Windows 8 will be released on October 26, and many of today’s Windows users are wondering if they should pay to upgrade. Since many PC users just recently upgraded to Windows 7, they might not feel like switching to an entirely new operating system just yet. This is especially true for businesses that have to pay thousands of dollars (in addition to retraining fees) every time they upgrade to a new OS.
So is Windows 8 actually worth it? Or is it an over-hyped piece of garbage? The truth depends on your personal preferences and whether or not you’re willing to pay $39.99 for a new OS experience. It also depends on whether you’re using a touch-screen device or a standard desktop.
Pros of upgrading to Windows 8
Windows 8 has a number of cool advantages. Here are a few reasons why you should consider upgrading to Windows 8:
-A unique new interface: The biggest change in Windows 8 is the fact that it features an entirely new interface. This interface was formerly called Metro, but now Microsoft wants users to refer to it as simply the “Windows 8 interface.” Whatever. In any case, Windows 8 is a departure from the classic Windows interface we’ve known and loved since Windows 95. If you’re looking for a refreshing new look in your next operating system, then Windows 8 will certainly provide the change you need.
-Mobile and touch-screen oriented: Windows 8 was designed primarily with touch-screen and mobile devices in mind. Touch-screen users will be able to get the most out of Windows 8, but desktop users might not like it as much. In any case, Windows 8 is significant because it’s Microsoft’s first attempt at making a mobile OS. Whatever your current opinion of Microsoft may be, they’re the world’s largest software company, and when they put all of their resources into making a new operating system, it has the potential to be very good.
-New apps: Microsoft and its Windows operating systems have lagged behind other OSes in one major area – apps. Today, apps are a ubiquitous part of our lifestyle. You have apps on your smartphone, your tablets, etc. Windows 8 will allow users to download apps from the Windows store. Some apps will be free, while others will cost anywhere from $1.49 to several hundred dollars. Microsoft has put a lot of time into making the app store as easy as possible to use, and they’re heavily encouraging developers to create applications for the store.
-Affordably priced: Windows 8 is the cheapest Windows operating system upgrade ever. For just $40, existing Windows users (including Windows XP, Vista, and the free Windows 8 Consumer Preview) can upgrade to Windows 8 on the day it’s released – October 26. That’s a pretty sweet deal for an entirely new operating system. It’s also been rumored that Microsoft will price full versions of Windows 8 at a more affordable level.
-Faster: Windows 8 has surprisingly low system requirements. After all, it’s supposed to work with mobile tablet computers which might not have the same hardware power as their desktop counterparts. This means Windows 8 will have two advantages: it will work on just about any computer built over the last five years; and it could speed up your PC when compared to other operating systems like Windows 7. We all appreciate faster computer performance, and it appears that Microsoft tis ready to give that to us with Windows 8.
Cons of upgrading to Windows 8
Judging by early reviews, Windows 8 isn’t quite a perfect operating system, and it appears to be attracting more of a niche following than widespread adoption. Here are a few reasons why you should not buy Windows 8:
-A steep learning curve:The biggest complaint about Windows 8 is that it has a steep learning curve. People who have used Windows operating systems for nearly two decades will have to relearn everything they know about the classic Windows interface, and that is never a fun thing to do. While the interface can be learned within a few hours, it still takes some adjusting, and if you’re switching back and forth between Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers, prepare to do a mental juggling act.
-Not free: Windows 8 is the cheapest upgrade offer that Microsoft has ever made when jumping between operating systems, but it certainly isn’t free. Be sure to consider the $40 price tag when you’re deciding whether or not to upgrade.
-A whole new interface to discover: The interface in Windows 8 is hit-and-miss. Some people love it, while others people can’t get past the initial steep learning curve. Those who can figure out the interface are rewarded with smooth transitions and seamless integration across all devices, but some people get so frustrated that they never experience Windows 8 to its full extent.
So is it time to upgrade to Windows 8?
Ultimately, if you’re a desktop or laptop user who doesn’t want to experience a totally new operating system, then you’ll be perfectly fine using Windows 7. Most tech experts agree that Windows 7 is the best operating system that Microsoft has ever made, and users shouldn’t be in any hurry to throw Windows 7 out the door.
However, if you’re using a touch-screen tablet, then you might not find Windows 7 to be as user-friendly as you were hoping. Despite the familiarity of the classic Windows interface, Windows 7 doesn’t have the full touch-screen integration that mobile operating systems like Windows 8, Android, and iOS have. If you’re ready to get the most out of your touch-screen tablet, then the $40 upgrade to Windows 8 will probably be worth it. The upgrade will also likely speed up your tablet computer.
The decision is up to you. There are a number of pros and cons to Windows 8, and fortunately, whether or not you upgrade to a new OS isn’t going to change too much about your life. It’s not a life-altering decision in any way, but your operating system does determine what you can do with your PC – and that is important.