Windows 8 & Office 2013

So, I have just installed windows 8 and Office 2013 on my day to day work laptop.
The defining feature for most users is of course the “Start Screen” formerly Metro, which replaces the Start menu we all know and love.
My first reaction to the Start Screen was confusion, but after some experimentation I began to develop some coping mechanisms for my amputated Start Menu. The first trick being to just start typing what I wanted, much like I do on my mac with Spotlight. After a while I began organising my top applications in the initial area of the Start Screen, munch like I do with the dock on my mac.
The first real issue I discovered is the lack of XP Mode. XP mode for those unfamiliar is a ready made virtual machine that can be installed on Windows 7 Pro without having to buy a licence for XP. It integrates apps into Windows 7 so they appear to be running natively. All is not lost though as Microsoft have included the Hyper-V from server in windows 8. This can be added in the Windows features bit of control panel. You will need a Windows XP CD and Licence to create the virtual machine, in my case I have a partner program so had no trouble there.

Not giving people the option to revert to the Start Menu is a mistake that will cost Microsoft a great deal. While the Start Screen is not as bad as I first thought. It’s still a big jump which you can’t ask hundreds of users in a big corporate to make without shelling out on training.
XP mode was an excellent feature that should have stayed for at least one more version of Windows. I can understand why Microsoft lost it. You can’t keep propping up old software forever.. However I develop for Industrial PLCs and most of the software for older PLCs and instruments will either not work in Vista or newer, or if it will it quit an ordeal to get it to..

So far the only feature I have come across in Office 2013 is Outlooks refusal to trust the security certificate on my SBS 2008 exchange proxy. Other than that it feels like a re-skinned office 2010. I haven’t really spent enough time to with the full Office 2013 suite, so it would be unfair to pass judgement just yet.

I recommend giving windows 8 a spin. It’s a steal at £30, or £15 if you recently purchased a windows 7 computer. Office 2013 will have to wait for me to spend some time before a suggest any of you part with some cash.

J.

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