Should You Upgrade to Windows 8 (Part I)

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This is the first in a two-part blog series looking at the pros and cons of upgrading to Windows 8.

Microsoft recently announced the next installment of the Windows OS will be available for purchase on October 26th. The software giant is taking a huge risk with an¬†unprecedented¬†redesign to the user interface that will leave most users asking “What happened to the ‘Start’ button?” After playing with the consumer preview for a few months, there are some things about the new OS that I do like and some that I don’t care for. But the question is: Is Windows 8 worth the upgrade for business users?

Based on the consumer preview, there are some reasons why you might want to hold off on upgrading:

1. Touch Screen

The new OS is designed for touch. The big colorful tiles of the start screen are refreshing and easy on the eyes, but using a mouse to navigate and scroll from left to right feels awkward and not nearly as smooth as using the old start button from the desktop (which has been removed). If you have a touchscreen computer or are planning on getting one, this point may be irrelevant. But how many non-design oriented businesses use touchscreen computers for everyday work-related tasks? I’m guessing not many.

2. Change isn’t Always Good

Windows PCs were feeling stale with a UI that people have been familiar with forever. Apple sales continue to increase, and Microsoft had its first quarterly loss in the 26 years its been a publicly traded company. Clearly, change and innovation was needed out of Redmond, WA. Apple computers work because they are intuitive; Windows computers work because everyone already knows how to use them. Windows 8 ditches much of the familiarity from previous versions to try to become more intuitive, but it’s not:

3. Too Soon

Windows 7 is doing great. We’re still relatively early in the life cycle of Windows 7 especially if you compare it to the amount of time most companies were using Windows XP. Add to that a history of Windows releasing a lackluster OS after a hit (Windows ME, XP, Vista, 7, 8 ) and many are expecting a continuation of that pattern.

4. Multitasking

The Metro interface is pretty but one of the problems with having programs (err, I mean apps) running at full screen is that it’s harder to multitask. Fortunately, you can exist metro mode and run multiple apps in multiple windows on the desktop like you’re used to, but it’s not the default configuration.

Please check back Monday for part II of our series. Part II will focus more on the advantages of Windows 8 (despite Part I, there is some really cool stuff to work with).

Have you tried Windows 8? Do you think you’ll upgrade?

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