Here Comes Windows 8, Part 2

Original Post: 29 September 2013
Posted Here: 30 November 2017

Windows 8In my previous post I explained how I came to have the pleasure of buying a new computer with Windows 8 and how I transferred my programs and data from my old Windows 7 laptop to it.

After transferring my files, I was pleased to see that my Desktop looked and behaved essentially as it had in Windows 7 - my shortcuts were there and they worked. (Yay!)

I was also amazed to find that my batch (.BAT) files worked too. My "Missing Manual" had nothing to say about BAT files, although it did mention (and that was about all) Windows Power Shell and cmdlets ("commandlets") which sound as though they do the same thing as batch files. BAT files are short text files that Windows runs to do simple tasks. For instance, I use a batch file to periodically copy changed data files to a backup location. If you're not familiar with batch files, don't worry. But to me, they're a big deal.

When I got around to actually using some of my programs, I began to have serious doubts about Windows 8. I found that sometimes a long time elapsed between clicking a button and the response - long enough that I would wonder if I'd missed the button and so I'd click it again, and again, resulting in duplicate windows opening. A little annoying.

Occasionally that long wait was accompanied by a notice at the top of the screen: "program not responding." If I fidgeted long enough, the program finally "responded" and I could get on with my work. Again, a little annoying.

Some programs required that I re-enter a serial number or some activation code. I don't know if this was because PCmover had not actually copied all of my necessary files, because the program found itself with a new operating system, or because the program realized that it was in a new computer and my license didn't provide for use in multiple devices. In some cases, entering the requested data allowed the program to go on as it had on my old Windows 7 machine. But not always. I needed a program upgrade.

As I pointed out in my previous post, I am reluctant to upgrade without a reason. Now I discovered that some of my transferred programs would not function in Windows 8 (a not uncommon gotcha with new versions of Windows.) So I paid for and downloaded new versions of Graphics Workshop and Business Card Designer. This introduced me to a new version of the "long wait" problem - Internet Explorer 10 either would not download the files that I'd just paid for or it took so long to respond that I ended up, finally, with several downloads. The Foxfire browser that had been transferred with my other files had no such problems. So I was able to upgrade my programs. Sometimes.

Adobe Photoshop was an interesting problem. When I ran the program, I was asked to "activate" it. If I chose to temporarily skip activation, I got a message that I could continue to use the program for only 30 days without activation. Then Photoshop ran fine under Windows 8.

When I tried to activate Photoshop online, I received a message that it couldn't and that I should telephone Adobe to activate. When I called Adobe, I was told that my version of Photoshop (CS2) was so old that they weren't supporting it and that they could not activate it for me. My only option was to upgrade to Photoshop CS6 for over $600 or Photoshop CC (something to do with cloud computing) for a subscription of about $20 per month - apparently forever. So I hesitated. I don't use Photoshop professionally. I don't make use of all of its powerful features. I found a program, Artweaver Plus, for less than $40 that has most of the Photoshop functionality that I need. If I can't convince Adobe to let me continue using Photoshop CS2, guess what my alternative will be.

I was also having another problem. My computer would freeze up at random times and the typical 3-fingered salute (ctrl-shift-esc) would do nothing to let me recover. I had to hold down the power button until the computer shut down, then power up and reboot. I've been told that this is not a good idea. After a few days of this problem it slowly dawned on me that no particular program seemed to be the culprit. Sometimes no program was running. I began to suspect the computer itself was at fault.

So I called Hewlett Packard Tech Support. Unfortunately, my helper couldn't come up with a solution. So I decided that the laptop needed to be replaced. I was transferred to someone in sales who offloaded me to his supervisor to make the arrangements. All I had to do was remove my programs and data from the defective computer (actually, that was my choice), pack up the laptop, print out a return label, put it on the package, and drop it off at the FedEx station. Well, that's not quite all. I had to pay for a replacement computer. When the defective computer got back to HP they would refund my original purchase price. Eventually: They say it might take up to 5 days for my credit card account to be credited with the refund (even though a charge usually shows up the next day.)

Stay tuned for future developments.

Keep reading/keep writing - Jack