Windows Secrets special issue on Windows 8

Well, it’s here. The most controversial version of Windows ever released is out in new PCs and as an upgrade.

We won’t predict the success or failure of Windows 8 (there is no shortage of tech pundits who have), but we will provide lots of helpful information on how to get started exploring the new OS.

Finding your way in a new computing environment

Undoubtedly, some of you are dismayed that we’ve devoted an entire issue to Windows 8. From the letters we’ve received, many of you have no plans to upgrade. Quite honestly, neither do we — not anytime soon, at least, on our production PCs. Putting the newsletter together is work enough without adding additional complexities. And for now, we’re quite happy figuring out and working with Windows 7.

But anyone who has a real interest in Windows — and we assume that’s most Windows Secrets readers — should take the time to play with Windows 8. Like it or not, it is the future of Windows computing.

Correction: We misread the fine print for the special Windows 8 pricing. The current U.S. $39.99 offer is for each license (as stated in the Win8 Terms and Condition page); not for five licenses as we incorrectly stated. Our apologies.

The good news is that setting up and exploring Windows 8 is relatively cheap and easy. You can buy each license for $40. The official site states that you can upgrade from XP, Vista, or Win7.

Being a bit short on working PCs at the moment, my Windows 8 test system is running as a virtual machine within Oracle’s free VirtualBox (site). It was easy to install and works great. Plus it has no effect on my working Windows 7 system. If you need help installing your own copy, read Fred Langa’s Top Story, “Step by step: How to safely test-drive Win8.”

So far, as someone who has used PCs since before Windows, I’ve found the transition to Windows 8 rather jarring (a description used a lot by experienced Windows users). Win8 is simply not designed for productive, traditional, keyboard/mouse computing. As an iPad user, I’ll be much more interested in the Win8 experience on a tablet. There, touch-and-swipe makes perfect sense.

That said, it’s always fun playing with something new — and Windows 8 is definitely new. I’ve enjoyed exploring it.

I hope you’ll find the information in this special issue useful and interesting. Take some time to try out Windows 8. And give us your impressions of the new OS, either by e-mail or in the WS Lounge. (Windows Secrets rule: You can’t complain about Win8 — or cheer for it — without having actually used it.)

As they say in broadcasting: We’ll return next week to our regularly scheduled programming — which, yes, will include more coverage of Windows 8.

A note on the delivery of this week’s newsletter

The servers that send out the Windows Secrets newsletter are located on the East Coast. At the moment, the service is offline due to power outages caused by hurricane Sandy. We’re planning for an alternate delivery service, if needed. We hope everyone gets this week’s newsletter on time.

And consider donating a few dollars to agencies that are helping the flood victims.

Thanks for your continuing support. There’s no newsletter without you.

Tracey Capen
Editor in chief

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