And thanks for letting me reuse this post.
Windows 8 includes a feature called “push-button reset” that restores a computer to a previous known good state, or performs a factory reset. Nothing out of the ordinary there: System Restore, as it was known in older versions of Windows, could perform those tricks. But performing System Restore did not render a PC incapable …
>>>> The feudalistic Windows 8 broke itself as soon as it came out.
This is so true. I tried to upgrade to 8.1 - and after a 3 hour download, the POS rolled back to 8.0 saying "sorry, you could not be upgraded".
I try and use the app store and I'm told I'm not connected to the internet - while I can browse and use Windows Update just fine.
It's staggering how bad Windows 8 is. Sinofsky, you're a moron. A real grade-A moron.
“This issue occurs because a driver or firmware dependency is added to Windows 8.1"
Seem a little light on details. I wonder is it anything to do with the installer identifying itself as Windows [NT] 6.3 ?
'ApplicabilityInfo="Windows 8.1 ..
Applies to="Windows 6.3"
Product Name="Windows 6.3" Support Link`
I can tell you what I experienced last week, I had 8.1 Pro, I updated my firmware, and then my machine started blue screening or completely freezing up (even in safe mode). In the end I had to format, and reload 8 again (no 8.1 for me anymore), and the freeze ups and BSOD went away.
To add insult to injury I had a 17 gb partition, and 9 gigs of that was free, I tried to use my custom 5 gb restore image I had made after the initial load and after the updates to 8.1 Pro, and all the stupid wizard would tell me was that I didn't have enough space to complete the restore. It NEVER told me how much I needed to free up to be able to properly apply my restore, so after 3 attempts to free up more space, I just started over. (never-mind the fact that you cannot simply point to a .WIM restore image on a 2nd partition, it HAS to be on a network share or removable media, period.)
Had it been a hardware issue related to the firmware update, the fresh install wouldn't have fixed it.
I am avoiding the update to 8.1 as it caused a lot of compatibility issues the first time around (especially things that want to interact with video).
Hmmmm. I thought it was just me being paranoid when I saw the new "make a new install disk" only supports external usb memory cards (or HDDS), oh, and deletes everything and reformats the entire drive even if you partition it to help (thankfully I saw that coming, but still annoying I have to re-partition the drive after to get some of that 300GB back for other backups, like where would I have a 30gb HDD lying around JUST for windows 8 recovery disks to install to?)
Sounds like recovery is even worse. I don't think I've seen anything good from Windows 8 so far, let alone 8.1.
To add insult to injury, I've got a 8.1 laptop waiting to be used. I'm having too much constructive use out of 7 and an old PC to even consider booting it up.
When it comes to Windows, I'm a bit of a retard... I always try to approach it based on common sense and generic principles of the past, which probably hints at lack of specific education on my part in the first place... I've never tried to use the Windows built-in backup/restore. The tool I tend to prefer for offline cloning is Ghost - the DOS flavour of Ghost. I've made it to work under DOSemu in Linux (PXE-booted), and recently my Windows-happy colleagues have taught me to use Windows PE off a USB stick... guess what: I'm using that to run Ghost to clone Windows the way *I* want it. With Windows 8 / 8.1 (and possibly 7 on some machines), there's an added quirk: after restoring Windows from an image onto the exact same hardware, you have yet to repair the BCD store, which is your boot loader's configuration file. Which is fun if it's on an EFI partition, which is hidden in Windows and not straightforward to get mounted... but once you master the procedure, it's not that much trouble, I'd almost say it's worth it. Symantec has already slit the throat of the old cmdline Ghost, but I'm told that there are other 3rd-party tools to step in its place... I haven't tested them though.
I've been forced to go through this on a home notebook that came with Windows 8 preloaded. Luckily I have the cloning background - as a pure home user, I'd probably be lost, at the mercy of the notebook maker's RMA dept if the disk drive went up in smoke. Well I've found the needed workarounds. And I tried to massage Windows 8.1 into a useable form, close to XP style. I've documented my punk adventure here:
A few days later, I had an opportunity to re-run the process along my own notes, and I had to correct a few things... and I noticed that I couldn't get it done in under 3 days of real time!
Yes I did do other work while the PC kept crunching away, doing a backup/restore or downloading Windows updates. On a slightly off topic note, the "hourglass comments" after the first reboot during the Windows 8.1 upgrade are gradually more and more fun (absurd) to read :-)
I've read elsewhere that before upgrading to 8.1, you'd better download all the updates available for Windows 8, otherwise the upgrade may not work out.
To me, upgrading from Windows 8 to 8.1 had a positive feel. Some bugs (around WinSXS housekeeping for example) have vanished. But I'm also aware of driver issues, because Windows 8.1 is NT 6.3 (= an upgrade from Windows 8 = NT 6.2). So if some 3rd-party driver has a signature for NT 6.2, you're out of luck in Windows 8.1, if the respective hardware+driver vendor embedded the precise version (6.2) in the INF file, as the INF file also appears to be covered by the signature stored in the .CAT file... Without the signature, with many drivers (with a bit of luck), you could work around the "hardcoded version" by modifying the INF file. Hello there, Atheros... On the particular notebook from Acer it was not a problem, Intel and Broadcom apparently have drivers in Windows 8.1.
I actually did the repartitioning bit as a fringe bonus of creating an initial Ghost backup. I just restored from the backup and changed the partitioning while at it.
...did I already say I was a retard?
Windows 8 appear to be capable of *shrinking* existing NTFS partitions, so perhaps it is possible to repartition from the live system without special tools. Not sure, haven't tried myselfs.
For corporate deployments of Windows 8, I'd probably investigate the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit.
That should relieve you of the painstaking manual maintenance of individual Win8 machines and garbage apps preloaded by the hardware vendor. It might also mean that you'd have to buy hardware without preloaded windows, which apparently is not so easy...
THAT was obvious right from the the Beta versions of Win8 - and NOTHING has changed to alter that view.
If Microsoft don't pull their corporate finger out and realise that Win9 has to bring back USEABILITY and RELIABILITY, then their main market will just become part of computing history VERY quickly!
I'm with you on the usability - it's hopeless on anything other than a (handheld) touchscreen device and even then not great due to the frequent reverts into desktop mode which just doesn't quite work on a handheld device...
However when it comes to reliability, I've always found it to be pretty reliable, especially since 8.1 which removed some annoying problems with settings being occasionally forgotten.
I'm actually using Windows 8 with StartIsBack. As long as you stay the hell out of metro then its not a bad set of improvements over Windows 7. We had no choice about upgrading at work because you can't (or couldn't at one point at least) use the remote admin tools for Windows 2012 without updating. There's no technical reason for this of course, it's just one more example of Microsoft trying to push 8 down everyone's throat.
Of course, MS don't want you to stay out of metro so you have to work at it, and if you stay out of metro then windows 8 is not much more than service pack 2 for Windows 7. But I'm comfortable with that.
I'm beginning to really hate Windows 8, so far since its existence I've had to do multiple factory restore's, deal with 'this computer recovered from a serious error' when the computer shut down perfectly fine, forgetting that the last time windows was on it printed perfectly fine but then seems to lose the printer, factory resets, (which mean fresh install of Windows 8 then updating that before then waiting for the download of Windows 8.1 from the fucking store - and when your customer has a 2 Gb download speed, that is just hours of painful, then waiting for the install of that, then waiting for the update of that - on a fucking new system).
This, of course, includes free tutorials on how to actually operate the operating system, because the charms bar is such an obvious way of doing things especially on non touchscreens.
Yeah, fuck you Microsoft!
Windows 8 is just fine. I don't know what all the fuss is about.
I've used computers since the Cambridge Mk 14. So I'm well used to using all OSs across all hardware patterns.
People would tell me how wonderful XP was. But it had such a horrible USB stack. I lost count of times it would mess up and don't get me started on its lanmanger system. Awful!
Windows 7 was a welcome improvement. But Windows 8 is even better.
People just need to get their 'finger' out and adapt.
(Oh and read up on how to use it might not be a bad idea?)
Good luck mapping a Linux share with different credentials without a policy manager to allow the NTLM version the Linux box might be using under 8. (There is no gpedit.msc anymore [only in Pro]).
I don't need to "adapt" to an OS, it should be intuitive.
They have also dumbed down the interface so far down that it cripples most power users. Sure grandma can see what temperature it is outside easily, but I can't get the damn file manager to stop trying to re-sort my details view on the mapped share long enough to rename the new file I just created, "Sure Windows I'll wait for you to finish, and then go look for where you've sorted it to, I'm guessing it will be somewhere under "N" again.
"I don't need to "adapt" to an OS, it should be intuitive."
Most interfaces of sufficient complexity to run a computer need to be learned - albeit learned by trying to do stuff.
The word 'intuitive' used by people here probably means something like 'sufficiently close to what I have used before for me to work out what to do, given my knowledge of the underlying principles' (of networking in the case you mention). When Unity and Gnome 3 landed amongst the Penguins, I sorted both of them within a couple of weeks of use. But, yes, command line (LCD of interfaces).
If you demand 'intuitive' interfaces, then you limit the amount of change that can occur at each iteration.
Icon: putting my coat on now, there is a hail storm on outside...
@MacGyver Windows has been fundamentally broken for decades now and they choose to not fix it. They'd rather slap on bells and whistles (Me? I rather like Aero). But the file manager, which even MS can't figure out what to call, is different from the browser [can you explicate Windows Explorer?] WE, since I've mentioned it, just sucks big time. And this is, ya know, sorta what an OS is supposed to do in the first place [/rant]
The standard problem with this is that intuitive isn't a tick-box property. Linux is intuitive for a UNIX user; SQL Studio is intuitive for a Windows user. Nothing is intuitive out of the box, as everything relates to previous experiences. iOS is intuitive because it was cool enough that people took the time to figure it out.
You have three choices: adapt, change OS or tilt at windmills.
The standard problem with this is that intuitive isn't a tick-box property. Linux is intuitive for a UNIX user; SQL Studio is intuitive for a Windows user. Nothing is intuitive out of the box, as everything relates to previous experiences.
What utter crap. UI/UX design and A/B testing has clearly demonstrated in a scientific manner that there are simple UI idioms that *do* make a user interface intuitive - particularly a well known WIMP system.
MS completely changed that interface in an effort to "win" touch. Ubuntu did the same thing with Unity, GNOME with GNOME 3, both for the same reason and both with the same result. All three continue to make efforts to reduce the differences with each point release.
Sure, anyone can learn to adapt, however why should we when we can continue to use the same interfaces we are comfortable and efficient with?
iOS (and most Android for that matter) is not intuitive because it is "cool to learn", but because it is impossible not to work out what to do. I've never had to show anyone how to do anything on a tablet, not one "family support" call, and yet they all have them. Windows Vista, Windows 8, those I get plenty of calls..
well known WIMP system
See, we do agree :) "Well known" is not the same as intuitive.
I have seen so many people being shown how to do something on iOS. The major difference is when their computer doesn't do what they want, they blame the computer. When their iOS device doesn't, they blame themselves: "Oh, I don't know how to do that on my iPhone."
P.s. I didn't say iOS is cool to learn. I said it was cool enough that people would take the time to figure it out. Ditto for something unintuitive like iTunes.
I would like someone to show me how not to have Windows 8 File Manager (Explorer) highlight EVERYTHING with a blue box from where I was renaming a file, diagonally to where I clicked outside the file being renamed. They fixed it in Windows 7 (after 3 years), they fixed it in Windows 8.1, but forgot about Windows 8? FYI, XP never did this.
"Windows 8 is just fine. I don't know what all the fuss is about.
I've used computers since the Cambridge Mk 14. So I'm well used to using all OSs across all hardware patterns."
Oh it's all good then, thanks for letting us know - it's obvious that your unbelievably thorough experience more than perfectly covers to all the myriads of our setups, configs, networks, software environment, Active Directory policies, storage networks, scale-out clustered backends et cetera, et cetera.
We're much more relaxed that such an old, experienced, know-it-all chap tells us we're all clueless and just need to get our " 'finger' out and adapt" as you put it so eloquently...
...FYI your USB-related XP issues were pretty much all addressed by the time SP3 came out, you might want to give it a try now, 6 years after its release. ;)
"People just need to get their 'finger' out and adapt."
People don't want to adapt. A computer is a TOOL, just like a car or a hammer. When I get into a different car I don't expect to have to relearn how to drive because they've decided that having the driver facing backwards operating a joystick with his foot is more intuitive than the current arrangement! The GUI for desktop PCs is a solved problem - it didn't and doesn't need messing with. Until proper 3D displays are common then a mouse , keyboard and drop down menus work fine. Leave them alone MS!
I couldn't agree more. The UI changes in win8, along with the removal of many basic administrative capabilities apparently was not driven by usage concerns. Half my office is currently on win 8 and I'm about to simply replace those machines and go back to 7.
No one likes it, even after months of usage, and my sys admin has threatened to quit if I allow one more in. We did the upgrade to 8.1 last week. What a joke. Had to uninstall an "update", reinstall that same update, creat a user account for the upgrade ( wouldn't let the local admin account do it), set them to download 8.1, etc. all in all the time spent per machine was roughly 9 hours. What a complete POS.
Of course, once all of that was done the damn things insisted on the logins being tied to Microsoft. We were just about at the point of introducing the machines to smith and Wesson when we found a UI bug that let us sidestep that. Once again MS completely misses the boat.
"Of course, once all of that was done the damn things insisted on the logins being tied to Microsoft. We were just about at the point of introducing the machines to smith and Wesson when we found a UI bug that let us sidestep that. Once again MS completely misses the boat."
Not sure which version is that but here both Pro and Enterprise versions allow to use your existing local or AD logins.
"People just need to get their 'finger' out and adapt."
Oh, great. It's the bloody Church of Change at work. Again.
Embrace the Change, children. Change is goood. You must not fear, you must not doubt, let us Change together. All hail the Change!
But if you don't...we'll mock you until you do.
/disclaimer: all my lame jokes and sweeping generalizations are brought to you by a modern touchy-feely device, as those are the genres that are truly well suited to the touchscreens/
"1000 Win8 installs, not a single rebuild."
Well, that is good to know. Is that one install and 999 clones of an image or 1000 actual installs and subsequent upgrades to 8.1? I ask simply because at some point in the future my current employer will need to come off Windows 7 (I may well be retired by then).
My Win7 install managed to fail to install an update way back in the mists of time and to this day, every time it shuts down, it is haunted by its failure and tries to re-install the update.
Sadly, its too far in the past to revert to the patch just before the one that failed.
I think there is an option of deleting Windows entirely and installing Linux Mint Debian Edition instead. Although LMDE people warn against some "rough edges", it's usually not a problem to fix a broken package/update. Just reminding that a typical GNU/Linux distro including this one handles updates for around 40 gigs of software (filling 99.99% of your needs, vs very few MS own products) through a single front-end for a reason called apt and with a few quite intuitive user interfaces to it, a GUI called synaptic, or a few command line tools, like aptitude or apt-get. You can filter to and fix a broken package in synaptic or just issue/copy paste from the error message to run :
"apt-get install -f"
That didn't help with the skype sound issues though the other day, but no surprises at all, since it wants to drag i386 libraries, thanks to Microsoft or skype poor coding. There were no broken packages there, the sound is just unreliable. How hard is it to write portable, modular software and get a 64 bit version? What a coincidence, when there is some incompetent mess, it should be MS.
codejunky: "They make win8 unusable by GUI design. Then they made win8 incapable of update after a restore.
I can accept that MS couldnt have foreseen this"
But the thing is that they didn't need to foresee it; from the instant early versions were made accessible to the wider world there were howls about the Metro/Modern system, coy menus and vanished Start Menu.
All of which MS chose to ignore, as they were convinced they knew better and everyone would grow to love (or at least accept) the changes if they were forced down their throats. Sadly mistaken, as it turned out.
This exact issue happened to me while testing 8.1 enterprise. That was after having managed staying clear from Microsoft pipe dream products for many years now. And I'm cured again! Although I did actually wanted to use the Windows Phone 8 emulator and as well IE 11 for testing. After the "restore to hell" ended up installing it again with some backup snapshots as virtual machine on another machine (yes the free VMware player did play nice with Hyper-V after all). In the end my hatred has grown not weakened after playing around with it. All credit of Windows 7, which at least was not worse than XP, has been lost - again, in one fell swoop or is it bloop.
Oh come now, blaming Win7 for faults in Win8 ?
Win 7 is the best PC OS that Microsoft has ever made. Or will ever have made, if MS continues on its current course.
That said, I'm just biding my time, waiting for Steam OS to be released. The day that happens, I'm done with the MS world outside of work.
"So you've never driven a car with tiptronic box, environmental control or electric handbrake? Probably a good thing."
Electric handbrakes are NOT a good example to make your point. Absolutely the most stupid "improvement" to cars in years. Whomever came up with that solution looking for a problem needs putting up against a wall and flogging to death with a rotten turbot.
I would dearly love anyone to come up with one convincing argument why electric handbrakes are an improvement.
I didn't brick it but after testing restore I had to go extra way to get the keyboard cover drivers installed (basically another reset). The device made by/for MS with set hardware specs and yet they failed to do it right. Also - just like with any device that can't be taken apart to get to/replace HDD - the uncertainty of the outcome of reset may be too much stress for some users that failed to backup their data.
I was also quite surprised by how easy it was to wipe the data (without starting the process in windows/after login) - with all the secure boot crap I'd expect some extra measures to protect the content against malicious activity (I did not try the process after I "bitlocked" the device). But maybe this is MS way of forcing users into their online backup (surveillance) program.
After 2 weeks of testing it as my primary corporate desktop (no 3rd party start menu replacements etc. - unavoidable for home use) I had no regrets passing it over to another unsuspecting user. I liked the speed (but I would not pay for it out of my pocket) but it definitely did not improve productivity. The few times I tried to use it as a tablet (personal use pattern of average corporate user) I realized I had better things to do with my time - I've been using w8 for long enough not to rediscover any previously missed need for the Metro side. Sorry MS.
1. Do not use Windows.
2. If you must use Windows, at all costs avoid Windows 8 and 8.1.
3. If you must use Windows 8 or 8.1, if at work, then find somewhere else less idiotic to work at; if at home, install Linux/buy a Mac, as soon as possible.
4. If you actually like Windows 8 or 8.1, you're a bit odd or at the very least, a masochist. There are special sites just for you. This isn't one of them.
"If you actually like Windows 8 or 8.1, you're a bit odd"...
Guilty! Now, I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole, but it's existence has provided me with more laughs online than anything recently. Mind you, in these days of NSA revelations, that's a rare treat!
Ye know... Imaging (and restoring said images) is pretty old hat. So why is it that M$ couldn't get it right and ended up with the PoS named System Restore? Oh right, since most users have a one disk one partition setup, you couldn't go nuclear on that and plain restore the image or you'd nuke the user data too... So instead of forcing a os+apps/data split, they "developed" a new system that only seems to work when it comes to restoring malware back into the system.
M$ could sometimes GetItRightTM just by not trying so hard to come up with a revolutionary non round wheel...
You know, the biggest issue with separate partitions for windows out of the box is one of the same reason people use it, and that's backwards compatibility. A lot of software will have a fit if you do anything outside of the norm. Now im not talking off the shelf software you download off the net by an large this is not to bad, im talking in house, or very old software, the kind of stuff companies sit on for decades because, "it just works".
MS has made some bad calls, a lot of them, hopefully they learn from each one. But the one thing they haven't done that pisses me off is to scrap all this backwards compatibility (phased over the last decade) and bring about an OS that does work out of the box across multiple partitions or in a more secure fail safe environment.
If your 15 year old printer or software doesn't work with W8 then tuff, get over it and buy a new one. Yes its shit for you but this and a stack load of other legacy considerations levered in to Windows are part of the reason it is less then ideal now! We cant have it both ways, there are too many things to consider to try and do both well and trying both has lead to neither being any good..
And the first person to say Linux is intuitive and amazing and will do everything I want perfectly will get a big e-Slap, I have a PC here that works with a live disk fine, but if I install it, it suddenly forgets how to use a network card, typically the community is of no use. So no, Linux isn't perfect, neither is windows, get over it, use whatever is best for you and stop browbeating anyone who chooses something different to you!
Are we not professionals!
If you think the System Restore is bad, wait until you get a handle on the ball-ache mess that is "winsxs". It has to be on your system drive, will happily chew through gigabytes of valuable SSD space and there is very little sensible that can be done about it. In general it tends to always grow in size and never reduces.
If you use a home built PC with the components not fully tested together you can expect problems. It amazes me how many people moan about the OS on their poorly designed gaming rigs.
Real computer companies do weeks of QA to test their designs and tweak them to make carefully chosen kit work properly. What you put together in mom's basement is not the same thing.
Ok not going to the whole what hardware works type thing because this is a software thread. So lets put the whole "Real computer companies do weeks of QA to test their designs and tweak them to make carefully chosen kit work properly.", to a simple test from a software perspective.
1) Which company in recent times, (let's say 10 years), has had multiple published problems with loading/importing data in various formats into their consumer level products because of coding issues, (e.g. - buffer overflow,etc.), which have allowed executable code to be run from malformed data?
2) Which company in recent times, (let's say 10 years), has fixed said issue on a problem in hindsight, but hasn't the intelligence to say to themselves, (and that's all the the fuckwits there), "Oh lets audit the rest of our loading/import code to see if there is a problem."?
3) Which company in very recent times, (let's say 1 month), has identified a potential problem with loading fucking RTF files?
4) Which company in recent times, (let's say 10 years), has basically screwed up whatever goodwill they scavenged from developers/support type bods from the past.
My current laptop came (in August 2013) with Windows 8.0, but by February I had to upgrade it to Windows 7.
1) Within two weeks of getting it, a Microsoft Upgrade went wrong and trashed the OS — and only then did I discover that the stupid Secure Boot (which "solves" a "problem" which hasn't existed in years, that of boot-sector viruses), along with UEFI, was preventing my system-rescue USB stick from booting (or, indeed, boot from CD or DVD). Fortunately the problem resolved itself, but Secure Boot was disabled shortly afterwards.
2) I couldn't get the legacy Help system from the MS site to install; even the version labelled as "Win8, 64-bit" came up as "this is not compatible with your OS".
3) I tried "upgrading" to Win8.1 in the hope that it would fix this, but it didn't — and introduced a far worse problem, namely that workgroup access under Win8.1 carries the stupid and unenforceable requirement that all system clocks in the workgroup be perfectly in sync; so the main effect of the "upgrade" was that I could no longer access my network.
So, having backed-up my hard drive, I then formatted it, switched the boot mode to CBR, and installed Win7; once I got the right drivers, there were no further problems. The upgrade also cured the other major problem I'd had, of Win8 burning up far too much Internet transfer allowance (5Gb, an entire month's allowance, in sometimes only two days).
If/when Win7 is no longer supported, I'm going to migrate to Linux.
Windows 8.1 breaks itself without using "System Restore" or "Push button reset". On my Windows 8 PC, my primary profile killed itself. Luckily, I had a backup admin profile already made. It took a while to get all of my apps working properly on the new profile, but it's working now. Not really enamored with Windows 8.1, but since I occasionally work from home and it works with the software from my job, I'm not going to mess with it.
......is NOT a software company....just take a look at their products! It used to be (in the 1990's) a world class marketing company. Now it's pretty poor at software, and absolutely abysmal at marketing. Once you have grasped these facts, much of this comment thread becomes quite clear, and probably mostly redundant.
"When it comes to Windows, I'm a bit of a retard... I always try to approach it based on common sense and generic principles of the past,"
First off I love your solution to use Ghost.
Anyway... I found the best approach to Windows issues is to NOT use common sense. Common sense and logic work on a system that behaves in some logical matter and some consistency. Windows does not, particularly when something breaks. I end up googling the specific problem and trying things to fix it -- all to often, it's changing a COMPLETELY irrelevant setting, or toggling some option off then on (or on then off) -- which of course should do nothing since the end result it is set exactly the same as it was. Or some undocumented setting, which common sense will never point you towards. I mean, recently I fixed *printing* from IE on someone's computer by updating the VIDEO driver!!! OK, so newer versions of IE use the GPU acceleration.. but that was already turned off due to it not working on this system! So IE (apparently) decides "what the hell, I'll just use the GPU for some reason for printing even when set to not use the GPU acceleration at all."
You would not find this poor of QA on software shipping with any MacOS or Linux version. Don't get me wrong, Ubuntu and Gentoo certainly can break, but there'll generally be a sense of logic to the root cause of the problem and solution... "Oh, the problem is with foo... I had to tweak the settings for foo... or reinstall foo... or upgrade or downgrade foo".
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