Windows 8, Windows 8…


doncha just love it? (Apologies to Daddy Dewdrop.)

It’s possible to avoid the annoying Start screen with its playing card sized “live tiles” and bring back the Start button and menu. All you have to do is install Classic Shell.

But Windows 8 – or even its supposed improvement Windows 8.1 – has some other really crazy “features” that any sane developer should have fixed by now.

First, when you shut down Windows 8 you don’t really shut it down. In order to get faster boot times, the Windows gurus set it up so that Win 8 goes into hibernation rather than full stop shutdown. An image of your system is put on the hard drive and you reboot from that.

As a result certain applications – notably Norton and McAfee Security – do not fully update and as a result do not work properly when you start the computer again. Two of my senior “clients” have had trouble with their antivirus protection as a result. No, to really make sure everything is updated and shut the machine down completely, you don’t choose “Shut Down” from the menu, but “Restart.” Then you can Shut Down after you Restart I suppose. Makes a lot of sense. NOT!!!!!

Second – and this one drives me nuts – certain wifi adapters that worked OK with Windows 7 don’t work with Windows 8.1. I have one of these – Qualcomm AR956X – in my laptop. You can sign on OK but after a few minutes the adapter loses contact with the network and shows up in your system tray as “limited” wifi. You can’t browse, download, or do anything on the Internet until you disconnect and reconnect. Then you are OK for another few minutes, then rinse and repeat.

Neither Microsoft nor Qualcomm have done anything to update the Windows 8 drivers for the wifi chipset, and this is afflicting a whole bunch of Lenovo and Toshiba laptops, so be warned. The only solution I found was to disable the internal wifi card in Device Manager, and plug in a tiny USB wifi adapter from a different manufacturer. That appears to work but nobody should be expected to do something like this.

Perhaps the solution to the wifi dilemma lies with Windows 10, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Right now I can’t upgrade anyway because Microsoft says my Lenovo laptop hasn’t been verified as compatible. That figures, come to think of it.

The hardware that hosts my blogging site runs on Linux. So does the PC I am writing this post on. Anyone wonder why?

Update: I have been able to find a more recent version of the Windows 8.1 Qualcomm AR956X driver on a (wait for it) unofficial Czech website. Sounds very safe and secure, right?

Anyhow I downloaded the driver and updated via Device Manager. It seems a bit more stable, so we’ll see.



Published by Ray MacDonald

Ray MacDonald is a retired food scientist who lives in Almonte, ON.
cww trust seal