Windows 8


Ian Shepherd
 

For those of you that use a Windows computer to display navigation software, beware of moving to Windows 8. I recently bought a Toshiba Ultrabook for my Amel that was supplied with Win 8. Apart from the ghastly user interface, there is no built in support in Windows 8 for programs such as Franson GPG gate or Xport. They will run but you will not be able to create working virtual com ports. You will therefore not be able to easily distribute GPS NMEA data to your various nav software programs, autopilot, DSC VHF etc.

Win 8 may detect a GPS device plugged into a USB port but I have not tested it as I am 2000 miles away from my boat. On Crusader GPS data is derived from the AIS receiver and distributed where ever I need it via GPS Gate- on Windows 7 that is.

Also beware that Windows 7 may not run on the latest hardware. Win 7 would not install on my Toshiba U940 model despite having formatted the hard disk first. Fortunately I was able to return the U940 with a full refund and I have ordered a U840 which is made for and supplied with Windows 7. Short term that is a solution, but where will that leave us now that Microsoft and the OEM's are forcing us onto windows 8? I have contacted Franson and they say that they do not have a solution. Maybe if enough of us contact Microsoft they will incorporate the code to support virtual com ports once more. At my son's workplace all the security cameras are connected via virtual ports to the computer network, so we are not alone in our requirements.

Maybe in time a third party will write a fix just as they already have to restore the start button and conventional menu and bypass the Metro opening screen. Clearly Microsoft are disappointing a lot of past customers with their new operating system.

Merry Xmas

Ian Shepherd SM2000 #414 Crusader

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