MICROSOFT WINS, WE LOSE

So Joy decided to upgrade her Windows 7 computer to Windows 8 — figuring how can we serve the readers if we don’t have the latest Microsoft operating system? Just so.

Well, let no good deed go unpunished. From the beginning, there were warnings that should have told us we were on dangerous ground. The built-in Windows 8 “Upgrade Assistant” said we’d have to buy extra software if we wanted to continue to play DVDs. (Wait a minute: we had no trouble playing DVDs before.) Then it informed us the Windows Media Center also would no longer be available. But we could buy extra software that would perform those functions, which we had before.

Furthermore, one of the Bluetooth utilities would be automatically uninstalled. Uh, oh. This caused our Logitech wireless mouse to stop working. No mouse. How sad. Too bad.

Another message said the Intel “host controller” would have to be manually uninstalled. Joy, being pretty handy with the tech stuff, uninstalled it. But it automatically came back again. Time to call for support from the technicians at Microsoft’s “AnswerDesk.com.” Answer Desk is free. It turned out to be useless, but it was free.

The tech support guy said getting Windows 8 installed would involve changing the BIOS settings, which stand for Basic Input/Output System. The tech support guy advised calling HP. So we did. But Hewlett Packard said any installation of Windows 8 would void their warranty. Wow!

So no we had a computer with no working mouse and some other missing features. Tried doing a “System Restore,” but that didn’t work. Neither did Windows image restore. We had to order recovery disks from HP. So the bottom line here is we paid Microsoft $40 for what turned out to be an unusable upgrade to Windows 8. We tried tech support again from HP but we got a person almost impossible to understand and finally had to hang up.

We don’t recommend anyone upgrade to Windows 8, but you may have already gotten a new computer with Windows 8 on it. If so, you’re probably as confused as we were when we tried it in the store. Several readers have written us for help on how to understand the new operating system. We recommend “Essential Windows 8 Training” at Lynda.com. It’s great. One week of training is free and in that time you could do the whole course plus any other topic that strikes your fancy. If you want a whole month of training, it’s $25.

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