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Monday, November 19, 2012

Japanese Windows 8

ウィンドウズ エイト

I bought a Dell XPS 13 from Dell Japan recently. However, with the release of Windows 8 a couple of weeks ago on October 26, in spite of having paid extra for Windows 7 Ultimate when I purchased the XPS13, my curiosity got the better of me. The upgrade to Windows 8 costs only 3,300 yen until the end of February 2013, so I went ahead and downloaded it yesterday.

Japanese installation of Windows 8.
Installing Japanese Windows 8
It took a good two hours to download Windows 8, and another half hour to install. My initial impression as soon as I got started with Windows 8 was that it was a showcase-cum-funnel for Microsoft products and services. Meaningfully using the Windows 8 desktop involves making use of Bing, Windows Live Mail, Windows photo sharing service, Windows social networking app, and several other obscure, too-late-on-the-scene Windows alternatives to Facebook, Picasa, Gmail etc.

Once the new OS had been installed, I installed some third party software. But downloading software proved a bit of a challenge. The process took place several removes away, it seemed, from the desktop. Navigating from between where the download was actually taking place and the new Metro Windows desktop was a bit of a challenge. I eventually discovered that moving the cursor to the top left corner of the screen lets you get back.

Windows 8 Japanese - preparing devices.
Windows 8 install: preparing devices
I intend to further investigate the numerous customization software offerings available online that revert Windows 8 to a more Windows 7-type interface. Without a touchscreen, the Windows 8 default home screen is an obstacle to efficient operation.

Admittedly, moving the cursor to the right margin of the screen brings up tools that greatly facilitate searching and other functions, but with my computer moving the cursor doesn't always trigger their display first time, and the keyboard shortcut is something I'd rather not have to bother with.

Japanese windows 8 - the Desktop.
Japanese Windows 8 desktop
On the up side, Windows 8 retains the clean simplicity of interface of Windows 7, making for another solid repudiation of the now-distant folly that was Vista. Everything feels snappily responsive with 100% compatibility with everything I already had under Windows 7.

One thing that did surprise me, however, was to see how little remained of the free space on my little 128GB C drive. Windows retains an "old Windows" folder with the upgrade to Windows 8 that is about the same size as Windows 8 (about 20GB). This should be deleted using the native System Cleanup tool.

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