Helpdesk Challenge – tell us what you think of Windows 8

Have you upgraded to Windows 8? If so, we want to hear your experiences of living with Microsoft’s latest operating system.

Windows 8 is a big play for Microsoft, and one that’s been long overdue. The tablet computing revolution spearheaded by Apple knocked Microsoft for six, forcing it to rethink its approach to its traditional Windows operating system.

The result? An all-singing, all-dancing (according to the relentless adverts) tile-based operating system that claims to be just as at home on a laptop as it is on a touchscreen tablet.

We know Windows 8 does some things right – for example, our tests have found that the Windows 8 security features are on a par with the best security software we’ve tested. But we also know that many users have found frustrations in adjusting to the new operating system.

If you’ve installed Windows 8 onto your existing PC, purchased a new Windows 8 laptop or desktop, or picked up a tablet like the Windows Surface RT, we want to hear from you.

Installing Windows 8

Getting started with Windows 8 on an existing PC isn’t always as straightforward as can be. For example, we recently installed the new operating system on a perfectly respectable, 18-month old laptop running Windows 7, and encountered no end of trouble with repeatedly having to roll-back and reverse the installation due to compatibility issues being flagged up halfway through the process.

Have you encountered any similar issues, or has installing Windows 8 been a breeze?

Using Windows 8 with a touchscreen

Microsoft has made a big deal of the touchscreen approach of Windows 8, but how have you found getting used to using traditional Microsoft tools like Word and Excel with the option to prod and poke at the screen?

Using Windows without a touchscreen

For many people who’ve installed Windows 8 onto an older PC with no touchscreen display, there may be a nagging feeling you’re missing out on half the fun. How have you found using Windows 8 with just a mouse and keyboard for scrolling through the tiles and commands?

Would you recommend Windows 8 to others?

Now here’s the big one – based on your experience of using Windows 8, would you readily tell your nearest and dearest to install it, or to buy a Windows 8 device?

More on this…


74 replies

  1. I upgraded recently a machine, and it was relatively painless. It was on an older machine by comparison to the one the listed.

    If anyone is thinking about it I would recommend going to:

    This is an upgrade assistant that will allow you to check what software and or hardware may be an issue if you do upgrade. I had to uninstall a few apps that were not compatible and had windows 8 versions.

    I would recommend it, it’s quite straight forward does take some getting used to and the fact that it appears to definitely be geared for a touch interface it still works well with mouse and keyboard combo.

  2. I have just bought a new laptop with windows 8 and also upgraded on older laptop to W8. The main pain & expense was having to reload my software. I had Office 2007 Professional which would no longer activate and MS wanted £65 to help. I decided to buy Office 2010, but did not realise it did not contain Outlook, so had to spend another £100 just to get it (£200+ in total for one PC)! So far my old laptop has nothing. Buyer beware you will have to reload ALL software if you upgrade.

  3. Windows 8 was automatically downloaded to my NT PC. Since then Outlook crashes whenever a pic in an email tries to download from the web.
    Absolute nightmare and no patches have fixed yet

  4. I bought the upgrade for Windows 8 a few weeks ago. Installed it and experienced problems from the moment i installed it. Firstly, the Metro apps wouldn’t work. Upon researching the fix, it basically said i had to use Microsofts own Security stuff, which i didn’t want to. Another fix i found told me to refresh Windows, which it said it would keep all my files, programs and settings but refresh the install of Windows. This decided to wipe the HD of all of the above, except Windows 8.

    It’s too complicated and has serious issues. I have since refunded myself of the cost of the license and reverted back to Windows 7.

  5. I bought the Windows 8 upgrade to run on a desktop. Though the upgrade assistant reported the upgrade would load onto the desktop running Windows 7 Professional the upgrade failed to install. I then installed on a laptop running Windows 7. Though it loaded without problems I would not recommend it for a laptop or desktop as it is definitely aimed at touch-screen pc’s. Due to the restriction on control with Windows 8 I have installed a free programme called Classic Shell and now have similar control to Windows 7. Windows 8 is really aimed at the games machine or smart phone and not at serious applications.

    1. Back in February I upgraded Vista to Windows 8 Pro. Vista was a disaster but the upgrade was seamless and definitely worth doing. Classic shell would be an advantage, where can I get a safe download from.

  6. I have upgraded several machines ranging from a modest netbook to a 12Gb RAM/2Tb hard disk desktop and am very happy with the results. Start up and shut down are much quicker, my existing MS Office software reloaded without any drama, drivers loaded automatically for all my printers etc, nothing has crashed (yet!). I have installed Classic Shell which reintroduces the ‘Start’ button which many seem to miss and bypasses the Metro screen on start-up – there is no need to go near this if you don’t want to, you can just go straight to an enhanced and more stable Windows 7 experience. I feel it has been well worth upgrading, particularly at the very low cost made possible through MS’s introductory offers which have sadly now ended.

  7. I recently bought a HP laptop with Windows 8 pre-installed, I found it hopelessly slow and unintuitive. Also, I changed the hard disk to one of the new fast sold state disks, and could find no way to transfer Windows 8 to the new hard disk – no Windows 8 software CDs were supplied. My old, trusty, Windows XP does not work properly on solid state disks. I ended up installing Linux Mint. Much much better than Windows 8 (and free!)

  8. Had to buy a new laptop as the old one gave up the ghost and I am seriously considering putting windows 7 on it as this new system is *@?!~# well lets just say I don’t like it.

    1. Do you have any links to back up that claim?

      Every other review said Windows 8 is only faster starting up and shutting down. Otherwise it’s just as fast as Windows 7.

  9. recently downloaded windows 8 onto my samsung notebook laptop…during installation was told that certain programs needed to be uninstalled as they were incompatable with the new program, only later did i relise that all the programs they had installed were cash up front to use…whilst the Samsung programs were free & most useful. that alone is enough to put me off…i cannot understand why samsung allow this to be done, unless they are in the club. finding it difficult to contact samsung they have a very complicated way to access them using emails, Do you have an email address i could use.
    have uninstalled all microsoft PAY programs they lose no opportunities to encourage you to use them.
    Hoping WHICH will use its CLOUT to bring both Microsoft & Samsung down a peg or two or hopefully more……….or sadly are they too powerful. sidrossiter.

  10. I’ve bought a new laptop with Windows 8, having previously used XP. You can bypass many Windows 8 features by ignoring the start screen, which doesn’t make much sense without a touchscreen (I’ve unpinned/uninstalled most of the apps) and using the desktop which works in the conventional Windows way. Annoying that the salesperson told me I’d have to buy Office 2013 when Office 2010, which is what I wanted, is pre-installed. And infuriating that my printer won’t work with Windows 8.

  11. MS forced me to buy Win-8 as only Micro$oft can … I decided to upgrade to a new computer, as my old one, running XP was getting unreliable – I had a legal version of Win-XP and several new upgrades to Win-7 Ultimate. I live abroad, so gave the CDs to the shop, and asked them to install it on the new build (has anyone attemted to use Hungarian windows – it is dreadful :( ) It turns out that as I had a 32 bit version of Win-XP, only the 32 bit version would run on my new machine, which meant that the RAM I purchased was limited to the first 3 GB. I tried to buy Win-7 full version online, but was blocked due to the release of Win-8. The only saving grace was that Win-8 was cheap at about 50 Euros (not as cheap as advertised, but a lot less than the $285 Win-7 upgrades that lie abandoned and unused) – The shop had no problems loading it, and the great thing is that with the new solid state C: drive, it loads up very quickly.

    Of course I was using a home computer with a super large screen that well pre-dates touchscreens, so as I don’t like taking my fingers off the keyboard anyway, I was just as happy using the dreaded rodent. I soon found that I needed to buy all new software too, as try as I would, the upgrades for Office wouldn’t load as they couldn’t find the original program – more $$$ to M$ ! Using Office Pro is fine, my MS Exchange automatically switches the desktop to a Win-7 style, so I can get rid of all those annoying flasy icons.

    I downloaded an app that give you a Windows button, and all is almost fine – a few programs don’t work, but most do.

    I don’t like the full screen vies of the Win-8 apps (on a large screen, it’s disturbing !), and you can’t see multiple windows, which I like (that’s why I got a large screen), so I mostly disable all those, and install other software to play movies etc..

    As a shell to allow me to run my preferred software, Win-8 is fast and fine. So apart from an intial expenditure to purchase new software, which my wife hates as now my machine is different from hers, and she gets lost easily, Win-8 is OK – though I wouldn’t rate it higher than that yet.

  12. I bought a new laptop at the end of December with Windows 8 installed. I have found it very frustrating to use. Yes it is quick – good. The bouncing back and forth between Windows 8 screen and the Desktop is annoying. Some apps that I have down loaded are not working. My husband wont touch it – he updated his laptop and kept away from Windows 8, he’s now flying with his. I have had to spend considerable time getting to grips with Windows 8 – I don’t think it is intuitive at all. I wouldn’t recommend it.

  13. i purchased the £25 win8 upgrade for my desktop win7.It was easy to purchase and download, and that was it,after that it was like climbing mount Everest without support,oxygen or the equipment needed. Before purchasing, a remote program “checked my system for incompatible programs and applications”, it found a few browser add-ons which i deleted, and then proceeded to download win8 upgrade. After 7 attempts and the download, or the installation failing i contacted the win8 live chat help.After hours of attempting fixes and getting no-where i closed the session whilst the help desk went into a huddle to think about what to do next.In the end i did a system restore and left win8 alone.
    A week later i attempted to install the upgrade on my laptop. after 3 days of failure after failure i eventually got it downloaded, installed and up and running. Then i found out half my programs didn’t run, including my firewall and malware protection.It took me a further two days to get the main programs working properly, but none of my online games will run at all, and browsing the web ( on 100mb cable connection ) is like flogging a dead horse.I have run optimisation programs and it still slowly plods along.So, now, after a month of ignoring it, i am going to restore my laptop and re-install my games and accept that win 8 is not for me or my pcs and that i’ve wasted the £25 upgrade fee.

  14. My new Lenovo “all in one” computer came with Windows 8 installed.
    Good: managed to install all old software / applications and it works satisfactorily.
    Good: Windows explorer folders interface is improved over Windows 7.
    Bad: to switch off the computer is so convoluted – I do not like the “apps” default desktop, so use the traditional desktop that lacks a direct link to shutdown: proceedure is as follows: mouse pointer to top right or bottom right of screen, then click on the gear wheel (cog) for Settings, then you get to a shutdown options.
    Bad: To close an App seems to be hidden – full screen lacking a menu bar. Solution: don’t use Apps, never needed them in the past, don’t want them now.
    Bad: Windows 8 Home Premium lacks Windows Media Centre [“WMC”](it’s a £50 upgrade!)
    Bad: Lacking WMC the Lenovoa has Aver Media for controlling the built in TV function – Aver Media is taking a lot of getting used to as compared to WMC that I had in Windows 7.

  15. Last November I downloaded the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro to replace Vista running on my Toshiba satellite laptop. I was and remain well impressed by this new operating system. It is like having a brand new computer, everything is quick and (at least to me) intuitively easy and effective. Yes I had some problems, that’s part of the fun. My old Office Professional wouldn’t reload but a very helpful lady at Microsoft soon sorted that out. I don’t think upgrading is for a novice on their own, but I can see no reason for anyone to miss out if they have a helpful geek in the wardrobe!

    1. Hi Alan, I am about to upgrade from Vista to windows 8 and will be attempting to re-load my Office Professional 2007 programes – can you tell me how to contact the “very helpful lady at Microsoft” if I have trouble?

  16. Got Windows 8 on a new desktop. Everything works, runs very smooth, but the tiles are pretty much pointless on a non-touchscreen machine, also hard to take full advantage of them when you use a mouse. Still struggle to exit programmes opened from the tiles. I generally just close the tiles screen and run everything from the desktop. Think I need to give this OS more time as it is such a change from how I expect a Windows OS to work and what I have used for the past 20 years. I am still not convinced that you can meld mobile and desktop OS together though. Think Microsoft has sat on the fence and given us a product that will never work for business, but be fine for social, home use.

  17. They always say don’t be the early adopter with new operating systems. Wait until at least SP1 and/or 6 months for most of the bugs to be fixed. Decided to build my own computer and install Windows 7 Pro instead of buying a ready made system with Win 8. Main reason is that Win8 is clearly designed for a touchscreen interface. It does not work well for non touchscreen hardware. Why should you need to install 3rd party software to reinstate functionality that you had and liked on earlier versions?

  18. I upgraded from XP because I was having problems and the machine was very slow. I felt it would be cheaper to buy a new computer for £400 with Windows 8 rather than have it upgraded.

    I find Windows 8 very fast but complicated for me having used XP and its predecessors for the past 35 plus years. The ti.les seem of little use and interfere with the way I work.

    What I do find serious is switching from 32 bits to 64 bits as this means that several of my older programmes do not work. So I currently run my old computer alongside the new one until I sort my old programmes out. That is ridiculous.

    I wish I had moved to Windows 7 first.

  19. I have recently purchased a Fujitsu laptop designed for and running Windows 8.
    I have found Windows 8 to be the most awkward and non user friendly version of Windows i have ever used having used every version from 3.1 to 8.
    There were no drivers loaded in Windows 8 and I had to obtain a version of Windows 7 to get the drivers necessary for my printer and digital camera to work.
    There are also more than 250 errors showing in Windows 8 and it keeps on freezing and crashing because if this.
    Under no circumstances would I recommend Windows 8 to any one else.

  20. I initially installed Windows 8 back in October, soon after it first became available. Not knowing whether to trust it or not, I installed it in a separate partition on my hard drive. I did nothing much with it, other than occasionally boot it up and load the updates, until last month, when I decided to bite the bullet and fully customise it.
    I think that installing it in a separate partition is a good idea, as it means that you only need to install the applications and utilities that you actually use, thereby eliminating all the rubbish that you installed (and regretted, or didn’t use much) under your old operating system – a good way of having a major clean-up.
    Before installing Windows 8, I used the Upgrade Assistant to identify those hardware and software products that I was likely to have problems with and this proved very useful.
    I have to say that everything has gone very smoothly. Windows 8 certainly boots up much more quickly than Windows 7 and it has proved to be very reliable. The only crashes I have had have been after I installed a couple of newish Windows 8 utilities (my fault for being so inquisitive!). A System Restore, carried out automatically by Windows 8 itself when it found that it was unable to boot the PC (very impressive!) soon cured this.
    Microsoft Office 10 installed perfectly and it was easy enough to copy across the file that contained all my saved emails, calendar appointments and contacts from Outlook running under the previous operating system (Windows 7).
    Even my copy of Microsoft Money 2005 (now a discontinued product) works perfectly, although I had to search the internet to find an .exe file (that included the essential fix needed for the distributed version) from which to install it.
    I’ve had no problem with any drivers, although I have taken the precaution of searching the internet to find and load all the latest Windows 8 drivers for all my hardware devices.
    Even the scanner on my Canon MP610 now works again – it had stopped working under Windows 7 and even Canon Support couldn’t fix the problem!
    I don’t use the new touch-screen interface (formerly Metro, now Modern UI, I believe), as I have a traditional desktop PC with a traditional flat-screen monitor.
    So, all in all, I would thoroughly recommend Windows 8.

  21. In November I splashed out on an SSD and did a clean install of Win 8. Installation was the quickest and easiest I have ever known (been doing that since Win 3.11). Everything worked first time and both attached printers were recognised.
    It took some getting used to as there are some (well documented) differences from previous versions, and the Metro screen does look somewhat blocky at first. However, it is fairly easy to personalise by resizing blocks, moving/adding/deleting them, and adding a picture of my own as background (although you need to download an app to do this). I like the way some of these app shortcuts on the Metro page can be ‘live’ -for example an app that can display currency exchange rates can be configured so that selected rates are shown on the shortcut button in rotation.
    Now that I have become comfortable with the UI, I find it very easy to use, and wouldn’t want to go back to Win 7, which was an excellent product itself. It is fast (helped by the SSD) and very stable. I can run old versions of MS Office &Money with no problem.
    I thoroughly recommend Win 8, although I do have one warning… You might, like me, get addicted to the solitaire daily challenges.

  22. Upgraded desktop pc using the downloaded version. Netgear wireless n usb dongle did not work after reboot. Had to insert another network card to download only available driver from Netgear which was a beta version. I do not have a touch screen which causes significant usability issues. Have subsequently added the open source windows Classic shell which reduces the pain. I have yet to appreciate anything Windows 8 offers to me that Windows 7 did well enough before. Not worth the hassle.

  23. I upgraded from Windows 7 on an elderly desktop (2.4 the, 4GB ram), mainly because my teenage son wanted to try it and it was on a cheap special offer. The upgrade was pretty smooth and it starts up much faster. The main selling point to me is that Bitlocker disk encryption is included in the basic Home version, whereas you have to buy Windows 7 Ultimate to get Bitlocker. Having lost one desktop in a burglary I don’t think it is overkill to use disk encryption on a desktop. Ironically enabling Bitlocker was the hardest part of the upgrade: after several hours working with Microsoft’s helpdesk we concluded that the option to use a key code installed on a usb stick did not work and I had to use a password for Bitlocker. The only other problem was having to upgrade Acronis True Image backup software, as predicted by the upgrade assistant. Like previous reviewers I find I go straight to the desktop and ignore tiles. I think this may change over time. I do miss the start menu and would go back to Windows 7 if not for Bitlocker.

  24. I can’t understand all the negative Windows 8 comments. I upgraded to Win 8 on my Toshiba Portege tablet pc when the upgrade became available. Backed up my pc and did a clean install.
    It’s fast, reliable, flexible. So there’s no start button? Just think of the start screen as your start menu. You can call it up any time using the Windows key. type the first couple of letters of the software you want to load, and there it is – much faster than clicking through a bloated start menu. All the old windows shortcuts still work so no issues there and the ability of many apps to have a Live Tile on the start screen is a boon when keeping an eye on all the many different feeds you may utilise.
    It works well on multiple monitors and is equally flexible whether used with a touchscreen or mouse/ touchpad/ keyboard.

    Start up is fast ( superfast if resuming from sleep or hibernate) and as for powering off – what can honestly be easier than pressing the power button or closing the lid of a laptop?

    The only thing I’ve tried which doesn’t run so far is an obsolete USB to Scsi interface which I use to access a couple of old scsi scanners. This hardware has had no device driver since windows XP. So I created a virtual XP machine using the free personal version of VMware and the device and the scanners are picked up and available without any issues!

    Yes, with any new operating system there is a learning curve but in this case it’s not that steep and well worth the effort. I think Win 8 will in time prove to be a huge success for Microsoft.

  25. Bought Samsung laptop with Windows 8 for my wife. Shop charged £30 to set it up – learnt from others it was money well spent. Benefits so far :- quick to boot up & access the internet, nice clear screen . Disadvantages : not immediately user friendly, minimal user manual from Samsung & none from Microsoft, so far not been able to operate touch tiles ( have to use mouse every time which cancels out it’s inherent speed) despite it being a machine with the facility. My wife hates window 8 & wishes she had stuck with the previous windows.

  26. I bought a Lenovo ideapad laptop in November 2012 that came with Windows 8 pre-installed. After one day I decided that it was the worst operating software i had ever used, worse than Millenium edition.

    It stubbonley refuses to connect to my home network,either by wi-fi or hard wiring. It constantly drops the internet connection. Its supplied version of MS Office crashes so often that it in becoming easier to use a piece of paper and pencil. It will not connect to my printer even using their own updated drivers. My own purchased software that works perfectly well under XP Pro will not load. Once this operating system is on you cannot get it off.

    Having spent two months trying to get to grips with it, overcoming the frustration to launch the laptop into space, I have decided to down grade to my own licensed version of XP Pro, albeit the support for this ends in 2015.

    While trying to do so I have now found out that when Windows 8 was installed it over writes the bios in the computer and isolates the hard drive so that it can only be accessed by Windows 8. Long discussions with Lenovo and Microsoft have not resolved the issue. it needs an expert to do it and costs have been estimated to be in the £150 region.

    To overcome this I am being forced to buy an new hard drive and deliver the laptop to an engineer to reset the bios and put on XP Pro software just so that I can carry on working and using my own purchased software.

    I am seriously considering contacting the relevant watchdog to report Microsoft for restrictive practice by chaining me in to this new operating software and having to expensively upgrade previously purchased software. It should not be allowed, Microsoft have always advertised that their software is always backward compatable. IT IS NOT.

    My advice is to stay well away from it. If you have to have it then be prepared for hair loss and supreme frustration.

  27. my old laptop gave up the ghost. I found an Acer laptop with a 15″ touch screen for a really good price. It took about a week to get used to using windows 8 but I really like it. Even the metro/flat UI is growing on me as I get used to dragging/switching/closing applications.

    When using it with two monitors it is excellent – traditional desktop on one monitor. windows 8 start menu on the other..

    a few problems with networking and some of the useful options in win7 have gone somewhere but other than that, it is faster and just as good to use.

  28. I just bought a new laptop with Windows 8 installed. I new it was different from my old XP but thought, “It can’t be that hard”. Was I ever wrong! I am trying to follow the book ‘Windows 8 for Dummies, For Seniors’ but still cannot make headway. It is totally bewildering, seemingly counter intuitive and obscure. OK I’ve only been using it for a few hours but the more I try to understand it the worse it gets. Anyone want to buy a brand new, hardly used computer?!

  29. Upgraded about 3 months ago on a w7 3year old Acer laptop, at first found it frustrating. However I have learnt to use the best of W8 and of course still have conventional desktop which I use for some tasks. The best bits of W8 are the social site integration, News which is also integrated and easy to read. I have a windows8 phone and I love the sync between calendar and people, only found 1 app that did not work, have downloaded several others which all work fine. Other plus point is W8 comes with its own security so no more annual subscriptions to Mcafee.

  30. I upgraded to Windows 8 64 bit as soon as it became available. My PC had previously been running a 32 bit version of Windows Vista and was running very poorly. I had been considering changing to Windows 7 but for the saving decided to ‘risk’ Windows 8. This is the first time I’ve every attempted to upgrade or reinstall an OS on my PC and found it a completely painless and straightforward experience.

    Windows 8 to me has been a massive improvement. My PC boots quickly and after a bit of getting used to the changes I find it a much better OS than Vista.

    The new start screen seems a bit gimmicky but I do probably find what I’m looking for quicker than on the old start menu. It may not be relevant but I run two screens which may help the experience.

    I was surprised to read Neil Wilson earlier mentioning issues with Office 2007, I’m still using Office 2003 and didn’t encounter any problems using it with Windows 8.

  31. Installed Win 8 on my Win 7 Desktop with 23in screen on second hard drive and dual boot. It all worked fine, but just did not see any advantage. Many of the apps invoked from the Metro screen would only work full screen which totally negates having a large screen. It may be fine on a tablet or small laptop but totally pointless otherwise. I have now wiped it off the system.

  32. For me there is only one issue:- Can 64 bit Windows 8 be made to look and feel like Windows 2000? Ever since 2000 Win2K with Office 2K have been all I ever needed to work with on the Desktop. Running File Manager from NT4 and AOl email are also important. Thankfully Classic shell all but does the navigation job for me by booting straight to the good old desktop and hides away all the new flashy start screen stuff and so called “Apps” that MS wants me to have. ( No chance!). The colour scheme is trickier and by creating a second user with a high contrast colour scheme I can get Word and Excel to look just like they used to. Nevertheless, I am still working on how to tweak the default colours in classic shell and I may yet need to learn how to use HyperV with Ubuntu and wine to run my older 16 bit programs. You may be asking why not stick with my old PC? Well I do want to have fast modern hardware and know that things are as secure as possible and are properly updated behind the scenes. This has been a big concern since MS withdrew support for Win2K in 2010.

    1. Hi Bongo, how do you do that colour thing on excel? I have just got window 8 but that stark white background is terrible on my eyes so read about high contrast and got my light blue background back. BUT, no colour shading options in excel which I use a lot. Also IE is affected as I cant use white back grounds. Any help on your solution please?

  33. Mixed views – the tile system looks good but you cant have more than one screen at a time open. Also windows mail does not work with POP3 servers which means i can’t use it.
    The really annoying thing was that the hardware manufacturer ASUS disabled Windows defender and put in ‘free ‘ 3 month Mcafee trial which i then had to download special software to get rid of and Windows defender still does not work. Also the system forces you – or ries to – into using BING as your search engine.
    Really no advantage over Windows 7 – they have solved a problem that did not exist!

  34. I have just bought an Acer touchscreen laptop with windows 8 installed. I hadn’t realised windows 8 was so different. My old laptop used vista. To be honest, even with a touch screen, windows 8 has been a nightmare. Two weeks later and having obtained two guide books, I am slowly getting to grips with it. When I first started the laptop I was completely out of my depth and couldn’t use it. It has caused my much frustration and tears. Everything I try and do is hard as it is so completely different to the previous windows and not in my opinion at all intuitive.
    Even things like opening a PDF file and printing a few pages is not straight forward. I still can’t figure out how to make the windows 8 reader print and I cant size the pages how I want. I have finally managed to install Adobe which at least I can use.
    Also my internet connection isn’t working properly and I haven’t the energy to sort that out. The wireless connection drops in and out and I have resorted to Ethernet for the time being.
    Previously updating from one windows system to another has been like learning a new dialect. This is like learning a new language. I feel totally out of my depth and it has wiped out the joy of having a new laptop.
    I suspect in time, I will get to grips with it, but I really feel that with a new system that is so totally different to the previous one, there should be more guidance. All the online guides are v basic and don’t cover the problems I have experienced. The same is true partly with the guides, but at least they are a bit more comprehensive.

  35. I recently bought a new laptop with windows 8 installed. I havnt used any sort of pc since 2005 (XP) & i found problems with it not recogniesing passwords and usernames. I changed my email details and all seems to be well now, a friend had the same problems and the same cure. I find Windows 8 to be intuitive and now I rarely see either desktop

  36. Like a lot of others I have found problems with Windows 8. After last weeks update I can’t get nor send e-mails. I Tunes won’t run, neither will an Adobe DNG Converter. The computer “say’s that they are ‘running’, but where”? This is on a new computer, fortunately still have the old one. Can Win 8 be taken off and replaced with Win 7?

  37. I bought a new desktop PC a few months back with Windows 8 pre-installed. I found W8 so awkward and frustrating to use that I sold the PC and bought a similar model with W7 on board. Admittedly this was a rather extreme knee-jerk reaction! Maybe I should have tried the fix described by Which? to restore the start button and familiar desktop.

    But the fact that so many people want to back-date their software in this way ought to tell Microsoft something!

    It seems to me that W8 is aimed at the smartphone generation, who use their devices mainly for gaming, watching videos etc. It doesn’t seem best suited for traditional office-type PC tasks.

    Maybe Microsoft will take this on board when Windows 9 (or whatever it may be called) comes along. But don’t hold your breath!

  38. Windows 8 is awful! Cannot find anything, cannot make the desktop clean and neat. Doesn’t acknowledge that I have 2 dvd drives. What does it do that I can’t do with Windows 7? Where is the start button??

  39. I bought a Dell lap top for my wife who is not used to computers. It came with windows 8. I have set up email for her – but the procerss was horrendous! Nothing like my old Vista program. It looks intuitive but doesn’t work that way.

    Sometimes the touch screen does not seem to respond, at others it is too sensitive and the App in use disappears and something else comes on. Using the cursor is unpredictable or has a time lag so you think it hasn’t registered.

    I thought it would be relatively easy for me to move into 8 but it is so different from previous Windows programs it is almost like trying to drive a car after previously only riding a bicycle. I guess it will work out OK but I would advise anybody switching to get a hand book and even they don’t/can’t entirely prepare you for it

  40. I have Windows 8 supplied with a Lenovo laptop. Overall it is quicker than Windows 7 and Windows Defender seems to work well as the Security software. I haven’t found a program which won’t run on it yet. My only complaints are the nuisance of getting to desktop, the power off options and specifically the annoyance of having to buy Windows Professional just to get Windows Media Center which was free with Windows 7. I haven’t bought Professional and use other free (but not as good) software to do the same job.
    I hope the new 8.1 will resolve some of the issues and more importantly will be a free upgrade.

  41. I hate Windows 8. I am using it on a laptop and it is clearly designed for a touchscreen tablet. I want a x to close a window, not try to drag the top of the window down. It can be hard doing that on a laptop. Why would anyone think that’s better on a non touchscreen device? Not having the Start menu is a bizarre decision. I can’t find anything. I find myself switching between the old desktop view and the new tiled view to find various things. I uploaded some photos to My Pictures, but could not work out how to make a new folder in the new view.
    It might be great on a touchscreen, but would recommend avoiding on a laptop.

  42. Well…. what can I say…. most people have said it all – nothing is where you’d normally expect to find it… if you manage to ‘trip over’ what you want you can’t find it a second time! It took me ages to find the controls to locate and contact to a network that I knew was there, I just had to log on to it!

    And…. when I did that d****mn Bing search engine!!!! I actually had the URL, but it put me onto the search and I couldn’t get off it!!! In the end I went into PC settings and, after searching, scrolling, playing, taking time I didn’t have (because I was at a presentation) that I needed a particular web site for…. I eventually managed to shut the thing off! Now that my PC just uses Internet Explorer finding my specific site was easy!

    I for one am going straight to “www.classicstart” to switch back to the old, normal, user friendly, start up page! Has no one at Microsoft heard of that phrase “If it ain’t broke…. don’t fix it!”

    I just hope using the screens to perform this download is easier than trying to use anything else on Windows 8….

    Oh… sorry, didn’t mean to beat about the bush, maybe I shouldn’t just said it straight…

    I don’t like it!!!

  43. On looking through your pages, recommendations etc… and looked at some video on using Windows 8, it would appear that, it’s good’ish on and for touch screen hardware… but loading it onto a ‘normal’ PC isn’t too clever…. it is really hard work!

  44. It never seems to do the same darn thing twice the same way. Trying to teach my wife how to use it is totally frustrating because what she has learnt to do doesn’t work the next time and when I eventually sort it out I can’t remember what I did!

    I agree It’s infuriating getting Bing when you don’t want it.

    The touch screen is very variably sensitive (but I suppose that might be Dell and not M’soft’s fault.) – it defeats the whole object & we are finding it easier using a wireless mouse and going on to Desk Top for much of the time.

    No manual came with it and the current guides don’t address many of the problems we encounter. It won’t operate my 4 year old Canon colour printer and Canon say they don’t intend to make a soft ware update.

    If this was a car I would quite possibly demand my money back. – It’s a case of Microsoft trying to be Apple and failing miserably. Why didn’t they try it out with more of ordinary Joe Public and this could have been avoided What a shame when it could have been so good.

  45. I recently bought a new HP laptop at PC World. There are two disappointments. One is the appalling Windows 8, and the other is the glaringly apparent HP policy of cheapening their pc product cost while filling the pc with loads of “apps” that are available but at a cost to the pc buyer. Even the previously free games that used to be included in Windows systems now have to be paid for.

    I shall never buy another HP computer, and I will not buy another Windows 8 type system. Neither will I again buy from PC World.

    PC World is not sympathetic. I had difficulty attracting the attention of the store “manager” who was occupying his time strolling around the store with his hands behind his back and who had neither the power nor the interest to solve my dilemma when I tried to return the pc within 7 days of purchase.

  46. Windows 8? Opaque, confusing, unpredictable, impenetrable and unusable.
    Odd things happen for no apparent reason; when something should happen, it frequently doesn’t!
    Nothing is obvious; nothing is where it’s expected to be; it’s almost impossible to find anything.
    Would I choose it? No, no, no. It is horrible.

  47. Win8 – RUBBISH!!

    Microsoft clearly did not learn its lesson with Vista, Win8 is even worse. WE have tested Win8 for several weeks, and have decided that our future corporate strategy will be based on Apple machines.

    Goodbye Windows, the time waste using windows is too great, and if Microsoft can’t get thing right, it is time to leave!

    1. I have to agree. Windows 8 is a nightmare.

      I too thought about upgrading to a Mac but made the mistake of sticking with a PC. This was a really big mistake,

      Main problem with windows 8 is instability and Registry problems with repeated crashing. I sorted this out by reloading windows 8 and re installing all my software, only to have the problem recur.

      There is no way that this software can be a success and it needs to be binned.

      Microsoft needs to review its customer services if it is to stay in business

  48. I made what I now realise was a mistake when I bought a new PC about 21/2 years ago, and recently decided to get a new laptop with an equivalent spec. to replace it. Having read all the reviews about Windows 8, I formed the opinion that it worked best on touchscreen devices – I have a tablet but prefer a ‘proper’ keyboard and didn’t want a touchscreen, so I have bought a laptop with Windows 7 installed, which I believe is the best compromise for me at the moment.

  49. Absolutely horrendous. I’m now going to try and uninstall it and revert if possible to windows 7. I never thought the new system would be so counterintuitive and so different from the previous one. I just wish I’d read the reviews on here but no one would ever expect something so awful. I would simply reiterate everything the previous posters have said. I bought a new laptop with this beastly system on it and I just HATE it. Avoid this system like the plague!

  50. I first commented last May – nothing since then has changed my view that Microsoft have designed a very user unfriendly product. My own desktop is ready fo replacement – Apple here I come1

  51. The comments on Windows 8 are extraordinary. We have a desktop, a laptop without a touch screen, a Surface tablet and a hybrid tablet/netbook. Experience has shown W8 and especially 8.1 to be faster than W7 and easier to use. The range of Windows key shortcuts make accessing the control panel or file explorer and other programs much more convenient and the taskbar can easily be set to launch all the programs we use regularly. It seems that most commentators have simply not learnt to use the improved facilities.

    1. I suspect Tom is more computer literate than many. I started out from a virtually zero base with Windows around 1993 and found my way round very easily – and moved on through later versions to Vista, which isn”t as bad as some say but certainly not as good as Microsoft say either.

      I bought Windows 8 on a lap top as a present for my wife, who has no computer experience, persuaded by Microft’s publicity and confident I would be able to lead her throught it. How wrong I was – I find it inconsistent and clumsy.

      I have had no experience of Apple but my son in law and daughter both use it for personal use – they use Windows at work but feel there is no comparison. I have had no trouble understanding their personal lap tops etc – it is far more intuitive.

      A frustration is that when Microsoft bring out new Windows progrmams they are often not compatible with older ones – for instance as a committee secretary I have to email documents to members – when I got Vista they couldn’t open the documents – we got round it but it meant saving documents differently. Also Canon advise me Windows 8 does not support our colour printer. I am advised that this sort of thing happens with Apple.

      If there was more competition Microsoft would be bust by now

  52. Frustration – not easy to use – Tech help okay till you use your computer again and something else that did work won’t work. No easy guide as to how to use it. The Dell touchscreen is okay but no great shakes a mouse is just as good. How I wish I had purchased Windows 7 which I have on my laptop but if I use the disc to install it on my Supposed to be new singing and dancing touchscreen Dell pc I am committing piracy!!! even though I own it. in a nutshell ”Very Disappointed ” Will do more homework next time and not listen to others

  53. After 8 happy years with my old Dell which had Windows XP I decided to “upgrade” to a new tower with Windows 8. Silly me. Backed up all my files on an external hard drive only to find that Windows 8 won’t read any of them. Bad enough losing all my correspondence but 8 years of family tree research is unreadable too. Have wasted so much time recently just trying to find my way round. I am not a techie (although I’ve found solutions to some of my problems so I must be improving) and XP was idiot proof – ideal for most of us. I have a tablet but wanted a PC to use spreadsheets, word processing etc. Shouldn’t have bothered

    1. Perhaps a downgrade toWindows7 would be one way of solving the problem and if you saved your files on an external hard drive they should still be there. Have you contacted whoever sold you the computer?

    2. Hi Barbara

      I have used some kind of “backup” program to put your files onto the external hard drive it is possible that you have been unlucky and managed to use a backup format that Windows 8 cannot read.

      If instead you just copy your files onto the external hardrive, e.g. just using FileManager in XP, then Windows 8 should be able to read all the files.

  54. 8.1 absolute crap. Worst os ever from Microsoft. Worse even than Vista!
    Microsoft are robbers. They stopped support for XP just to make people buy new machines or pay to update.
    I’m off to Linux Zorin. It’s FREE! and long term supported.

  55. I think Windows 8 is the worst operating software that has ever been made. I have had nothing but trouble with it! I bought a brand new pc with w8 installed, unbeknownst to me it did not come with a rebootable disc and when I installed the first update I got the black screen of doom. The pc could do nothing and I couldn’t format it as I hadn’t know I had to make the disc myself. After 4 weeks without a pc, I had to buy another copy of w8 to get the pc going again.
    Since that point I am having nothing but trouble with silly glitches and freezing problems. I miss the good old XP days, when everything did just what you wanted it to.
    Right now my pc has crashed, I have no idea why and it won’t let me update it to fix it. Folders are taking forever to load (if they load at all) and the start up screen (or metro tiles) won’t load! I hate that I’ve paid Microsoft so much of my hard earned money for something that refuses to work properly!

    1. Hi Caudia, I am sorry to hear you have had so much bother. Microsoft really don’t seem to have bothered to make sure that their new OS actually works properly (including all “updates”) on all the hardware it is sold on.

      I hope others will take note of the issue of needing bootable backup discs and make sure they don’t end up without them.

      In my experience, most PCs sold for home use no longer supply them (a cost saving measure?). Instead they expect owners to make their own (either to DVD or to USB stick) from supplied images on the hard disc. Some machines also include a bootable recovery partition on their hard discs but obviously those give you no protection if the hard disc itself develops a fault.

      Now that you have demonstrated your ability to load an operating system from scratch and if you are unreservedly determined to continue hating Microsoft (at least until such time as they bring out anything as good as XP) and if you can still access the internet, you may wish to consider the alternatives to Windows, e.g. as discussed in various other threads on these pages. Personally I’ve not used Windows as main home OS for a while now – I have to use Linux and Unix in my day job so I now use them at home too. At least for my modest needs, a good free version of Linux is the next best thing to having a supported and secure version of XP.

    2. Thank you for your reply Derek. I have been thinking of Linux though it does mean I can’t play quite a few of my pc games, which is a shame. I certainly want to stop using MS if I can.

  56. Windows 8 seems to be hated by the vast majority of commentators, here and elsewhere (including me). I wonder whether Microsoft will listen to customers and revert to something more like Windows 7 when they bring out their next version (Windows 9, or whatever it might be called)?

    1. As maxwild has pointed out, folk with no axe to grind against Windows have little incentive to comment, so you might get a somewhat skewed view on here.

      Nonetheless, if Which? is about customer choice, it may be pertinent to note that laptops (and other proper PCs) are available running (at least) the following OSes:

      Windows XP
      Windows Vista
      Windows 7
      Windows 8
      OS X

    2. Fair point – though I’ve no axe to grind against Windows in general, having used version 3.1 and most of the incarnations since. I’m using W7 now. It’s just W8 I have a gripe about!

  57. I generally dislike Microsoft’s apparent tendency never to consider users’ REAL needs – neither the very differing needs of new users or those of very experienced users – when launching new software versions.As a very experienced user, I know what I need, but Microsoft in their infinite wisdom insist that I do things the way they deem right. Additionally, when you hit difficulties, with few exceptions you’ve got to really work hard to get a full and sufficient fix for your difficulty.
    HOWEVER – WINDOWS 8 IS THE EXCEPTION. After a few initial confusions, and once I found my way around it, I’ve got to say it is excellent and their best OS to date….. it does really come into its own on a touch screen, but it’s perfectly easy to use on a non-touch machine – I’m currently having to do so myself because I was stupid enough to drop my tablet and crack the cover glass!!

  58. I spent £800 on an Acer touchscreen laptop with windows 8. It has been the single worst purchase of my life. Windows 8 was reasonably straight forward to use, if a little annoying (the tab system seems more like a platform to advertise to you than anything else). But the real trouble came when I updated to 8.1. The computer had permanent issues connecting to the internet, and it simply could not be fixed. I simply returned to factory settings but the problems continued and the fan started playing up. The system upgrades every 2 days and this takes about 5-10 minutes. It was hell. Finally the computer died on me after 1 year and 2 months.
    I have now bought an apple mac and said goodbye to PCs and Windows all eternity. I think microsoft should refund everyone who has had the misfortune to buy their rubbish products. If they cannot (within reason) guarantee that their product will work they should not put in out on the market.

  59. All I can say is thank God I have an i-Mac running windows XP via Parallels.
    My girl friend bought a new laptop about 4 months ago with ‘8’ installed..
    When I go to stay with her and use her lappy to check my E’s it drives me round the twist I CAN’T STAND IT!
    The most annoying things I find are the date window that keeps popping up from the bottom left unannounced, unwanted & uncalled for. It obscures the work I am doing, also trying to get the right hand ‘shadow’ menu to open when you want it is a nightmare and then just when you don’t want it, it opens of it’s own accord!.The tiles are a joke and a pain in the a**e.
    OK, I admit, I’m a dinosaur. But that’s what I think. I will certainly NEVER buy a Windows O/S computer until Microsoft come out with a decent O/S. Also They are rip off merchants, charging for upgrades. Apple supply them free!

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