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Windows 7 vs. 8

PDH7981PDH7981 Member
edited December 2013 in home
I am considering a computer upgrade as it's way over due. I am currently running with Windows Vista. I recently downloaded Lightroom 5 in an attempt to stay current with all of my software. Well, guess what? LR5 doesn't work with Vista. It's a Windows 7 and beyond software. So, at the moment, that leaves me with LR4 and CS6 as my two primary editing software packages.

So, my question to you all would be, if you were purchasing a new computer today, would you prefer Windows 7 or Window 8 OS? Right now, I can still purchase either with my new system. I just wanted some feedback on how you feel Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS6 run on either of these OS's.


  • I don't know how they run on Windows 8, but they both run perfectly fine on the Windows 7 I use... if that's any help.
  • Depending on when you bought your current computer, you may be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 7. Check the website of the manufacturer to determine. Most did because of the problems with Vista. If you perform the upgrade, you wont lose anything and get a chance to use Win 7 before making a final decision. :)
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    I have Windows 7 and it's great.

    Tried W8 [on mate's PC] and it's a dog, but I heard they improved it with W8.1 and actually put the 'Start' button back in along with the Task Bar by default. In W8 neither of these are there by default.

    I am sticking to W7 as I did with other versions, usually skipping each second one as it become rubbish/bloated with unnecessary crap they put in.

    W95, Skipped W98, W2000, Skipped W-Me, W-XP Pro, Skipped Vista.
    It just seems the way all along with Microsoft, each second version of any upgrade is rubbish.

  • thank you @sovaphotos but I'm long over due for a computer upgrade. Upgrading this system with Windows 7 at this point would be scary! I'm ready for a more powerful new system. I'm looking at the Dell XPS 8700 with a 4th Generation i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GT 635 Video Card... and every upgrade the machine will take. I want a "no excuses" computer that won't bogg down, slow down or have any problems with speed or performance.

    Thank you Trev... Based on everything I'm hearing, I am leaning towards Windows 7. It just feels safer.

    The next thing will be the monitor. I want an IPS monitor and I'm looking for a monitor calibrator to go with it. Currently, I have a Huey Pro as my monitor calibrator but I think it's not professional enough. Looking for something more current and accurate.

    Thanks for any inputs.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited December 2013
    If you are serious re monitor, get an NEC PA series and the X-rite i1Display Pro, but get the SpectraView software so it uses the tables built into the monitor, but this deal below includes the actual SpectraView Calibrator also.

    NEC PA Series

    X-Rite i1 Display Pro

    PS: When you buy this type of monitor, you are using the monitor's hardware based profile built into it, instead of relying on 3rd party software.

    If using the SpectraView Calibrator, you use the SpectraView software which links into the monitor, or, if using an X-Rite i1 Display Pro, you don't load the software that comes with that, you still use the SpectraView software since it's the one made for that monitor.

    If using an Eizo Monitor, you use the Eizo's software, ColorNavigator, regardless of the type of calibration tool you get since ColorNavigator is able to once again access the Eizo's Hardware profiles built in the monitor.

    Obviously these are specialists monitors, but they sure are good.

  • Thank you again @Trev. I have a stong feeling that one of these will be my pick. I have looked at both in the past. I'm figuring my computer/monitor budget is somewhere in the $3,500 range. I'm only a few hundred away at this point.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    Looks like you are heading in the right direction with Processor/Graphics Card.

    I don't know how you feel re rest of stuff, but my advice would be:

    1) Get as much RAM as possibly will fit in the Motherboard. It may be a bit spendy at first but you won't regret it.

    2) Harddrives: I know you are probably buying an 'off-the-shelf' computer, but if you can 'build to order' with it at all, get at the very least 2 Harddrives.

    Reason being:

    a] One Solid State Drive if possible or a WD VelociRaptor 10,000 rpm just for the Operating System and a completely separate drive for your data. The two should never be on the one drive. Cost, yep, but if one crashes you will have at least the other.

    b] I have at present 5 HDDs - 2 SSD Samsung EVO HDDs @ 250G just for operating system and for backup OS.
    2 WD 1Tb 10,000 rpm VelociRaptors 1 for DATA and the other is the BACK-UP of that data.
    They are the very latest generation which read and write a hell of a lot faster than a normal 7200 drive and I have a 3rd one at 140G of them for my 'Scratch Disc' for Photoshop.

    3) Get yourself some External 2Tb Drives for back-up. I have 4 which I rotate each day [all my back-ups run during the night] and I swap them out, taking the latest one up to the shed away from the house.

    4] Get yourself a good back-up program. I have used 'Karen's Replicator' for the past several years, it's free, and it works brilliantly.

    Good Luck!

  • Hi everyone, I'm new here but think I can contribute to the win7/win8 question. I upgraded from win7 to win8 a little less than a year ago and upgraded again to win8.1 shortly after it was released. Windows 8.0 and 8.1 have a lot of improvements over Windows 7 that are under the hood where you can't see them, both in efficiency and security. I find the new user interface terrible, but fixed that with a free utility called Classic Shell. Classic Shell allows you to start at a Windows 7 style desktop and has a true start menu (Windows 8.1 has a start button, but no Windows 7 style start menu). There are various other little tweaks to make the interface pretty much like Windows 7 and I virtually never see the new Metro interface. I've been in desktop IT support for 24 years and feel qualified to say that Windows 8.0/8.1 are real improvements over Windows 7, it's just the interface that's a problem and that can be fixed. There's nothing wrong with Windows 7 and you won't go wrong with it, but Windows 8 really is better. Lightroom 5, Photoshop CC, and Spectraview run with no trouble. If you use IE there may be sites you need to run in compatibility view, but that will be true under Windows 7 as well if you allow IE to upgrade to version 11.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    Hi JohnT,

    Thanks for the info and welcome. :)

    Yes, some do say W8.1 is a good improvement, but it's a pity MS tried to 'Mac It' with the 'Apps-Like feel' instead of the normal Windows PC's people were used to.

    After all, I bet you won't see anytime soon (unless it's snowing in hell) an iMac/MacPro having a 'Windows' theme (unless of course they run either Parallel or VM software to load Windows which some do for personal reasons.

    The trouble is a lot of people would not know how to fix, let alone having to install a 3rd party piece of software just to get it to run 'like Windows used to be'.

    Your knowledge in IT obviously qualifies you to now what's good and bad, unfortunately a lot just go with the flow out of necessity.

    Enjoy the forum John.


  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited December 2013

    Just another thought. If you are getting that Dell, and you make up your mind for W7, I would completely format the OS drive, and install W7 personally or get a tech to do it.

    With W7 it only takes 20 mins tops to install, but will probably then take you several hours doing all the updates, install programs, tweaking which you would have needed to do anyway apart from the installed OS it come with.

    I do that with any laptops I get. {PCs I build/get built from scratch}.
    I get a laptop with good specs, but I then trash/format everything on it.

    That reason is I want the very least 'minimalist/barebones' OS I can get without any of the PC/Laptop's manufacturer's 'helpers' crud that generally comes with it.

    They generally have anti-virus programs installed for you, which you need to then buy anyway and ones I personally hate, and other stuff I don't like. Doing an uninstall of some of those can lead to problems with stuff left behind, so therefore that's my reason for a Reformat/Re-install logic.

    On average it takes around 12 hours for a laptop re-install, programs, updates, tweaking but it runs a hell of a lot better than when I first got it brand new out of the box.

    Up to you.
  • JohnTJohnT Member
    edited December 2013
    Thanks for the welcome, Trev! I'm a newbie at using flash and look forward to being here.

    If anyone does make the leap to Windows 8, here's a link to Classic Shell:


    It was originally written to give the Windows XP interface back to people who didn't like Vista's interface.


    On another note, I have X-rite's ColorMunki Photo package and you can use it with SpectraView to calibrate the NEC PA series. If you only want to calibrate your monitor getting the monitor and calibrator together makes more sense, but if you want to make icc profiles for printing the ColorMunki Photo is great and you can use it in place of the calibrator option with the monitor. Of course you do have to buy the Spectraview II software and disable the ColorMunki monitor calibration software.
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    Thanks for that link JT. It does look good for anyone wanting to get the old style back.

    Also for anyone wanting to 'get under the hood' and instead of rooting through all the programs, you can create a 'GodMode'.

    W7 ~ On your desktop, create a New Folder.
    Rename that folder including all the brackets to: GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

    Actually you can change the wording like MyStuff in place of the wording GodMode or anything you like, no spaces/characters.

    Icon will change and just double click to open it up and change stuff to your heart's content.


    This will put ALL the things in one neat package so you can change stuff at leisure, as a LOT of this stuff is hidden.

    W8 ~ Same: GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

  • Thanks, Trev. I've tried it out and it's a very impressive collection of settings!
  • Wow... thank you JohnT and Trev. What a tresure-trove of information. Unlike JohnT, I don't think I would feel comfortable reformatting my Windows computer. Way over my head. Plus, the hospital bill from my heart-attack would probably wipe out my bank account and I'd have no money left to get my "reformatting efforts" corrected! :-)

    Can I pick your brains for just a bit:
    I really need to wrap my head around what JohnT was saying on the NEC PA monitors. I really like the idea of the monitor holding all the monitor calibration constants. So, if I were to purchase the NEC monitor as seen here for about $1,000 US:


    It includes:
    SpectraView II Color Calibration Kit (SVII-PRO-KIT)
    VGA Cable
    DVI-D Cable
    DisplayPort Cable
    Power Cord
    Cable Cover
    User Manual
    Mounting Screws
    4-Year Limited Parts & Labor Warranty

    Would this be everything I would need for the monitor portion of my purchase or do I need to purchase additional items?
    One additional question, the computer I'm considering offers an upgraded NVIDIA GeForce GT 635 Video Card. Is this Video card necessary or can I just plug this NEC monitor into the integrated Video port?
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    That Monitor and stuff included would be all you would need.

    You have the monitor, the Calibration Kit/SpectraView software and you are good to go.

    Now, here is simply one of the best sites I know for information, in Australia where I am, and it will give you a complete run down on installing SpectraView and then on how to calibrate your NEC with SpectraView.

    Step by step with images. So easy to follow it's silly.

    How to Calibrate an NEC Monitor

    Re the Question about the Graphics Card. My answer: Yes, get it.

    Once you have a decent system in the way of Motherboard, Processor, RAM, why downgrade it using an integrated graphics card, although it may be good, it certainly won't be on a par with a dedicated one, especially when it's being used in a graphics intensive program like Photoshop.

    The one I am currently using: NVidea 2047MB GeForce GTX 760 (Gigabyte)

  • Thanks Trev... I'll be refering back to this post early next year when I make this purchase. I'll update this post once I've "done the deal". Thanks again for all your help and guidance.
  • PDH,

    I think you're mixing Trev and me up a bit. In any case, I agree with Trev that the monitor package you are looking at would give you everything you need for a great monitor and calibration. This is the same monitor I use and I'm very happy with it. I also agree that you should go with the nvidea graphics card over the integrated graphics. I know it isn't an option here, but for future reference, you wouldn't benefit from an expensive gaming type graphic card in LR or PS, they are both doing 2D graphics and wouldn't use their dedicated 3D processing capabilities. If you ever want to do video editing in Premier it does benefit greatly from the 3D processing available in the more expensive nvidea chipsets.

    Be aware that wide gamut monitors don't have accurate colors when at the desktop or running applications that aren't color profile aware, but are excellent when you are editing your photographs in Lightroom or Photoshop. NEC provides a utility to toggle between sRGB emulation and wide gamut if it bothers you. I just leave mine set at the native wide gamut. Firefox has accurate colors in wide gamut mode, IE doesn't for images that don't have a color profile tag.

  • TrevTrev Moderator
    Precisely John re Monitor Color and browsers.

  • Ahhh, new desktop for me in a few months. I will be reading all these posts daily!
  • I switched from Win 7 to 8 back in April of 2013. I got 8 for a small cost via a promotion from MS and decided to give it a trial while things were slow. In order to get up to speed quickly, I decided to use one of the Start Menu replacement programs. I opted to use Start is Back http://www.startisback.com/ which relies on MS's own programming for the start menu, unlike some similar apps which mingle more of their code with Microsoft's.

    After about 6 weeks, I decided Win8 was a keeper. I customized the Start Screen (the new UI) and discontinued using the added-on Start Menu altogether. See a screen shot here: http://www.pbase.com/ho72/image/149917533/original.jpg
    I've modified this config a couple of time since this screen grab was made, but what should be immediately obvious is that there are no Modern/Metro apps in sight. The ones I still allow are all relegated to the tail end of the Start Screen.

    It seems odd to say after years of using Windows, but now the old, hierarchical Start Menu seems sooo last century. I guess I could be bribed into going back to using Win7, but it wouldn't be cheap and... who would pay me? :)
  • I agree with the pro 8 comments. I just switched to Windows 8 and love the interface. A few things are cumbersome-having to go into the corners to access certain menus-but overall it is clean and easy to use. All my programs work much faster, even compared to 7 when it was new (on the same PC). No way I would go back to Windows 7...:)

  • Well, just as a follow up for everyone. I just placed my order with a local computer company that is building my system. Here are the bullets:

    i7 Processor (4th Gen)
    32Gb RAM
    NVIDIA Graphics Card with 2 Gb on-board Memory
    180Gb SSD for Windows 8.1 OS only.... Might put Photoshop CS6 & LR5 on this SSD as well.
    1Tb @ 7200 RPM (second drive for additional programs)
    Qty 2 - 3Tb Data Drives (one drive is primary data drive, while the other is backup. It will mirror the primary drive with automatic backups)

    Display has been purchased through Adorama... the NEC 24" Widescreen Professional Graphics Monitor with SpectraView II and it will include the SpectraView II Color Calibration Kit (SVII-PRO-KIT).

    So, based on your feedback, I'm going with the Windows 8 OS.

    Thanks for all your inputs!

  • TrevTrev Moderator

    Let us know how it performs, but you will notice a huge difference compared to your old one (without even knowing what you currently have).

    It only takes around 3-5 seconds to load Photoshop CC on mine [SSD] and that's with an awful lot of actions, plug-ins.

    One thing I found, just for anyone else wondering how to help PS along, get into your Presets and clean out a hell of a lot of them.

    Brushes are the biggest thing, they are huge in size, so deleting any unused Brushes, Patterns, Styles, Actions helps in loading, but with those specs you will think it's lightning compared to old. :)
  • Trev, other than boot times and loading apps quickly, what other advantages are there in using an SSD for a system disk? I tried it for a time with my Win 8 install and, to me, there was no notable improvement in anything else. Photoshop and Lightroom were no faster (in use) than what I was used to with a conventional HDD.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited January 2014

    It depends on what other hardware you are using, I mean if you have an older system, then only just put in an SSD drive, apart from what you said there would not be a great advantage at all, in fact as you noticed around the same speed.

    To get any true benefit out of an SSD, you still need to have a good amount of memory, and a good Graphics Card especially for 'redraw' in a labor intensive program like PS, then there is the fact that even though you may have your OS on an SSD, if you are still using a normal 7200 rpm drive for your data, that's where the bottleneck would be.

    Though you may see the big difference in booting, opening apps, but not so much in actually using them, you need to take into account where are the images coming from, another drive, say a normal HDD 7200 rpm one, then it still has to read/write to an older style HDD, therefore that older drive dictates the speed and not the SSD/OS.

    When I put in my SSD around 3 months back, I also added an extra 12G RAM, [total now 24G,] and a new higher spec Graphics Card, but, importantly, also added 2 new WD VelociRaptor 10,000 rpm 1Tb drives (1 Data; 1 Data Backup) which are much faster than a normal 7200 rpm HDD.

    To get any real benefit, RAM, Graphics Card, faster Data drives are needed to help. Unless you have a big OS/Partitioned into OS/Data which is not advisable.

    Bit like putting a jet engine into an old 1930 car, the engine will be fine, the rest won't keep up and still be lagging behind.

    Unfortunately, that's the way it is, and to get a great top of the line system [Case/Components Only] would probably set you back $2000+ in today's market. My upgrade cost me around $1300 as it was.

  • TrevTrev Moderator
    Something else that may help, do you understand 'Scratch Discs' re Photoshop.

    They are designated drives where Photoshop temporarily writes a file into while working.

    If you have not changed anything in the Preferences, then your 'Scratch Disc' will designated by default to where the program is installed to.

    The idea of Scratch Disc is so Photoshop can have a lot of room to move around in, and if memory is an issue, it will then draw on the Cache/Memory of that disc to keep it working.

    I used to have a WD VelociRaptor 10,000 140G drive [totally blank] purely for Photoshop's Scratch Disc, but now I utilise my OS since it's the much faster SSD, and put the blank as a 'secondary' Scratch Disc.


  • HowieHowie Member
    edited January 2014
    Trev, thanks for your response.

    I run a 3770K w/ 32GB of RAM, nV GTX 650, 2GB. My present setup, after trying out Win8 on SSD and honestly being underwhelmed, is the OS and apps on a V-Raptor. PS Scratch, LR catalog, working images, ACR/LR cache, etc., reside on a Samsung 830 256GB SSD.

    A few reasons why this works for me: PS rarely touches the Scratch in a meaningful way. Even though it's writing to Scratch, it rarely has to read from it because installed RAM is sufficient for most of my work. Occasionally I fire up CS5-32 to use an old filter or two that didn't get 64-bit updates. Having the Scratch on SSD is surely a help in that case.

    The other thing that makes this setup optimal for me is that I seldom reboot my machine; I prefer to let it sleep when I'm not working. What this means is that, since Win 7 and 8 have really good caching algorithms, app start-up (apart from the initial load after a fresh boot) is pretty snappy. Not SSD snappy, but what do I care if Photoshop loads in 4 seconds instead of 1 if I'm going to be spending the next several hours working in it? As I said, when working in the program itself, I can find no compelling benefit in using an SSD as a system disk with my system configured as it is.

    Finally, I opted to stay with a spinner for my OS because SSD technology is just too new and I don't trust it fully. Failure rates for SSDs are all over the map from high to low, i.e., from OCZ to Intel, and long term reliability is still a question mark because there just aren't enough data points. One highly touted feature of SSD technology is the fail to "read-only mode". Simply stated, it's said that when a solid state drive's memory reaches an end-of-life condition where writes are concerned, it supposedly retains its data which can be safely be read and transferred to a new drive. This was put to the test by a group of volunteers at Xtreme Systems, who pushed numerous brands of SSD to failure by running programs specifically designed to wear them out in short order. The result, after dozens of drives had been cooked, was that none had retrievable data. Not one.

    Now, having said all this, I fully expect to embrace an SSD as my system disk on my next build in 4 years or so. By then the technology will be more refined and trustworthy (from my perspective, at least). SSDs will never be bulletproof though. Both HDD and SSD reliability are a function of fiscal reality. All other considerations aside, they both are as dependable as it is economically feasible to make them. We, as consumers, are only willing to pay so much.
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    Very salient points, and yes, I too wavered on SSD for a long time. In fact the only reason I bothered to upgrade at all was because my original WD V-Raptor for my OS was 140G and was advised at the time that will be all I would need.

    Well, that's not the case, since every time Windows does an update, a little bit more space is taken and pretty soon, instead of the 70G space I had after loading all the programs I use when first built, it got to the stage where I was down to only 3-5G left, so had to bite the bullet and get a new OS drive.

    The Samsung 250G EVO looked the best so went with it and thought I would take the punt on a SSD.

    So far so good, I did notice speed increase using the programs, but certainly not blindingly fast speeds, considering I was already pretty good in the hardware department originally, buying the best I could at that stage. Bloody expensive, $3995 for just the case/components in 2010. But I did have 6 drives installed.

    When I build my new one around mid-2014 [August 2010 was last one but upgrade 3 months back] I will have to seriously reconsider and get top MoB, Graphics, RAM and see what happens.

    Re rebooting, yep, I hate rebooting, mine is on 24/7, no sleep/hibernate mode I think that causes problems, I just merely turn off my monitors. Rebooting is only after updates or power failure or the very rare glitch I may get in PS when a reboot seems to fix but that's like maybe once every 6 months.

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