Windows 8: Is It Worth The Upgrade?

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Windows 8: Is It Worth The Upgrade?
[ Technology]

Windows 8 has been at the forefront of discussion for the weeks leading up to its launch on Friday. The company says that Windows 8 is the future – a world where traditional desktop computing and touch computing can live in harmony. A future where all your content is at your fingertips at all times. So is the future worth it?

What do you think of Windows 8? Are you going to upgrade? Let us know in the comments.

Windows 8 is drastically different from anything else on the market at this time. The usually conservative Microsoft is taking a big bet on the general consumer this time around instead of catering to its usual enterprise crowd. It’s that bet on the consumer that may hurt its enterprise adoption.

The most obvious change is the new start menu. Upon booting up, Windows 8 now presents you with a screen of multi-colored blocks called “Live Tiles” that feature all of your content front and center. All of your music, videos, pictures, games and more are made readily available for your consumption.

The same goes for apps – a major driving force for Windows 8. Microsoft wants to emulate the success of Apple’s App Store with its own Windows Store. It’s a carefully curated marketplace of apps built specifically for Windows 8. A number of companies, including Google, Skype and Netflix, have already produced apps for Windows 8. Unfortunately, there’s still not enough apps in the marketplace to have it replace the traditional desktop operating system.

Windows 8 worth the upgrade

There may not be enough apps for consumers, but some enterprise customers are making great use of Windows 8’s focus on apps. eWeek reports that Twentieth Century Fox has created a Windows 8 B2B app so its customers can browse through all the television series available for purchase. The app also displays information and assets for TV series from within the app. The company said Windows 8 provided them a way to make their sales app “more sexy and exciting.”

There are numerous other stories of enterprise customers who are using Windows 8 apps to connect directly with customers. For instance, Rooms To Go, a furniture retailer, built a Windows 8 app that its salespeople use at stores. With it, the consumer can add what they need to a virtual shopping cart and check out without having to carry anything around. The consumer friendly approach of Windows 8 is seemingly a good fit for consumer oriented businesses.

Will Windows 8 be good for consumer focused businesses? Let us know in the comments.

What about the enterprise customer with a large internal workforce? Microsoft is already forcing these businesses’ hands by making Office 2013 only available on Windows 7 and Windows 8. Those who are still using Windows XP will have to upgrade to at least Windows 7 to get the latest features.

Windows 8 worth the upgrade

Microsoft sees the upgrade as only a good thing. ZDNET reports that Microsoft Australia business group lead Tina Flammer says that Windows 8 is positioned to handle the “top worry” for CIOs – managing a mobile workforce with a broad range of devices. Whether or not that’s the top worry, Microsoft is confident that businesses will come around to Windows 8 sooner or later because it offers advanced security and management on “no compromise devices that everybody loves.”

Windows 8 worth the upgrade

No matter how much Microsoft spins it, however, some businesses still can’t help but feel that Windows has abandoned the enterprise market. Doug Johnson, head of risk management policy at the American Bankers Association told Reuters that “Windows 8 is, frankly, more of a consumer platform than it is a business platform.” He went on to say that “there is really no additional business functionality that Windows 8 gives you that I can see.”

Windows 8 might have been more popular among enterprise customers if they didn’t already have a better alternative in Windows 7. A lot of enterprise customers are just now starting to move off of Windows XP after Vista failed to excite them, and nobody wants to move to a new OS so soon after an upgrade. Besides, Windows 7 is more familiar to Windows XP, an operating system that employees have probably been using for over a decade.

The move to Windows 7 may be the last major change among enterprise customers for some time. Michael Silver, an analyst at tech research firm Gartner, told Reuters that he expects 90 percent of large organization to not “deploy Windows 8 broadly.” Even worse, he expects only 20 percent of PCs in large corporations to be equipped with Windows 8.

So, it all comes down to one question – should you upgrade to Windows 8? At the moment, it’s not really worth it. The operating system doesn’t have enough going for it to make the upgrade worth it for consumers or enterprise. The app store is relatively barren and lacks a number of important apps – Facebook and Twitter – that are important to consumers. The amount of work required to retrain an entire workforce to use the new start menu and a desktop without a start button would take too long and cost too much.

With that being said, Windows 8 shows tremendous promise. The current Windows 8 apps being built for consumer interaction are pretty exciting. Building those apps, however, require the kind of resources that not all businesses have or are willing to spare. Microsoft will most assuredly work on making Windows 8 easier to deploy across the workplace, but it’s going to take some time.

Do you see Windows 8 benefitting your business in any way? Or are you taking a wait and see approach? Let us know in the comments.

For consumers interested in Windows 8, Microsoft is currently running a deal where existing Windows XP, Vista or 7 owners can upgrade to WIndows 8 for only $39.99. As far as Windows goes, that’s a fantastic deal that might help Microsoft gain some traction among the consumer market. As for enterprise customers, you already have your own special option.

Windows 8: Is It Worth The Upgrade?
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  • Anonymous

    Win 8 breaks compatibility with many XP and pre XP based programs. Actually I have not gotten any programs written for Win98 to run at all. For enterprise most modern versions of programs have code left over from those days, and it wont run. Basically if you have a 64-bit code, it will run, but early 64-bit and most 32-bit stuff are broken.

    Pass on this one, wait for Win 9 or 10, assuming MS actually figures out that a PC OS is a wholly different animal than a tablet-phone OS.

  • http://www.onlinetv.com Randy Penn

    Windows 8 is the essence of a complete surrender of your identity to Microsoft. From the fact that it forces you to register at their site to their intrusion into your Skype account it is designed to pass all your information to vendors who will pay for your information all the way to governments who only need ask to get all your records, sites visited, software on your system, emails and passwords. Once you use it or any of the apps you give up your rights to privacy on those programs.

    Microsoft also built in a kill switch for those who try to skirt the issues and install programs Microsoft do not like. After all you only have their limited license which allows them to take it even while you are in the middle of an article or if you bought the software or not.

    There is almost nothing that will run on the system that you used to use unless you pay huge upgrade fees, eg; outlook, word, access, photoshop, etc.

    It will not install itself as a 64 bit system if you were running NT at 32 bit – which a majority of people have. To get the advantage (if any) of 64 bit you have to upgrade to the 32 bit, do a whole bunch of gyrations for several hours, then spend another several hours reinstalling it and any applications that still may run or not.

    The system is in constant touch with Microsoft recording your every keystroke and sending that information on to companies they partner with and governments who merely have to watch a screen fed by Microsoft for information they might find “interesting.” They will store that data for 5 years even if you install other operating systems. Try unplugging your Internet and see what it does.

    With Windows8 Microsoft, vendors and governments know who you are, who you bank with, how you move around, and what you are doing all the time, all in the name of making shopping much easier for you. Is that what you want your desktop operating system to do?

    • SI

      You must be a sociology major.

  • Gamma Sharama

    Dear Consumer,

    This is a “Forced Technology”. Its MS’s imitation of Apples All-in-One Eco-system where the consumer is forced to use MS’s products and to have a MS Login.

    Bing will never replace Google.

    The most missed out part is the Start button. We all hate that MS.

  • Consumer

    I was really thinking about getting W8. But I soon felt that it was going to turn out as a failure, kinda like vista did (in my opinion). Windows would get tons of complaints, then make a newer, better windows that would be worth the money. I think that windows 8 is just an expensive Guinea pig. Save your money people.

  • DarylS

    I upgraded a quad core desktop PC from Win7 to Win8. On the plus side it runs a little quicker and there are a few useful new features.
    The negatives include – making it difficult to get administrative control of my own PC, pathetic search function, it died after a day and deleted 45 programs (as apparently you can get apps to do that), after reinstalling all 45 programs (and re downloading their updates) I installed a shell that let me access them without scrolling through page after page of tiles, I’ve slowly worked out how to reinstall my shortcuts and settings, and managed now to do full backups (standard only looks at apps and user data, not other directories).
    I’ve now backed up over a Tb of data and settings twice in two external drives, and am coming to terms with it. If they ever bring out a version for adults I might re upgrade to that, otherwise I have my data backed up, Win 7 disc available, and will format if sufficiently annoyed. I have to put up with the limited functionality of apps on my tablet but refuse to use them on my PC, so have not registered with the MS apps shop. I’m sure other vendors will provide proper programs for my needs.

  • Garry

    I have purchased a new Sony Vaio laptop with Windows 8 and Office 2010. After using it for a couple of weeks I have gone back to my old PC. Windows 8 is all over the place and many of the start tiles have issues. I can see if you have a touch screen it may be better but not for me.
    Screens open and close seemingly at will, I have no problem with using a new operating system if it offers advantages but unfortunately Windows 8 does not and that includes shutdown the PC, when you find out how.

  • Dave Siviter

    Windows 8 On Tablets Mediocre on Laptops Horrible. The scale of the error will go into the history books in the same chapter as the EDSELL or “New” COKE. I have been wrestling with it for about six weeks now. Apart from the really important programs that don’t run well like Adobe the interface is absolutely horrible. It seems like the MS team sat down and said lets forget about smooth, intuitive and a pleasure to use. Just build something different that we can claim is user friendly and intuitive but is cluttered confusing and completely non intuitive. All of this for no actual improvement in performance and a frustrating learning curve. It took two days to find the off switch. Select a subject like photographs, music or email and instead of a instantly available window and application the whole screen turns into a single icon while the bloatware loads. Graphically it is the difference between reading a fine novel and getting a set of childrens ABC blocks. Windows7 was good you got it right guys but sadly after 6 weeks with Windows8 one can only be left with the thought “OMG what were you thinking”. My advice is don’t do it unless you are buying a new tablet and have no choice.

  • Mitchell Massie

    Windows 8 is terrible. Still have to use my old computer to work. Have spent more time dealing with issues than being productive. Still crashes when it tries to update itself. DO NOT BUY A COMPUTER WITH THIS DEFECTIVE SOFTWARE.

  • Herbert Pasveer

    I have been very disappointed by Windows 8. I bought a new computer, 2 months ago. I need a computer to work at home for my company that is based in another part of the country. Therefore I need to log in in the network of the office I work for.

    This was not possible with Windows 8! Not even after I bought a professional upgrade. This problem was noted in some software fora, but this I only noticed after I had bought the computer with Windows 8.

    Besides, Windows 8 does not operate as handy as Windows Vista or XP. You need more clicks to get to your documents.

    Therefore, Windows 8 has been removed from my computer, and I installed Windows 7. Unfortunately, that implies the buy of a new OS. Waste of money, waste of time.

    Windows 8 looks prettier than Windows 7, and may be more fun for somenone who uses a computer strictly for pleasure. But if you need a computer to work with, dont buy Windows 8.

  • Melanie

    I don’t want to disappoint everybody but I have purchased a new laptop just after Christmas with windows 8, I didn’t like it too much in the beginning but after now a few weeks I really love it. Its different but works a lot faster. My kids love it so much that I finally updated all my computers at home as its at a really good deal right now and now I’m getting my office to change it all to windows 8. I guess everyone has different taste. The shut down button for the ones that is looking for it is also in the log off screen. Its new and we just have to give it a chance plus just like windows xp, after an upgrade to get the glitches out, it will probably be an amazing program. Just give it its chance.

  • Stramy

    After using it for a month I am done with it. I tried to like it, I really did.
    What were they thinking?

  • 8

    I’ve now installed it on half my PCs, & regret doing so. I use Enterprise features like Direct Access on my Win 7 PCs as well as WMC. Now it is one or other, pro or enterprise, but not all the features.

    Feature most requested by my MCSE students: Start.

  • Allen

    Just got a gateway with windows 8 already in it. from the start I didn’t like it. But desided to give a try anyway I figured it be best to learn but most if not almost most options to make pc customized is based on what MICRSOFT want you to pick from. Most used options for past windows are not here and those that are don’t even relate to what your looking for. Windows 8 is a bigger flop than Vista. I have to go to my old computer to get any work done. Poor Bill Gates he forgot about the people and made his software in favor of the venders. forgeting that it was the consumer that made him his billions. My comment Stay a way from windows 8

  • Jeff Nicolai

    I started my computer days with dos 2 and an old 8086 processor and gradually upgraded as the years went along. Windows 3.1, 98, Millennium, XP, Vista, 7, and now 8. Of all of them, 8 is the least user friendly I have ever seen. Nothing is easy to get to unless you leave it on the secondary screen which rather defeats the purpose of the primary screen. It takes far too many clicks to get to anything and has a propensity to leave numerous apps running in the background with no simple “x” to shut them off. My wife couldn’t figure out why she kept getting a low memory warning with numerous unexpected shut-downs. I went through all the ridiculous trouble-shooting tips to find out the problem was with Windows 8 and it’s background apps. I had to go into msconfig and deactivate numerous things that were constantly running. After putting my wife’s pc into the home network, we also noticed a serious drain on our bandwidth. Yep! Win 8 was at it again. Stupid Live Mail and some of the other irritating network programs slowing everything down. More time wasted trying to turn off things. Then there’s the really obnoxious fact that several of my programs purchased for Vista & XP won’t work on 8 even in compatibility mode. Microsoft really dropped the ball on this one. These may be my last pc’s. Mac is looking better every day.

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