My first experience with Windows 8

Back in April, my wife and I were going overseas to New Zealand for a short holiday. I needed a new laptop in case my wife or I needed address some matter while we were away. My old Sony Vaio Laptop was nearing the end of its useful life. After a bit of a review, and relying almost entirely upon recommendations from Tim, my middle son, I selected the ASUS ZenBook UX21. I was sufficiently compact, light, and powerful enough for my needs, and I got it for the right price.

My only complaint was that it came installed only with Windows 7 Home Premium. I needed Professional to join it to the office domain.

Ever since purchasing it I have debated with myself whether I should:

  • upgrade to professional now;
  • wait for Windows 8 to come out; or
  • more recently, whether I should install the Preview Version of Windows 8;

Last weekend I chose the later.

The Installation was remarkably easy. All programs and settings (including WIFI access codes etc, user details for iCloud, dropbox, skydrive) were transferred automatically.

The new user interface takes a bit to get to use to. My first impression was, “what have I done, where is the control panel?, why doesn’t the right mouse click work?

However after the initial shock, once you find the Desktop, the Search and Setting options on the right side of the screen, things start to become a lot more familiar. You eventually learn that:

  • right clicking in Metro does not do anything;
  • there are hot zones in the screen corners, and to the left and right sides.
  • once you configure the “People, Messaging, Mail etc.” tiles, they become live…

Once you work out how to find things become a lot easier (Move the mouse to the top right had corner, and the settings and search menu displays down the right side).

Once you work out that you can add your favourite desktop programs as tiles to the home page you even start to appreciate the Metro UI.

I am really surprised how well the Metro UI works with a mouse without a touch screen. It is just as functional as Windows 7. For small screen computers like the UX21, the ability to switch between applications on the left hand side of the screen is a great convenience.

After I found out where “System” was in the Settings it was even easy to join the laptop to a SBS2011 domain.

While I am still new to Windows 8, I am already an advocate. I really like the live tiles.

As an added bonus I have now learned that I will be able to upgrade the old Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 8 Professional for less than $40 when Windows 8 is released.

My only complaint so far is that Metro Internet Explorer 10 does not have book marks. Please Microsoft that has to change.

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