Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Are your applications and devices compatible?

Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Are your applications and devices compatible?

Summary: The Compatibility Center offers a comprehensive listing of programs and devices, telling you whether or not they are compatible with Windows 8.

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Want to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on your PC, but you're concerned that some of your hardware or software might be incompatible with the new operating system? Don't worry; help is at hand in the form of the Compatibility Center for Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Before installing the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (or any new operating system for that matter), it makes sense to check that all the software and hardware that you rely on (including peripheral devices such as smartphones and audio players) are compatible with the new operating system before you click on that "Install now".

I've already heard some horror stories of people unleashing a world of pain on themselves by thoughtlessly upgrading to what is essentially a beta product. Better to be safe than sorry.

This is where the Compatibility Center comes into play. It offers a comprehensive listing of programs and devices, telling you whether they are compatible with Windows 8 or not. This invaluable information can help you isolate potential problems that you might experience before they happen, saving you a lot of stress down the line.

In my experience, the majority of stuff works just fine (especially if you've kept your software and drivers updated), but it's good to have advanced warning if you need to find and download updates or buy upgrades for anything that you rely on. As a general rule, the newer your system, the fewer problems you're going to have.

Note: I don't recommend installing the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on any mission-critical system. If downtime is going to cost you money, I recommend installing it into a virtual machine instead.

The Compatibility Center website is very thorough, with thousands of programs and devices listed. But you do still have to bear in mind that the older or more obscure your software or hardware is, the less likely it is that it will appear on the list. Another drawback is that you do have to work your way through it manually, which can be tedious, especially if your system is complex. Also, remember that no listing can be 100 percent complete, so if you have something that's not listed, you could be headed for trouble.

Another easier way to check your system is to download and run the Windows 8 Consumer Preview setup applications (rather than the DVD .ISO images). This is a useful tool because before offering to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on your system, it will carry out a scan of your applications and devices to check for compatibility and generate an easy-to-read report that you can work through.

I have come across a couple of drawbacks. First, I've noticed that it missed the odd application or device. It's well worth knowing what you have installed and double-checking all the important stuff against the list on the Compatibility Center website. The second thing to bear in mind is that if your device isn't connected to your PC, then it's not going to find it. With peripherals such as keyboards and mice, you should be OK, but it's not going to find your smartphone or digital camera unless it's connected at the time you run the scan.

Good luck!

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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25 comments
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  • Windows 8

    Don't do it! Windows 8 is the biggest pile of crap I have ever used. I will not switch from windows 7. Metro is good for phones but not good for a laptop. The windows 8 site is full of testers that are telling Microsoft the same thing. It has some of the good looks of windows 7 taken out of it so it runs better on smaller devices. The sound was a big deal for me. The sound is really bad when you listen to it next to windows 7. This could be because they did not use dolby this time. It does have some bugs as well but that part is what the beta is for. The things I have problems with is what Microsoft did to make windows run better for small devices and they will not be fixed. If they stick with this when windows 9 comes around I could see myself going to mac.
    imsimsj
  • Many Seem to Be

    I've only found 1 device and 1 app that I use regularly that are not compatible:

    1) Video driver for NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M. Its a laptop video driver and must come from Dell not directly from NVIDIA (unless somebody knows something different).
    2) GSyncit, a swiss army knife sync plugin for Outlook that syncs gmail calendars, tasks, calendars and a bunch more stuff. Won't install because it can't find .NET even though it is baked into Windows 8.

    The biggest incompatibility is Metro. Its lack of multiple overlapping windows makes it seriously incompatible with my workflow.
    txscott
    • How odd

      You considered workflow, how it might change. None of the bloggers have even begun to target that. Mind you, do they even work, and how would they know if they were? Do I have a low opinion if zdnet bloggers? It's just possible I do.

      One wonders why they don't consider it? Doing a W8 v. W7/Vista v. XP etc blah blah wrt to workflow and the changes. Probably too much like hard work is why. It's easier to give it a slapping, or spasm in delight over it without any genuine thought being given.

      Babbling about how good/bad/ugly it is (and imho a cane toad is prettier than W8) without regard to how it affects/enhances/degrades workflow has been offensive and worthless.

      So, what do these "luminaries" think about workflow? How much of a learning curve it will be to become effective, if one can? That would have been a whole lot more useful than has been seen so far on zdnet.
      ego.sum.stig
      • babble?

        Well you certainly qualify as an expert in babbling.
        spin498
      • How droll

        Did you think that up yourself, or did you have to Bing/Google it?
        ego.sum.stig
  • Wireshark

    To install Wireshark I had to run the installer in compatibility mode. The WinPCap driver refused to install otherwise.

    So far this is the only compatibility problem I have run across software or hardware wise.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Cisco AE1000 not discovered

    I don???t understand why many simply do not create a separate partition and dual-boot. Have installed on 2 systems (Desktop & Laptop). The Laptop install was a bit challenging because the DVD drive was broken so I had to create a bootable USB. After install the Cisco AE1000 network adaptor was not discovered. Connected to a wired network and Windows 8 found the adaptor but stated it was unavailable. Now that the system could see the adaptor I was able to install the Windows 7 drivers from the desktop. Connecting to both 2.4 & 5 networks. Love the fact I was able to create Metro tiles to make a Citrix connection to applications inside the corporate firewall. After 2 days I have discovered the Start Menu is not as big a deal as I had assumed it would be. Don???t miss it and love the excitement of learning new way to navigate.
    thekman58
    • Excellent!

      Excellent comments on trying something to kill assumptions and/or biases. Thanks!
      eargasm
    • amen

      sorry i feal the same way have installed bunch for programs just to find out what it will take and not.dont forget not full version.install, brake,and reintall we got for free why not put through hell to see if can take it,peace
      sarai1313@...
  • Win8 is kind of a joke

    I am dual booting between Win7 & Win8 CP, and have been playing with Win8 for a few days now. I've really been trying to give 8 the benefit of the doubt, but so far I really *really* don't like it. It just isn't intuitive.. at all. Yes I realize that what is "intuitive" now, wasn't when we started, and we all had to learn.. But this is different.

    As a tablet OS, I can see Win8 working just fine, but it simply *does not* fit the Desktop Computing Paradigm. If you've been playing with Win8 like me, you know exactly what I mean.

    Number 1: Where the hell are my programs? Yep, some of them, written to take advantage of Windows 8's "start screen" will show up there. If they don't however, where the hell can I find them? Let's see... Desktop? Nope, the icon's not there.. Look through the start screen again? Nope.. Still not there.. Turns out, if you start typing at the start screen, you can search (similar to the search function in the traditional start menu)!! Also, if you *right click* on the start screen, you can have it list "all programs."

    Also... There is no "closing" of Win8 friendly applications. To get out, you just click the lower left hand of the screen to return you to your "Tiles." Like I say, works on a tablet, not so much on the desktop.

    Ok.. I'm done playing for now.. Now.. Where the hell is the power button? I want to restart.. Looking through the tiles.. Nope, not there.. OOhhh.. Click the lower right hand corner, click settings, click power, click restart.

    Yeah.. Not intuitive AT ALL. I do *not* like it at all, and for those of you who say "meh, just use the "desktop" instead of the Start Screen? Yeah - that's fine.. I'll just have to create shortcuts to all of my apps on the desktop, because even using the "desktop", there's still no traditional start menu at all, and hitting your windows "start" button on the keyboard just takes you back to your tiles.

    I love Windows 7. Love it. Been using it since shortly after its' release, and have virtually no complaints. It's a wonderful, stable OS and I will *not* be moving to Windows 8 until all the apps I use stop support for Windows 7. I suppose Win8 is fine if you're an average (email, web browse, play FB games) user. But if you have a great number of apps you regularly use (like me), don't count on Win8 being a nice experience.

    Microsoft needs to rename Windows8 to "Windows Mobile" or "WinTablet" or something.. It is most certainly *not* the Desktop Windows I've come to know and love.
    donniesito
    • Different how?

      How is this different from learning any of the other things we do now? This is no different than having to learn the Program Manager only to be force fed the Start Button/Menu.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • because..

        It's different (in my opinion of course), because we're going from a desktop way of doing things, to a tablet way of doing things. Totally different platforms. Again, it's just my opinion; people may agree or disagree. For me though, I will not go to Windows 8 unless forced to do so by the applications that I use.
        donniesito
  • Whatever is close to the metal tends to be incompatible

    Windows Phone emulator is incompatible, HWiNFO32 (reads sensors and S.M.A.R.T.) restarts Windows, Alcohol 52% does not run (Daemon Tools run but both look unnecessary now), Paragon Backup (uses low level features to allow to backup a consistent image while Windows continues to run) is incompatible. HWiNFO32 was not discovered by the installer since it was portable.

    Amazingly, LiteManager (remote desktop with fine support for UAC dimming, English site looks abandoned) runs.
    gak@...
  • whatever happened to

    "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"? To compete, yes MS needs a tablet OS, but we don't need a new desktop OS,hell, we just got Win7! If we have to have Win8 on a pc, how about an interface for those of us that do real work, that actually multitask, that HATE having to "search" for what we use? the pc doesn't need a simplified ( Windows for Dummies ) interface, it needs one that takes full advantage of all the incredible power available in a modern pc. Dumb down the interface, and you neuter a machine that is capable of so much, few even grasp its full potential. Give Win8 and tablets to the "users" that surf the web and spend all day on twitter and facebook, and blatantly tell you: " I don't know how to do that and don't want to learn"...
    winddrift03
  • whatever happened to

    I downloaded the Consumer Preview the first day and installed in VirtualBox. Even after days of trying it out, I am not convinced that this inproves workflow for those trying to do real work. I'm not crazy of having to hop back-and-forth between the Metro Interface and the desktop, I'm still trying to find out where things I use are located, and in general it seems it takes a lot more clicks to do a task that it does on Windows 7. Now, with that said, I'm pretty good at using new user interfaces (I even found Ubuntu Unity and Gnome 3 fairly easy to figure out) but Windows 8 is such a radical departure I can't see it being on business radar for a long time. I'm not sure how many consumers are going to have it on their radar either if they use desktops. I do think it may well be successful on tablets which might drive more people to Windows Phones but it's just not ready for those that use desktops with a mouse and keyboard.
    jrbales@...
  • whatever happened to

    In my prior post, regarding consumer reaction, my sister's reaction may end up being pretty typical. She took a look at Windows 8 Metro and then told me in no uncertain terms not to install it on her computer. She's an average consumer so I'm thinking her's may be a good hint at how those types of consumers are going to respond. Wonder if MS will have a program for those buying new computers to downgrade to Windows 7?
    jrbales@...
  • Work efficiency

    Preface: I have not tried Windows 8.... Everything I'm seeing on multiple sites seems to indicate that the golly-gee whiz stuff is great but work efficiency will take a beating. I have always done upgrades at first light of one since early MSDos because I've always liked "new and improved". (DOS 6.0 and Vista not included) I hope the final version of 8 is a lot better than what I've been reading.
    mike five
  • So far, so good

    Installed on an older spare workstation. The Compatability Centre was none too thorough in identifying applications on my Vista Business with few installs. I had to install drivers for my SIS 755 (which is dated!) chipset, otherwise no problems. The interface works well for me - with or without the touchscreen. I am likely to be more receptive having recently taken up the Windows phone on my Nokia contract.
    I particularly like the uncluttered desktop - I am careless about looking after my desktop and tend to litter it with everything I work on. For now I have no complaints and I am sure it will grow on me.
    rjfandre
  • demo can we say demo shure you can

    instal it beat it up till brakes and reinstall .paly with insall as much as you can you got for free.change the tiles for what you need remove the ones you dont. i can see none have you have done bata testing befor oh unless you bought apple and they track you and how and what you used to mold thier O.S. to finaly ive what you they though you wanted. microsoft is just doing it up front by telling you iit is a demo to find outwhat wroks for real and what fails .sorry for gramer and spelling i am dyxlic .peace to all
    sarai1313@...
  • Intuitive... YES!

    I was doumbfounded at how "foreign" Windows Vista seemed to me. I told my associates, I think Redmond hired the guys from Dilbert's Elbonia to write this. It does not "feel" like Windows or like it was designed by anyone raised in the United States. Windows 7 "feels" pretty normal, but I have the same complaint as others. Go ahead and change the underlying technology, optimize the code, add new features, BUT do not change the name or location of anything that CAN be the same as it has been. I just downloaded Windows 8 CP and it sounds like I am in for another visit from alien software. As for compatibility issues, Vista made me switch to Linux, and except for the HUGE printer issues in Linux, it recognizes all of my hardware out of the box. Yes, I also have Windows 7 I can boot up, because Linux won't run most consumer applications. I could say that is a conspiracy, but the real reason is good old greed. I do find myself using Windows less and less as time goes by.
    jwhitmor@...