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Windows 8/Windows 8/8.1 - Tablet Ver.(!??)

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QUESTION: Hello,

I have the ipad and phone & all that, but I still need a laptop w/Windows to: install software (the old school software - I even do a lot of CMD work); to hook an external HDD to, and trade files back & forth; to start up with Linux distros on USB sticks; to hook to ext. monitors; to print (by just simply plugging a usb printer in & hitting "Go".. You know what I mean.)

I had said that I would NEVER buy a tablet that ran Windows, but lately, I've been seeing this Dell Venue Pro, that comes with Windows 8.1 (and supposedly 'NOT" Win RT underneath it). And they have the "Surface" with Windows 7 & 8, etc.. And there ARE some more out there that run (supposedly) the "big" Windows, too.

The bad news is it has only one USB port. The good news is, it IS a full-sized port. The RAM in the tablet, the processor, and the size of the HDD storage are all pretty sickly, but IF - and that's what I'm asking you - Do you know IF the Win7/8/8.1 on these tablets is the exact same OS that you would get on a regular laptop or desktop? Or is it a scaled-down, watered down version?

Even if it just has one full sized (2.0, but better than nothing), I assume I could plug a hub into that port, and have 6-8 USB ports (if it IS the same OS as the desktop).

As far as storage, I guess I could hook an external HDD up to it, to transfer files back & forth...

I wonder if I could even install the same software? (I know that it would need to fit within that small amt of HDD space). What about running commands from the CMD line (like SysInternals cmd programs, or even DIR; IPCONFIG, etc..)?

I find it hard to believe that I could start the tablet up with a linux live distro on a thumb drive - but MAYBE!!??

Anything that you know about the Win 7/8/8.1 running on these tablets (basically if it IS possible to do all of the exact same things that you can on  a laptop), I'd surely appreciate your knowledge.

My googling is giving me a lot of totally-mixed answers. I appreciate your time & help a lot!

Thank you,
Kirk Black

ANSWER: Hi Kirk!

I have the Dell Venue Pro 8", and I have to tell you, I really like it.  I am a Windows 8 fan and unaffected personally by many of the unpopular parts of Windows 8 you might hear about.  Running Windows 8.1 on my laptop and my desktops, I am completely at home using Windows 8.1.  What I found with the Venue (which does indeed run a full Windows 8.1 (non-Pro) version of Windows), is that I use it completely differently from how I use my laptop and desktop - Windows 8 surprised me when I saw how easily adaptable it was to different types of devices.

It does indeed run the full Windows 8.1 OS - it is optimized for the hardware/specs so it runs amazingly, but you CAN do anything in the OS that could do on the same OS on a desktop - you can enable BitLocker, IIS, etc. - obviously, some things don't make sense to do on a tablet or with these specs, but the OS is not "watered down" - you are only limited by the hardware (and practicality).

You can indeed run all the command line options available in 8.1 on a desktop, and you can install in Desktop mode any other software you would need to run (like sysinternals, chrome, etc.).

It appears as if you can access the BIOS (to change boot order), but in order to attempt to boot to other external media, you'll need to take precautions for UEFI, as it is possible that you will not be able to switch to a purely "BIOS" mode.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Good luck!


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hey -

GREAT help!! I appreciate it a lot. I'm about to rate you (twice, if it'll let me - one right now & again when u can write me back, whenever u get a chance), because I was just going to ask you one more quick thing, if that's ok. (I HOPE I didn't overlook it in your response, somehow), but, like I'm sure that most people are, I'm a huge USB user - especially ext. HDD & thumb drive use.

Do you (or do you think you/I would) have any problems with the (1 full-sized USB port - that I THINK the Venue has), in running something like a 2-3TB ext. HDD (or even a small, say a 120GB HDD)?
What about transferring files back & forth on a USB stick?
Or syncing/backing up my ipad/iphone to itunes - that I install on the Venue?

Oh, and ONE MORE...is the Venue powerful enough to run a 4-5 (at most) port USB hub? I sometimes use 3 (rarely 4) usb devices at once.

Sorry - that wasn't exactly "(1) question" - like I had said - but 4 or 5! It's just that the USB is make-or-break with me in ordering one this wk.end. I HAVE to have at least decent USB functionality, or it won't help me. So, really sorry to bother you once more, but you really are an ENORMOUS help to me!! THANK YOU A LOT!!!

Kirk

Answer
I chose to "answer" this, even though I'm just guessing, based on my experiences, so go easy :)

You will undoubtedly need a powered hub for any USB device ... I don't know what kind of power output the Venue's USB port has, but I wouldn't expect it to power anything but a flash drive. That said, I suspect there would be no issues accessing devices from the Venue through a powered hub.

My 8" Venue only has a mini-USB port, but the 11" does have a full-size USB port, so I can't try much for you.

- I can print from my Venue to the printer shared from my desktop, just like any other computer.

- I can access data normally when connected to my computer.

I wish I had a way to test it for you ... I just don't have a way to connect anything via my mini USB port, but given what I have seen from my Venue, I don't think you would have an issue.

Good luck.

P.S. I don't mind the questions or follow UPS.

.

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I can answer nearly all questions about Windows 8 - installation, upgrade, virtualization (Hyper-V, etc.), configuration, how to get the most out of it, how to buy it, etc. I won't pretend to know it all - nobody can - if I don't know, I will try and find the answer. If I can't find it, I'll tell you.

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I worked as an analyst in Dell server support for 2 years, and have since worked with many Dell PowerEdge servers. I am currently employed as IT Manager. I have been using Windows 8 since the early Developer Preview days and use it on all of my primary PC's for a number of activities.

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I have a BS in Computer Science and have earned the following certifications: CompTIA Security+, A+, Project+; CIW Web Design, Database Specialist; Microsoft Windows 7; Dell DCSE Server. I am also an expert in Windows 7, Servers, and Hard Drives (I don't normally do XP - not because I don't know it inside and out, but because I have "retired" personal support for XP, and I want to see it die :)).

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