Ask Leo! #406 – Windows 8, Windows 8, file formats for photos, defragging thumbdrives and more…

*** Featured

Can I upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 8?

The short answer is a little bit of yes and a whole lotta no, at least in the way that most people expect upgrades to work.

Here's how I found out...

By mistake, I ordered copies of the Windows 8 upgrade edition. All that really means is that rather than being able to install Windows 8 to a clean or "bare metal" machine, there needs to be a prior version of Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP installed.

The option of Windows XP confused me because Windows 7 didn't really handle that scenario well - effectively, there was no upgrade from XP to Windows 7 and yet it appeared that that might have changed with Windows 8.

As it turns out, things may be a little more streamlined perhaps, but that's about it.

I'll walk you through my upgrade and point out the relevant points when upgrading from Windows XP.

Continue reading: Can I upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 8?
http://ask-leo.com/C6019

* * *

Should I upgrade to Windows 8?

Windows 8 has caused a fair amount of excitement on the interwebs, and some of it seems to be fairly polarized - there are those who already love it and those who can't stand it, often without having even seen it in person.

It's not surprising really because Windows 8 represents a fairly radical change in some of Windows' most common user interfaces.

Should you upgrade? Well, that gets you my most common answer ever:

It depends.

Continue reading: Should I upgrade to Windows 8?
http://ask-leo.com/C6020

* * *

*** Answercast

Answercast #69 - An alphabet soup of answers: RAW vs. JPG, adding an SSD, XP in Win8, slow 4G and more...

This week's Answercast is an Alphabet soup of questions: SSDs, 4G, RAW, JPG, XP and more! Also, keyboards on smartphones, duplicate emails, copying files with long names, and what version of Windows 8 to get.

Listen

Continue reading: Answercast #69 - An alphabet soup of answers: RAW vs. JPG, adding an SSD, XP in Win8, slow 4G and more...
http://ask-leo.com/C6013

What file format do I want for my pictures; RAW, JPG, both, or something else?
For the most part, if you're mostly interested in snapshots and easy-to-share, easy-to-send pictures, JPEG's fine. You'll never notice the difference.
Continue reading: What file format do I want for my pictures; RAW, JPG, both or something else?
http://ask-leo.com/C6014

Can I defrag or reformat my thumbdrives?
Don't defrag your SSDs or your USB thumb drives. Reformat them appropriately if you need to.
Continue reading: Can I defrag or reformat my thumbdrives?
http://ask-leo.com/C6015

Why am I getting two copies of emails I send to some lists?
What may be happening is that the email gets sent and then the mailing list turns around and sends it back to you - so it shows up in your inbox again.
Continue reading: Why am I getting two copies of emails I send to some lists?
http://ask-leo.com/C6016

How easy is it to add an SSD?
It is trivial to install an SSD as another drive, but typically, people want the faster drive for their operating system. That involves swapping around your operating system from one drive to the other.
Continue reading: How easy is it to add an SSD?
http://ask-leo.com/C6017

How can I connect an external keyboard to my smartphone?
USB keyboards on a smartphone likely won't work. Just because you've got a USB socket doesn't mean it will support every kind of device. Same is actually true for Bluetooth.
Continue reading: How can I connect an external keyboard to my smartphone?
http://ask-leo.com/C6018

My machine has slowed down even more after a reinstall. Why?
Slow computer after an install? This feels like either malware or the beginnings of a flaky drive.
Continue reading: My machine has slowed down even more after a reinstall. Why?
http://ask-leo.com/C6021

Does Windows 8 support Windows XP mode?
XP Mode in Windows 8 is guaranteed... if not from Microsoft, then from other vendors. Virtual machine software is available that will allow you to run Windows XP within a window in Windows 8.
Continue reading: Does Windows 8 support Windows XP mode?
http://ask-leo.com/C6022

Should I get the download or boxed version of a product?
Downloading Windows 8, or buying a box, should be the same product. The difference is having it physically in your hand.
Continue reading: Should I get the download or boxed version of a product?
http://ask-leo.com/C6023

Why might I not be able to copy long filenames to an external device?
Long file name errors could be happening because of the disk format. The first thing that I would confirm is that the file system can handle long file names.
Continue reading: Why might I not be able to copy long filenames to an external device?
http://ask-leo.com/C6024

Why am I not getting 4G speeds on my 4G wireless modem?
4G internet connection speeds could suffer from signal strength issues or interference. Windows settings won't be an issue.
Continue reading: Why am I not getting 4G speeds on my 4G wireless modem?
http://ask-leo.com/C6025

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*** Last Issue's Articles

*** Word o' the Week

bare metal

Bare metal is a term used to refer to a computer that has no software installed on it. It consists of only its hardware components and perhaps firmware such as a BIOS.

The distinction often comes up in the context of restoring a backup or resetting a machine. If a system can boot from its hard disk then many options for backup restoration may be possible, ranging from restoring individual files using the backup software running in the operating system, to reinstalling the operating system using the information stored in a recovery partition.

On a "bare metal" system there is nothing on the hard disk, and no other software intrinsically on the machine in order to perform restore or recovery operations. Repair or recovery then usually requires a rescue or restore CD or USB device from which to boot. A machine whose hard drive has failed and been replaced with an empty one is usually in a "bare metal" state.

A machine sold without a pre-installed operating system can also be referred to as a "bare metal" machine.

Word o' the Week features a computer term or acronym taken from the Ask Leo! Glossary. If there's a word you're not sure of and would like to see defined, click here to let me know.

*** Thoughts and Comments

And so it begins...

This week saw me update my Windows 8 recommendation. Until it was released it was "NO! Stay away unless you really know what you're doing!". Now it's more like "There's no need to rush into anything!". Smile

That's this article, of course: Should I upgrade to Windows 8?

What lead me there was my attempt to install Windows 8 and finding that the upgrade process from Windows XP, while it still has basically the same limitations as XP to Windows 7, is actually handled very cleanly by the setup program. (Backup first, but of course you know that already, right?)

The number of Windows 8 questions coming in has actually risen faster than I expected. Not sure if that's because people are getting new machines with Windows 8 pre-installed, or if people are actively upgrading. In either case as always my ears will be open for common problems and they'll get added to mix here on Ask Leo!.

It really is your questions that drives what shows up here.

Speaking of your questions:

I hope you realize that the ask-a-question link below described as "for newsletter subscribers only" does, in fact, prioritize your question. The other day I looked, and I was processing questions that were submitted via that link in a couple of days, while the "normal" link has about a two week backlog.

I still can't answer every question, but I do try to treat my newsletter subscribers special.

(And if you're reading this on the web site archive of my newsletters and are wondering what I'm talking about - that link's only in the emailed copy of the newsletter. Sorry.)

Take care,

Leo
Leo A. Notenboom
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