Pondering a Jump to Windows 8.1? Test Drive the OS for Three Months

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Further Update:

I have been giving you all bad advice lately regarding Acronis True Image for use with Windows 8.1

Further testing revealed that the newest FREE version of Acronis for Western Digital drives actually does work after I downloaded another copy of it from Western Digital

The same copy I had tried last week turned out to be corrupt....
However, The Free copy has limited functionality to get you to purchase the program

For anyone wishing to use the easiest FREE version of Acronis with Windows 8.1, that would be Version 14192 from Western Digital.
That copy still works with Windows 8.1, is easy to use and is fully functional for what I need

The version listed at Western Digital's site "IS" version 14192 but when you click the download link, it provides the newer and crappier 2013 version with limited functionality

If you still have the older 14192 version, DO NOT LOSE IT!
Because FREE is Good!
FREE and Non-Gimped is Better
FREE, Non-Gimped and easiest to use is Best

You have been warned!

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JaxJaguar

I signed up & attempted to download Windows 8.1. No matter what I did, the download never starts. Basically nothing ever happened. If they want folks to evaluate the software, you might want to make sure the download link works. Just sayin........

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Bullwinkle J Moose

The newest Acronis Backup failed to install on Windows 8.1 "Enterprise"

Even the older Acronis boot drive failed to boot with Windows 8.1 installed so I could not make a backup using a boot drive

Windows Disk Imager did a fine job of creating a disk image nearly 8GB in size but would need to be stored on a portable drive in the event of boot drive failure and would be useless without a copy of Windows to Go to boot to assuming that that would even work

Lucky for you that Microsoft sends all your data and Bitlocker Decryption Keys to a Microsoft Server so your browsing habits, personal data and complete search info is safe even though you won't be able to use any of that data

Now if we could just get the NSA to restore our data after an SSD failure on a Surface Device we would be all set

ENTERPISE O.S. ???

Who's Enterprise are we talking about here?

Windows 8.1 Boot time was 50 seconds on a 5400 RPM laptop drive which is the same test drive I use for other operating system including Windows XP which booted in 21 seconds from the same drive and same computer without a UEFI BIOS to skew the results
Disclaimer: This was just the first boot test I did using the 64 bit version of 8.1 however which "may" have affected boot time sleightly
I also tried to tweak 8.1 to speed it up which might have actually slowed it down
Next time I will try the 32 bit version of 8.1 without removing net framework 4.5, Internet Explorer 11, Windows media player, print services, remote differential compression, file sharing support, Windows location provider, powershell 2.0, work folders client, XPS services and XPS viewer

Windows 8.1 disk imager backup was almost 8GB
Windows XP backups are 487 to almost 800MB depending on setup tweaks and software/driver installs

Did I miss the improvements in 8.1?
Please point out the non-NSA end user improvements I may have missed

Thanks

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Backup Update!

If you are a cheap-ass like me, the Latest Free Western Digital edition of Acronis True Image is out of date and will not work with Windows 8.1 yet

However,
Acronis Backup works fine if you download the 2014 Trial or Full Edition from Acronis directly

Sorry for any confusion

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Update:
Windows 8.1 32-bit fresh install, no mods or updates = 32 second boot time to same drive on same computer

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

No phone or tablet UI on my PC, thank you.

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pastorbob

That is a great idea. Glad to see Microsoft is willing to work with the undecided. The haters are pretty much a lost cause so court the people who are willing to try it out for themselves and make an informed decision. Good marketing strategy.

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Hawkzro

I don't understand why everyone keeps saying that windows 8 is a fail of an operating system. Yes it probably isn't Microsoft's most popular OS to be released, but in all honesty it has been the most stable OS launches from MS that I've ever used. I did the whole upgrade to windows 8 pro from windows 7 pro back when it first released, mainly because I figured might as well get it on the cheap while I can and if I didn't like it just revert back to windows 7. But heck, I haven't really had any notable problems with 8 since I've used it! So despite what all you h8ers say, windows 8 is definitely not a fail when it comes to OS stability and compatibility! Just sayin! Oh and for all the haters on MPC, I'm not sure if they get any money from MS or not, but fuck! All they're doing is giving us an update that MS has released an 8.1 trial with an easy download and install. So who the fuck cares if they got paid to say it or not, besides it's a job, they're going to be getting paid by someone!

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Paul_Lilly

Just to clarify, the answer is "no," we don't receive kickbacks for posting stuff like this, nor would we accept any if offered (which we haven't been).

I chose to write this piece because I figured MPC readers would appreciate being able to try out Windows 8.1 for an extended period at no cost. If someone tries it out and decides they don't like it, I think it's better to find that out for free rather than buying a copy beforehand.

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limitbreaker

Thank you for that statement, that is good to know and I believe you.
:-)

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QUINTIX256

The instant MS releases an app that allows capacitive touch pocket computers (I refuse to use the term smartphone) to act as true one-to-one analogue touchpad substitutes (since laptop OEMs are insisting on bundling fake button-shortcut mapped resistive multitouch pads) will be the instant people will stop insisting "a phone/tablet OS does not belong on a laptop/desktop."

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

Ummm...no. It will take more than that.

Safe to say most people don't give a shit if M$ wants to add a lame phone UI to Windows, provided it was entirely optional, as are other accessibility features. Only the traditional desktop (which was designed with work in mind) can meet the needs of business and desktop users. The Metro UI was designed for ready access to social media content. It is a couch UI at best and cripples productivity (just go explore what happens to the desktop when you resize Metro).

The idea that PC users will flock to Windows Surface tablets and phones because M$ gimped Windows on the PC is laughable, and highlights the problems of allowing salesmen to design products. You can't let those coke heads anywhere near engineering and expect thoughtful, meaningful design improvements.

So, Metro would have to be completely optional from the start, with no tricks or gimmicks included to pull business and desktop users back into that pile of shit.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Are we having fun yet?

Is Full Disk Encryption on by default in this Trial Edition?

How big is your backup?

Has anyone simulated a hard disk or SSD failure yet and tried to restore a backup to a new drive?

How did that go?

Does Acronis True Image or any other worthwhile Backup utility work with 8.1 yet or must you restore to the same drive with Windows disk imager?

These are basic questions for an "Enterprise" O.S. so it would be nice to have some basic answers

Anyone got any?

and how easy would it be to restore a backup image to a surface device after the SSD goes belly up?

Can you do it without an Internet connection or must you use the online NSA backup?

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Engelsstaub

I know this is OT but since you brought it up I have a srs question of my own: if the NSA has backdoors into full disk encryption then why are we always seeing stories of defendants being court-ordered to decrypt their HDDs?

Not a rhetorical question. Ars seems to always have stories like this and there's always some controversy about whether an accused defendant is being unlawfully forced into self-incrimination by courts. Many of these cases seem to be a big enough deal that forensics experts in local law enforcement and FBI should be able to have access to these same backdoors. Thoughts?

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Quote:
".....forensics experts in local law enforcement and FBI should be able to have access to these same backdoors. Thoughts?"
----------------------------------------------
Answer:
They apparently do now with Windows 8.1 as long as the hardware supports automatic encryption

Here is an excellent article on the subject stating that decryption keys are sent directly to Microsoft servers just in case "YOU" are locked out of your own data >

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/10/windows-8-1-includes-seamless-automatic-disk-encryption-if-your-pc-supports-it/

I would add here that access to the decryption keys would only be needed for local law enforcement and the FBI.
The NSA would never need these decryption keys for any Court Case as you will soon see by following the Snowden revelations and the many articles currently surrounding this topic!

Stay Tuned

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Thiazolium

Quote: "...if you’re not comfortable storing your encryption key on Microsoft’s servers via your Microsoft account, for example. BitLocker doesn’t dictate where or how you store your encryption key, making it a better choice for those who want full control over their system’s protection. If your system supports the feature and you’d like to opt out in favor of something you control, you can turn it off in the PC Info section in Windows 8.1’s settings. The automatic encryption is also opt-in if you upgrade to Windows 8.1 on a Windows 8 system that supports the feature."

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/10/windows-8-1-includes-seamless-automatic-disk-encryption-if-your-pc-supports-it/

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Quote:
"If your system supports the feature and you’d like to opt out in favor of something you control, you can turn it off in the PC Info section in Windows 8.1’s settings."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Opting out is not a valid response for the 90% of people who just "USE" a computer and don't understand the Global ramifications of sending your keys by default

If you truly want to protect the National Security of the American People, then even "Opting In" should be restricted to only those individuals who truly understand what the ramifications are today as well as down the road

and can you trust these Circus Clowns who claim to protect you when we find out they have lied every single time they claim anything at all?

Microsoft always claims that they are not responsible for anything they do,
so what happens when the Microsoft servers get hacked?

Or what happens when Microsoft "allows" a Government agency access to all the keys and then publicly claims it was the evil hackers who stole the keys as an excuse for when they get caught (plausible deniability)

That is what they did when they got caught planting stuxnet isn't it?

If you cannot provide your own security, you have NONE!

Microsoft is a National Security Threat and should be treated as such

They only "Claim" to protect you and get all flustered and indignant if you try to provide your own security

Why should they even care if you provide your own security, or see the sourcecode to Windows, or modify it to provide "actual" security?

Why would they care?

If you are honest with yourself, you already know the answer

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Perception in the spy game "seems to be" a major issue

If the encryption is "Not" NSA approved and backdoored, then why can't everyone have a copy of the sourcecode?
The sorcecode is suposedly protected by Copyright and patents after all, but if it "is" backdoored, then why would they want everyone to believe it is secure without actually "proving" that it is secure?

Is it to give the "perception" that your data is untouchable in a Kangaroo Court when they already know what is on your drive?

Why?
Is it because the NSA needs the "perception" of untouchable data in order to keep an eye on all the lower minions in the FBI and Local Law Enforcement as well as the public?

Must the perception remain in play in order to gather future intel?

You pose an Excellent Question and until it is answered with "proof" instead of the "because we say so" crap we have been getting, I think we should look at the problem more closely until it is answered and treat ALL data as if it "IS" vulnerable to eavesdropping.....

That "IS" the only way to protect it after all, and the fact that you can't get a straight answer to any of your questions is in itself a major clue to the puzzle

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jonnyohio

Well, this is awesome. I haven't been too sure about Win 8...I've been wanting to explore it since the update was announced but didn't want to plunk down money and find out I didn't like it. Can't wait to play with it!...thanks for letting us know.

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acidic

w8 came installed on my new laptop. i tried it for a few weeks then went ahead and installed classic shell. still getting used to a few things but other than that it seems pretty quick and smooth. here is a link for 120 day trials and the steps needed to download the 8.1 iso.

http://www.heidoc.net/joomla/technology-science/microsoft/70-windows-8-direct-download-links

i think im gonna try 8.1 out on my gaming rig with a few spare drives i have laying around to see how it performs on a real machine instead of a cheap laptop

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Engelsstaub

Why can't people just say they hate something once and just move on with their lives? Nobody has to buy or use anything they don't like.

I'm going to be an asshole again and just say some of you serial-posters need some genuine problems in your lives if this is all you've got to take the time to complain about. Same people on every article "M$ this and crApple that! I don't like something! Listen to me!!"

Who the hell cares if you don't like Windows 8. Keep using 7. Use Linux. Use OS X. Bunch of malcontent whining little twats with no sense of anything important, relevant, or even meaningful in life. Crying and peeing over an operating system that you can skip like other big boys and girls.

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maxeeemum

@Engelsstaub

It's called "freedom of speech!"

I don't agree with what you said but you have the right to say it. And I don't have a problem with it.

I too am sick of those trying to silence the people who disapprove of Windows 8.

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Engelsstaub

I call it "freedom to be annoying and grossly overstate ones case."

...but I know: "people have bled and died on battlefields both near and far for our right to stand up against the evils of 'Big OSes' being forced upon us!" ;)

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Renegade Knight

Apparently they find it just as hard to skip that as you did skipping the haters.

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jonnyohio

Amen.

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hypersonic

I'm going to wait for the M$ fanboys to iron out all the grief from win8.1 & when it drops to $29.99 before I bother !

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pastorbob

Updated four systems from 8.0 (3 desktops, 1 laptop) so far. Update was painless and seamless. Runs very smooth and fast. Love the changes, especially to Skydrive. No grief here at all.

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VraiChevalier

Would have been nice to try if the download link actually WORKED! Just one more "fail" chalked up to Microsoft and Windows 8.

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PCLinuxguy

I did go back to Windows 8 on my gaming hard drive as I had some games crash/break when I moved it to 8.1, but I'll give it more time to get worked on by devs before moving my gaming hard drive OS to 8.1.
On the HTPC the 8.1 update holds stable with no issues with anything breaking, though I don't game on it. OSX 10.9 is still going strong on HDD#3 and Debian 7/Ubuntu 10.10 dual boot on HDD#2 are stable as well.

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Renegade Knight

Mostly seamless. The one thing I truly hated was being forced to change from a local account to a MS account to logon. Now I've found the solution there (they bury it but you can use a Local account after all).

A few security things broke. Mostly from changing over from my Local Account to the other.

Gaming system's update seems to be doing great.

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PCLinuxguy

*edit 13.10 Ubuntu Linux. not 10.10

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Engelsstaub

OS X 10.9 seems great. I have it all set up on another HDD ready to replace 10.8 but I can't get uTorrent to install on it…only problem thus far. I pheckin' hate Transmission so that's not an option for me.

I'm actually going to install the Win 8.1 trial on something besides a VM this time just to mess around with it. I haven't had a lot of time with it but my opinion isn't nearly as negative as that of other regular posters. Doesn't seem bad at all to me.

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Innomasta

Agreed. I think at this point 8 has worked out most of its kinks and is starting to come into its own. Anyone still hating on it needs to find a new thing to hate on, like chromebooks or something. It's been a YEAR people.

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Xenite

Microsoft is desperate at this point, nobody wants this abomination.

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Innomasta

They've always given out trials of their new OS, twat.

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MrGeek

I still don't know what the fuss is all about!

I had Win 7.

Win 8 came out and was on sale for $30. I jumped on it! Better than paying $100 plus later!

Yeah... sure... big ugly START screen when I booted... but once I clicked DESKTOP I was back in Win 7 land, except with all the new goodies.

Everything in my rig worked fine... software, hardware, never a problem.

Now 8.1 came out, I updated, still happy with my Windows 8 desktop experience.

I built my rig for gaming and with Windows 8 and now 8.1 it has not dissapointed me.

I could care less for the app store so I just don't use it.

I turned off and unistalled a few apps that by default were on (like weather, news, etc).

But all is well, I am happy, and still don't understand why the hate! Unless it is because you guys realized now that you should have bought it when it was $30 and now how to pay much more! Suckers!! LOL!

I have Chrome, Firefox, Epic Browser, and of course IE. They all work good.

STEAM (with all the games like Skyrim, BioSHock, Civ 5), Digital Combat Simulations, Guild Wars 2, etc all work great!

I use Chrome for Netflix and youtube and have no problems.

And when I am done I go to START, SETTINGS, SHUTDOWN. Turn pc back on next time I want to use it.

I have heard a lot of horror stories, yet I have never experienced one. Nothing. Nada. Smooth performance all around.

I do have an iPad and also a laptop with xubuntu on it. None beat the Windows 8 rig, period.

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HeroOfCanton

Mr Geek, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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JosephColt

I see what you did there. I just hope it was only a joke.

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limitbreaker

HeroOfCanton, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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Innomasta

Hope you're joking dude. I really do. For your sake

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jgottberg

The term "media" should be changed to "manipulation" - I can't be the only one that has noticed that articles about Win8 produce comments in the hundreds while articles and news about anything else generate a much smaller number. Coincidence?

So yeah, go ahead and feed the hungry manipulation beast and post the same shit you've been posting for a year. cheers!

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legionera

Congratulations! You have just passed grade 5 mental development! Since Edward Bernays, the things in public relations are not the way they were. It is great that you have finally realized it. The problem is that you have already trusted a ton of articles already. Will you now question yourself about the reality surrounding you, or you will continue skimming articles taking all the things seriously?

I am serious! it's for personal statistical purposes ;)

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Jademan

8 should've been 9. Too radical. Despite the fact that 8.1 alleviates some of the defects of 8...

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wolfing

3 months? 3 minutes is all I need to click 'uninstall'

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Mikey109105

I don't care if they offer it for free, pay me unbelievable amounts of money, and help me win the lottery after paying me, I STILL won't touch Windows 8 anything.

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Renegade Knight

I'll see you some H8te and raise you a Mac. If they gave me one for free and gave me a bunch of money and then help me win the lottery I'd use the Mac. Heck they would have had me at "Give me a mac".

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legionera

If you have that luck to win all that for free and you don't want it, could you please send it to me?

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Jademan

Man, if they do THAT to me, i'd ponder buyin' 7 Ultimate x64! :D

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Rebel_X

When did MaximumPC become a peddler for Microsoft?

To mention the news about the free trial is one thing, but to tell people please and try you might like it "PLEEEAAASE" is another thing.

MPC is biased too much lately, I don't like the turn this site is going, I hope it changes.

meanwhile hopping to guru3d.

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Paul_Lilly

I have no dog in this fight -- it really makes no difference to me if someone chooses to run Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7, Linux, or whatever. This particular article was simply a heads up that if anyone wants to try Windows 8.1, they can give it an extended test drive without spending a dime, as opposed to buying it outright and then finding out they don't like it.