Windows 8

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Windows 8: Great for media PCs...

...But what else?

From time to time, we dip into El Reg Forums to highlight questions raised and experiences recounted by our commentards.

Today we republish this post from Steve Knox, who writes:

My media center PC at home was a discarded work PC with Windows Vista Business on it. It was slow and flaky, as Vista can be, but since an upgrade to Win7 was $100, I decided to live with the bugs.

I had tested Windows 8 this summer for work purposes and found the live tiles a distraction and the context switches cumbersome. But I realized the interface might work fairly well for a media PC. So, I decided to pay the $40 to upgrade my media center PC from Vista to Windows 8 when Microsoft announced that deal.

On Vista, I was using SRWare Iron for NetFlix, YouTube, and other web video sites, and VLC for local media. So we had two icons on the desktop and a number of bookmarks in the browser -- not overly complicated, but not exactly intuitive.

Windows 8 has a NetFlix app, and I've pinned the other websites we use to the start screen, along with VLC. We're also using the weather app on the start screen. So now from the start screen, there's one click to whatever we want to watch.

I did the upgrade last night while the wife was working a night shift, and she came home and starting using it with no help from me. I interrupted her with a 5-minute overview, but she had already figured out the major interface points herself.

So far, it's faster and more stable than Vista (which doesn't really surprise me) and cheaper than Windows 7.

Now, Windows 8 has received a lot of criticism for its interface, some of which is certainly justified. But it can work quite well for specific consumer purposes like a media PC. Tablet uses are a no-brainer, but anyone else have a good experience setting up Windows 8 on a PC for a particular use?

Let's get this forum thread started! Comments, please.

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