Microsoft’s Windows operating system has had its ups and downs over the years. Vista was, well, interesting. XP had a stable shelf life for a while there. Each new release seems to improve on earlier versions, but also tends to alter something people had become used to. Now, it’s time to look at Windows 8.
Perhaps the most stunning aspect of Windows 8, when compared to previous upgrades, is the cost. At $40 it is the least expensive operating system Microsoft has ever offered. You might be happy with your current version of Windows 7, but with a price that low, it’s tempting to buy a copy of 8 and consider trying it out when you get the chance.
If you’re a traditional desktop or laptop user, you might not find the upgrades to Windows 8 all that exciting. It incorporates what is called “Metro,” which is primarily a touch-centric interface. This has been useful on mobile devices, but if you’re a business user, you may not find this improvement particularly useful, or even desirable.
Sync to the Cloud
Windows 8’s ability to sync storage with online sources is vastly improved. It fully incorporates Microsoft’s Sky Drive into its file system, including all Office programs. This is a great convenience, particularly if you move from computer to computer. What’s more the settings can be made on one computer and all the others will automatically copy the personal touches you’ve put in place.
Changes to the Interface
Over the last 25 years, Microsoft has maintained a consistency with its older versions to ensure that users feel like they are using an upgrade with familiar continuity. This time, the change is radical and jarring. There is no Start menu, for example. Though the Start Screen serves the same function, it takes time to adjust to.
The New vs. the Old
The greatest concern with Windows 8 is the schizophrenic way things have to be run. It is much like Windows 3.1 where you had to open older programs in DOS and then switch between the two. There is a similar problem with this upgrade since the old Desktop apps don’t work in the new Windows 8 interface, and modern apps don’t work in the old desktop system.
A Single Paradigm for all Devices
Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the Windows 8 is the similarity it brings to all your Microsoft devices. There is finally a consistency between your PC, your tablet, even your phone. They all now work basically in the same way. They can even share the same settings. Transitioning from one device to the next will no longer be different. That even includes the Xbox, which has a Windows 8 sort of interface as well.
Like all new operating systems, Windows 8 has things you’ll appreciate and possibly things you’ll hate until you get used to them. Will it become as popular as Windows 7? That will depend, but it is definitely an attempt to move forward in the ever advancing world of computers.