My parents bought a new ultrabook and it was my job to set it up for them. Since all new home computers now come with Windows 8 it was a chance to take the PC version of the operating system for a test drive. So far I am not impressed. One of the first things I did was install an aftermarket Start button to keep it closer to their previous Windows experience. There are a number of these available, most of them are free and not only return the Start button but some of the original Windows 7 functionality you may like. Take a look at a few of them and decide what things you want or need to have.
They wanted Skype and the only way to get it is through the Windows store. The only way to get into the Windows store is via a Windows account, eg firstname.lastname@example.org. So, not only do you need a Windows account to install some software, anything installed this way is only available from the new Start screen with all those squares. This is, of course, decidedly user-unfriendly and restricts you to the Windows store for some programmes, like Skype. Yahoo Messenger installed as usual and is under the Start menu where you would expect to find it. Sorry Redmond, but I'm just not feeling it.
One thing I did learn from the Christmas break was the general reliability or unreliability of eBay orders from suppliers. Local ones are the best, but may be more expensive due to local taxes and postage charges. Postage charges from China and Hong Kong are the best, but delivery can vary from acceptable to glacial. I ordered one product 60 days before Christmas and it has yet to arrive. I have also received the wrong product twice where it was difficult to get anything back. In general, however, my online ordering experiences have been excellent and problems were resolved to my satisfaction. If you are living in the US and reading this you still have the best options for variety and price. For smaller things, China has the cheapest prices.
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