windows 8 update

First, don’t miss this outraged, funny takedown of Win 8. I disagree, but he makes good points, especially towards the end.

Second, I gave up Start 8, the utility that restored the start button to the desktop and sent me directly to the desktop, as opposed to going first to the start screen. Why? I dunno. Something just clicked inside my head along the lines of Oh, so the start screen is exactly like the start button, only it takes up the full screen. It doesn’t bother me; I don’t feel like I’m being taken away from what I’m doing if I have to hit the Win key and summon something from the start screen. Besides, I keep what I need to do my job in the task bar.

Third, I’ve done three installs of Win 8. I’d like to report all have gone smoothly, but they haven’t. The easiest was the Dell laptop I’m writing this on; that posed literally no problems. My work desktop, an old HP ‘media center’ computer that was running XP, was slightly trickier. It has trouble restoring the monitor on a restart, though I think that’s more a matter of running a DVI to HDMI cable than Win 8 itself. Also, there was no driver for my old reliable laser printer, so it went and I brought a printer from home. That said, the one from home is at least five years old and I’m impressed Win 8 found it right off the bat.

Finally, an oddball Sony media center computer that still isn’t right. The machine is basically a laptop in a round, desktop-ish format. It looks like Sony said Hey, Apple does funny shapes. Maybe if we do funny shapes we can be Apple too!  Anyway, I broke my own rules, didn’t back up the Vista operating system or the roughly one gazillion Sony specific files it had. Which meant that when the upgrade was done running, the display maxed out at 800 by 600.

So I spent half of Saturday getting things sorted; after I figured out what was in the machine, the Nvidia video card was nothing special, except, of course, Sony had its own driver for it. Fortunately, Sony’s web site was pretty good about identifying the computer I have and taking me to a single page with links to all the drivers and software updates.

However, it didn’t help me with either the analog or digital tv tuner in the machine. Ordinarily I would go out of my way to not upgrade a machine that’s primarily using Windows Media Center, on the grounds that, ummmm, they break really easily. However, in this case the analog feed in my office is bad and WMC under Vista did not support ClearQAM digital cable channels, so I had to upgrade.

Unfortunately, that upgrade destroyed the drivers for the tuners, and those I could not get back. Well, I think I got the digital one, but it’s old and Win 8 doesn’t recognize it.

So I’ve sent off to Dell for a $100 tv tuner that is guaranteed, supposedly, to work with Win 8. We’ll see.

(Also, no matter what settings I changed or updates I did, one out of three days I’d walk into my office and find WMC had died with an error messsage that the right codecs aren’t installed. They are, but there’s no use arguing with Vista or Sony, or both.)


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