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All posts tagged "windows 8"

Monday, August 20, 2012

Microsoft's $14.99 Windows 8 Upgrade Offer Registration Now Open

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home News" @ 10:30 PM

"If you bought a PC preinstalled with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate on or after June 2, 2012, just go to and register. We'll send you an email with your promotion code and purchase instructions when Windows 8 Pro is available."

Did you purchase a Windows 7 PC on or after June 2, 2012? If you did, make sure to head to Microsoft's site and register with their $14.99 Windows 8 upgrade offer. If you are eligible, you will be able to purchase a copy of Windows 8 Professional to install on your Windows 7 PC for the discounted price of $14.99. Regular upgrade price for Windows 8 is $40.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Windows 8 30 Best Features

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home News" @ 10:00 PM

"This feature highlights the 30 best features we've discovered in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview - and ten features that we hope Microsoft finds time to add to its operating system before its expected launch at the end of this year."

Image courtesy of Microsoft MSDN Blog.

PC Pro UK has created a list of their 30 favorite features of Window 8. This features list was picked from the consumer preview version of Windows 8 so not all of them may make it to the final version of Windows 8.

Here are a few examples of their favorites... Interactive tiles, cross device synchronization, Metro groups, airplane mode. Click the read link to see their entire list including rationale and explanation.

Metro Style IE10 Gets Flash... Sort Of

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home News" @ 09:07 PM

"Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8 will include a bundled, integrated version of Adobe Flash, and the Metro-style browser will support the use of Flash on a limited number of sites."

According to Within Windows and, the Metro style version of Internet Explorer 10 browser in Windows 8 will include an embedded version of Adobe Flash. Microsoft had previously announced the Metro style IE10 will not have support of plugins and since the Adobe Flash version destined for the Metro IE10 is integrated and embedded, they are still technically within those parameters.

The version of Flash on Metro IE10 will not be able to play all flash pages. Sites will have to be included on a whitelist in order for the site to work on the Metro IE10. If they are not on the whitelist, users will have to view it in the desktop version of IE10.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Windows 8 To Go (From USB drive)

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 06:00 AM

"But Windows 8 does offer a "mobile" alternative that may at least pique business and tech support users' curiosity: Windows to Go, an installation of Windows 8 that boots from a USB thumb drive. In theory, Windows to Go could give administrators a way of creating a verified, locked-down image of the Windows 8 OS that can be given to wandering users, temporary off-site contractors, or telecommuters to allow them to connect to the corporate network with confidence from their own (or someone else's) computer."

By now you probably have heard or read at least a story or two about Windows 8. Microsoft released a Windows 8 developer's preview about six months ago, and has just recently released a consumer preview. If you like to poke around at new technology then with the consumer preview you can download the code and test it out on your (hopefully) spare home computer. One of the really interesting aspects of this Windows 8 preview release is the ability to create a bootable USB drive. Ars Technica has been examining this capability and has suggested a number of scenarios where it could be very useful (e.g. tech support or temporary access to corporate networks). They have also prepared a recipe for how to create your own version of the bootable USB drive. The Read link has all the details.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Windows 8 Consumer Preview (Beta) Arrives for Everyone

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 02:00 PM;siu-container

"Summary: With today’s release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Microsoft is finally ready for the public to pass judgment on its most important software release in nearly two decades. Here’s what to expect."

Naturally there is controversy already: much of what I've seen written today has been about the disappearance of the start button in the lower left of the screen. Funny the amount of resistance to change in technology; reminds me of the introduction of Windows 95. I even saw Windows 8 referred-to as MS BOB V2. In any case, this is only a beta, not a finished product, so I'm sure that MS is paying attention to feedback.

The Consumer Preview performs well, and W8 may breathe a bit of life into computers that struggle with Windows 7. It is a 2.5GB download, and should run in a virtual environment. This article is a very good overview, and even explains the new keyboard shortcuts. Reading the comments, there seems to be real resistance to change, with comments akin to "how will I get Grandma to change?" or "who will support the users when they get lost?" Well, based on tablet acceptance and the improved user experience, I expect fewer problems for more casual users. Grandma will be fine. Thoughts?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Begone Storage Problems With Windows 8!

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 PM

"Windows 8's new Storage Spaces functionality will easily allow users and system administrators to pool different physical drives together into one logical drive, writes Rajeev Nagar on the Building Windows 8 blog. This functionality, which is similar in some ways to the now-discontinued Windows Home Server Drive Extender, will allow drives of any capacity connected to a PC by USB, SATA, or SAS interfaces to be seen by the OS as one large drive."

Yes! Yesyesyesyes, and oh yes! Like any self-respecting geek, I maintain a NAS at home for all my storage needs. Currently, I use Windows Home Server 2003 and the primary reason for it is a nice little feature called Drive Extender. Basically, it manages your hard drives so that they look like a single drive. Why not use something like RAID or JBOD? Well, RAID, while nice, has limitations that usually are set when you initially set up the array, while JBOD has its own issues with drive failure. Drive Extender manages everything for you so you can stop worrying and just enjoy a mega-terrabyte drive. Microsoft, in its evil ways, decided to cut DE from WHS 2008 so I have been stuck with my existing storage system, but it looks like Windows 8, while not a NAS OS, might let me keep up to date and use newer hard drives!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Windows 8 Beta Release Not Far Off (Early 2012)

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 05:30 AM

"Over at The Next Web (TNW), they've spoken to sources close to Microsoft who claim that the public beta has been pegged for late Febraury, though what exactly will be included in this version of Windows 8 is still being finalised."

Windows 8, Microsoft's forthcoming desktop and tablet-based operating system, has been previewed a few times over the last year or so. It has sparked a fair bit of interest for a variety of reasons, including its purported ability to work effectively on a tablet and for its implementation of their Windows Phone 7 Metro-like interface. We may see the next iteration of the software at CES in January, and following that a public beta is expected in late January or February.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Windows 8: Right or Wrong?

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Software" @ 10:30 AM

"Summary: Ed Bott and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols debate whether Microsoft's next operating system is headed in the right direction."

Phew, that's quite a long list of arguments for and against Windows 8. Me? I'm not sure. I still am a bit ambivalent about the whole thing. Metro looks awesome, but the whole point of Windows is to run all those programs we are used to running. In a way I see this as a compromise solution for the tablet problem, by not breaking away from the legacy Windows base totally. Sure you can run all those programs, but most likely you will want a program with the Metro UI, coded with the latest framework/APIs.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Xbox Live Coming to Windows 8

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 04:56 PM

The above image is from someone's Flickr account, so I'm not sure if it's real, but Engadget is reporting that Xbox Live is coming to Windows 8. This is impressive - between the Xbox hooked up to a TV, a Windows Phone, and Windows 8 on a PC or tablet, Microsoft has a three-screens entertainment strategy that can actually compete with Apple's iTunes ecosystem. Not bad Microsoft, not bad at all. Note that there's no word "Zune" anywhere in that screen shot, or on the Engadget one. That reinforces to me that the Zune brand is on the way out...but I wonder what they'll re-brand the awesome desktop software to? Xbox doesn't make sense as a media player brand - well, not to me at least.

Windows 8: This is the Future of Windows

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 09:48 AM

"Microsoft is welcoming around 5,000 developers to its BUILD conference today to unveil the most significant change in the PC space since Windows 95. "It's a launch," explains Windows chief Steven Sinofsky. "It's a launch of an opportunity for developers. That's a lot, it's a big deal to do today and tomorrow," he says during an opening address to media and analysts in Anaheim California. You sense the sense of excitement in the room and the realisation that Windows 8 is a really big deal for Microsoft, a deal that cannot go wrong."

It's taken years, but Microsoft has finally delivered a truly workable touch-based interface. Check out the video above; the performance is stunning. Everything is smooth and impressively fluid. Yes, this is a developer's build so it's not finished, but seeing performance like this early on is a great indicator of what's to come. Windows 8 is also significantly lighter on resources than Windows 7; Engadget's post says that Windows 7 SP1 required 404 MB of RAM and had 32 processes running. Compare that to Windows 8 using only 281 MB of RAM and having 28 processes - that's big, big improvement.

Are you excited? I'm excited! More coverage here on Business Insider and Engadget.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Microsoft Improves File Copying in Windows 8

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 10:37 AM

"Microsoft tonight showed a new approach to copying and moving files in Windows 8, the next version of its PC operating system - aiming to clean up, clarify and consolidate the jumble of dialog boxes that Windows users have dealt with for years."

The above screen shot is more than a little geeky - let's face it, an average user isn't going to click on More Details to see this - but I really like this. Now if I could only figure out why file transfers to my HP Windows Home Server start out at 90 MB/s and drop to 5 MB/s after a few minutes. Sigh...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Windows 8 to Work at Super Speed!

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"Windows 8 will be bringing with it native support for USB 3.0 controllers, writes Microsoft's Dennis Flanagan, Director of Program Management for the Devices and Networking Group. This is in contrast to previous versions of Windows, which continue to require separate drivers for USB 3.0 controllers."

I am old enough to remember the days when Windows did not come with native USB 2.0 drivers. That lovely reminder that when plugging in that USB device, warnings would pop up either telling me that the device could work faster and better no longer plague my dreams, but remind me of a time when drivers were a nightmare. Drivers still are a nightmare, but with a stable computing environment over the past decade has created a nice environment where some devices such as keyboards, mice and USB flash drives, worked without any hassle, at least to some basic level.

With USB 3.0, it looks like we will have to suffer a short period of time where extra drivers will be needed. Now if they could only make it so things like standard functions for printers and only need drivers for extra functionality, the job of an IT tech would be that much easier.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quick Comparison of OS X Lion and Windows 8

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 05:30 PM

"But the similarities don't end at the two future desktop OS's mobile influencers. Both Lion and Window 8 will make heavy use of touch interfaces, but with a big difference, as you'll see in the slideshow below. Both will have an App Store, both have full screen app views, and both offer new ways to switch among and navigate within apps." has put together a quick comparison of some of the differences between the upcoming new versions of Apple's and Micrsosoft's desktop operating systems. While not a comprehensive overview, it does cover some of the major areas that many people will compare, including: similarity of the new operating system's user interface to the same platform's mobile system counterpart, touch and gesture support, processor support, task switching approach, support for full screen apps, each platform's app stores, backward compatibility, and some of the unique features of each platform. The article makes lots of interesting points illustrated by some screen captures.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Windows 8: Another Opinion

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 06:00 PM

"It may look like Windows Phone 7, but Windows 8 is a full-blown desktop operating system. Yes, Microsoft is trying to have it both ways with its next-gen OS, which is expected to launch sometime in 2012. Although it has a whole new touch-friendly interface and will run shiny new full-screen apps, Windows 8 will also be compatible with all the desktop programs PC users like to run. Time will tell if Microsoft is biting off more than it can chew with this strategy, but right now I'm more interested in what the company just previewed. Here's what I think Windows 8 does well and where it needs improvement."

There certainly has been lots of commentary on the previews we have seen on Windows 8. Over at the LAPTOP website Mark Spoonauer has written an article detailing his likes (live tiles, for example) and dislikes (hidden Start button, for one). Personally, I like what I have seen so far, and I think Mark's "dislikes" are pretty fair. Hit the Read link and read his critique.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Windows 8 Sneak Peek: Well This is Different!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

"On Wednesday, Microsoft offered the first glimpse of Windows 8, a sneak peek that reveals much about both the influences and the strategic goals of the major overhaul of Microsoft's 25-year-old operating system. The fundamental goal with the new operating system, which is being shown for the first time at D9, is to create something that is equally well at home on an 8-inch tablet as it is on a powerful desktop attached to a huge monitor."

Microsoft is serious about the Metro UI being part of their product line-up, and we can see that in action in the screen shot above (check out the source article for a high-res image). This looks like what you'd expect it Microsoft transformed Windows Phone 7 into a tablet UI: Live Tiles more appropriate for a device with a big screen, a panoramic pivot view, and some extremely funky colours. I still have severe reservations around the performance and battery life of a tablet running full-blown Windows (even based on ARM), but I'm excited to see Microsoft going after this hard by betting on a radically different UI overlay.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Looking into the Future with Windows 8

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM

"The rumors are coming in fast but, as with any unreleased software, it’s hard to be certain which of the rumored features will make it into the final product, which will wind up on the cutting room floor, and which never existed in the first place. We’ve taken a look at all the rumors, all the leaked screenshots, and a few screens we’re pretty sure were flat-out faked, and we’re ready to make a few prognostications about what to expect in Windows 8. We’ll approach this category-by-category."

After giving Windows XP a very long reign over the desktop, it seems that Microsoft has pushed forward its OS release schedule. Windows 7 is barely 2 years old and all the Microsoft buzz is now around Windows 8, coming soon to a computing device near you. Lots of new potential features adorn the beta versions of Windows 8 and it is fun to guess which features will make it and which will not. Of the more interesting ones to me would be the Windows App Store storefront where you can purchase programs online. While it may seem very much like a mee-too thing, the fact of the matter is that this is the trend to where most people are buying their programs, whether it is games through a system like Steam, or Apple's App Store, or the Android Market. Not including such a feature simply does not make sense.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Windows 8 to Support "Portable Workspace" on USB Flash Drives

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 09:42 AM

"An early copy of Windows 8 leaked to the Internet this week and enthusiasts have been digging their way through the various new bits in Microsoft's next-generation operating system. Windows 8 build 7850.0.winmain_win8m1.100922-1508 contains a number of references to a brand new feature in Windows: Portable Workspaces. Microsoft will allow Enterprise customers to create USB storage driven copies of Windows. "Portable Workspace is a Windows feature that allows you to run Windows from a USB storage device," notes Microsoft in its description of the feature inside Windows 8. Users at mydigitallife unveiled the features inside 7850 and discovered that the feature requires at least 16GB of space."

I've been wondering what sorts of new features would be a part of Windows 8, and it looks like we have something truly unique: the ability to create a bootable, portable version of Windows 8 that you can put on a 16 GB or bigger flash drive and do everything from. Lots of questions remain: what sort of functionality will you actually get given when you connect to a different PC you'll be using generic drivers for video, networking, etc.? Still, it's a neat idea with some interesting potential.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Peeking Into The Features Of Windows 8

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM

"Rafael Rivera posted a number of screenshots on Monday that reveal Microsoft’s “Immersive” browser in Windows 8. Rivera speculates that the application is designed to run full screen only and that he is witnessing limitations trying to enable it on a pre-beta version of Windows 8. “One clue to the Immersive UI, however, exists in a new Immersive version of Internet Explorer, which looks and works much like Windows Phone’s IE Mobile, but uses the desktop IE 9 renderer,” writes Rivera."

With the release of Windows 8 slowly approaching, it looks as if the Microsoft PR engine is starting up and we're getting a better look at what Windows 8 will have to offer. The influence from the smartphone and tablet market is obvious; the most obvious is the Windows applicaiton store. Though I would argue that services like X-box live arcade, Steam and even going back in a more basic form, linux distro repositories are all ancestors of the what we now think of as an app store.

The quasi-unification of the user interface between smartphones, tablets and desktops is also interesting, but I worry that we might lose something in the translation. They are separate form factors, and what is most efficent for one is not for another. Must we have the same thing for everything? A supreme jack of all trades UI?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

PC Makers Get First Hands-On With Windows 8

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 03:30 PM

"Microsoft has shipped the first test version of Windows 8 to PC makers, according to posts on online forums, which means it's on track for a late 2012 release. Windows 8 is a big deal for Microsoft because it will have special features for tablets -- it will be the first version of the full Windows desktop OS to run on the low-powered ARM processors used in most tablets, and will have a design that works better on touch screens."

Am I crazy, or does Windows 7 still feel "new"? I guess after the massive, painful gap between Windows XP and Windows Vista, anything faster than that is going to feel a bit different - though Windows 7 couldn't come fast enough after Vista. I didn't hate Vista like some people did, but I knew Windows 7 was going to fix a lot of the rough edges around Vista, so I was keenly looking forward to it. Windows 8 coming in late 2012 or 2013 makes sense; Windows 7 came out in October of 2009, so late 2012 would make it three years. Windows 7 is an excellent operating system; I wonder what improvements Windows 8 will bring to the table beyond the tablet improvements? I'm still extremely reluctant to believe that Microsoft can implement a touch-based UI that doesn't feel tacked on. Guess we'll see!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Where is Windows Going?

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:30 PM

"For what it’s worth, the first 25 years of our lives weren’t that smooth, either. So forgive us for favoring words like “commemorate” or “contemplate” instead of “celebrate,” which feels like too rosy a word for an operating system that has given us so much frustration, confusion, and heartache. Hey, maybe now that it’s 25, Windows will behave like a grown-up."

In a world where iPad sales are burning up the charts, Google has released its own OS and notebook PC and everyone lives with instant updates on all their friends, it is easy to say that the computing industry is changing. Windows has come a long way, and it needs to keep changing in order to stay relevant and satisfy the needs of its users. I have to wonder if Windows 8 will be marginalized not because it does not keep up with the needs of its users but because desktop computing is not as important anymore.

If media hype is any indication, people are becoming much more outgoing, and lighter, smaller, more portable devices like smartphones and tablets will dominate the industry, at least on a consumer level. Sure, desktops and notebooks are certain to be around for a long time, but as people move more to cloud computing and services, how important is the underlying structure?

It does look like Windows 8 will potentially address some of those, as while there are a lot of great services and apps out there, there are a lot of great services and apps out there. Of the consumer oriented suggestions, Windows 8 appears to becoming more of a gateway to services regardless of being web or application based, bringing it all together for you. I just hope that with all this integration, consumers will still find time to explore new services and websites instead of staying with what they are comfortable with.

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