In July I briefly wrote about some issues I was having with Windows 8 and asked for input. As a quick overview let me update what has happened.
Here is the first article http://theweeklygeek.com/2013/06/12/windows-8-metro-apps-quit-working/
About a year ago, I installed Windows 8 on a test All-In-One machine. As a tech, I wanted to start testing and seeing what was and was not there, though at the time, and still, I did / do not recommend Windows 8, I knew through past experience that people would start buying computers on it and then contacting me with questions.
The install is an OEM install since we are the builders. I created a “local” account. There are two types of accounts with Windows 8, Local and a “Microsoft” account. The Microsoft account requires you to have a Microsoft ID (aka email address). I do have one Hotmail address but did not want to “lock” it to a machine. I also am opposed to Microsoft requiring this. Technically if you have an email address that is not a Microsoft email address but is associated with an email account it is useable. I only have one of these and soon it will be shut off, after all 18 email addresses are just too many. There are way too many people who already have Yahoo, Gmail and other accounts based on their web host, why make people add another? Part of the theory is that they are adding Windows 8 to your existing X-Box account; however, I and many people of the planet earth do not have an X-Box. They further want this account so you can access their “app” store. Again, I see no reason that any email address should not be allowed.
Back to the PC issues, I installed Windows, as usual entered a username when required to do so. I used a common name we have here so that sharing is much easier. I also created a password, again, as usual on our network.
Once installed, I could not open any apps, they would start to open, and 1 second later “minimize”, that is, it goes to the left corner, hidden as Windows 8 does when you switch to another app or program. The app should have asked some question on first run since I did not associate with a Microsoft account. Instead they just minimize. This problem is with Mail, Calendar, Maps, People (which should be FaceBook, Google+, LinkedIn, all accounts under existing email addresses), Messaging, Sky Drive, news (why the heck does this need a Microsoft account?), Sports, trending, travel, photos, finance, music and videos.
Most of these accounts have nothing to do with Microsoft. What Microsoft wants you to believe is that if you have / use their account, then all these items will be associated whenever you log onto any Windows 8 device. Your laptop, desktop, phone or while visiting your parents out of town on their computer. One great big “sharing” or accessing of your data.
I want to stray away from the topic a give a brief explanation why I think this is a bunch of bull, Windows XP Media Center Edition! Need I say more? Alright, for those who did not get into that version of Windows (actually there were several versions), Microsoft promised the same thing and more. Podcast, streaming music and videos, Television (web based and via cable/ rabbit ears…) all the great things you could want, making the PC your Media Center. Surround sound, sharing to other computers in your house and storing your ripped movies all in one place but being able to access the information anywhere in your house, across different devices, at the same time (watching the same movie in different rooms and being at different scenes in the movie). You could also access all these wonders from outside your network, somewhere in the World Wide Web. If you missed a show or podcast, if new ones were added, Media Center would show you they were available.
The promises were large but if anyone could pull it off Microsoft should be able to. I became an evangelist for Windows Media Center, I built custom systems, and I gave talks and lectures on the benefits of Windows Media Center Edition. I looked for and found hardware that was similar in size to most home theater components. These used Intel’s “BTX” format (almost all computers are the “ATX” format. Quiet fans, sleek interfaces, cool software, add-ons and boy was I hooked.
My entire home was setup from my TV to radio (rabbit ears and antenna) to web based. Unfortunately it never completely worked yet I had faith that Microsoft would push on. Podcasts and web stations grew in number for about 18 months and then began to drop off, many I would find were still available, just not through Media Center. I would and could access them via my internet browser. No longer did I know if a new podcast or show was available via Media center, I had to go out to the shows web site one at a time. Microsoft had been too big a pain for the producers to want to keep up with encoding Microsoft’s platform and requirements. Thus Media Center’s original use came crashing down.
Vista, Windows 7 and even 8 have Media Center functions, however beyond your ripped CD’s, home movies, and any you ripped from DVD, the new version is just not worth investing my time, skills and money promoting, researching and praising.
So, as you can probably guess, I am not at all excited about Microsoft’s “Apps”. I am just waiting for them to trickle off into the darkness, going the way of way too many Microsoft promises and implemented ideas. Remember the Zune?
When I finally did get into the Apps store, there were 12 updates. Navigating to App licenses and Sync licenses, I selected the “update” and constantly received “your app licenses could not be synced”.
When I used the desktop, all desktop items and programs worked fine, I could setup the display to be very similar to what I have on my Windows 7 machines. I just could not get the Windows 8 main start page to run any Apps.
After months of research, a refresh (Don’t do a refresh! See the previous article about that.) then a reinstall, a format and reinstall, I still was in the same predicament. July I finally gave in and changed from the local account to a Microsoft account. This changed my username to my Hotmail email address name, it changed my logon password to my Hotmail email passwords. Notice I did not say I “added” my Microsoft account which is what I was trying to do, have both accounts.
This broke my shared folders. No longer could (and still to this day) my other computers access the folders on the Windows 8 PC. I tried re-entering the common name on all my systems and the original user name (TheWeeklyGeek) and its password as well as entering my Hotmail address and password in the Windows 7 pop up boxes. Nothing! I checked permissions, added users all the normal things as well as what was suggested on the Internet via research (and a lot of it came from the various Microsoft sites). The oddity is that the Windows 8 machine can access all the other computers shared folders with no issue, I did not have to change anything or even enter the old username. This tells me somewhere under the Microsoft account that the Local user name is still there somewhere.
Using an idea from my web searching, I ran Windows Auto Repair. After a short run the message “automatic repair couldn’t repair your PC” or something to that effect came up. Supposedly there was a log file at “E:\Windows\system32\logfiles\srt\srttrail.txt” first, I do not have an “E:” drive, secondly, if I presume that the message meant “C:” there was not “srt” folder or text file with that name. I am presuming you can guess, it also did not resolve my App issues.
The next change suggested was a “Reset” which is a reinstall (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/restore-refresh-reset-pc). Since I had done this multiple times I decided to skip it.
After months of playing testing and fidgeting, I decided to boot into “Safe mode”. I have no idea why I did not do this before, frustration, too intent on an issue to think wider, whatever it was, I freely admit that for the previous 12 months I do not remember once trying to boot to safe mode.
In safe mode there was a user “Kent”, not the Hotmail address nor my normal username. Booting to “Kent” (which is my name and probably was brought over from the Hotmail account) and using the Hotmail password I logged in. I tried opening “Mail” first. Remember since I linked my Hotmail address, the Mail should come from it. “Mail cannot be opened using the built in Administrator account, sign in with a different account and try again”. I received the same message with Calendar, weather et al.
At last, an actual error message, and it tells me something, I cannot use Window 8 Apps with the “build in Administrator” account!
Since I built the computer and installed Windows and did not buy a prebuilt machine the first and only user was considered the Administrator account. I created a new “User” account for my wife, not a Microsoft account.
That is enough for now, this has been way more than a blog article. I will post more what has been discovered in the last 6 weeks soon.
Until then have a virus free week.