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Product: Windows 8 (Windows 8.1 Upgrade)
Company: Microsoft
See Pricing
Review By: Andre Da Costa

with Byron Hinson, Robert Stein contributing

Final Results And Overall Mark  

Table Of Contents (45 Pages)
1: Introduction
2: Pricing, Editions & System
Installation, Setup & Upgrading
4: Initial Impressions
5: Daily Usage & Application Compatibility
6: Desktop
7: File Explorer
8: Start Screen Apps
9: Internet Explorer 10

10: Networking & Connectivity
11: Windows Store
12: Gaming
13: Advanced Features - Part 1
14: Advanced Features - Part 2
15: USB 3.0 Support & Security
16: Performance & Reliability
17: Support Services & Activation 3.0
18: Other Features
19: Windows 8.1
20: Conclusion & Online Resources

Well we have reached the end of the review. Here are my final comments, notes and grades for Microsoft Windows 8.


Final Comments

How It Grades

Installation: 90%
Interface: 87%
Features: 90%
Documentation: 90%
Improvements: 90%
Options: 90%
Ease of Use:
Price/Value: 95%
Overall: 89.5%

What can I say about Windows 8? Windows 8 is probably the best approach to Cloud computing I have ever seen in a client operating system. Rather than take a glorified web browser approach like Google’s Chrome OS or a dumbed down compromised view like Apples iOS Microsoft has balanced its traditional approach to operating system development with a blend of forward thinking. PC Syncing is a strong highlight of the new operating system, you see the immediate benefits when you have multiple PC’s running Windows 8. It has drastically changed my perception of the operating system since I first began using it. I have a system perfectly running Windows 7 and I am seriously considering upgrading it to Windows 8 just to harness the benefits of PC syncing.

I will also repeat some of what I said from the Windows 8 Release Preview. My perspective on Windows 8 at this point is, it’s a decent operating system, especially when used in context. Windows 8 will be excellent on Tablet and Touch supported devices. There is still a bit of reluctance about Windows 8 on traditional form factors such as Laptops and Desktop computers. Yes, the idea going forward is to have these devices in convertible modes that make using the Start Screen convenient on them. My use of the Start screen on the couple systems where I have Windows 8 RTM is very limited. It wasn’t until recently I have been dabbling with it more especially for quick application launching and it still remains a curiosity than a full time commitment. Microsoft has made great effort since the Windows 8 Dev Preview to make it a more enticing value proposition. With Microsoft’s entrance into the hardware industry with a device like the Surface, my commitment might change this fall. Right now, it’s still kinda hard justifying the Start Screen on a desktop computer and like I said before, the Start Screen feels secondary when being used with a mouse and keyboard. It’s clearly touch targeted. Apart from this, Windows 8 offers many improvements across the board in the desktop app especially.

The performance of the operating system remains one of its key improvements in addition to features like the new File Explorer, built in Hyper-V, advanced recovery tools, Multiple Monitor Support, make Windows 8 a joy to use and proves its value even more. It is surprising at this point that Windows 8 has dropped support for some older systems that might not be the most powerful, but still capable. Windows 7 runs on these systems just fine, so I can’t see why Windows 8 should not since they use the same system requirements. The No Execute Bit requirement is just unnecessary in my opinion. Is it a recommended upgrade though? If you just bought a new PC with Windows 7, you probably can hold off on the upgrade for a while and take the wait and see approach. I am personally staying committed to Windows 7 on some systems where I have it installed, I might consider dual booting with Windows 7 since I am a technology enthusiast and like to keep up with the latest. Overall, I would prefer to have Windows 8 on a new PC this fall instead of upgrading an existing one and one that is Touch ready (preferably a mobile device). The Surface is looking very enticing and it might actually be the device that gets Windows 8 into the hands of many.

Eleven months ago, when I started writing about Windows 8, I brought up the hit and miss scenarios with Windows releases.

This of course might ring some alarms, because when we look at the history of Windows successes and perceived failures, it’s a bit fluctuating to be honest with you. These of course are likely coincidences, but let us take a look anyway:

- Windows 2000 - Industry accepted
- Windows ME - Industry panned
- Windows XP - Industry accepted
- Windows Vista - Industry panned
- Windows 7 - Industry accepted
- Windows 8 - ?

Is Windows 8 a hit or miss?

It’s a hit, it is clearly Microsoft’s most bold development in years, it probably beats out the transition from Program Manager (Windows 3X) to Windows 95, the move from Windows 9x to the NT Kernel. The Windows 8 platform represents so many things: truly touch centric, support for modern processor architectures, fast and fluid as Microsoft puts it and also represents where the majority of the world is heading when it comes to computing, entirely mobile.

Systems used for testing

HP Z210 SFF Workstation

HP XW4600 Workstation

Acer Ferrari 5000

Dell Optiplex 760

Intel XEON 3.2 Ghz

Intel Core 2 Quad 2.5 GHz

AMD Turion 2.0 GHz x2

Intel Pentium 4 2.0 Ghz

8 GBs of DDR3 RAM


4 GBs of DDR2 RAM


160 GB SSD

250 GB HDD

160 GB HDD


Intel 3000 HD Graphics

nVidia Quadro FX 1700 512 MBs of vRAM

ATI Mobility Radeon x1600 256 MBs of vRAM


Windows 8 Pro 64 bit

Windows 8 Pro 64 bit

Windows 8 Pro 64 bit

Windows 8 Pro 32 bit



  • Faster startup time on both mechanical hard disk and SSD Storage, improvements in performance especially with Hibernation, Sleep.

  • More secure – Trusted Boot, Windows Defender, Smart Screen Filter, Do Not Track

  • PC Syncing – Personalized settings such as Themes, Passwords can roam across multiple Windows 8 devices.

  • Better backup and recovery tools – File History, Reset and Refresh

  • Advanced Diagnostics – Startup and Repair, Chkdsk, Task Manager all improved and enhanced.

  • Better file management – Ribbon based File Explorer, File Operation Improvements: Copy, Paste, Move files. Ability to mount VHD and .ISO files natively.

  • Superior Touch Ready interface – Start Screen works better on Tablet devices than Windows 7, features excellent gestures for interacting and touch ready apps, functionality such as Charms, App History for multi-tasking, snapping and Semantic Zoom.

  • Windows Store makes it easy to find apps, install them and share across multiple Windows 8 devices.


  • Start Screen interface should be optional on traditional form factors that use keyboard and mouse/touch pad. In ability to disable Start Screen is also minus.

  • Hidden interface features such as Charms, App History bar and switching between desktop Start Screen will take some getting accustomed to.

  • New Fast Start causes some USB devices to not be recognized requiring a reboot.

  • No local PC syncing using a Local Area Network, Internet required.

  • Start Screen modern apps crash often and limited in functionality especially when used with a mouse and keyboard.

  • Windows Store limited to modern apps only, cannot purchase or install desktop apps.

  • In ability to install on capable machines because of lack of support for No Execution Bit.

  • Hyper-V client requires Secondary Level Address Translation at processor level.


Online Resources Windows 8 FAQ/Quick Guide Windows 8 Early Preview Windows 8 Developer Preview Windows 8 Consumer Preview Windows 8 Release Preview



Microsoft Windows 7 RTM - Review
Microsoft Windows Vista RTM - Review
Microsoft Windows XP Professional - Review
Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition - Review
Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition - Review
Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition - Review


Building Windows 8 Blog
Windows 8 App Developer Blog
Windows Team Blog

Specs & Package
Overall Score 89.5%
Version Reviewed Microsoft Windows 8
Release Date October 26, 2012
Reviewer Specs See Above
PC Required System Requirements


« Windows 8.1  


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