Windows 8 – that’s the way ah-ha-ah-ha I like it…

So, after the ranting in my previous post, I got Windows 8 to work the way I like it… yeah baby, yeah! The installation went like a dream, installed the necessary drivers up to the point where I need to fix the Dell Broadband card and thanks to Ren Baskura’s post, I got the broadband card installed in no time whatsoever. And once that was done, the Vodafone software installed seamlessly and it just connected out and made me a happy chappy!

Having a blast with Windows 8…

Since Dell decided to release their drivers for Windows 8 for my Dell XPS L502X as per my previous post, I figured that it would be a good thing to install these and resolve the final “Unknown device” in my Device Manager. Everything *should* be fine, right? RIGHT!

So, firstly half of the installers doesn’t want to launch and then complains, but maybe it was just me being a silly billy and installing them in the wrong order – no worries! It was always my intention to rebuild it in any case when the drivers became available – so after a lot of clicking and installing and rebooting, all my devices were perfectly happy. Great… This time around I put a little sticky note in my head that maybe it would be a good idea to capture the list of devices inside of a Visual N++ (Notepad for the non-programmers out there) file – just to be sure; rather safe than sorry, right? Damn straight!

So… after a reboot and installation of the Operating System, the silly willy Dell Wireless device is giving me the finger; yes, installing the broadband driver from Windows 7 does fix it, but then they want me to use the broadband manager that shipped with Dell – hey, I’m in the new Windows 8 UI (whatever the okes feel like calling it this week) and would want to use one of the apps from there… like the one directly shipped by Vodafone, considering that I am using a Vodafone SIM card… Lets just say it ended up with me uttering a few words and deciding to show it the finger on Saturday night and rather spending a relaxing Sunday out in the winelands.

And here I am, back on Sunday night retracing my steps on the installation – this time around, I did become a bit more sneaky; pulled out all network connectivity first and install from the Windows 8 media only. The initial installation ran very smoothly and then the network cable was plugged in and the 1st 500MB of updates installed without a breeze. Now onwards and seeing how everything pans out – one thing that I am just very happy about is that I have an uncapped broadband connection; else I would’ve climbed out the walls already!

Windows 8 Dell Drivers

So, I’ve logged a call with Dell Support during the week and was expecting a response back from them regarding the driver downloads that was unavailable. Pity that I never got a reply back from them, but I figured to try the links out tonight and they made my drivers available. Such a wonderful surprise – and a download queue of almost 600MB, but what the heck – its worth every single bit!

Now that I have the drivers, I can finally see what I’ve been missing on my laptop!

The lesson I’ve learned from all this? I am definitely downloading the drivers for the desktops before trying to run the installation on the desktops!

Dell and their Windows 8 drivers…

After the driver installation issues with Windows 8, I opted to try and take a look at the Dell Support Centre – and lo and behold, they have published the updated Windows 8 drivers for my laptop on the 26th of October.

Unfortunately the files are unavailable on their servers!  I really hope they get their act together very soon!

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.

Windows 8 Success

After my previous attempt and failure, I opted to try it immediately again and try a few options and in the process breaking another installation, but finally getting it to install successfully!

I have to compliment Microsoft on the fast installation procedure – the whole installation took me between 10 and 15 minutes only! And this after I opted to decrease the available RAM to 2GB!

Once the initial setup ran and all the files were copied and installed, I was really glad to see the following screen!

During this step, you can setup the computer name as well as the background color of your installation – this was probably the best screen I’ve seen the whole day! Once setup, you need to set the method that updates will be applied as well as some localization settings. I’ve seen this before and it is absolutely amazing – see some of my future posts about these!

I’ve opted to make use of the Express Settings. The next step would be how you would authenticate (log in) against your computer. You have the option to make use of your Microsoft Account (Microsoft Passport, Microsoft Live! ID and a few other names that has been used before!) or a local User Account, as implemented during the previous versions of Windows.

With a Microsoft Account, I assume that you would require an Internet Connection to log into their computer. The advantage is as mentioned above (the same look and feel on all computers, access to your data on skydrive, etc), but the disadvantage is that you would probably require a fast Internet Connection. This would work perfectly if the infrastructure is available, but in my case this may not always be possible. I opted to make use of the Local Account option instead. I am not sure how it would be implemented with an Active Directory domain – this you would probably need to perform after completing the installation. Once all of these settings have been set, the following screen will be displayed to you – and you can have a big smile on your face!

If you need to make any changes to the previous screens, you can make use of the “left arrow” at the top of the screen; typical Internet Explorer feel!

Once the finalization is complete, the User Account is being prepared and setup as seen from below.

Once all of this is complete, you will be displayed with the new Windows Interface; the biggest change that you can see immediately is that you no longer have a Start button, but a Start screen, as seen below.

See my future posts around the built-in applications and once these are done, how Microsoft Office fits into the picture as well as how software development would be possible making use of Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Visual Studio. My initial feelings towards the interface was not positive in any way, but after playing a bit with it before, it is starting to grow on me – I may just be bold and make the switch once it is released, depending on how the steps above go!

Windows 8 woes…

Okay, so I left the Virtual Machine running for 12 hours and lo and behold, it is not booting up. So here I am sitting, a little bit furious, but luckily I didn’t waste any time today. Guess I’ll be running it tonight again and hope that it may work this time around!

Will keep you posted on the progress this time around!