Upgrading an OS (Operating System) can be a hard decision, especially if you are buying a new decision and wondering what OS to run. Windows 8 is a great operating system, but for some people may end up being too much of a leap. Windows is known (or notorious) for its new start menu, designed for the typical touch screen user. Sadly not many of us computer users have touch screen users, so the novelty of Windows 8 is ‘gone’, but it is still useable, and very, very user friendly, when being compared to the desktop (normal) windows mode (which is fortunately still there if anyone is wondering.
Benefits of Windows 8
Windows 8 has been tested on various occasions and operates slightly faster than Windows 7. For those of you who are using processor and graphic intensive software you may see a slight difference in performance.
Windows 8 has a setting that is called fast-startup (enabled by default). In effect, this hibernates your computer, storing the contents of your RAM onto your hardrive for a faster startup. This almost halves your computer startup time, but at the expense of only refreshing some computer files. To fully ‘refresh’ your computer a restart is required.
When you setup your Windows 8 computer you have the option to use you Windows account to login (Hotmail/Live/other). This simply means that you can access any computer with that login (note: you cannot access your personal data with this feature, only settings). In short, this is Microsofts introduction to networked accounts.
Windows to Go
Windows to Go is simply a ‘version’ of Window that allows the user to ‘burn’ it to a USB drive, which can then be mounted to any computer and booted off. This is if you want your files secure and want your files to be secure (if the computer you are using is not necessarily secure). This feature is only included in Windows 8 Enterprise, which is at added cost to the normal Windows 8 (Professional).
Sky Drive is Microsofts version of cloud storage. Although not as renowned as Apples iCloud, it does a decent job and is fully integrated into Windows 8, meaning you can access your files from anywhere as long as an internet connection is present.
Dual Monitor Support
Previous versions of Windows were lacking in ‘proper’ dual monitor support. These features/settings are far more advanced than previous versions of windows and can greatly improve productivity.
Multitasking Added to Windows
Some users will be happy to find that you can use metro and desktop applications on the same screen simultaneously. But one thing that many people do not see is that one or the other must have a ‘mobile’ type version of the application, as that program must be shrunk down to a quarter of the screen size (vertically).
Of course, Windows 8 is also the cheaper option. Pricing in at around half the price, and is more economically viable. But what happened to all the things that Windows 8 lost in order to create all of these functions?
Disadvantages of Windows 8
|Windows Start Button – No LongerA Feature of Windows 8.Ref: http://all-free-download.com/free-icon/windows-start-button-icon.html|
Lack of Start Menu
Even though the start menu has been replaced with a more advanced, full screen version, it greatly reduces productivity. Instead of clicking on the windows symbol, the user must now navigate to the start meu, navigate to their subject, and click to open that in the desktop view (if universal (metro/desktop) application). Although there are free to use and paid applications to fix this (my favourite Start8 at $5), it is a feature that will ultimately turn many people away.
Has Slight Bugs
I dont know whether this happens to a lot of people but at times Windows 8 just never shuts down (occasionally, but unable to fix for days). When this happens and the shut down is initialised, windows will sit on that shutting down screen (after the user has been logged out). After leaving it for hours and once even two days, it sits there spinning, and the only way to fix this is to turn off the power. Note: This is probably a bug that only happens to a small percentage of users.
Metro Tiles are Too Big
Although this may seem like a picky issue, when people that have a lot of applications installed on their computer Metro puts all of these programs into the Metro screen. Also, somehow unwanted programs also appear in this screen, such as uninstaller files for programs along with other random files. This not only leaves the screen cluttered, making the user fix it, it seems that there is no way to stop it. Once the user installs too many applications, and wants to leave them on the metro screen because thats what they are there for, there is no way to shrink them past the default squares.
The Final Verdicts
So… Windows 8 vs. 7
If you’ve got a PC with 7 installed, stay with it. Don’t fix whats not broken. Unless one of the items above is imperative or your looking for a bit of change stick with what you have. If you want to upgrade though, its currently really cheap, the Professional version costing just $40 AU (upgrade disc only).
If you have the choice between the two OS’ when buying a computer, choose whatever OS you feel more comfortable with. Keep in mind that Windows 7 will also out date a lot quicker, being out close to 4-5 years already, whereas 8 got released within the year. Also… Microsoft has got plans for a major update to 8, code-named “Windows Blue”.
The verdict: If you have the choice between 7 and 8, choose 8 because that is what Microsoft is basing all of their attention on. If you have 7 and are thinking about upgrading, its ultimately your choice.
Windows 8 vs. Vista
Vista has been out for a while now, and what was once a terrible OS has now turned out to be fairly good. It is to be admitted that there are some bugs in Vista, but most have been eradicated. But 8 vs. Vista is a no brainer. As XP is being outdated next year (2014) and becoming unsupported, Vista will soon follow in its way as most Vista customers were quick to upgrade to 7.
The verdict: Windows 8 is a great option, and the lack of the start menu is something that you will get used to quickly. Be sure to back up your files as the only ‘simplified’ swap-over of OS’s is with Windows 7.
So… Windows 8 vs. XP
Windows XP was one of the greatest Windows OS’s ever. It is a shame that it is being unsupported next year but Microsofts reasons are valid. They should no longer have to change their software (not releasing its full capabilities) because of the fact that XP is no longer compatible. This will be a major setback to some businesses, along with the fact that Windows 8 will take some getting used to (if they were to go with that). Needless to say, Windows 8 is a great operating system that just pushes the boundaries of the ‘outside the box’ phrase.
The verdict: XP is soon going to be outdated, and newer versions of Windows 8 releases will no longer support the installation without formatting the hardrive, forcing you to buy the full version (not the upgrade). Get it now while its cheap (under $50) and reap the rewards.
Windows 8 will soon take over the Windows market, although at first consumers will be hesitant to upgrade due to some technical difficulties and some getting used to the new interface. If you are happy with your current OS, but if you are wondering whether to upgrade to 7 or 8, the choice is ultimately yours, there is no true correct answer.