the key, then the install failed for some reason. Anything I need to do to get WMC installed with the key I got? I never even installed/used it prior to installing 8.1.

Thanks,
Clocker

EDIT: NEVERMIND:
WHAT DO YOU KNOW! I rebooted the PC after using the WMC key that was not supposed to work...and now I have WMC available to me. Unfortunately I can't think of a use for it. :rambo:
 

Mercutio

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How do Windows downgrade rights work? If I buy a new PC with Windows 7 Pro installed via downgrade rights, can I put Windows 8 or 8.1 on it? Will it have a product key or does it use / require a OEM key + BIOS activation?
The correct answer is that it depends if the PC was meant to be sold with a Window 7 COA or Windows 8. You have to have a Pro version of Windows to downgrade at all, but assuming the machine has a Win 8 sticker on it, you can just do an upgrade install using the Windows 8 license number, assuming it's been provided. If there's a Windows 7 sticker but you know for sure it was sold downgraded you should be able to request the product key that was downgraded (good luck with that).
If you WANT to downgrade from 8 Pro to 7 Pro (or Vista!), you contact the OEM from which you bought the license or computer. At one time Microsoft had a phone number for direct customers for whom there was no responsible third party, but I don't know if that's still true or not.
 

Tannin

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Further to Merc's post, note that many OEM systems do not have a product key at all. For the majors like Lenovo and Acer, if you don't want to or can't do the re-image thing, you simply install from normal Windows 8 OEM media. It will pick up the BIOS code and does not ask you for a product key at all, it just installs without mentioning it. How they account for different Windows versions (home vs pro, etc.) I do not know. I do know that if the machine shipped with (say) a Windows 8 64 licence (i.e., the equivalent to Vista or Win 7 Home Premium) and you try to install off an ordinary generic Win 8 64 OEM DVD, it works fine.
 

CougTek

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We receive both Windows 7 and Windows 8 media with the new HP business laptops we buy on a weekly basis. Like Tony wrote, as long as you have the microcode in the motherboard's firmware, you're ok.
 

Stereodude

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Further to Merc's post, note that many OEM systems do not have a product key at all. For the majors like Lenovo and Acer, if you don't want to or can't do the re-image thing, you simply install from normal Windows 8 OEM media. It will pick up the BIOS code and does not ask you for a product key at all, it just installs without mentioning it. How they account for different Windows versions (home vs pro, etc.) I do not know. I do know that if the machine shipped with (say) a Windows 8 64 licence (i.e., the equivalent to Vista or Win 7 Home Premium) and you try to install off an ordinary generic Win 8 64 OEM DVD, it works fine.
This matches what I found in my subsequent Googling after I posted. Unlike Windows 7 which use the same OEM key on every (or nearly every) machine from a given OEM, each Windows 8 machine has a unique key stored in the BIOS, and there is no sticker with a code stuck to the machine. OEM install discs are supposed to read the key automatically and the whole thing is invisible to the user.
 

Stereodude

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BTW, thanks for the replies and answers guys.

(double post removal, though I was going to edit the original post to add the same thing)
 

sedrosken

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I guess I'm sticking with Windows 7 until the end of time...

Well, it's not as bad as some guy sticking with Windows 95 OSR2 (that he modified specifically to exclude IE as he's a anti-IE fanatic) to this very day, apparently even maintaining his website with his Athlon XP 2500+ w/ 512 MB RAM, a Voodoo 5, a 500 GB HDD (formatted in FAT32... bleh), and Windows 95 B. If you're curious, his website is http://www.toastytech.com .

I'm pretty sure you guys might have run into it before.

Anyway, back to the program:

I think I could use 8.1 with classic shell, honestly... I kinda like the ribbons (dunno what is wrong with me) and the "flat" look.
 

Mercutio

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For what it's worth, a guy I went to college with still maintains a 486 and contributes kernel patches to Linux 2.4. Or at least he was still doing in in 2011. He did finally give up and start compiling binaries on a Pentium 4 in 2008 or thereabouts.

For all the haters all I can say is that yes, the interface is presently inconsistent. That's not going to change with 8.x BUT I strongly suspect that more changes are going to come our way and these intermediate steps will probably be more sensible in retrospect. My guess is that Microsoft would like to see widespread deployment of Kinect-like technology that uses cameras rather than touchscreens. We'll be able to sign/gesture to our computers, type, possibly talk or lipread or touch as it makes most sense, and do it with a cheap camera rather than an expensive touchscreen.
 

Handruin

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For what it's worth, a guy I went to college with still maintains a 486 and contributes kernel patches to Linux 2.4. Or at least he was still doing in in 2011. He did finally give up and start compiling binaries on a Pentium 4 in 2008 or thereabouts.

For all the haters all I can say is that yes, the interface is presently inconsistent. That's not going to change with 8.x BUT I strongly suspect that more changes are going to come our way and these intermediate steps will probably be more sensible in retrospect. My guess is that Microsoft would like to see widespread deployment of Kinect-like technology that uses cameras rather than touchscreens. We'll be able to sign/gesture to our computers, type, possibly talk or lipread or touch as it makes most sense, and do it with a cheap camera rather than an expensive touchscreen.
The technology related to the kinect is fun and useful at times but I have a hard time believing that adoption will be high unless forced on the users. I think of features that we have today like Siri and the likes and how novel they are to play with but I don't really see or hear anyone using them. Granted that's only a voice-command interface but I feel the reason for that is like many, if we're in a public environment, or hell, even at home, I don't want to talk to my computer or make bodily motions. I do feel this technology has a use for those who may be disabled or handicapped in some way.
 

Mercutio

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I use S voice and Google Voice Search in my car quite a lot, particularly to select music and navigate. The Xbox One is supposed to support voice commands in a way I'm intrigued by. I'd very much like to be able to say "Computer, bring up MyHarto on YouTube and play the newest video" and have stuff in my apartment react to that a la Star Trek or Blade Runner.

Keyboards and mice aren't going away, but I think this is part of a larger push toward more ubiquitous computing. Simplifying interfaces could be seen as important in this context because at the moment we don't have a good semiotic vocabulary for these non-traditional input types.
 

ddrueding

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My mother-in-law (for whom english is a very distant second language) managed to initiate the 8.1 update on her HTPC machine last night. Swears she didn't do anything. I haven't seen this upgrade yet, is it that easy to do?

BTW: It broke Start8; doesn't start to the desktop anymore and the actual start menu has been replaced with a button that just goes back to the metro interface? Sucks.
 

Tea

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It turns out that there is a fix for the incredibly annoying shotgun "upgrade" to Windows 8.1, go to the store system hijack that comes up every week. Simply go to programs and features and uninstall Windows Update KB2885699

This compulsory "upgrade" message shows, once again, extraordinary arrogance from Microsoft. It has all the hallmarks of a classic abusive relationship - "Yes, you already said no lots of times, but you really mean yes, don't you you little tart".
 

Handruin

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My mother-in-law (for whom english is a very distant second language) managed to initiate the 8.1 update on her HTPC machine last night. Swears she didn't do anything. I haven't seen this upgrade yet, is it that easy to do?

BTW: It broke Start8; doesn't start to the desktop anymore and the actual start menu has been replaced with a button that just goes back to the metro interface? Sucks.
Do you recall if she had been keeping up with the new revisions of Start8 as they were deployed? I doubt it, but if so I think she would have been fine after upgrading. She may have just had an out of date version prior to the Win 8.1 install. When I upgraded from 8=> 8.1 I did not have issues with my Start8 install.

The upgrade was easy to do. once I signed in to my Live account I was told there was an update. I believe it took less than an hour on my desktop to complete. most of it was just waiting for the install to finish. Then at the end I had to sign in with my live account to log into my desktop (which I think I griped about earlier). I've read that the Win 8.1 start button is a joke. Sart8 still solves the issue as I'm sure classic shell does.
 

Clocker

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Win 8 is the only Windows O/S that'll let you 5-6 AMD GPUs incase you need that kind of thing. :)
 

Mercutio

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... and in the latest "You've GOT to be kidding me", Windows 8 has to be fully upgraded to 8.1 before an 8.1 system image can be restored. And if the system was booted on UEFI, the recovery disk has to be in UEFI mode. And if the system cannot be configured to boot USB drive in UEFI mode, hope you have another computer you can use.

This is of course particularly obnoxious since there STILL isn't any sort of offline installer to go from 8 to 8.1.
 

Chewy509

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... and in the latest "You've GOT to be kidding me", Windows 8 has to be fully upgraded to 8.1 before an 8.1 system image can be restored.
agree 100%. What is the use of doing a backup using the builtin stuff with such a severe limitation? Or is it a case that the backup is not really a complete backup as all, but just a backup of the critical stuff like the registry, applications and user documents?
 

Chewy509

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FYI, we've encountered this a few times at work. If an internal drive volume is created and formatted using Windows 8.1, then Windows 7 will refuse to mount the volume claiming it's unformatted. (This is for internal drives, not for USB/Firewire/Thunderbolt drives).

We haven't worked out exactly what it is, but highly suspect the GPT volumes and GPT entries created by Win8.1 don't match what Win7 is expecting.
 

Mercutio

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I've run in to that one as well. I have a live Windows 7 thumb drive that I had been using to access hosed machines, but I've found that it's basically nonfunctional on modern laptops.

The builtin Windows backup has always needed to be the same version as files to do restores, but 8.1 is a particularly odd case. A LOT of machine are received by users with 8.1 but only ship with recovery media or recovery partitions for Windows 8. It's very easy to get a machine for which the only way forward is to wait for a 3GB download and 45 - 120 minute upgrade process.
 

Stereodude

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So Windows 8.1 isn't really impressing me with its durability. I've got it on my two Zotac BI320 systems. The newer of which I'm trying to set up as a new PC for my parents. I put in 8gB of RAM, a larger / faster SSD, and a 1TB spinning drive. On that one Windows 8.1 already crapped the bed and decided to sit on the "working on features" screen at 100% for many minutes when I pretty much didn't change anything from the previous time it was powered on. I'm now restoring it from a backup I made a few days ago since there seems to be no other way to recover from it's self-induced & unexplained meltdown. That's not giving me a warm feeling about this whole thing.
 

Mercutio

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On a kind of related note, my big desktop runs 2012r2 and for some reason it now needs 21 minutes to boot. It has Hyper-V and all the desktop experience stuff installed plus bog standard desktop apps and two VMs on manual startup, but at some point in the last month, something changed and now it needs longer to get going than a 10 year old domain controller.
I tested it several times over the last couple days, to see if it's just updates that take forever to configure. Nope. Looking at logs, it just takes THAT long now.
 

sedrosken

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Yikes. Is it responsive after it boots up?

What's kind of funny is that I could get a free license for Server 2012 R2 (any of three versions, Essentials, Standard, and I can't remember the third one) through the DreamSpark program. That's how I have VS 2013 Pro, and Office 2013 ProPlus (though that is actually through my school's Office 365 subscription, but I still have to sign in with my school address to get into DreamSpark).

How different is Server 2012 R2 from 8.1, when using it as a desktop OS? Is it functionally different? Any slower, or even faster?
 

Mercutio

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It's a 12-thread 4GHz Haswell-E with 32GB RAM and an M.2 boot drive. It's all kinds of responsive. At one time it was starting in under 10 seconds, too.
I've been using Windows Server machines as desktops for ages, in part to have "server" machines to screw around on, in part because I have more spare Server licenses than anything else (thanks, MSDN!) and in part because I like some of the added storage capabilities from the Server feature set. It's not really any slower or faster. Back in the olden days, Server 2003 was somewhat faster than Windows XP, but now that Windows releases are synchronized, that's no longer the case.
The big caveats are that you can't find compatible antivirus software for free and a lot of "Desktop" stuff has to be manually configured before the machine can be fully useful.

I wouldn't bother to do it if I didn't have the extra licenses, but I do.
 

CougTek

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What's kind of funny is that I could get a free license for Server 2012 R2 (any of three versions, Essentials, Standard, and I can't remember the third one) through the DreamSpark program.
If it's Datacenter, then get it. Unlimited Windows VM and licences on the system on which you install it, although you probably don't have access to any hardware that can trully benefit from this. Still, it's worth ~5000$.
 

sedrosken

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I might actually do that on my A10-5800K build when it's done. I honestly don't do anything that needs a server release of Windows anyway, but hey, it's a free, genuine license for Windows that isn't an OEM version.
 

sedrosken

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I can get Essentials, Standard, and Datacenter. I'm grabbing the Datacenter version now. That's what I will be running on the A10 build instead of Windows 8.1/10. I looked at a chart detailing the differences between the versions, and while I will probably never use the virtualization features to any meaningful degree, but it seems to be the most worth my time. I figure that I might as well go with that.

Adding the desktop experience package should help a lot towards the end of using it as a desktop OS.
 

Mercutio

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Actually, after checking a bit, (free) Forticlient Antivirus does run on Windows Server editions. Most desktop AV packages refuse to install or won't enable real-time scanning, so I'd never bothered to try it.
 

Mercutio

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On a kind of related note, my big desktop runs 2012r2 and for some reason it now needs 21 minutes to boot.
I figured out my issue last night. I had my optical drive on a SATA port that's shared with the M.2 drive. Rather than disabling one port or the other while there were two drives connected, my motherboard started routing the M.2 drive through USB, which is also part of the interface. The connection is supposed to be USB 3.0, but whatever speed it negotiated was just not that fast. I'm also amazed that Windows still booted at all in that configuration.
Why it worked fine for a month before I moved the optical drive off that SATA port, I have no idea.
 

Stereodude

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Glad you figured it out.

Is there some tool I can run on a Windows XP system that will tell me if it checks all the right boxes for supporting Windows 8.1?

Or do I need to use something like CPU-Z and make sure the CPU checks the right boxes?
 

Mercutio

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My new least favorite thing: People who don't know their Live account password OR the password to their email which they can only get to if they can sign in to their Live account.
Somewhere, there's a poor bastard at Microsoft who has the job for re-setting Windows 8 passwords for clueless baby boomers and I do not envy that person a bit.
 

LunarMist

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What's a Live account? Do 8 windows and 10 require a password? I don't want a password at home.
 
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