Monday, November 19, 2012

Upgrades

I recently upgraded from Win7 to Win8. On both of my laptops (I’m going to point out what doesn’t work because they are more interesting to recount than saying that my MATLAB programs work without any fuss!):

Acer Aspire 5610Z

The ‘new’ apps Photos, Music, and Video don’t find files in the respective libraries, which they are supposed to do by default!

Photos

It’s not that these are the primary apps that I have to use so am not much bothered about their dis-functionality. But I liked the Music app in Win8’s Release Preview and if they worked in Win8RP, why the hell don’t they work in Win8?

The shutdown seems to proceed all right but a message always pops up on restart: “Your PC ran into a problem…”:

problem

I just hit “Send Details” and get on with my life.

Fujitsu LifeBook T4410

Fujitsu Shock Sensor and OmniPass Fingerprint Reader are not compatible with Win8. Also mentioned on that page is the fact that the automatic rotation of screen from notebook to tablet mode won’t happen anymore due to Fujitsu (Tablet Controls) settings. That will be taken care by Win8… But in my case, it doesn’t and I have to hit the relevant physical button (see below) to change the screen orientation every time I change modes.

All drivers work fine but the driver for Security Panel Buttons needed to be uninstalled & reinstalled while having UAC settings turned off for the buttons (incl. the one for changing screen orientation) to work. Also doing a few restarts may not hurt before you try to tweak the drivers.

Advice: Suspend BitLocker Encryption & Turn Off TPM before upgrading and be damn sure those panel buttons work after upgrade before you shut off the laptop or you could be in a hell lot of trouble.
Catch: TPM has to be turned on through BIOS after upgrade so if you’ve forgotten that password, leave it alone. It took me 7 tries to get the password right and you do know that the computer locks after 3 wrong tries, don’t you? Thankfully, the button panel was working and I could get on after entering the security code. Anyway, resuming encryption is no hassle after the TPM is turned on.

The webcam doesn’t work in the ‘Modern UI’ apps. It works fine on the Desktop apps. This is when you have Fj Camera (drivers provided by Fujitsu) installed. If you install Microsoft’s USB Video Device driver instead, the webcam works everywhere but the image is flipped! So back to square 1.

I like to think of these as ‘hardware’ issues… Nothing much Win8 can do about them but let me bring to your notice 3 ‘major’ Win8 dum-bass-ery:

1. Win8 sets the maximum brightness level of the screen depending on who knows what. That means you can’t increase the brightness if you want / need to but just decrease it, which is infuriating at times!

2. There is some issue with ‘Personalization’. First of all, the Bing Dynamic theme doesn’t ‘install’ properly. Secondly, the background chooser screen is too slow to load (it was so even in Win7) and then the ‘default’ Windows Desktop Background folder doesn’t show subfolders. [Well, these are issues related to restart I guess so your mileage may vary… as I can now see subfolders when choosing the WDB folder.]

3. The on-screen keyboard doesn’t appear on its own in desktop apps. Let me be precise: In Win7, when you clicked / focused on a text field, a small keyboard icon would pop up near the blinking cursor and you could bring forth the OSK by clicking on that icon. Even if there was no icon (like for gtalk), there would always be a floating edge of the keyboard at the screen’s edge that you could click and get the OSK back. But now in Win8 there are no such visual cues to make it appear on-screen. The keyboard’s icon just sits there on the taskbar and if you’re like me who likes to hide the taskbar to get more screen-space then it is frustrating to click on the text field, go to the task bar, and then click the keyboard icon to make it slide-up on the screen!

Win8 OSK

This is taking a step backward from the better functionality that was provided in the previous OS version, very much like the Live Mesh & SkyDrive debacle. I can not add much to whatever has been said about LM vs. SD already but let me rant away anyway. Why would you go from a ‘generic framework of sharing solutions’ (LM) to a ‘specific partial solution to a sharing problem, which was already taken care by the generic framework’ (SD)? In LM, arbitrary folders could be synced arbitrarily to arbitrary (compatible) devices (SD was just another ‘device’) and shared & synced with arbitrary (≤10) people. This is what I mean by ‘generic’. In SD, only folders in the SkyDrive folder can be synced to ‘arbitrary’ devices with SD now being a permanent device (not that it’s bad but let’s leave that for others to discuss) and they can be shared (just shared and not synced) with arbitrary (?) people. That’s all I have to say for someone to be able to compare what has happened during the transition from LM to SD. [Well… thanks for making things clear. (umm… ‘confusing’ really! Winking smile)]

With the recent update to SD, now at least you can choose which folders (the folders still need to be in SkyDrive folder) sync to which devices (the web storage is still a permanent ‘device’ but that’s expected) but still no syncing of shared folders.

Sync

How can you write “Everything but files shared with you will sync” as an option and not have a thought: “You know what, there should be another option before this saying that Everything including files shared with you will sync”? Anyway, that’s that. [Yeah… and don’t worry if you did not get the head and tail of any of it, Smile I did not either and after enjoying being called dum-bass by him, I figured out that he is trying to state the fact that only your folders are visible in the SD location. Makes complete sense, yes. But if he had shared 3 GB of data with me and I already had 2 GB, I would be losing 5 GB of the 25 GB available to me whereas currently it’s just 2 GB. It is meant to work in a more efficient way, or No? – No. Ideally (efficiently), the folder shared by me showing up in your SD would be more like a placeholder (that links to my SD) and so shouldn’t cost you any storage space. And on top of that, it gives you a choice to sync it to your laptop(s) too if you like (provided your HDD permits)!]

Happy Upgrading!