I want to file this advice, and you might find it useful too, from Rick Maybury in Teleg 21.6.14, on taking Windows 8, when we have to have it, back to a more trad interface …
… there are a couple of ways to get it to look and behave like previous versions of Windows and open with the familiar desktop and Start menu. You can achieve a semblance of normality by tinkering with display settings and making changes to the Registry but the easiest method it to install a utility that does all the hard work for you. The two most popular ones are Classic Shell, free from here, and Stardock’ Start8 here. Classic Shell does a good job but it only goes part of the way to taming W8. Start8 goes much further and it is easy to set up and use. It costs $4.99 (around £3.00), though you can try it free for 30 days. For most W8 users that will be money well spent, and a lot less disruptive than reinstalling an older version of Windows.
Full article at
Also useful, Daniel Tomlinson in Observer 22.6.14, answering the question …
What is the most future-forward way of storing and playing my music collection? I have well over 1,000 CDs, and in the last few years have purchased lots of songs via iTunes.
The simplest way to store your current music collection would be to rip the CDs to an external hard drive as a longer term backup, and to act as a local copy if you wish to add songs manually to your devices. You could also store a copy in a NAS (Network-Attached-Storage) like a Synology or Drobo to play the files around your home.
To stream your music from anywhere, you could upload up to 20,000 songs to Google Play Music, and then play back from any browser, iOS or Android device for free.
Alternatively, with iTunes Match you can get iTunes quality copies of up to 25,000 songs that will be available on all your Apple devices or Windows PCs (through iTunes), including the Apple TV, both locally and by simply streaming. These files can then also be played over AirPlay to any speakers using either built-in software or the AirPort Express for anything with a 3.5mm audio jack, as well as via iTunes Home Sharing to local Apple devices or to Windows (via iTunes).
Depending on the range of your library, you may be able to find everything on a streaming service like Spotify or Rdio (in my experience Spotify seems to have a wider range of music), and after ripping your CDs for the sake of longer term backup, move to using one of these services for your daily consumption of media.
Using a mix of the above is likely the best way to go, and I’d definitely make at least one hard drive backup, there’s no guarantee that the cloud service you sign up to today will exist in a few years’ time and you don’t want to lose your collection.