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eHam Forums => Computers And Software => Topic started by: AJ4RW on July 19, 2013, 11:32:55 AM



Title: Is this possible??
Post by: AJ4RW on July 19, 2013, 11:32:55 AM
I really like Windows OS 7 that was upgraded from Windows Vista.  Windows 7 is easy to use and maneuver around and is very efficient for my needs.  I just purchased a new computer that has Windows 8 on it.  I don't like Windows 8, the apps make it too cumbersome for me.  I have the upgrade to Windows 7 disk so I was wondering if this is possible.  THe computer is a Gateway.

Can I take my Windows 7 upgrade disk and convert my computer that has Windows 8 back to Windows 7?

Thanks 73 Randy AJ7G


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: KD8MJR on July 19, 2013, 12:26:51 PM
That's a very complicated question.  The simple answer is Yes but with several caveats.
You can downgrade from Win8 to Win7 but you can only downgrade Win8 Pro with Win 7 Pro. I don't think you can down grade any other versions of Win8.  I also have serious doubts that you will be able to use a Win7 upgrade disk to do any form of downgrade, but I am not 100% certain of that.

My suggestion is to try upgrading to Win 8.1 and see if this link works out for you.

http://blog.laptopmag.com/make-windows-8-like-windows-7

It should make your 8.1 look and feel like Win7.

If you really need win7 and don't want anything named Windows 8 on your PC then I suggest you buy a Win7 Pro version CD  which should be pretty cheap right now.  Then backup anything you need to keep and then reformat the drive and install Win7 Pro on it.


I am in the process of getting a Dell Laptop for my niece to use at university and I am ordering it with Win 7 because I think she is going to have too many problems with Win8 and compatibility issues with the schools systems.


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: N0IU on July 19, 2013, 12:54:01 PM
If you really need win7 and don't want anything named Windows 8 on your PC then I suggest you buy a Win7 Pro version CD which should be pretty cheap right now. Then backup anything you need to keep and then reformat the drive and install Win7 Pro on it.

I am not even sure your suggestion will work. I have a 100% legally paid for copy of XP. Back in the stone age, I bought a new desktop with Vista on it but I wanted to put XP on it instead. Of course Microsoft considers this to be a "downgrade" and strictly prohibits users from doing this!

Fine, so I did a full format of the hard drive and tried to load XP again. Same message. Now I could be wrong about this (and I probably am), but I believe there is something in the master boot record where the information about the version of the OS is written. In to "goode olde days", you used to  be able to an FDISK/MBR to wipe out the Master Boot Record, but apparently that is also off limits to mere mortals (even though I am sure it is possible).

The bottom line is that I gave up trying to "downgrade" and learned to live with Vista. And now I deathly afraid of upgrading to Windows7 because everything on my desktop works perfectly (if that isn't asking Murphy to intervene, I don't know what is!).


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: AJ4RW on July 19, 2013, 02:54:38 PM
Thanks for the insight.  That was reason behind asking was if there were any hidden commands that would prevent downgrading.  The problem with Win 8 is I feel like I'm getting apps shoved down my throat and the fumbling around to get to where I want to go.  The computer i was referring to was my wife's and she's content with WIN 8 because she uses a computer mainly for games.  But now I'm looking at getting a computer for the club and if I get forced to buying one with Win 8 on it, do I have alternatives. 

I looked at "start8" and it looks like a great alternative but I need to do a little more investigating.  $4.99 is fairly cheap if it's a one time purchase but from the short investigation I believe that's a monthly fee.  Definitely not what I want.  My alternative is to hope I can find a new computer that still has Win 7 on it, everyone seems familiar with Win 7.  I try to avoid buying a used computer.

Thanks 73 Randy AJ7G


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: W8JX on July 19, 2013, 07:13:41 PM
I really like Windows OS 7 that was upgraded from Windows Vista.  Windows 7 is easy to use and maneuver around and is very efficient for my needs.  I just purchased a new computer that has Windows 8 on it.  I don't like Windows 8, the apps make it too cumbersome for me.  I have the upgrade to Windows 7 disk so I was wondering if this is possible.  THe computer is a Gateway.

Can I take my Windows 7 upgrade disk and convert my computer that has Windows 8 back to Windows 7?

Thanks 73 Randy AJ7G

Bad idea, windows 8.1 will be out in a few month as a free upgrade to 8 and it addresses some of your concerns. It really is a better OS than 7 in potential


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: W3WN on July 19, 2013, 07:30:14 PM
I really like Windows OS 7 that was upgraded from Windows Vista.  Windows 7 is easy to use and maneuver around and is very efficient for my needs.  I just purchased a new computer that has Windows 8 on it.  I don't like Windows 8, the apps make it too cumbersome for me.  I have the upgrade to Windows 7 disk so I was wondering if this is possible.  THe computer is a Gateway.

Can I take my Windows 7 upgrade disk and convert my computer that has Windows 8 back to Windows 7?

Thanks 73 Randy AJ7G
Well... there are two answers.

In terms of whether or not it can be done... maybe.  If both systems are Gateways.  If the Win 7 is a Gateway OEM disk.  If the Win 7 upgrade disk will run on a Win 8 machine, or (if you wide the hard drive clean) a "blank" drive.  If the Win 7 upgrade has a license key with it that will let it be run on another machine.  Or it doesn't require one.  If you can find the right Win 7 drivers for the newer machine.

For starters.

Now, in terms of your legal license from Microsoft:  Probably not.  You had a license for Vista on your old machine.  You purchased an "upgrade" Win 7 license, which applies only to that machine.  You do not own an additional license or a downgrade license for the new Win 8 machine.  So even if you can get the downgrade to work... legally, you can't do it.

Sorry.

Best option?  Find a Win 7 install disk on eBay, preferably with an unused license key, and reinstall a whole new OS on the new machine. 

Good luck.


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: W8JX on July 19, 2013, 07:41:10 PM

Best option?  Find a Win 7 install disk on eBay, preferably with an unused license key, and reinstall a whole new OS on the new machine. 

Good luck.


Best option wait for 8.1


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: K0BT on July 20, 2013, 10:07:15 PM
Thanks for the insight.  That was reason behind asking was if there were any hidden commands that would prevent downgrading.  The problem with Win 8 is I feel like I'm getting apps shoved down my throat and the fumbling around to get to where I want to go.  The computer i was referring to was my wife's and she's content with WIN 8 because she uses a computer mainly for games.  But now I'm looking at getting a computer for the club and if I get forced to buying one with Win 8 on it, do I have alternatives. 

I looked at "start8" and it looks like a great alternative but I need to do a little more investigating.  $4.99 is fairly cheap if it's a one time purchase but from the short investigation I believe that's a monthly fee.  Definitely not what I want.  My alternative is to hope I can find a new computer that still has Win 7 on it, everyone seems familiar with Win 7.  I try to avoid buying a used computer.

Thanks 73 Randy AJ7G

Randy,

There is no need to downgrade the PC and I would try to avoid the hassle and extra cost if you can. 

Start8 has a onetime fee.  StartIsBack is another low-cost alternative.  Classic Shell is freeware and works quite well.  I converted from Windows 7 to 8 and selected StartIsBack because I like the look and feel and it only cost me a few dollars for a 3 PC license.  Any of those will work for you.  Windows 8.1 may still not give you the Windows 7 look and feel, so I'd start out by installing Classic Shell just because it is free.  Once you do, Windows 8 will look just like Windows 7.  W8 is a solid operating system.  You do not have to use an online ID with it and you can just ignore the W8 apps.

The only caution I suggest is to be sure to uninstall any of the start menu replacement apps before you try to install one of the other ones. 

Bob, K0BT


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: AC4RD on July 21, 2013, 05:05:10 AM
This microsoft nonsense about what can and can't be upgraded or downgraded is one of many reasons why so many of us like and prefer any of the various linux distributions.  ;)   It's not only BETTER than windows, it's free as well.

I do find it necessary to have one Windows machine around the house, unfortunately.  But linux is on the others.  And linux is better.  :)


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: AJ4RW on July 21, 2013, 05:27:08 AM
It's a matter of acclimation for me, been using Windows OS since the early 90's while in college.  I purchased a registered copy of Win 7 a couple of years ago to set the record straight. 

Glad to hear there's no monthly fee but it's hard to believe the program is that cheap, wow.  I was talking to a geek friend of mine and he referred to the current version of Win 8 as something his kids like because they use the apps set up on their iPads and droids.  My lifestyle is geared towards basic phone use and computer use so I like the "start" button.  I think before I make any decisions about which way to go I'll wait and see what the Win 8 upgrade looks like.  My wife is still learning Win 8 but when I have to go and trouble shoot some minor problem, I wish I could find the "start" button hi hi.

73 Randy AJ7G


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: W8JX on July 21, 2013, 06:21:04 PM
I have seen reviews of Win 8.1, also know as Windows Blue, and it will address a lot of your concerns. You must also remember that hardware is evolving as well and 8 exploits this. Myself I was at first skeptical about 8 but I am quite pleased with it now and do not really miss start menu.


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: KK6GNP on August 18, 2013, 10:25:29 AM
If you are missing the Windows 7 Start button, then go purchase a $5 program called Start8 by Stardock (they have a free trial too).  My clients universally hate the Windows 8 interface on PCs (works great on tablets), and I have deployed about 50 installs of Start8 on various Windows 8 computers this past year.

I'm not affiliated with Stardock.  Here's a link:  http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/

The Windows 8.1 release coming out in October, does not really address the shortcomings of the Windows 8 UI on a PC.  They are bringing the Start Button back, but it currently just takes you to the same disjointed Windows 8 metro start screen.  I'm running Windows 8.1 preview release right now and using it daily.  While they did make some nice tweaks to the Start Screen, it still isn't a very efficient way to access programs.


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: W8JX on August 20, 2013, 02:41:28 AM
It is not inefficient but rather it is different. Some reject change but in this new era of tablets and smart phones the classic windows way of doing things is getting long in tooth and WIN 8 is MS's first serious attempt to bridge the gap and Metro is part of what is being used to bridge that gap. It is not perfect but it is getting better. You can try to fight change and stay with XP style interfaces or you can embrace change and run with it.


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: SWL2002 on August 20, 2013, 03:35:47 AM
Why pay for Start8 when you can install Classic Shell for free?  http://sourceforge.net/projects/classicshell/ (http://sourceforge.net/projects/classicshell/)

I like it much better that Start8.


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: KK6GNP on August 20, 2013, 07:35:57 PM
It is not inefficient but rather it is different. Some reject change but in this new era of tablets and smart phones the classic windows way of doing things is getting long in tooth and WIN 8 is MS's first serious attempt to bridge the gap and Metro is part of what is being used to bridge that gap. It is not perfect but it is getting better. You can try to fight change and stay with XP style interfaces or you can embrace change and run with it.

It is subjective.  I early-adopt on behalf of my clients, so I've been using the Windows 8 Start Screen for a lot longer than most people have.  I've been using the "improved" one in Windows 8.1 since the Preview Release dropped (I'm running 8.1 now).  I've give the start screen a very long time to grow on me on my several computers, but it really hasn't.  You don't have to take my word for it.  Most tech reviewers have had the same complaints.

The fact that many people hate the Win 8 Start Screen on their PCs is a design problem.  I've had a lot of feedback from my clients who have been struggling with it.  It's not just about resisting change.  No matter what anyone says about how the Start Screen in Windows 8 is "the future", that doesn't make it any more jolting and unfriendly to new users.  I know why Microsoft did it.  They need to merge their tablet, mobile and PC interfaces, and they want us all shopping in the Windows Store.  It works great on touch screens, but it generally sucks for many people on a mouse and keyboard.  I use it, and I'm quite fast with it, but I also use a myriad of interfaces, and after 20 years, nothing is all that daunting to me. Many Metro apps suck compared to their standard versions, such as Skype, but there are a few neat ones such as MetroTwit.

By the way, I saw plenty of backlash when Microsoft switched their programs over to the ribbon-style menu on apps like MS Office back when Office 2007 launched.  Many of my clients protested, but I told them to stick with it, because it does have some merit over the old text based menus.  Not as much merit as I think Microsoft believes, but it is better at some things.  I have no problem advising my clients to put up with new interfaces if they are good interfaces.  If not, I understand their complaints, and try to find a solution for them.

Overall it's a great operating system with some useful improvements over Windows 7.  The Start Screen is not one of them, at least as far as mouse and keyboard are concerned.  For business, I do not believe the touchscreen is going to replace the mouse and keyboard.  Until something magic happens with voice control, most people will be typing on a keyboard for a while to come.

Ultimately, I think Microsoft wants to get rid of the desktop as we know it today.  It will be interesting to see what Windows 9, 10 look like.  We should start hearing some early info on version 9 within the next year. I expect there will be gesture control in it, and I'm hoping better native voice control too, since that's the next rage in mobile hitting now.


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: K9OJT on August 21, 2013, 04:48:25 AM
If you really need win7 and don't want anything named Windows 8 on your PC then I suggest you buy a Win7 Pro version CD which should be pretty cheap right now. Then backup anything you need to keep and then reformat the drive and install Win7 Pro on it.

I am not even sure your suggestion will work. I have a 100% legally paid for copy of XP. Back in the stone age, I bought a new desktop with Vista on it but I wanted to put XP on it instead. Of course Microsoft considers this to be a "downgrade" and strictly prohibits users from doing this!

Fine, so I did a full format of the hard drive and tried to load XP again. Same message. Now I could be wrong about this (and I probably am), but I believe there is something in the master boot record where the information about the version of the OS is written. In to "goode olde days", you used to  be able to an FDISK/MBR to wipe out the Master Boot Record, but apparently that is also off limits to mere mortals (even though I am sure it is possible).

The bottom line is that I gave up trying to "downgrade" and learned to live with Vista. And now I deathly afraid of upgrading to Windows7 because everything on my desktop works perfectly (if that isn't asking Murphy to intervene, I don't know what is!).

IIRC...when an MS OS is loaded the program creates a hidden partition on the disk that remains even if the disk is reformatted and the the OS is reloaded.  A second separate ORIGINAL version of the OS is loaded into this hidden partition. This version of the OS is not upgraded with periodic fixes for security and other issues and remains in its original state until the actual OS is upgraded. Thus the reason for the recurring message.

There is a way to access the hidden partition. I can't recall how the access is performed as it has been too long since I needed to do so. Google is your friend.

A low level format of the disk may remove the hidden partition.
http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/Hard-Disk-Utils/HDD-Low-Level-Format-Tool.shtml (http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/Hard-Disk-Utils/HDD-Low-Level-Format-Tool.shtml).
http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/203931en (http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/203931en)

Keep in mind it has been a very long time since I have performed any IT work so take this advice with the proverbial grain of salt.

Hope this helps

73

Mike
K9OJT





Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: W8JX on August 21, 2013, 08:08:28 AM
I must honestly say that at first I avoided Win 8 but when I dove and used it I found I liked it. I have used Win 8 on tablets and laptops and Win RT tablets too. I far as tablet OS'es go I find Win 8 and Android tied for first and Apple a very distant second in overall usefulness. Granted there a lot o I pads out there but only because they had no real competition for some time.  Android has a lot of apps Win 8 has better GUI and can kill apps with a swipe which neither droid or Apple can do. Also while Driod has been evolving on its GUI and WIN 8 will too, Ipad is basically unchanged. I know this is a bit of track but point is the PC is evolving and a lot are using tablets and Win8 was designed as a tablet software that is also PC friendly and it is evolving. The Start menu is a dying concept and the sooner you let go of it the sooner you will adapt to the path PC/tablets are taking.


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: KK6GNP on August 21, 2013, 10:35:25 AM
I must honestly say that at first I avoided Win 8 but when I dove and used it I found I liked it. I have used Win 8 on tablets and laptops and Win RT tablets too. I far as tablet OS'es go I find Win 8 and Android tied for first and Apple a very distant second in overall usefulness. Granted there a lot o I pads out there but only because they had no real competition for some time.  Android has a lot of apps Win 8 has better GUI and can kill apps with a swipe which neither droid or Apple can do. Also while Driod has been evolving on its GUI and WIN 8 will too, Ipad is basically unchanged. I know this is a bit of track but point is the PC is evolving and a lot are using tablets and Win8 was designed as a tablet software that is also PC friendly and it is evolving. The Start menu is a dying concept and the sooner you let go of it the sooner you will adapt to the path PC/tablets are taking.

Tablet interfaces still have very little to do with how people use (desktop) PCs for content creation and work. Touch is very good for content consumption, and *imprecise* control of the UI.

If you are working on your computer, you are probably needing to type a lot, and most apps are designed to work well with the precision a mouse pointer gives you on the screen (small buttons, small menus, etc). The mouse is very efficient at what it does, which is why we are still using them all these years later.  You can change desktop apps to be more touch-oriented, but you often give up a lot of features and control and end up "dumbing down" the experience as well as having to make bigger, clumsier controls that can be touched.

I think voice and gesture will be much bigger on the desktop PC than touch screens.



Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: W8JX on August 21, 2013, 11:08:26 AM
I must honestly say that at first I avoided Win 8 but when I dove and used it I found I liked it. I have used Win 8 on tablets and laptops and Win RT tablets too. I far as tablet OS'es go I find Win 8 and Android tied for first and Apple a very distant second in overall usefulness. Granted there a lot o I pads out there but only because they had no real competition for some time.  Android has a lot of apps Win 8 has better GUI and can kill apps with a swipe which neither droid or Apple can do. Also while Driod has been evolving on its GUI and WIN 8 will too, Ipad is basically unchanged. I know this is a bit of track but point is the PC is evolving and a lot are using tablets and Win8 was designed as a tablet software that is also PC friendly and it is evolving. The Start menu is a dying concept and the sooner you let go of it the sooner you will adapt to the path PC/tablets are taking.

Tablet interfaces still have very little to do with how people use (desktop) PCs for content creation and work. Touch is very good for content consumption, and *imprecise* control of the UI.

If you are working on your computer, you are probably needing to type a lot, and most apps are designed to work well with the precision a mouse pointer gives you on the screen (small buttons, small menus, etc). The mouse is very efficient at what it does, which is why we are still using them all these years later.  You can change desktop apps to be more touch-oriented, but you often give up a lot of features and control and end up "dumbing down" the experience as well as having to make bigger, clumsier controls that can be touched.

I think voice and gesture will be much bigger on the desktop PC than touch screens.



Like it or not the tablet will replace the laptop, it is only a matter of time. Some tablet easily support the addition of keyboard and mouse support if more precision is needed. As technology advances tablets will become very powerful and easily support voice command and control. For some time the desktop was supreme, the laptop took its place and soon tablet will takes its place.


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: AK7V on August 21, 2013, 11:09:25 AM
I still think the fastest, most efficient way to get around in PC software is with keyboard shortcuts.  UI changes (ribbons, whatever) are mostly eye candy, IMO.  The mouse is important, too, but it's annoying when you have to switch from the "File Edit ..." bar to ribbons for no good reason that I can think of, but we adapt.

I think that's the central issue -- people adapt and become fluent with the system they're presented with over time.  Changing that system reduces productivity for some amount of time until the person becomes fluent in the new system.  I wonder if any studies have been done to show that this temporary learning-curve productivity reduction is really worthwhile in the long run.  I don't feel that ribbons have made me a more efficient Excel/Word user, but maybe I have been and I don't realize it.  But I do know that I was significantly less productive for a few weeks while learning the new UI.

I think a lot of these UI changes are money making schemes.  Something flashy and new to sell.


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: W8JX on August 21, 2013, 11:35:56 AM
I think a lot of these UI changes are money making schemes.  Something flashy and new to sell.

I disagree. With the birth and growth of smart phones and tablets the way we interact with computers has to change too.


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: KD0REQ on August 21, 2013, 11:54:14 AM
I have only one gesture for Win8 ;)

industry pundits are all but united that Win8 is an anchor on an already sinking PC market.  hope 8.1 "blue" stabilizes what is occurring, but in the end, little bitty machines that are all screen and no I/O have eaten the consumer and B2C space of the market.

so build it now, and stash a couple spare cards when you find them in the $10 range.  or next, we will need wifi access dongles for computer control of the radios.


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: AK7V on August 21, 2013, 12:56:48 PM
I think a lot of these UI changes are money making schemes.  Something flashy and new to sell.

I disagree. With the birth and growth of smart phones and tablets the way we interact with computers has to change too.

I think the way we interact with phones and tablets makes sense with phones and tablets.  And I use my phone for a lot of the tasks I used to use my computer for, so I'm not arguing that phones/tablets won't take over a lot of tasks commonly done by PCs in the past.  But the things I still do on the PC (engineering work, ham logging, programming, writing documents, etc. etc.) are best suited, as I see it, to using a tactile keyboard.  I can type faster and more accurately than I can speak, so voice recognition will only hinder me.  I can maneuver a mouse more accurately than I can position my fat fingers, too.  I don't see these things being replaced by touch screens.  Maybe something else will come along to replace them, but that replacement is not what we have on mobile OSes or Windows 8.


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: KK6GNP on August 21, 2013, 01:48:04 PM
I must honestly say that at first I avoided Win 8 but when I dove and used it I found I liked it. I have used Win 8 on tablets and laptops and Win RT tablets too. I far as tablet OS'es go I find Win 8 and Android tied for first and Apple a very distant second in overall usefulness. Granted there a lot o I pads out there but only because they had no real competition for some time.  Android has a lot of apps Win 8 has better GUI and can kill apps with a swipe which neither droid or Apple can do. Also while Driod has been evolving on its GUI and WIN 8 will too, Ipad is basically unchanged. I know this is a bit of track but point is the PC is evolving and a lot are using tablets and Win8 was designed as a tablet software that is also PC friendly and it is evolving. The Start menu is a dying concept and the sooner you let go of it the sooner you will adapt to the path PC/tablets are taking.

Tablet interfaces still have very little to do with how people use (desktop) PCs for content creation and work. Touch is very good for content consumption, and *imprecise* control of the UI.

If you are working on your computer, you are probably needing to type a lot, and most apps are designed to work well with the precision a mouse pointer gives you on the screen (small buttons, small menus, etc). The mouse is very efficient at what it does, which is why we are still using them all these years later.  You can change desktop apps to be more touch-oriented, but you often give up a lot of features and control and end up "dumbing down" the experience as well as having to make bigger, clumsier controls that can be touched.

I think voice and gesture will be much bigger on the desktop PC than touch screens.



Like it or not the tablet will replace the laptop, it is only a matter of time. Some tablet easily support the addition of keyboard and mouse support if more precision is needed. As technology advances tablets will become very powerful and easily support voice command and control. For some time the desktop was supreme, the laptop took its place and soon tablet will takes its place.

Give a kid their first smartphone after they've been using a PC/laptop as their main computer interface to the world.  Their usage of the computer will fall off as the smartphone takes over, though they will return to the computer to get their homework done, same as adults who need to get real work done.

There aren't going to be any monolithic computing devices in the future.  Not even the tablet.  Computing is on the verge of becoming ubiquitous, and you will start seeing a lot more wearable devices such as Google Glass, smart watches, etc increasing in popularity.  They each excel at different tasks, and it's very likely we will all have one or more of each of them at home, with the exception being people who can do their tasks at home without a full size computer.

I do believe on the computing front there will be a convergence of tech.  Our top of the line smartphones are becoming stronger and stronger, and some companies are already looking at designs to make them work as full personal computers that can dock with other form factors, such as a tablet, screen/keyboard the size of a laptop or desktop.  All that power will fit in your pocket, but you will still need various ways to interface it other than a 4-5" screen.  Check out the Ubuntu Edge concept for one example.

Cloud computing has some interesting things coming down the line to, but with all the security questions going on around our government, there is some grassroots public push back starting to occur.

Tablets may seem like a big deal right now, and to some extent they are, but they aren't the whole future of personal computing.  Only a subset of it.


Title: RE: Is this possible??
Post by: K5UNX on August 21, 2013, 01:55:04 PM
Windows 8 is the future. I know some people dont like it but I have been actually using it on my work laptop for 4 months and love it. I have no need to go back to Win 7 as all the apps I use are compatible with Win 8.

 Here are some things I found:

1) No start button . .  Dont need one but there is sort of one. Move the mouse to the lower left corner where the start button used to be and look what pops up? I start button.

2) The Start screen - I removed everything I dont use and populated it with the things I use every week. I removed all the Metro apps as I dont use them. It fits on a single screen and is very useful this way. Customize the start screen for your use.

3) Learn to use the Windows key - This is your real friend with Windows 8. Hit the windows key, type a few characters of the program name and hit a list pops up with the likely candidates. For example Hit Win key, type "wor" and Microsoft Word is the top highlighted program and I can hit enter to launch. I just launched Word without having to touch the mouse. I can start common programs that I use a lot quicker using this method that moving my hand from the keyboard to the mouse and moving the mouse around and clicking. I actually use the mouse less now and keyboard shortcuts more.

4) Learn a few keyboard shortcuts - There are a ton. ctrl-l for example to lock your screen. ctrl-w to get to the dual monitor config screen which I use a lot as I am plugged into and out of a second monitor several times per day.

Wayne