Windows 8 Update 5-7-2013

I just read “Windows 8 fixes are on the way” which reminded me I haven’t done a Windows 8 Update lately…so here goes.

In my last update I discussed two problems…random crashes and the machine getting bogged down when I have a few dozen internet explorer tabs open. I have not experienced any blue screen of death crashes since a Windows update a month or so ago….not sure if they are related, but they seem to be. I have had one regular crash…which I probably deserved….trying to push way too much data to a pivot table, despite having been too lazy to install the 64 bit version of Excel 2013…. So…whatever that was, it appears to be fixed.

The second issue…performance….appears to be partially my own fault. I’m by no means a hardware expert…I’m just an accountant….so I bought literally the cheapest sale laptop I could find….After a bit of research….it appears that my laptop has about the dinkiest processor on the market…literally most cell phones would laugh at my computer…I’m too ashamed to even type it. So that’s probably part of my problem. I will likely get a memory upgrade soon…looks like for $50-60 I can get an additional 8GB…which sounds like an absolutely ridiculous amount, but if it helps even a little it will be worth it….I’m pretty much stuck with a go cart processor for the next 2-3 years. Honestly…it’s not that big of a problem… In retrospect, yes, I probably should have sprung another $100 or so for a big boy computer, but all it means is that I have to wait a few extra seconds every once in a while.

Overall, I have adapted well to Windows 8…..I almost exclusively use the desktop….which more or less is pretty darn close to Windows 7. Sounds like after the updates, it will be even more similar, maybe even bringing back the start button. At the end of the day, there is nothing I can’t do on my Windows 8 machine that I could do in Windows 7. Not that I do a lot….surf the web, Excel/Access, and email…that’s really all I need. Come to think of it, isn’t that all anyone really needs?

Windows 8 Update 3/6/2013

It’s been a few months now, and I’ve adapted fairly well to my Windows 8 machine. It works, but I can’t say that it is an improvement over Windows 7 in any way shape or form. There are two things that I think are worth noting. First is the return of the “Blue Screen of Death”…which I had just about forgotten about. It has now happened to me six times, including once this morning. It happens kind of randomly, but I think it always happens when I am using Internet Explorer or Google Chrome web browsers. Out of nowhere, I get a message that says “system_service_exception”…it takes about 20 seconds to log it, then it shuts down and restarts. Curiously…after the restart, it can’t find the wireless network, but another restart fixes that.
Thankfully…Windows 8 boots up pretty quickly, but all in, aside from the annoyance, count on losing about 5 minutes of your life.  As I noted in my first review, I don’t really demand a lot from my PC, but I do usually have a browser open with 10+ tabs. I realize this can use a lot of memory…but crashing the system? Really!! I think I have crashed my windows7 7 machine once since upgrading to the 64bit version of excel…and I routinely have absolutely enormous excel files and massive database linked pivot tables open all day every day. Even when I bog it down…all I have to do is take a coffee break, and when I come back…the ol’ girl has righted herself…I can save, close a few things, and move on. This is quite frankly unacceptable, my problem is…at this time, suffering through hours of hold and attempting to translate gibberish speaking help desk folks….would be worse than just losing 5 minutes of my life once a week….I’ll keep you posted if the math on that changes. I will note that to date, I have not lost any excel files…yet
The second issue could very well be related…maybe 4GB just isn’t enough for windows 8? I haven’t done any scientific comparisons, but it just seems like 4GB isn’t enough, where as on my other machine…4GB is more than enough to handle everything I do….with the exception of some very large access/excel processes. These still work….they are just slow. On this machine, I don’t really handle access/excel files of that size, so that has never been an issue. But all I have to do is open a browser with a handful of open tabs, and memory usage seems to jump up to 60-70%+ and stay there.
I may just get additional memory and see if that fixes all of my problems…