Windows 8 Upgrade: Should You Make The Jump?

    August 28, 2012
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

Windows 8 upgrades will be coming to current Windows users on October 26. The question now is whether or not you should take Microsoft up on their fantastic offer to upgrade to the new OS for only $39.99. Some doomsayers claim that Windows 8 will be bad for everyone, but it’s true value will be determined by what you use a PC for.

As everybody should know by now, Windows 8 introduces the radically different start menu. It used to be called Metro, but now it’s just the Windows 8 UI after Microsoft found out that Metro was already taken by a Germany company. It’s definitely the most controversial aspect of the new operating system. Our commenters have expressed their love and utter contempt for the new look, but it really all comes down to the same question once again – what do you use a PC for?

Windows 8 and the new UI is going to be fantastic for consumers. Everything that you could ever want to enjoy in life – movies, music, games, etc – are all available at your fingertips in the new UI. It might take a little getting used to at first, especially with a laptop trackpad, but you’ll get the hang of it. I’ve been using the Windows 8 release preview on my two-year-old laptop for the past month and it’s second nature now.

Those who come out swinging against the new UI use their computers for more than just entertainment. These people use computers for work or for general purposes. They’re not interested in Windows 8 for its easy to use UI or its immediate access to all of their songs or movies. They just want to send emails to potential clients or work on an Excel spreadsheet. That’s where Windows 8 hits a major snag. It’s not that great for productivity at the moment.

Now, I’m not saying that Windows 8 can never be great for productivity. The stuff that Microsoft showed off in the latest version of Office looks great, but it’s the same problem ran into when Microsoft switches to a new version of any software. There’s a pretty steep learning curve and people are far too comfortable with older versions. Most businesses still use Windows XP and they will probably upgrade to Windows 7 before 8 due to its relatively easy learning curve.

The learning curve is definitely going to be Microsoft’s greatest obstacle as they move into the Windows 8 era. The OS was obviously designed for tablets and they pushed it to desktops to achieve parity across all platforms. They will need to convince business owners and regular desktop users that Windows 8 can be just as effective, if not more so, at completing everyday tasks. Thankfully, the Classic Shell add-on really goes a long way to fixing the various productivity issues that plague Windows 8.

My month with Windows 8 has convinced me that Microsoft isn’t quite there just yet. The separation of the new UI and desktop kills any momentum I was having in the new UI. Having to switch out of the new UI and go to desktop mode just to launch Firefox really slows down the experience. That may no longer be the case once more apps can launch inside the new UI.

For now, I would exercise caution when it comes to upgrading to Windows 8. If you use your PC for more than just content consumption, sticking with Windows 7 is probably your best bet for now.

  • http://IntelInnovator Virgil Hare

    Thanks Zach. My HD just crashed and I was thinking about upgrading. If its not great for productivity I will have to stay far away until they patch it up.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/zach-walton Zach Walton

      I recommend Windows 7 for all your productivity needs at the moment. Microsoft will still release all the major software updates to Office and other suites on 7 for the next few years. The same can not be said for XP or Vista unfortunately. By that time, I think that MS will realize their folly and fix up Windows 8 to be its own unique beast on desktop that focuses more on productivity while leaving the new UI in tact for entertainment-minded users.

  • Dan

    Hmmmm….. let’s see. Why should I upgrade(never liked that term) when my Windows 7 does everything I want it to do. Same reason that where I work is still with Windows XP. It’s like buying a Humvee to go to the grocery store. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to rush right out and buy it. (I call that IPhonia). Better the money in my pocket than it Microsoft’s. I’m happy with my current OS, I’ve learned to use it, and Windows 8 doesn’t let me do anything that I can’t already do. Add to that Window’s track record with operating systems – good followed by crap followed by good followed by crap. No thanks, just wait for Windows 9 to be released – with the corrections that Windows 8 will have, given Microsoft’s track record.

  • The Yakima Kid

    Linux is an excellent idea. It isn’t an “if all else fails” it’s the go-to operating system for more and more people every year. It works; it has excellent support; fixes and patches come out very regularly, and one does not have to sit around for weeks waiting for someone to fix a known problem or security hole. And best of all, upgrades do not require upgrading all of one’s development environments, applications software, etc.

  • http://cosmoscollege naresh maharjan


  • http://www.carhirereviewed.com/europe/spain/bahia-rent-a-car/ Bahia

    At the moment we will wait and see, before we start upgrading the hardware and the software in our company.

    I agree 100% with the comment from Dan, that there is really no reason to upgrade if Windows 7 does everything you want it to do.

  • http://www.rubychristianschool.org Tim Phillips

    I’ve been using the consumer preview of Windows 8 for just about a week now. I have a Fujitsu Stylistic 5112 slate PC that I’m running it on, and I can’t begin to tell you how much faster it runs with Win 8,but recall it IS a tablet PC.

    I like the new UI and I just simply do not see the problem with clicking on the desktop icon (? – is that what they’re called now?) to go to the desktop. Biggest problem I have with it is the desktop clock seems to freeze and the OS still “hangs up” intermittently for no apparent reason. I assume those things will be fixed by 10/26, but I still like Win 8 overall. The 5112 is a stylus driven PC, not touch, but Windows 8 still seems to respond well.

    I do agree, I think they’ve got a difficult sell ahead of them in trying to convinve a desktop / laptop user that Win 8 is worth the money. However, if you’re an app fan, you may find it fits the bill rather nicely, especially if great apps are forthcoming. Plus the fact the UI picked up my “Angry Birds Space” game right away and now all I have to do is go to the UI to play it.

    Bottom line – great for tablets; unsure of its future on desktops / laptops myself.

  • Alex Rubio

    I’m not going to recommend windows 8 to anyone. F u M$ for locking down the ability to install another O.S. I still don’t get why people are routing for M$ when they are evil. Open Source is the way to go. This way students, school’s, 3 world country’s will benefit from open source.

    • http://Www.yourmomstits.com Jonny

      Geta life you loser, if you dont like it asshole dont use it. People ned to get off their moms tits already.

    • tsimon

      It’s perfectly fine for a company/ individual to ask for money for there hard earned work, I don’t know about you but developers need to eat as well.

    • jim

      So Alex, who exactly do you think is going to pay for all this free open source stuff?

  • Raptor1999

    I am not going to upgrade. Windows 8 best for touch, not for games and programming. Even though its faster but only by a small margin. Too big of a change for what you get. R1999

  • http://www.kept.co.za Mark

    Hi Zach
    I really found your article informative and supportive of what I have come to believe regarding the release of Windows 8. I am never intimidated by learning-curves or experimenting with new software, in fact I love the challenge I regularly switch between Linux, Mac and Windows (Mac still being the best at intuitive OS design).
    Recently purchasing a Gigabyte 1081 tablet when I should have gone for an iPad or Android Tablet instead. Windows 7 is a total dog when it comes to touch screen devices (Totally disappointing) and so I will be loading Windows 8 onto my Gigabyte tablet, which I use for browsing and catching up on Tech gossip and look forward to messing about with the new UI. Hopefully it won’t be as disappointing as I found the Windows Tablet excursion to be so far.
    But my work laptop an Alienware 17X, on which I do everything from Web development and CAD design to Corporate Management, will most definitely remain a Windows 7 machine for some time to come. I have tweaked it just right to remove all the typical Microsoft gremlins and can’t afford to do that all again on a Windows OS.
    I do see many business users migrating to Mac instead of Windows 8 and developers and technical users will probably finally make the move to Linux if they are forced to go through a steep learning curve or replace expensive software I fear from Windows 8.
    So this is a pretty ballsy move by Microsoft but if they deliver properly, (something they have failed miserably at every time in the past I might add), they will have my attention. I like ballsy!
    Apple and Google have got big ones and I admire them for it.
    Time Microsoft grew a pair and I like both the Surface and Windows 8, as they are are shaking things up a bit and for a change it is Microsoft doing the shaking (Balls) We live in interesting times!

  • AverageUser

    I’ve used windows 8 and partially agree with your comments but think overall the transition to this OS will be really easy. Also, for users who are not familiar with computers in general this may be much easier to understand than other OS.