Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Windows 8 - My First 4 Hours

Yep. I'm a sucker for masochistic activities, like beta testing.  It used to pay off, but with most vendors the perks of sticking your neck out and expending time and frustration are not rewarded like they used to be.  I have to suspend my jury decision on Microsoft for now though.

I downloaded Windows 8 Developer Preview 64-bit and ran it inside VMware Workstation 8.0 for a few days before I felt excited enough to unleash it on my Dell Zino 400 HD.  It has an Athlon X2 dual core 1.5 GHz processor with 8 Gb RAM.  It runs Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1.  I decided to install a bunch of applications, test them on the current platform, then install Windows 8 Dev Preview via an in-place upgrade, and then see how everything works.

General

All of the existing applications are moved under C:\Windows.old\Program Files or C:\Windows.old\Program Files (x86).  Their corresponding shortcuts (on the Task Bar) are updated to change the "Target" path to suit, but the icon paths are not updated on any of them.

Applications

Office 2010 - Does not work. I found each application under the new path (see above) and tried to launch them via their base .exe files (e.g. "WINWORD.exe") but none of them work anymore.  The error is shown below:
Paint.NET 3.5.8 - Does not work.  When I try to launch the .exe file it says that VC++ 2005 SP1 needs to be repaired.  It provides a small dialog form with a "Repair" button, but it does nothing at all.

iTunes 10 - Does not work.  The error is shown below:

TextPad 5.04 - Works.  But, all licensing and customization information is lost and must be re-entered.

TweetDeck - Does not work.  It says I need to install Adobe AIR

IE 10 - Sort of works.  My first trip to YouTube said I needed to install Flash 10, so I did.  Then it works fine.  However, you can launch IE 10 in one of two modes: "immersive" (full-screen, from the tile menu), or "framed" (traditional windowed format).  These two modes are independent and isolated from each other.  You cannot view tabs in one mode from the other, nor can you toggle over to them.  Very odd.

FileZilla 3.5.1 - Works.  But licensing and custom connection settings are lost.

Google Earth 6 - Works.  Opens and begins to render the globe and stars and then says it must close due to an error and aborts. After this, it launches and works fine.  Not sure how consistent this behavior actually will be.

Windows Live Writer 2011 - Does not work.  It says it needs to download, install and enable .NET Framework 3.5.1 and it tries to do that.  It fails.

Google Chrome 15 (dev) - Gone.  Not a trace of it anywhere that I can find it.

Camtasia Studio 7 - Works.  But the first launch will say that required DLL files are not registered.  It prompts to re-register them with elevated privileges (UAC) and succeeded, but then it warns of missing media associations, but then it seems to launch fine.  All licensing information is lost and must be re-entered.


More:

Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) 3.0 Sp2 Admin Console snap-in will not load into MMC.  It says that it is no longer registered.  Attempts to reinstall it have been unsuccessful.  Error is shown below:

The old days of being able to click the "Start" button and start typing something to auto-search for it are gone.  The new "Search" feature requires clicking on "Apps" in order to find things, for example "Snipping Tool", which I use a lot.

Conclusion

If you have a lot of applications you need to ensure reliability going forward, especially if:

A. They are from small vendors that are unlikely to release an update or new version to work on Windows 8.

or

B. They are from big vendors, and you are sure they will release a new version that will cost a shitload of money to handle all of your licenses.

...then you should start testing now.  And I mean NOW, as in RIGHT NOW.  I'm sure things will be fixed and cleaned up, so many of these issues I've encountered may not be a big deal in the end.  I'm also aware that most of you won't do in-place upgrades and that the results of installing things "clean" and "fresh" on a new Windows 8 installation will likely behave much better.  But just in case...
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