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Topicscape and Windows 8 [Updated]

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We have now tested Topicscape Pro, Lite, SE and Topicgrazer on a desktop computer with Windows 8 installed, and are pleased to announce that all are compatible.  They run in the desktop environment, not the “Modern interface” (formerly known as “Metro”).

[Updated, Nov.13 2013: We have now checked out these products on Windows 8.1  as well and found no problem.]

[Updated, Dec.31 2013: Until further notice, Topicscape does not work with Windows 8.  Since our initial testing, some aspect of Java, the Windows interface or graphics driver handling of the OpenGL canvas has changed and drag and drop doesn’t work. We are seeking the specific source of the problem and a solution.]

Seeing Adapter Type “Microsoft Basic Display Adapter”?

If, after installing Win8 and any version of Topicsape on an older PC, the ‘Scape looks something like this…

Flat 'Scape due to graphics problem

Old hardware not recognized by Windows 8

…check if Control Panel > Display > Screen Resolution > Advanced Settings > Adapter, shows: Adapter Type: Microsoft Basic Display Adapter.  If it does, Windows 8 does not recognize your graphics adapter, and you may need a new one, but there are other steps you can try first.  More about what to try later.

One of our test machines had an old NVIDIA graphics card that had worked well with Topicscape on Windows XP and 7, but under Windows 8 showed a ‘Scape with bad 3D effects, similar to the one above.

Windows 8 found and identified the graphics card we were using, but it would only allow the “Microsoft Basic Display Adapter” to be installed.  It even prevented NVIDIA’s own driver installer from recognizing that an NVIDIA chipset was present.

The problem may have been some limitation of the graphics card, the motherboard (which wasn’t a very recent model), or some requirement of Windows 8 in combination with the hardware – we never found out.  We bought a new graphics adapter and then everything went smoothly.

If you have this problem,  before buying new hardware, do try all the steps summarized in my post here.  Others have solved non-recognition problems with only setting changes – they just didn’t work for our combination of hardware and Windows 8.

Observations on Windows 8

We can’t say we like Windows 8 on a desktop PC – starting up in “Metro” and dumping users into “Metro” from the desktop interface unexpectedly sometimes. We found that Start8 from Stardock made it more bearable, as it allows the PC to go straight to the desktop environment.  You might find some of these suggestions useful – we did:
◦ Make Windows 8 look like Windows 7
◦ Windows 8 basics: Tips, tricks, and cures
◦ Keyboard shortcuts


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