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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Windows 8: The Countdown Begins

It's almost that time again, the time when the next version of Microsoft Windows makes its way from Microsoft into the hands of users everywhere.

According to Microsoft, Windows 8 will be put in the hands of OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers, or quite simply, the big computer companies which make the computers you buy) in August. From there, they will have some time to develop and test drivers for the new operating system, as well as come up with ideas for new computer products, all leading up to the big release day.

Microsoft says that Windows 8 will be released on October 26, 2012. This release date applies to new Windows 8 computers and to upgrades from previous versions of Windows. I have mentioned in previous blog posts that you don't need to buy new hardware just to run the next version of Windows 7 this time, meaning that if your computer runs Windows 7 well (or even Windows Vista, as bad as that was, well), it can run Windows 8 (in place). To provide an incentive to upgrade, through January 31 of next year, Microsoft is running a special upgrade price, $39.99. The only catch here is that you must be running Windows XP or later, but I can't think of many situations where this wouldn't be the case. If you're the kind of person which likes the install files on physical media, a packaged DVD upgrade to Windows 8 (Pro) will cost you $69.99 during the same period of time.

If you go the upgrade route, the kinds of files and settings you can migrate depend on which version of Windows you are upgrading from. Users running any flavor of Windows 7 can upgrade to Windows 8 pro and migrate everything along which includes your Windows settings, personal files, and apps. Users running Windows Vista can only migrate your Windows settings and personal files. Users running Windows XP will only be able to migrate your personal files. In many instances, a backup of any important files on the computer and a clean install (meaning that you start fresh) will be the best option to choose.

If you really want to jump on the touch features found in Windows 8 and currently don't have a tablet pc or slate pc, you might want to just wait until the OEMs come out with some offerings with touch/stylus and go with that. Even if touch is not a big factor for you, the performance fixes/new features should entice you to upgrade. With Windows 8, you get the new Metro UI, which is the new user interface standard with Windows, as well as Xbox Live, Zune (excuse me, I mean "Xbox Music"), and the Windows Marketplace.

With the upgrade, you can now download it and use a big enough usb drive or a dvd as install media. Judging from my experiences with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview/Release Preview, you will need a usb drive which is 8gb or bigger if you choose to use a usb drive as install media. Now granted, you could also do this with Windows 7 as well, but this time, the download and create your own install media thing is much more mainstream.

If you wait to buy until after the promotional period or wait for a boxed retail version of Windows 8 to come out, there is no word yet on how much you will have to pay for it. I guess then, we will just have to wait and see what happens. If just can't wait until October, the release preview of Windows 8 is still available for you to download and install. Remember: no matter what you do, ALWAYS BACKUP IMPORTANT FILES FIRST before doing any major operations on your hard drive such as (re)installing Windows

My prediction is that it will be the consumers (and a little more than just the early adopters this time with the cheap upgrade price) which will be the first to jump on Windows 8. Businesses and organizations will wait until at least the first Windows 8 service pack comes out before any upgrades happen.

If you have any thoughts or comments on anything related to Windows 8, feel free to share them via the comment box below.You can also find me on twitter (twitter username is @rctechgeek). Feel free to subscribe to my rss feed too. I am now on Tumblr now as well (link to Tumblr is, so please follow me on Tumblr too.

If you're at work now and can't seem to stay awake or if your're driving to work and you need that coffee to get you going in the morning, drink some tasty Mystic Monk Coffee (use this link or click on the picture below to access the store and purchase). Trust me, it's good coffee (in most instances, much better than Starbucks coffee) and you won't regret buying some (just keep it away from your computer keyboard or laptop/tablet). For the summer, they are also offering Iced Coffee as well. If you like tea more than coffee, they also offer tea. Using the link (or picture below) to buy the coffee (or tea) helps the monks out and helps me with college expenses as well.

Feel free to try out my apps for Windows Phone: Mobile Media Manager, a media player app I made which has some features which (I feel) are missing from the system Zune player, and BSA Eagle Tracker, an app that boy scouts can use to track their progress to Eagle Scout (when the scout handbook isn't always handy). New versions of the media player with new features/bug fixes is coming within a week (most likely sooner than this, but definitely within 2 weeks) of passing Microsoft Apphub certification. BSA Eagle Tracker is also getting a bug fix for an obscure bug I noticed recently.

BSA Eagle Tracker download:
Mobile Media Manager (paid version) download:
Mobile Media Manager (free version) download:

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