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  • Care to try W8.1? Quick guide for W7 die-hards

    Posted on radosuaf Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 7 Care to try W8.1? Quick guide for W7 die-hards

    This topic contains 23 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Noel Carboni 3 months ago.

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    • #102730 Reply

      radosuaf
      AskWoody Lounger

      You are probably sitting on Windows 7 and start to be worried about your what happens in 2020. You’ve heard Windows 8 is worst Windows ever. Maybe you even saw Windows 8 and somebody else’s computer and hated it right away. Well, my suggestion is – just give it a shot. If you’ll like it, you’ll buy yourself 3 years without Windows 10 :).

      Here’s what to do:

      1. Download a free 90-days trial:

      https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-8-1-enterprise

      You need to fill in a short questionnare and create a MS account if you haven’t got one already. The website says you might be contacted by MS, but I never have been, so no worries.

      2. Install with dual boot next to your current Windows 7, update (for the purpose of testing, just leave at automatic updates, install everything, initial search might take 2-3 hours), install drivers etc. – I won’t get into details, you know the drill.

      3. Tweak:

      a/ remove all Metro apps: run PowerShell as admin (to run anything in 8.1 just press Win and start typing, ‘powers’ in this case, then right-click PowerShell, select “Run as administrator) , type:

      Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers | Remove-AppxPackage

      That’s it. Remove Store icon from taskbar, remove Camera from the Start menu. You’re done.

      b/ some taskbar and Start Menu tweaks:

      * right-click on Taskbar and select Properties

      * go to Navigation tab and check “Show my desktop background on Start”, uncheck everything else

      * go to “All Apps” at the Start screen and pin your often used apps to Start screen (right-click, select “Pin to Start”), you can name groups and rearrange tiles to your liking

      * you can add various other places to the Start menu, just browse through system and right-click to verify if you can pin them – for example I have Windows Update pinned

      4. Start using – you’ll see it’s not that bad, there are more tweaks you can do, Noel might be your guide, but I prefer not to use any 3rd party software, there are of course many more tweaks within Windows itself, but this is meant to be a short, no-nonsense guide, so that’s it.

      5. Don’t like it? Just uninstall – while it is a bit more complicated than uninstalling an app, there are a lot of guides over the net how to do it, one here:

      https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/210983-dual-boot-delete-os.html

      6. Like it? Uninstall (example link above) and start searching for a 8.1 key :). Try amazon, ebay, whatever you have locally – it does not matter if it’s 8 or 8.1, upgrade from 8 to 8.1 is free, try looking for a Pro version in case you might want to upgrade to W10 Pro in future – W10 Home version is useless.

       

      Any questions? I’ll gladly help.

      MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti D5 4G * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit + Windows 10 Mobile (Lumia 735)
      • This topic was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  radosuaf.
      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #102822 Reply

      Noel Carboni
      AskWoody MVP

      I’ll be happy to contribute here as well. I find Windows 8.1 a VERY good and reliable system – once suitably configured and augumented. I agree with radosuaf’s advice to remove all Apps.

      I respect the desire not to use 3rd party software, but if you feel it’s okay there really is some out there that’s well worth looking into.

      My suggestions might be to check these:

      • Classic Shell – it will give you back a desktop start menu.
      • Aero Glass for Win 8+ – only if you’re seriously geeky (like me).
      • WinAero Tweaker – a nice set of panels for tweaking all kinds of things.
      • Folder Options X by T800 – simple but makes File Explorer more usable.
      • Sphinx Windows Firewall Control – powerful, maintainable firewall control, not subject to behind-the-scenes manipulation by Microsoft or software installers.

      Keep in mind that you cannot, as far as I know, directly upgrade the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Evaluation software to a licensed copy. I might suggest evaluating it and getting familiar with it in a virtual machine rather than dual boot, but both methods are viable.

      -Noel

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #102920 Reply

        radosuaf
        AskWoody Lounger

        I might suggest evaluating it and getting familiar with it in a virtual machine rather than dual boot, but both methods are viable.

        True, haven’t thought about it.

        MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti D5 4G * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit + Windows 10 Mobile (Lumia 735)
        • #102958 Reply

          Cesar
          AskWoody Lounger

          I might suggest evaluating it and getting familiar with it in a virtual machine rather than dual boot, but both methods are viable.

          True, haven’t thought about it.

          …unless you want to test your hardware with the new operating system. In that case, only the dual boot method would work; hardware in virtual machines is always emulated.

          César

    • #102824 Reply

      Elly
      AskWoody Lounger

      Not ready to try it yet, but will have to be in the future. Supposedly there is a free option on my W 7 to upgrade to W 8… this might be a way to take a peek at what it would look like, without jumping all the way in. Could create a Microsoft account just for this one download with a throwaway e-mail?

      However, I would think there is a need to avoid any of the telemetry updates in W 8.1, so I wouldn’t just take anything even on a temporary trial basis. As I understand it, anything that dual boots has access to all the “stuff”. I’d go through the trouble of weeding out the undesireable updates… I don’t think I can use the upgrade to W 8 to dual boot in the long run, so it would just be a temporary look-see for me.

      Okay, I was being brave there. You’ll probably think I’m silly, but I hate the idea of experimenting on my only (right now) used daily device, even with image backups (I’ve never had to reinstall)… but I do want to check out W 8.1…

      Even VM is something I haven’t played with yet… barely getting comfortable trying out Linux distros from a USB stick… psychologically they aren’t “on” my machine, and are easily removed…

      Maybe a link to how to set up a dual boot in the first place? And any problems that could be reasonably anticipated?

      I appreciate your willingness to nudge me in this direction… a direction I will need to go eventually. Thank you, Radosuaf

       

       

      Elly-

      Win 7 Home, Group B

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #104110 Reply

        AlexEiffel
        AskWoody Lounger

        Elly,

        I understand why you think you might have to use Windows 8.1 in the future. I really think you should consider experimenting in a VM instead of dual booting. It is much less invasive. If you screw up something, just restart from scratch with a new VM no harm. A VM is just like a private place where you can install your OS, play with it, like a computer in your computer, and this computer can’t touch your main OS if you don’t allow it. It can be “upgraded”, destroyed, reinstalled, with no issue to your main OS. You could also install a Linux in a VM if you feel inclined to do so. You can create as many VMs as you want. Another nice feature of VM is snapshots. You take a snapshot of your machine state at a certain point in time. You do some tests and if you don’t like the results, you can easily restore your machine state to the snapshot. Great way to experiment without fear. The only thing maybe is if your machine is old and not powerful, it might be slow to run in a VM, but again, there is no harm in trying.

        If you install 8.1 in a VM, you can try some tips people give to make it more comfortable and yes, it can become quite nice as an OS once tamed, probably the best finished OS. I suggest installing classic shell on it. I am not a fan of third party add-ons, but this one is almost mandatory for the nicest experience since it removes the fact that the start menu takes up all screen when brought up (which I find immensely distracting).

        Maybe someone here could suggest what is the simplest VM program to use and a few instructions to create a simple virtual machine, then you could download the evaluation ISO of 8.1 as suggested above and play with it.

        However, and here I will join my voice to ch100, I am not sure it is worth a lot of time to invest in 8.1. Althought Noel is right about the fact it has in theory longer support and certainly no constant features updates, and although I hope like you MS will have to back off and change course on some design decisions of 10 some time after 7 is out of support and some businesses complain loudly enough, I just think that Microsoft will even more aggressively than with 7 try to kill 8.1 as fast as they can when 7 is out of support. There is not enough market on 8.1 at all. Unless businesses start going to 8.1 instead of 7, which I doubt will happen on a large scale, the days of 8.1 are counted. I wouldn’t be surprised at all Microsoft will pull off bad tricks again to steer people away from it, they might also officially offer the free Windows 10 again or some companies will refuse to support it in the future like Adobe did with Vista before even the end of support for XP. I also wouldn’t be suprised to see issues with Windows update taking forever or other weird things.

        In any case, experimenting is not bad if you want to do it. You might learn a lot in a safe environment and then you will be comfortable in general when the time comes to switch to something else, 8.1, a better 10 or even Linux. I encourage you to try and ask questions here.

         

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #104171 Reply

          Noel Carboni
          AskWoody MVP

          consider experimenting in a VM instead of dual booting. It is much less invasive. If you screw up something, just restart from scratch with a new VM no harm.

          It’s even better than that. With VMware at least you can make snapshots literally in seconds (okay, I have a great I/O subsystem, but it’s fast).

          Botch something, restore a snapshot in 15 seconds. No starting over, just dropping back to something that worked.

          Test multiple iterations of destructive things literally in a few minutes.

          -Noel

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #104425 Reply

            AlexEiffel
            AskWoody Lounger

            Do you use VMware workstation or ESX something?

            • #104475 Reply

              Noel Carboni
              AskWoody MVP

              VMware Workstation. I still use version 11, though I believe I’ll upgrade to version 14 (or whatever they call the successor to 12.5) this fall to get more advanced OpenGL support.

              -Noel

              1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #102825 Reply

      ch100
      AskWoody MVP

      I personally think it would be a waste of time for those who are not already on Windows 8.1.
      Windows 10 is Windows 8.1 (or Windows 8.2).

      • #102835 Reply

        Noel Carboni
        AskWoody MVP

        Windows 10 is Windows 8.1 (or Windows 8.2).

        No, not really. Windows 8.1 is a more current version than 7 with some support time left but WITHOUT the “destabilize it every 8 months” aspect. That’s huge.

        -Noel

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #102846 Reply

        Elly
        AskWoody Lounger

        @ Ch100, for those of us who will never go to W 10 because of forced updates and telemetry, it will extend the length of security support for years. You are very clear that you are not concerned about those things, and have your expertise and reasons… but I can’t help hope that Microsoft will come to its senses and offer an operating system that can be secured against its marketing/ad scam, involuntary updates, and the ability to decline any and all telemetry, for home users… the users that really need those options to be there at a click, because we aren’t technically proficient and don’t have tech support.  There was a time I would have paid for that… and I have plenty of family and friends to this day that would prefer to stay with them. Having bouts of being unable to work due to disability I can say that any operating system or software that requires subscription or on-line access is a no-no for me. One time it took over 5 months before disability payments were authorized. Meantime, I had no income what-so-ever… just my savings, and that has never recovered. What a blessing to have my computer fully functional through those times. The fact that Microsoft is pushing/promoting/herding users into Malware 10 forever says it is no longer a corporation that I can trust. Migrating to W 8.1 is a stop-gap measure, part of keeping all my options open. Gone are the days of joyfully looking towards the next new thing. It feels much more like exploring a dark swamp, and wondering what will try to swallow me up next. Funny thing, all these years I was able to avoid any malware… now it looks like you have to dump the Windows experience in order to keep it off the system.

        Elly-

        Win 7 Home, Group B

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #102929 Reply

          ch100
          AskWoody MVP

          @elly
          Based on what you say in your post, MacOS is for you, but then you will say it is too expensive. Really can’t have something for nothing. You will find out soon that Linux is not what appears to be and that there are good reasons why it has been adopted widely only at the server level.

          • #102996 Reply

            anonymous

            Really? LMint is easier to use than Windows, and Elly is allready using live distros.

            [Edited by Woody]

        • #103001 Reply

          anonymous

          Elly, is there a Linux User Group near you (University or listed locally)? You could get some help in installing a distro onto an external hard drive, and booting your computer from that, and keep your Windows as well. They might also be good sources of knowledge about good seondhand or even free computers in your area.

          • #104077 Reply

            Elly
            AskWoody Lounger

            Sorry to take so long to answer, I appreciate and looked into your advice. Nothing local. HiFlyer kindly gave me a link to It’s FOSS-All we ‘Need to Know’ about Linux.

            I’m moving slowly on the live distros, not even sure what I need to look at or for, other than ease of use. Its been a long time since I’ve had a blank system in front of me… all I can say at this point is that I’m very cautious about it but trying to convince myself it is okay to screw it up and try again, and trying to develop some sort of protocol so I can make useful comparisons. It is a whole new way of looking at what is possible with a computer, and what I need and want. I’ve always used programs to do what I want… not looking at the choices and how they work together. I know the techy types are way more in and facile with what I’m slowly experimenting with. Never would have thought I’d move from worrying about patches to playing with operating systems… and enjoying it… sort of a late in life revelation!

            I really appreciate all the different ways of doing things put forth here… I’m no longer taking my own assumptions for granted (given all the really good input on this site)…

            Elly-

            Win 7 Home, Group B

      • #102923 Reply

        radosuaf
        AskWoody Lounger

        I personally think it would be a waste of time for those who are not already on Windows 8.1. Windows 10 is Windows 8.1 (or Windows 8.2).

        This is so not true – and I’m writing it as a person who literally HATED Windows 8 and had huge hopes associated with Windows 10. I won’t be repeating myself again, but 10 is pure evil, while 8.1 is an oldschool good OS.

        I do agree that if somebody got the so called ‘free’ upgrade to Windows 10 and used it to grab the license, then I wouldn’t pay the full price of 8.1, I couldn’t justify it myself. But I managed to get a license for 55 USD, which is about max I would pay for 8.1 – if not, they I’d stay at W7 as long as it’s possible and then move to whatever we’ll have in 2020.

        One more thing – Pro version is most common amongst 8/8.1, so if you’re on W7 Home, this is a good way to grab a W10 Pro license for cheap (I think you can still ‘upgrade’ for free).

        MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti D5 4G * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit + Windows 10 Mobile (Lumia 735)
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #102930 Reply

          ch100
          AskWoody MVP

          This is so not true – and I’m writing it as a person who literally HATED Windows 8 and had huge hopes associated with Windows 10. I won’t be repeating myself again, but 10 is pure evil, while 8.1 is an oldschool good OS.

          Haven’t you just said that you hated Windows 8 and now promote Windows 8.1? 🙂
          What makes you believe that you will not say the same thing about Windows 10 at some time in the future?
          I also hated Windows 8 and still do it. 🙂

          • #102937 Reply

            radosuaf
            AskWoody Lounger

            Haven’t you just said that you hated Windows 8 and now promote Windows 8.1?  What makes you believe that you will not say the same thing about Windows 10 at some time in the future? I also hated Windows 8 and still do it.  

            8 was horrible. 8.1 isn’t :). I do hope 10 gets usable over time, I seriously do. But the direction MS took is quite opposite, I’m afraid.

            MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti D5 4G * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit + Windows 10 Mobile (Lumia 735)
            • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  radosuaf.
            1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #104549 Reply

            Noel Carboni
            AskWoody MVP

            I also hated Windows 8 and still do it.

            A few things make it more tolerable than it once was:

            • 8.1 is more of a serious OS than 8.0 was. Microsoft backtracked a little bit in the right ways.
            • A lot of augmenting software was written to overcome the things Microsoft screwed up. I myself use some of it on my critical systems, for example: Classic Shell, Aero Glass for Win 8+, and a number of other tweaking applications.
            • We’ve learned how to deal with much of what Windows 8.1 does, and realized that with suitable tweaking there’s still a kernel of goodness at its base. It’s hard to argue with the quality of an OS that will “keep on ticking” on the same bootup with 2 months of hard daily engineering use, yet that’s exactly what mine does. To be fair, my Win 7 system did too, back before 2013.

            If you’re not into tweaking and augmenting your OS, then you’re stuck with older versions that were better out of the box. On the other hand, if you’re willing to embrace reconfiguration and augmentation, 8.1 can be very good and has a longer support lifetime.

            Win81CurrentReliability

            -Noel

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    • #102863 Reply

      BobbyB
      AskWoody Lounger

      If you want to try Pro or Core (Home Vers) you can find them here https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/software-download/windows8 just select create .ISO for another machine. Ignore the Vers. with a letter after them e.g. N as they are a remnant of a little trade spat between M$ and the EEC over Windows Media Player i.e. the N Ver. doesent have it.
      Windows 8.1 can live on a machine in perfect harmony with Win10 and/or Win7. (Space permitting)

      Although major tip!!!! dont turn Windows update loose from the get go. Not because of the usual “update gripes” we have in here lol Its because the last time I fully updated an image (offline, dont worry about that) There’s at last count (Oct 2016) 2.3GB waiting in the wings for updates. Have fun 🙂

      • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  BobbyB. Reason: space permitting
    • #102927 Reply

      Microfix
      AskWoody Lounger

      Probably the best viable option for Vista users who were not offered W10 free and will have no updates beyond April 11th 2017.

      | x64 Group B: W7 Pro & W8.1 Pro | | x64 Group W: 3 x Linux Hybrids | | x86 Windows XP Pro |
        No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
    • #102993 Reply

      radosuaf
      AskWoody Lounger

      One additional note – you’d probably want to log into your computer using local account instead of MS one and MS made it a bit tricky during the installation process – details here:

      http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-install-windows-8-1-without-microsoft-account/

      MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti D5 4G * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit + Windows 10 Mobile (Lumia 735)
      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #103160 Reply

        BobbyB
        AskWoody Lounger

        Yeah good point its easy to miss if your not careful and they dont make it obvious especially with tired eyes on a late night in/reinstall. A little trick they seemed to have carried over to Win10 😉

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