A customer asked me after a succesful Windows 8 migration if the new Windows 8 tablets can be a good replacement for the iPad.
The decision was made for the Acer Iconia W700 tablet. This tablet runs Windows 8 and because of this all Windows application should be able to run on this tablet.
The first thing what is noticing my attention is the professional and decent look of the tablet. Unfortunately this cannot be said about the dockingstation. Sliding the tablet in and out the dockingstation is a real hassle and took even some force to do. I asked several users to try and they didn’t dare to use the necessary force to take it out of the docking. Slide it in the docking was a hassle as well. The connectors were some millimeters different in the docking and tablet which resulted in this annoying swap procedure. A real fail IMHO.
The next issue was that the tablet needs Windows 8 Pro because they had to be able to logon a domain. Weird thing is that an upgrade of Windows XP or higher to Windows 8 Pro cost you in the Netherlands via the webshop of Microsoft € 29,95. Now I was only able to choose the Windows 8 Pro Media Pack for € 59,95 while in the US webshop you can choose to upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro for $ 39,95. We only need Pro because of logon a domain and we didn’t need the media center. When starting the W700 the free disk space was 35.8 GB. After installing this update it was 35.5 GB. 300 MB so that wasn’t that bad. But 35.5 GB free for a product that markets it’s as 64GB version is a bit… disappointing. We did eventually bought the pack for € 59,95 as we need the domain feature.
Now was the time for the real testing. I have to say that the i3 did it’s work fast and the SSD was also working fast which makes the system run smoothly.
I noticed that few times the WiFi connection was lost. I took other WiFi routers but still the wireless connection disappeared every 10-15 minutes. Not nice in a professional environment.
Speed testing showed the W700 via WiFi on www.speedtest.net doing 48 Mbit/s download and 9,8 Mbit/s upload which I rarely saw on a netbook or tablet. Only sad it isn’t stable, which is more important. You can see the potential of Windows 8 here. Running Internet Explorer with Adobe Flash on website running smoothly was impressive.
At the moment the W700 was in the domain I was unable to run Acer Ring, it stops with an error. Pitty. I think something to do with permissions. Internet Explorer also closed 2 times with an error while working.
Not really a stable system if you are asking me. I believe that this can be solved by fine tuning the system and eventually upgrading some drivers.
The things which cannot be neglected are the design limitations. I don’t want to call it design mistakes but surely Acer didn’t think about this serious. How can it happen I have this issues after working with the W700 after a few hours. Don’t they test their products by normal users? Also those review sites lack this IMHO. Are the people afraid to give honest reviews nowadays?
The dockingstation issue gave some irritation when you want the W700 often to on the road. Even worse are the fans. On the internet a lot of reviewers wrote they weren’t noticeable. I think those people are deaf. The noise was giving me a flashback on the notebook of 5 years ago. Reading quitly a book isn’t an options with this annoying noise. Even not when I choose the energy profile energy saving. Than I noticed the worst issue…. When you use the W700 in portrait mode you holding the tablet with both hands and your right hand is blocking 1 fan which you will notice fast by getting really warm soon, within 5 minutes working. Not handy when reading a book. A real fail.
During testing the connection failed several times so I was considering a negative advice. This would give a lot of misery in words of supporting this device.
When the network disappeared and the icons on the desktop as result the only solution you have to get back your icons is pressing F5 (refresh).
I’ve searched and searched but was not able to find functions keys on the soft keyboard on the tablet. I had to fall back to the supplied Acer bluetooth keyboard which is working well. But I had to think immediately that it was mandatory to be able to working mobile with the Acer W700. (update: I found a setting to enable the function keys, hidden in settings, normal users are not able to find this easily. Google results with solutions now appear online).
I was now sure. I didn’t want to burn my fingers on this baby. The user had to live with compromises, lot’s of them. The iPad is for now the most stable solution.
I said I will give it another chance soon. Microsoft Surface Pro will be released in januari 2013. Maybe it’s all better made than at Acer. We will see.
Last month Microsoft introduced the latest Windows version named Windows 8. With Windows 8 Microsoft is going to true to conquer also the tablet market. In this article I will first discus some casual user interests. Later on I will show some indepth information which is interesting for business users and tweakers.
I’m not going to explain the differences between Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT, see Microsoft article.
Fast after the introduction I got some requests for migrate some Windows 7 computers to Windows 8. Microsoft had on their site that all Windows 7 application will work on Windows 8.
Download Windows 8 or buy the retail box?
At first I wanted to buy the retail upgrade DVD box in the shop. Windows 8 Pro cost in this case € 59,99 (Dutch price in Euros). Then I went to search for the Windows 8 Upgrade Advisor tool and found out when this tool is finished checking your computer you can order Windows 8 by legally download it for € 29,99. I didn’t want a DVD and also saved the time for going to the shop and had an extra saving of 20 20 euros.
You can start the tool by visiting Microsofts site Buy Windows page (you now know for sure you have legal and genuine software) and choose “Download Pro for € 29,99”.
Migrate Windows 7 to Windows 8
I checked it myself several times and I have to say that the migration process till now works flawless. The setup program checks whether it is ok to migrate and what to do step by step.
Of all the migrations I did till today 75% were companies who had Small Business Server 2008 running with Windows 7 computers while the other 25% had notebooks/laptop which weren’t connected to a domain controller. All versions were 64 bit. Application works all flawless. Accounting programs like KING work well on Windows 8. Unit4 has even support for Windows 8 and also supporting tiles in Modern UI.
Getting from 64 bit Windows 7 you can easily upgrade to Windows 8 Pro 64 bit. I don’t expect problems with this, Microsoft did a good job.
New in Windows 8
Most discussed topic regarding Windows 8 is ofcourse it’s new user interface. The UI. In test version this UI was named Metro but now Microsoft is naming it Modern UI. With this new approach Microsoft wants to achieve you experience using your device more easy. How many people do start their computer to check email or read facebook messages? Not many people do this. More and more people are using smartphones and tablets. It’s good Microsoft tries to uniform the UI on those different devices. For current computer users the UI is maybe strange but new users will take advantage of seeing the UI on more and more devices and so can use it easier.
The discussion if Windows 8 is going to be a success or not starts to get a century old topic. Last century users were complaining about the transsition from Windows 3.x to Windows 95 but it was easier to use. The same happened from Win95/98 to Vista and from Vista to Windows 7. People, read users, do not like change. But till today I have to admit that everytime Microsoft had done it right. Everytime I think wow… Microsoft did saw that trend ready for mainstream users. I think, after while working with Windows 8, that they made a strong OS which is able to stay number 1 in desktop OS but also has the power to win a lot of tablet and smartphone users. Well done.
What in it for business users of Windows 8?
Windows 8 Pro is the business version of Windows. You are able with this version to connect your device to the domain of your company server. At the moment this will be most likely the Windows 2008 Server solutions like Windows 2008 Server, Windows 2008R2 server or Small Business Server 2008. Soon the succesor of SBS2008 is released and this will be named Windows 2012 Essentials. As Windows upgrade you get temporary Windows 8 Pro for € 29,99 liked mentioned above. If you bought a notebook, tablet or PC with Windows preinstalled it can be version Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro. In the case you have Windows 8 installed you can get for a temporary discounted price an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro. I found this when I found this link on the Microsoft website.
Windows 8 for tweakers
Often Windows 8 is mistaken by reviewers as a beginners operating system for dummies, but the truth is different. If I check out the detailed features I see a lot of happy system administrators and tweakers who will not go back to Windows 7. I show a little example like the new Windows 8 task manager.
Windows 7 backup file recovery in Windows 8 ?
When I had migrated a few Windows 7 Ultimate systems to Windows 8 Pro I was thinking why it’s using Windows 7 backup system and not the new Windows 8 version.
You have to disable manually the Windows 7 backup system and activate yourself the new Windows 8 file history. File history is almost the same then Apple’s TimeMachine or LaCie time explorer solution.
On the 14th of september Windows 8 Developer Edition was downloadable for the public via Microsoft. With this test version Microsoft takes a new approach. They want that as much as possible people test this version. It’s not necessary anymore to register or activate this software. Everyone is able to download this for free.
What immediately draws the attention is the new Metro UI. A Windows Phone alike structure. Easy for touchscreens and other future features. A lot of expectations of this. I found it a bit strange to use but I think it has indeed a lot of potential.
In Windows 8 they integrated also XBOX Live. Games of XBOX Live can be played from your Windows 8.
I also noticed little changes regarding file management. Copying from multiple destinations is better organised. You have better control over all the processes. Very well done, handy.
I also noticed that Windows 8 was very responsive. Starting my old notebook was really quick. A nice surprise. They gained a lot of speed from the Plug and Play section. Smart done.
Nice feature was that I was installing a program and it notified me automatically it was dependant of .NET 3.5.1. and was trying to install it from Windows Update. This wasn’t working on my version. I think maybe because I was in a domain with WSUS. Downloading and starting manually Windows Update didn’t work either. Maybe this is not available yet. The principle of this is well done. I like it.
I installed Windows 8 on VMWare Workstation 8 because the previous VMWare didn’t support installation of Windows 8. The system requirements of Windows 8 are the same as Windows 7.
Here is a video of my installation of Windows 8 Developer Edition on VMWare workstation 8 :