Running Office 2013 on Windows 8.1

Office 2013 on the Start Screen

Office 2013 on the Start Screen

The installation of Office 2013 ran smoothly as can be expected, without any issues whatsoever. The process is also exactly the same as per the installation on Windows 8. The only difference that can be seen is when we add the icons to the new Start Screen, as shown above. With Windows 8, the background color of the icons were all the same, unlike what we can see from the above screenshot.

Running Office 2013

Running Office 2013

The integration with SkyDrive also ensures that our customizations are synchronized to all our installations once we are logged into the application, as seen here.

Updates are also installed via Windows Update, as can be expected.

First 48 hours with Windows 8…

I’ve been having this craving to install Windows 8 ever since it was released to the Microsoft Partners, but I opted to wait until Office 2013 became available – so imagine my surprise when I noticed it became available to us a few days ago. After a week of working long hours and getting some work done, I opted to have a “play weekend” with my new toys.

So out comes the laptop on Friday evening and within a couple of minutes, I have Windows 8 up and running! All my Dell XPS devices are detected, except for the Broadband modem and a second item, which I need to hunt down still. The Broadband modem was fixed very quickly by downloading the new driver from Dell and the SIM was detected immediately and I could connect to the broadband network by an easy right-click and connect.

The first thing you do find missing is the trusty old start button – it is replaced with a start screen now, where you can customize your applications into blocks of related items, e.g. all your utilities, etc etc.

Next I found the “people” component rather out of the world as well – yes, everything is connected to your Live ID/Passport/whatever new buzzword you can think of, but for me it just makes everything so simple and easy. Yes, there would be some of you out there that believes in a conspiracy theory about it all – but who of you have actually read the “terms and conditions” of Facebook, Twitter, etc.?

The option where you can allow Windows to track you as well is rather impressive – it enables the weather, news, sport and maps components to bring personalized content to you. You can however disable the tracking as well; I’m not too sure how these would work then.

One thing that I have found with Windows 8 is that it is probably the fastest Windows OS I’ve ever seen – applications launch instantaneous, and from what I have found in my first few days is that it is pretty stable as well! Two thumbs up to the guys from Redmond!

The next step for me was installing Office 2013 – what a breeze as well. As mentioned, the launch icons is grouped into the last block, but by easily dragging and dropping, you can move all of your Office launch icons into its own little area. The first quick impressions that I had was that it seems very similar to Office 2010, but I would need to work a lot more with it before I can justify that.

Since I do development as well, the next step was to install Visual Studio 2012 – another breeze and since it is running on Windows 8, you already have the option to create Windows 8 UI applications, as well as all the other types as you would’ve had on a Windows 7 machine running Visual Studio 2012. I opted against installing SQL Server 2012 on the laptop, since SQL Server 2012 requires an installation of Visual Studio 2010 in order to manage and develop Business Intelligence applications – this one I will approach at a later stage still.

My overall impression? It is blowing my hair back and my socks off! Will I install it on my company’s desktops? Yes, definitely! It is just a matter of scheduling it through everything to ensure that everybody can continue working.