Upgrading to Windows 8: easy, but time consuming

win8setup1Windows 8 has many new and innovative features. For Windows, one of those features is the ability to upgrade your previous Windows 7 to Windows 8 with all of your applications and files intact. I decided to test this feature on my primary desktop. Risky, I know, but I had a degree of confidence that Microsoft could pull this off. After all, if a fruity company could do so, they could too, right?

So, how did it turn out? So far, pretty well. However, the journey was not without some level of pain. Pain mostly in the amount of time it took.

I chose the download and install method, so as a first step, the upgrade advisor had to run. windows8install2Pretty much everything would work, save about five applications, which, interestingly enough, included Windows Security Essentials and parts of Windows Live Essentials.  There are, however, updates for Windows Live Essentials that will work. Security Essentials is built into the operating system.

It took the advisor about 45 minutes to complete. Once that completed and I reviewed the report, I purchased the upgrade and it downloaded. The download took, possibly, a half hour. I didn’t really time it, but I did get about three full Call of Duty matches in and they are about ten minutes in length.

Once downloaded, it presented me with the options for upgrading: upgrade with personal files and applications intact, personal files only or new install. I upgraded files and apps.  The process then started. It stayed on the same ‘preparing your files’ screen for an hour. I went to bed. Over night, it seemed to have done all of the copying, but was stuck on a confirmation page. After clicking OK the next morning, it took an additional three hours to complete the installation. Once it restarted after the install, I had to set it up.  That was fairly easy. I used my Live mail account and it synced (much to my delight) with my Windows 8 Release Candidate machine.

Post setup included downloading apps from the store and checking out the refreshed operating system.

So far, I’m liking…no, loving…what I see. 

The store has quite a few selections that are broken up by categories like Games, Social, News and so onWin8StartPage. Most of the apps appear to be free or very low cost.  And, so far, look terrific.  These apps are, however, just begging for a touch screen. I find using the mouse pretty easy, but still want to reach out with my finger and interact with my apps.

The Windows RT style is just nice to look at. I love the fluidity of them and the overall clean appearance.  They are, dare I say, gorgeous.  They are, however, not as feature rich as they could be, but I suspect this will change as developers get a handle on the new operating system and its UI.

The performance is outstanding.  Boot times are incredibly fast, even on the old clunker that is my desktop machine. Moving from app to app is quick and smooth.  This is a worthwhile upgrade if for nothing else than the improvement in performance.

If you are on the fence, I would advise going to a Best Buy or somewhere similar and just playing with a Windows 8 machine. You will be surprised at how easy and nice to use the OS is and you can see how much the performance has improved.

While I am not yet convinced it is the best version of Windows ever, it certainly ranks up there with Windows 95 and Windows 7.

The upgrade is $39.95 through January. If you purchase the download, you have the option for a DVD for an additional $14.95. This is still cheaper than the $69.95 package being offered at retail or mail order.

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