Others running v8 have reported it as running fine on W8. Note though that PRE8 is a native 32-bit application and will run as such in both W8-32 and W8-64-bit.
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It's also worth noting that version 8 is probably the most sluggish and buggy version of the software ever released, for what that's worth. (At the very least, be sure to install the patch by going to Help/Check for Updates.)
So there's no reason it shouldn't run on W8 -- at the very least in compatibility mode -- but it might be worth picking up a copy of any other version (even if it means downgrading to version 7).
Though as Neale points out, there are definite performance advantages to upgrading to version 12 too.
I have had no problems running Premiere Elements 8 as the 8.0.1 Update on Windows 7 64 bit or Windows 8 or 8.1 64 bit. It has proven a stable and reliable program.
Unlike some later versions, it installs uninstall reinstalls well and has been very stable. However, it falls into the category of 32 bit application that runs with the limitations of 32 whether the operating system is 32 bit or 64 bit. This has implications for getting larger projects taken to a successful conclusion more often than not. Premiere Elements 4, 7, 8, and 9 would all fall in this category. It is only version 10, 11, and 12 that are 64 bit applications when run specifically on Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 64 bit.
I cannot confirm that Premiere Elements 8.0/8.0.1 is "buggy".
a. The automatic Background Rendering and AutoAnalyzer features are disabled
b. The Enable GPU Playback is set in accord with the video card/graphics card properties
c. The 8.0.1 Update is installed
d. It does support tga graphics which later versions do not.
g. With regard to track placement, it handles 5.1 channel audio well in contrast to version 7 which does not.
However, there are scattered reports about Adobe discontinuing MPEG2 Encoder Activation for version 8 and earlier. This may or may not impact burn to DVD within Premiere Elements 8.0/8.0.1 and earlier versions. Editing of AVCHD is a very resource demanding format so editing of this format in any of the 32 bit applications can be problematic with larger AVCHD projects.
When all is said and done, I would not characterize Premiere Elements 8.0/8.0.1 as sluggish and buggy version.
I guess it all comes down to personal experience then.
I was so frustrated with version 8 -- and the fact that it seemed to take hours to even fully deploy -- that I went back to version 7 by the second project with it. Though I don't work with Targa images. At the time I was just editing plain vanilla DV video.
So if it works for you it, it works. And if it doesn't, it doesn't. As we always say, your mileage may vary.
Thanks for your overview of your video editing experience. I found it interesting that what did not worked for you in 8.0/8.0.1 worked for you in 7. I would have expected you to write that it did not work for you in 8.0/8.0.1 but it worked in 10, 11, or 12.
My mileage on all of these versions is extremely high, and I have gone into the depths of these problems beyond oridinary levels on a daily basis. But I do not think your mileage in this particular case is at the core of your 8.0/8.0.1 issue. I would offer to help you troubleshoot your Premiere Elements 8.0/8.0.1, but I suspect you have no practical interest in doing that and have moved on to other things which are accomplishing your video editing goals.