Upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8 RTM – Initial Impressions

Earlier this morning I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to the 90 day trial of Windows 8 Enterprise. This version is RTM, so it gives the most final look at Windows 8 possible. I had debated about waiting for Windows 8 to become commercially available at the end of this month – since there is no upgrade path for this Enterprise trial – but I really wanted to get back into the Windows 8 action.

For some background, I having been using Windows 8 since the early days. First, I had installed the Windows Developer Preview. I then moved on to the Consumer Preview. That’s where Windows 8 lost me. At the time, I bought a new custom PC and stopped regularly writing for Windows 8 Update, so I decided to just keep Windows 7 running on my PC.

I’ve missed out on several of the changes between Consumer Preview, Release Preview and the RTM. Now that I’m back and Win8 is up in running, here are some of my personal observations.

Windows 8 RTM Installation:

While I normally go for clean installs, I decided to give an upgrade a try. I only plan on using this for about a month or two anyhow, then I’ll likely purchase the final version of Windows 8 Pro and do a clean install then. So how did the install process go? Painless as can be.

In total, it took about 20 minutes. This is very fast and I was pleased. Usually clean installs mean plenty of post-installation drama. This seems to be running flawlessly.

Changes I’m not so fond of:

What do I think of the final version of Windows 8? I will not jump to conclusions yet. I’m not going to say I like it or dislike it. Perhaps I’ll give you a more honest review of Win8’s final look and feel in the coming weeks/months.

That being said, I am willing to share a few things I’m not that pleased with in Windows 8. The biggest is the lack of transparency. I don’t know why, but I really miss it. Something about using the desktop without transparency makes it look outdated and less sexy. Maybe it’s just me.

The other thing that bothers me is the Metro version of IE. My upgrade imported settings like the fact that my default browser is Firefox. This means that the Metro/Modern IE is now gone unless I make IE my default browser again. Talk about being a baby here, IE. I reject you and you run away for good.

Joking aside
, I think Microsoft’s decision to only allow one browser to take advantage of the new UI is a bad move. Right now, Firefox doesn’t even have a modern app (that I’m aware of), so this is a bit of a pain for me. End of the world? No. Just a minor annoyance.

Changes I’m fond of:

I expressed that I’m not a fan of the new desktop UI changes, though this is only partially true. I miss transparency, but the simple right-hand window buttons (minimize, exit, etc) don’t bother me at all. I actually kind of like the new simplified styling here.

Another change that I instantly took notice is how much snappier my PC seems. This was true in older versions of Windows 8 Previews but it is all the more noticeable now.

Overall:

As I said, I was willing to point out a few things about the installation process and my initial dislikes/likes about the final version. For now though, I reserve judgment. Part of me loves it, part of me doesn’t. I will embrace the experience for now and try to respond with an honest review of the final version down the road.

What about Windows 8 Update readers? Have you used the final version of Windows 8 yet? What was your overall impression?

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