I’ve decided that it’s time to upgrade my main desktop to Windows 8. I’ve been running Windows 7 Professional on it since I upgraded the internals of the computer during the summer.
I’ve read a lot of articles on Windows 8, some very positive, some saying it takes a lot of adjustment (in the user’s habits) to use it on the desktop, and some absolutely hating it.
I’ve also read some articles discussing modifications to Windows 8 that are available from third party software vendors. The one that seems most impressive is Start8, from Stardock Software, which is less than five dollars. The price includes a year of updates.
I’m familiar with Stardock utilities and interface modifications from my use of OS/2 in the early 1990’s, so I have no hesitation in getting their Windows Start8 start menu program for Windows 8. It will probably be my first purchase after the upgrade.
If you’re already running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, you can upgrade to Windows 8. Microsoft has a super-cheap upgrade offer to Windows 8 Professional — $39.99 per license (up to 5 licenses) for upgrading. You download a Windows 8 Upgrade .iso file, which you can either burn to a DVD or a flash drive. You can also order a DVD for an additional charge. This upgrade pricing is a limited-time offer and, as of 11/18/2012, is set to expire in January 2013.
The Fine Print from microsoft.com
" Offer valid from October 26, 2012 until January 31, 2013 and is limited to five upgrade licenses per customer. To install Windows 8 Pro, customers must be running Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 Consumer Preview, or Windows 8 Release Preview. Pricing varies by region and reseller, and depends on a variety of factors including exchange rate, local taxes, duties, fees, local market conditions, and other pricing considerations. The actual price you pay may be more than the advertised price. Transaction may require an international credit card."
Retail vendors, including online vendors, are offering an upgrade retail package for $69.99, or less. I managed to catch a pre-Black-Friday-week special that was good on one day only, but got me $20 off that price and free shipping. That was the final thing to convince me to order the upgrade.
The first thing you need to do before ordering the Windows 8 Professional Upgrade is to run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant. This program will review your installed hardware and software to identify where you will have issues with the upgrade. Of course, the program doesn’t know about all hardware and all software, so you could still have some issues. Note that you can run the Upgrade Assistant without purchasing or installing Windows 8 — I strongly recommend doing that before buying the upgrade, especially if you have an older computer.
In my case, the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant had the following exceptions:
- I will have to install an app to play DVD’s. That’s not likely to happen. I don’t watch DVD’s on this PC.
- My PC’s motherboard’s firmware is not compatible with Secure Boot, so it won’t be available. Small loss.
- Acronis True Image Home 2012 was flagged. I noted that it simply says "Go to the app website for help" — it doesn’t say that it’s not compatible. However, I know that True Image 2013 specifically says it’s compatible with Windows 8. That alone guides me to upgrade it, too, as I am unwilling to take the risk that an incompatibility might show up while I was trying to restore from the backup.
- The Intel USB 3.0 extensible Host Controller Driver is not compatible. This is not good. I hope there’s an update available, although I don’t have any USB 3.0 devices yet.
- It advised me that there is an update available Fort&eacut; Agent, the news-reading software that I use with my Giganews account.
- Finally, it reminded me that, since I’ve got Apple iTunes installed, and since the iTunes store is a royal pain when you change computers or reinstall your operating system, I need to "Remove authorized PCs". This needs to be done before I do the upgrade.
iTunes allows 5 computers to be "authorized" for the account — with no way to de-authorize a PC’s installation if that iTunes installation is no longer available. Well, there is a way. Once per year, you can delete ALL authorized computers from the iTunes account. Not only is that a draconian solution, the limitation to doing it only once per year is unreasonably restrictive.
All in all, not many issues for my upgrade. It’s on the way. I’ll probably do the upgrade across Thanksgiving weekend, after I finish my shopping <grin>.