TMA SoftStar News: January 2013

by Hank Friedman

Note: The links to online resources within these articles are shown as underlined. You can find them on my web page:

Windows 8 Revisited

I have been getting a lot of questions from astrologers about the new Windows 8, and since most new computers will have it pre-installed on them, it is appropriate to address this in more depth now.

1. The Versions of Windows 8

As I mentioned in my last column, Microsoft has created much confusion and misunderstanding by releasing three versions of Windows 8 that appear identical, but have very different functionality. Windows RT, which is installed on the new Microsoft Surface tablet and many other smaller tablets and some laptops, can only run apps downloaded from the Microsoft app store (and built-in apps), but not any of the Windows programs that you own.

The versions called Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro, including the version on the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet, are very similar to each other, and can run most, but not all, of your Windows programs.

Additionally, only owners of Windows 8 Pro computers can choose to revert to the Windows 7 operating system for free.

2. Checking the compatibility of your hardware and software with Windows 8

Many computers, scanners, printers, monitors, mice, and other hardware will run fine under Windows 8, but because older hardware might not, you can and should check the compatibility of your computer hardware at the Microsoft Compatibility Center before getting a Windows 8 device.

While most programs that work under Windows Vista or Windows 7 will work just fine under Windows 8, some of the older computer programs that you use, e.g. for word processing, internet browsing, graphics, music, etc., may not work with Windows 8.

You can use the aforementioned compatibility center to check whether the software you rely upon will work under Windows 8. Windows 8 also has no XP Mode, so you can't run your old XP programs using this method.

3. Astrology Software and Windows 8

I have corresponded with many of the astrology software companies and they report that the following programs install and run fine under Windows 8 (but none have touch-screen features):

AIR Software: Millennium StarTrax 7, Super Search Astrograph: TimePassages 5

Astrolabe: Astrolabe Reports, Nova Chartwheels, Solar Fire Gold

Astrology House: Janus 4.3

Cathar Software: Regulus Platinum 6

Cosmic Patterns: Kepler 7.0, Sirius 1.3, Pegasus 3.1

Esoteric Technologies: Solar Writer Reports

Geovision Software: Parashara's Light 7.0.4, Vedic Astrology Bookshelf 1.2.1

Halloran Software: AstrolDeluxe Report Writer 8, Astrology for Windows 3.0

Kala Occult Publishers: Kala 2010

Matrix Software: Win*Star 4.0

Shrisource: Shri Jyoti Star 6

Zoidiasoft Technologies: Delphic Oracle 6, Timaeus 8 Pro

All of the other current products from these companies also run under Windows 8.

However, the earlier versions of these astrology programs often will not install (or work) under Windows 8 (or Windows 7 or Vista). If you have an older version, it is best to update to the latest one, or check with the manufacturer to see if your version can be installed and run.

4. Why to get (or avoid) Windows 8

Windows 8 will load faster, is a bit more secure, and runs a little faster than Windows 7. Its real advantage, however, lies in its ability to operate by touch, i.e. swiping the screen like on an iPad, which is both fun and often easier to use. Of course, you can only use touch if you have a touchscreen device (a tablet, laptop, or desktop with a screen that is specifically designed to be touched), or use one of the new touch screen pens.

In addition, if you have a Windows phone or RT device as well as a Windows 8 computer, you can share music, photos, emails, and Windows 8 apps between all three. [Note: it is best to wait until Winter of 2013 to get a Windows 8 laptop or tablet, as they are gradually being released and improved upon.]

Currently, there are no astrology programs that take advantage of a touchscreen, and so astrologers are, for the time being, better off with a Windows 7 computer, because they can boot right into the desktop they are familiar with, instead of having to learn a whole new Windows 8 interface. (One astrology software company mentioned that a lot of their customers chose to revert back to Windows 7 on their Windows 8 PCs.)

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