There are a few issues I have found with Windows 8 (64-bit) as my main desktop. In no particular order:
- I wanted to uninstall Java, because of recent security scares (and because I use nothing that really depends on it, as far as I know). But I was unable to uninstall Java without first disabling the User Access Control feature. I set it back to its default setting afterwards, of course.
- Both VMware and VirtualBox are flakey/unstable. I tried the VirtualBox beta, but that didn’t improve matters much there. I felt obliged to download the new VMware Workstation version 9, and that’s running really well… but it is an awful lot more expensive than it used to be, and I don’t know that I can justify the price to myself:
Interestingly, despite VMware’s best geolocating efforts to prevent me from visiting the US version of their store, I can tell you that the US retail price for the same thing is $249… which is most odd, given that currently one US$ buys you more or less one Aussie dollar. I wonder why the Aussies are therefore being over-charged by something in the region of 50%??! Definitely a case for a US-based VPN, methinks.
- Microsoft Security Essentials does not work on Windows 8. That’s not an issue in itself, because Win8 ships with a capable “Windows Defender” equivalent. Unfortunately, there is no way to scan an individual file or folder with this tool (there is no right-click and select ‘scan now’ or its equivalent, for example). You can do it via the command line, but it’s not pretty:
"C:Program FilesWindows Defendermpcmdrun" -scan -scantype 3 -file "C:usershjrDownloadsVirtualBox-4.2.0_RC3-80444-Win.exe"
(Obviously, replace the specific path/filename with whatever is required). There are articles out there saying it’s possible to get a right-click option back if you create a couple of registry keys, but they didn’t work for me (most were written before the Win8 code was finalised, of course). A third-party anti-virus application might be the better option, therefore. If only I knew which one to use…
- Oracle 220.127.116.11 installs on it fine and without incident. However, it spews a lot of pretty ugly-looking icons all over the Start screen. Nothing you can’t unpin and sort out manually, of course; but a pain, nonetheless. A lot of older programs are going to wreak the same sort of havoc, I fear.
- There is no desktop clock (my eyesight means I can’t read the little clock down in the system tray area from a distance, so I really need one!) Fortunately, a free one looking very much like the one I described creating on Centos a while back is available for free from here. It works well, but I have to warn you that the installer tries desperately to get you to install extra packages or agree to have your browser home page changed. It is, frankly, appalling but if you take the time to actually read the various screens and decline the various offers of licenses, it is possible to have the desktop clock/gadget without any nasty extras. I’d really like to find an equivalent that isn’t so burdened with crapware, though.
- The Task Manager in Windows 8 is a lot more useful than its Win7 counterpart (and the graphs are nicer!). You can get to the list of Services here, and also the list of applications which will auto-start at each reboot. Very handy.
- I mentioned last time that there was no apparent way to switch off sound effects or the 3-card deal in the Metro-ised Solitaire game. There is: you have to do a Win+C when it has focus. That key combination brings up a “Charms Bar”, one of whose options always contains a “Settings” option. When you click that in desktop mode with nothing particular running, you get options to visit the Control Panel or personalise the desktop theme. Click it when using a Metro app, however, and the Settings option will instead take you to app-specific configuration options. I can’t say that’s entirely intuitive: it’s taken me a day or two to discover it, after all! But now I know it’s there, it will make a big difference to how useful some of those Metro apps really can be.
- It’s not yet possible to install the Media Centre component, so I haven’t been able to upgrade my Win7 Media Centre, currently doing TV recording and video playing duties. Apparently, it will be available on the day the OS is officially released to the public, but not having it available even though the OS has been released to manufacturing seems a bit dumb to me.
- Windows 8 support for FLAC (i.e., it doesn’t) is disappointing but not unexpected. Unfortunately, the workarounds for previous versions (Shark Codecs, WMP Tag Plus, etc) seem to be broken in Windows 8. This is a deal-breaker for me… I can always use Foobar2000, of course, but a native Windows player for one of the commonest codecs around would have been a nice gesture from Microsoft!
- There are lots of references at various points when you’re doing something to “tap here…” when, from a quick look at my hardware, the OS should know “click here” would be more appropriate. Irritating, a very little…
Nothing that’s a complete show-stopper, though the FLAC stuff is a real pain (as I say, Foobar2000 is the saviour there). I have just bought myself a new 128GB SSD, so this weekend, I think I’ll do a fresh Windows 8 install on that and see how I get on. I never thought in-place upgrades of MS O/Ses was a great idea, though this one’s gone a lot smoother than I thought possible.