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Windows 8: A user’s guide from Grandma Karen

July 13, 2013

IMG_20130713_211352_1It’s been a long time since I last posted a blog entry.  I thought for the next few posts I would share my experience with Windows 8.

I finally replaced my Compaq Presario laptop from 2005 with a HP Pavilion 23 Desktop.  The old laptop came loaded with Windows XP.  Last weekend,  I reformatted the hard drive and reinstalled the original operating system.  One of the bloatware apps was Netscape! Now that is a blast from the past!

But moving forward, I received my Pavilion on Friday and spent today setting it up.  It came preloaded with only a minor amount of bloatware – Norton Antivirus, Wildtangent games, and some quick links to eBay, Netflix, Snapfish and the like.  I was able to quickly uninstall all of this crapware.

As you can see from the photo, I use an extended desktop.  It looks a little bit like Mission Control 🙂 The Pavilion is on the left, and I have an Asus monitor on the right.  It is really amazing at how inexpensive these two items were.  The 21.5 inch monitor was only $135 on Amazon.  It wasn’t that long ago that small CRT monitors sold for a lot more than that.  You can also see that there are no tiles on either screen.  The desktop looks like your familiar Windows XP or 7 view. In subsequent posts, I’ll explain how to achieve this.

Microsoft recently released an update for Win 8.  It is labeled a “Preview” and they recommend that only experienced PC users download it. I went ahead and installed it.  You may find that some software and peripherals won’t work for it as drivers may not be available.  Download 8.1 at your own risk. Your mileage may vary.   Because I am using 8.1, some of the information I provide may not be available in Win 8.

After reading many articles and listening to podcasts about how terrible Windows 8 is, I was expecting a real disaster, along the lines of WindowsME.  Bottom line, I find Windows 8 to be Windows 7 with a splash screen.  Once you get over the newness of the splash screen, do some minor tweaks to the settings, you’re good to go.

I know many people have been complaining that there is no start menu on Windows 8.  From what I can figure out, the splash screen is the start menu, just set out in tiles instead of a list. It is possible to add and remove tiles to this screen. I’ll go into this in a subsequent post.  It would be nice if clicking on the large “Start” on the top left of the screen would open up the list menu (Hint, hint, MSFT).  If you are comfortable using a Smartphone or Tablet, the Win8 Start screen shouldn’t be to different.

Let me know in the comments what Win 8 topics you’d like me to review.

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