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  1. #1
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    Windows 8, 8.1, or stay with 7--Totally in the dark

    As a retired university professor after 50 years of teaching research methods, statistics, and computer literacy, I am often bombarded by former students and friends asking for advice about Windows updates. However, I'm afraid that technology and covert or "buggy" updates and new operating systems have bypassed me. Susan Bradley's article, "Adieu XP; bonjour Windows 8.1 Update" in WS Issue 428, 2014-04-10 is excellent; however, my work is done on my computer, I don't have time to attempt to understand the recommendations to "Hold off on Windows 8.1 Update," deal with service packs, understand "KB" numbers, etc. I am shocked to see Gordon Kelly's writing in Forbes, (4/15/2014) headed "Microsoft Abandons Windows 8.1: Take Immediate Action Or Be Cut Off Like Windows XP." Haven't heard anything about Windows 9, but then Kelly writes: "What Windows 9 Must Do To Avoid Flopping Like Windows 8" where he begins with his statement "Windows 8 is a flop" (1/17/2014). Is this guy Kelly legitimate? I was about ready to plunge into 8.1 until overwhelmed with all of this stuff. Please, I plead with you experts, especially Fred Langa, to write a solid, down-to-earth article explaining in common language what Microsoft is attempting to do and what a guy like me should do. I'm enthused when reading about 8.1, but now am thinking I'm much better off staying with Windows 7 Pro. Sorry to ramble and I appreciate the dialog in the Lounge about technicalities in 8 and 8.1, but I still have 7 and don't understand a thing about what is being discussed. Thanks and I hope someone will put an umbrella over this entire scene and present comparisons, pros and cons, and just tell us what is the most reasonable and practical thing to do now. FWIW, I started my computer work sitting hours on end at an IBM-029 Keypunch and waiting a day or so for output.

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    Windows 8 was born to address full-on touch input. There are issues and growing pains with this process. Windows 8 is a huge flop by Microsoft's own past measures of marketing success, but that does not necessarily equate to a bad OS. If you were to purchase a system or install disc with 8.1 with the latest 8.1 Update included, you would bypass this great updating morass that occupies many posts.

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    I suppose you will get different perspectives, depending on how each of the respondents feels about Windows 8.

    I use two machines every single day - a desktop running Windows 7 64 bits and a laptop now running Windows 8.1 update 1. Both my machines are very reliable. I use both for development purposes, the desktop being just a development machine and database server and the laptop being the machine where I do everything else - emailing, web browsing, skype, Office use and also development. For new projects, I also use this machine as the main dev machine.

    If I had to choose between them, I would pick the one running Windows 8, although I admit the call is rather close. Working on the desktop, Windows 8.1 is pretty much like Windows 7, which some user interface quirks and some new features that I really like. I especially like the Windows 8 ability to snap multiple apps on the screen, something it can't be accomplished as easily on Windows 7.
    Of course, Windows 8 is a two faced beast and it also features a touch based interface. I don't dislike it. I quite like the live tiles and I use some of the Windows 8 type apps, like skype, the twitter app and a couple more.

    My laptop came with Windows 8 and I upgraded it to 8.1 and 8.1.1. 8.1 was the most problematic of the three, especially due to bad drivers. I had issues with wireless and waking from sleep, that still don't make me feel I would rather use 7. Actually, I quite like 8 and I would buy a computer running 8, for sure, if I had to buy one, again.

    In my opinion, 8 is no different from 7, in terms of the problems it can give. Have a look at the Windows 7 forum here and you will find hundreds of issues. What 8 did that causes people to dislike it, was to bring a new interface that took people used to Windows outside their comfort zone. It's not hard to deal with if you want to dedicate it a few hours with an open mind. Other than the UI, 8, 8.1 or 8.1.1. is as solid, if not more, than 7, in my humble opinion.
    Rui
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    If you are pleased with Windows 7 on your current hardware stick with it. When you decide to replace the current PC get whatever is the most current version of Windows at the time. If the people who are asking your advice are getting new systems tell them to get Windows 8.1. The systems being sold now are built for Windows 8.1

    Windows 8.1 is a good OS. It may not be up to the Windows 7 run rate which was 20 million copies per month just like clockwork. The last rate I saw for Windows 8/8.1 was 17-18 million per month. Not exactly a failure but not a ringing success either. But it is still a good OS.

    Joe

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    If you are comfortable with Windows 7 Pro, I would recommend staying with that until the time comes to replace your hardware. I dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 8 on a Dell Inspiron 580, and I often lose track of which OS I'm running. I have tweaked both OS's to suit me, including StartIsBack on Windows 8, which gives it the look and feel of Windows 7.

    As far as reliability and overall usefulness, I don't find enough difference to make the change to 8 compelling. The learning curve can be almost eliminated by installing one of the Windows 7 style Start Menu options - it makes 8 look, feel and run almost exactly like Windows 7.

    Whatever you decide, be sure to backup your data before you make any changes.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

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    Windows 8 is a flop ... Is this guy Kelly legitimate?
    I don't know about Kelly, but Windows 8/8.1/8.1.1 is definitely a flop. There are still more people using Windows XP than Windows 8/8.1

    what Microsoft is attempting to do
    1) Microsoft and Canonical believe that the desktop is dead, and that they have to transition to tablets and phones in order to have a future. Microsoft still hopes to get better numbers with tablet and phone sales, but so far they have been pitiful. And Canonical hoped to have Ubuntu 14.04 ready for tablets and phones, but they didn't make it, and had to drop Unity 8 and Mir out of 14.04.

    2) Microsoft has seen all the money that Apple and Google are making with their app stores, and they want to get in on it, so they are deprecating the desktop and trying to push people to the tablet interface, where they only allow app store software to run.

    but now am thinking I'm much better off staying with Windows 7 Pro.
    I don't know of any reason to leave Windows 7 if you are still happy with it. I'm getting up to speed with Linux (Linux Mint with Cinnamon, not Ubuntu with the Unity UI), because I can't stay with Windows 7 forever, but for now, I like it fine, and it works great. I hope to be able to use Windows 7 until 2020, but we'll see.

    I started in Computers in the late 70s at the University of Maryland at College Park. I was actually in the University College not the day school, but we had access to their lab. They had a Univac 1100, and we key punched our programs into a card deck, which we submitted at a window. I can't remember the number of the Univac card punch. It was open 24 hours, and if you were there late, you could submit a run and get it back in about an hour.

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  11. #7
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    If you're content with Windows 7 and you are NOT in the market for a new computer right now then stay with what you have.

    This is not to say that Windows 8 isn't any good or any less usable than W7, it is highly usable.
    It just seems like an OS in evolution right now and we've seen two major iterations since Windows 8 came out
    in response, at least partly, to public outcry.
    It's NOT worth purchasing a computer with Windows 8 on it just to upgrade to 8.1 and then 8.1.1.

    I'd wait at least until W8.1.1's position *becomes more solid, or until Windows 9 comes out.

    *Manufacturer's consolidate 8.1.1 installation without upgrades, or a genuine MS 8.1.1 disk/ISO.
    (Having to download huge amounts of code (upgrade) just after purchase is totally unacceptable-
    most users are better off waiting for a full manufacturer installation or disk)

    I don't think there is anything else in the wing after Windows 8.1.1 except Windows 9.
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    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    I look at Windows 8 akin to Vista, the OS that I skipped and know or care little about.
    I may need to rethink that some day, but then that was the thought of Vista too before its predecessor arrived.
    Now I am not one bit sorry that I skipped it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RussB View Post
    I look at Windows 8 akin to Vista, the OS that I skipped and know or care little about.
    I may need to rethink that some day, but then that was the thought of Vista too before its predecessor arrived.
    Now I am not one bit sorry that I skipped it.
    People who have sources inside Microsoft such as Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott are saying that Windows 9 will be better, and will be available in about a year, although unless it has some pretty impressive features, I'm staying with Windows 7. Just getting back to where Windows 7 was will not be enough.
    Last edited by Prescott; 2014-04-16 at 17:15. Reason: insert has

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    Many thanks to everyone who took the time to post regarding the questions surrounding 8, 8.1, and 9. Outstanding answers and right to the point. Don't know anything about this Gordon Kelly's writing in Forbes, but I'll certainly take the answers/responses here in the Lounge vs. some guy who obviously has an ax to grind. Interested in Prescott's comment about experience with Univac. I did about the same in the early 1970s when I believe around 1970 GE sold its 600 series computer division to Honeywell and it became the Honeywell 6000 series. The ol' IBM-029 keypunches were hard to maintain we were lucky to find one where the drum actually worked. We punched holes in cards (Hollerith code), submitted the deck to be compiled, if you didn't drop it first, then got a binary deck which a card reader input to the boxcar sized computer. Don't recall that I was ever lucky enough to get output in one hour--usually the next day. Then one typo and you corrected and resubmitted. Goodness, times have changed and I think you folks have convinced me to stay with Windows 7 for the time being. Sorry if I have strayed from the thread a bit, but history is interesting. Hey Fred, how about one of your excellent pieces on this exact topic? Thanks.

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    I started in Computers in the late 70s at the University of Maryland at College Park. I was actually in the University College not the day school, but we had access to their lab. They had a Univac 1100, and we key punched our programs into a card deck, which we submitted at a window. I can't remember the number of the Univac card punch. It was open 24 hours, and if you were there late, you could submit a run and get it back in about an hour.
    I designed the I/O section of the 1100 you used. The card punch reader was probably a Univac 1040. Or maybe you're thinking of the 1710?
    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computing...nivac1710.html

    Walter Gilbert of the University of Maryland wrote this Univac Memories page:
    http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/univac/

    Jerry - Univac Roseville, Mn

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    Thumbs up

    I will admit, I never read past the thread title.

    Easy Answer... Windows 8.1 Come in out of the dark. [I]Oh, no, that's cold not, dark. /I]

    And doesn't matter, Touch or not, it's, still, just FINE Tower or Tablet, it's, still, fine & happy.

    Eight is great (rhymes, too )

    Cheers,
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    290_Windows8_1.jpg
    Last edited by Drew1903; 2014-04-19 at 01:15.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluebird2 View Post
    Many thanks to everyone who took the time to post regarding the questions surrounding 8, 8.1, and 9. Outstanding answers and right to the point. Don't know anything about this Gordon Kelly's writing in Forbes, but I'll certainly take the answers/responses here in the Lounge vs. some guy who obviously has an ax to grind. Interested in Prescott's comment about experience with Univac. I did about the same in the early 1970s when I believe around 1970 GE sold its 600 series computer division to Honeywell and it became the Honeywell 6000 series. The ol' IBM-029 keypunches were hard to maintain we were lucky to find one where the drum actually worked. We punched holes in cards (Hollerith code), submitted the deck to be compiled, if you didn't drop it first, then got a binary deck which a card reader input to the boxcar sized computer.
    I worked for GEISCO the General Electric Information Services Company from 1978 to 1981. They had a world wide computer network using Honeywell 6000 mainframes which as you say were just the next generation of GE 600 computers, and 24 bit Honeywell mini computers as network nodes.

    The GE network did not allow users to use it for communications, because then it would have been subject to the FCC, and GE did not want that. So companies such as McDonald's would have data uploaded from every store world wide to files on the Honeywell mainframes, and then download it to their own computers. The GE network was not TCP/IP, although it was descended from the same research done at Dartmouth, on GE 600 computers with the help of GE programmers, but had a hierarchical tree structure.

    I was programming the NIP (Network Interface Processor) which connected the GE/Honeywell network to IBM mainframe computers. The NIP was a PDP 11/55 and was designed to look like a Honeywell mainframe on the Network side, and to look like an IBM 3780 running a 2780 emulator package to the IBM Mainframe. The source program for the NIP resided in two punch card boxes which I kept in my cubicle. The NIP didn't have an operating system, so I programmed down to the bare metal.

    We had our own "Y2K" type problem on January 1, 1980. The packets had one digit for the year, so when the network went from 1979 or "9" to the packets to 1980 or "0", everything got out of order and the entire network crashed. All they had to do to get running again was restart the network, and all the old packets were flushed, and all the new packets were "0".

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluebird2 View Post
    Don't recall that I was ever lucky enough to get output in one hour--usually the next day. Then one typo and you corrected and resubmitted. Goodness, times have changed and I think you folks have convinced me to stay with Windows 7 for the time being. Sorry if I have strayed from the thread a bit, but history is interesting. Hey Fred, how about one of your excellent pieces on this exact topic? Thanks.
    Early in the semester, when I was there in the daytime for class, I would pick up the results of the previous days run before class, read it, try to find the error, and go to class. Then after class, I would punch cards, insert them into the deck, resubmit, and leave the campus and come back again the next day I had class. Later in the semester, (crunch time) when I had to get my projects completed, I would go back to the computer center, and stay until I had it done. It was then at midnight or 1am that you could get the fast turn around. For Freshman and Sophomore classes, we had accounts, but no permanent storage. We could get online, and we could read our card deck into our work space and edit it, but when we logged off, our work space was released. For Junior and Senior classes, we got storage, so that we could save our work from one session to the next. After that, we didn't have to punch cards any more.

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    I hope the Gods are smiling on this thread because it obviously has slightly deviated from the original question. However, regarding my question about staying with W7 or going to 8, 8.1, etc., or waiting until W9, your excellent advice has convinced me to stay with W7 Pro now and see what happens with 9. Considering XP and its impressive duration, the Microsoft saga of moving through W3.0, W98, Millennium Edition, Vista, and other versions, causes me to think this is little more than a continuing game just to make money. Question: Unless people have pockets bulging with $$$, why would anyone even consider moving to 8 or 8.1 when 9 is peeking around the corner? I'm not putting down anyone who wrote something like "8 and 8.1 are okay, go with them." But this continual "improvement" updating doesn't make sense to me. So, it's W7 for me until Microsoft proves that I can make a giant leap by going to W9. Incidental related (I hope) comments: I was highly interested in hearing from jwitalka saying the card punch reader was probably a Univac 1040--I found a pic of the IBM-029 keypunch that just about grounded me and my PhD studies at a major Midwestern university. See: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/029.html. This baby was a demon although the university didn't do well with maintenance. The feeder would jam, the drum typically was broken and worthless, and I'm convinced that these machines had an internal memory built in that quickly established a "hate factor" against the user--remember most students in the early '70s didn't have good keyboard skills. Before hunting for an available keypunch, you'd better attend to your physical needs because even if you left all your materials with a "don't touch" sign if you had to leave the keypunch to go pee, when returning you'd find the next person standing in line behind you would have dumped all your stuff on the floor and taken over the keypunch. Also to Prescott: You had the same system that worked for me, i.e., leave the campus and come back again the next day, identify any mistakes, correct them, and resubmit. Unfortunately, I lived 32 miles from campus. Considering operating systems, in the '70s I made a presentation on creating simple music tunes and compositions to a special section of a national professional conference covering the capabilities of the Commodore PET, Apple II, and TRS-80s. A guy in the audience said "you don't have enough capacity to produce music on a computer." To my embarrassment, I had no answer for him. Little did we know at that time that Megabytes, Gigabytes, and Terabytes were not far in the future. My first "real" computer was a DEC Rainbow without a hard drive. When I graduated to installing a 5-MB hard drive in this computer I thought technology had reached the top of the world. Thanks for an interesting thread.

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