Tag Archive for: windows-8

New Old Workstation

07 Mar 2014
March 7, 2014

Just a quick note: I have a new workstation at home. Not very exciting news, I realize. But I find it interesting enough to share.

There’s really nothing all that great about this rig. It is a Vista era Core 2 Duo workstation (still has the Vista sticker on it). All I did was add an SSD, upgraded to 8 GB of RAM and installed Windows 8.1.

It runs like a champ.

Just another anecdote that shows that processors have been plenty fast for a while now. The trick is speeding up drives and making sure you’re not constrained by RAM. That SSD makes one heck of a difference here!

A Netbook’s Journey from Win7 to Win8 — and Back Again

22 Jan 2013
January 22, 2013

NB 255

I have been running Windows 8 full-time on my work laptop for several months now. Big fan and really like it.  On that hardware it seems to run better than Windows 7 did (not that I had any complaints). So that led me to the idea that it might be a good idea to upgrade my little netbook to Windows 8 as well.

That turned out to not be such a great idea.

The netbook doesn’t have a CD-ROM drive but that is easily resolved with the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool. That tool let me create a bootable USB to use for the Win8 install. The subsequent OS install was painless and quick as always. No worries there.

But once I had the OS installed I quickly noticed that I wasn’t seeing the anticipated performance boost. No, quite the opposite actually. No doubt in some part due to not having all the proper drivers installed. OK, no problem. I figured I’d sort that out later.

Then I hit the real issue: NO Modern UI apps would run at the netbook’s native 1024×600 resolution! Not a one. That freaked me out a bit… I mean, I don’t need all the Modern UI apps (or any, really…) but not being able to have any was simply distressing. A bit of whining on twitter netted me a helpful response with a link to an article on how to “overdrive” the native resolution to something that Windows 8 liked better.

A tolerable work-around, if a bit fuzzy…

But at the end of the day I just wasn’t loving the Win8 experience on this thing; it was time to regress back to 7. Which is when I realized I’d lost the ability to choose alternate boot devices when starting the netbook! I haven’t figured out why yet, but with Windows 8 on it those POST/BIOS-level options were simply gone. That made installing an OS a bit problematic.

I finally worked around that by borrowing a USB DVD ROM drive and starting the Windows 7 install from within Windows 8. Took the option for a clean install, let it reboot and Win7 very politely installed itself.

And hey, that option to select alternate boot devices when I turn on the netbook is back. How odd.

I went with a “real” version of Win7 this time – no more Starter Edition. It runs great and we’re quite happy together again.

Wrestling With Windows 8 Imaging

18 Nov 2012
November 18, 2012

The leap to Windows 8 has gone well. A full week of work later and I see no reason to not commit. Only issue that I’ve noticed is that I seem to get “IO bound” when there’s a lot of disk activity. Since I have Win8 installed in a VHD I figure that might be causing some extra overhead. So, next step is to eliminate that VHD and get to the disk drive directly.

I initially figured I’d use my old friend the Windows System Image, created by going to the Control Panel, searching on “Windows 7 File Recovery” and taking the option to create a system image. Creating that image went fine, and creating the Win8 Recovery DVD went fine. However, when I boot into the recovery environment and take the options to restore the image it is never found! No matter what I try I end up with ye olde “Windows cannot find a system image on this computer.”

I can browse to the USB drive and find it myself but the recovery program refuses to see it (in both win7 and win8 recovery mode). Tried all the usual tricks (make sure USB is “basic” disk, fresh format USB and the only use was to catch the image, etc.) but after hours of experimentation still no love.

Trying out Acronis True Image as I write this post. Image creation is a little slow but if this works I’ll probably break down and buy it (I’m using their free 30 day trial at the moment). I’m baffled as to why the Windows tools aren’t working here but I’ve wasted too much time. True Image seems to be what is most often suggested so that’s where I’ll start.

My goal is to make images of the Win8 partition (currently stored in the .VHD file) and some of the HP recovery partitions and then wipe the drive and restore those images. That way what was in the VHD will be directly on the disk.

That’s the goal at any rate.

[Updated a few hours later]

Acronis True Image has locked up my machine 3 times in a row. About 45 minutes into a backup attempt it just seizes up and kills the laptop.

Rats. Perhaps it isn’t ready for Windows 8?

Windows 8: Finally Made the Leap

11 Nov 2012
November 11, 2012

WindowsI have been messing around with Windows 8 since early this year. Never real seriously, but enough to keep an eye on it and play a bit. Last month I installed an evaluation version of my laptop (the VHD method) and exercised it a bit more. Enough to get to the point where I wanted to spend more time with it. However, since that was the eval version I didn’t really want to spend the time getting it all configured and then lose it after 6 months.

So this weekend I made the leap and and installed a non-eval version on my work laptop. I’m still using the VHD method (Scott Hanselman has a great walkthrough that I followed (but I skipped his boot from USB steps since I had a DVD…)). I then set it up with all of my work applications and have been in it ever since. Should I determine that I love it I will make a system image, then re-deploy it to my “real” hard drive to get a little boost by moving away from the VHD method.

The modern UI (formerly known as “metro”) take some getting used to, but if you’re more of a typer than a clicker you’re not going to have any issues. With Windows 7 I’ve always been in the habit of hitting the Windows Key (Winkey) and starting to type to find programs. That works great with Windows 8. However, if you always drag the mouse over to the start button, *click* and then scroll through all the programs you may find this a bit different… perhaps better though once you get the hang of customizing your Start page. Or perhaps your cheese has been moved too far. I’ll let you decide…

For me? I’m digging it. So far I have had no issues getting all setup with my normal work apps and configurations.

What follows are some stream of consciousness observations, tips and discoveries from the past two days. Maybe something in there will be found helpful to someone.

Read more →