I am no big fan of Windows. In case it isn't clear from my site name, I really don't wish Windows upon anyone. However, every time I read an article about reasons not to upgrade to Windows 8 I wonder if that writer has considered the risk of delay.
The logic for a Windows 8 upgrade is simple:
- If you have run Windows 7 for a while and do not have any problems, then do not upgrade. Wait. There are many more years of support for your system. Unless you really love the new UI, what reason do you really have to upgrade? I don't see one. In fact, here's a small reson to not install. App store systems, modeled on mobiles and Apple profits, are #$%@#$ng annoying on a PC. Try to install Microsoft's own Skype in Windows 8, for example. You will be directed to register a new ID with Microsoft to download the app "easily". I hate that kind of marketing. It's so obviously false. The app store is making software installation artificially harder on a PC than just downloading from a trusted link. With a little digging you can still navigate to install a normal Windows 7-style "desktop" version of Skype in Windows 8 without creating a new ID and a new financial relationship; but that's a pain. So if you don't want to be mired with an app system designed for tiny touch-screen keyboard-less devices…wait. A better compromise/interface will probably emerge.
- If you run a brand new copy of Windows 7 and are troubleshooting problems or would like a very in-expensive support extension, then consider the $15 switch to Windows 8. It's a simple business decision. Your OS will be supported longer with patches and updates at a nominal cost.
- And then here's the bottom line if the previous two rules don't apply to you: if you are running anything older than Windows 7 then you should walk, no run, to buy a copy of Windows 8 (despite the fact that shortened it becomes "W8").
Given the above decision criteria, here are three reasons why W8 is great:
- Research time to upgrade has been significantly cut down and the upgrade is a risk assessment in disguise. W8 runs tests during the upgrade to inform you whether existing applications will work or not. This is not just so you can buy more software, it secretly is doing a patch/vulnerability assessment. A test I ran on an old system for a client uncovered a bunch of old programs in a template (Adobe Air, Acrobat) no one could account for. We gladly wiped those away and the upgrade paid for itself in this initial assessment phase alone. Anti-virus also was removed and replaced with the native Microsoft Defender. This kind of change must be factored into capital and labor estimates. You could save a bundle in support time by getting off old/unnecessary software.
- Although it is tempting to see every upgrade as a heftier, slower code base it actually could be the reverse. You will put new life into old hardware if you move from Vista, for example. XP and Vista are known to slow down over time (e.g. registry bloat) so an upgrade to Windows 8 in my experience has given a huge performance boost to old systems especially for multimedia applications. Note that the hardware requirements are not far from those for Vista so this is really about killing Vista/XP. That being said there's a hardware assessment utility also that will warn you if you do not have resources required to upgrade (e.g. 2GB RAM for 64bit).
- As Microsoft has publicly tried to defend itself, don't get hung up on the start menu. Users have used other OS without start menus so analysts should stop whining about it. Of course you can put the start menu back in W8 if you really can't live without it. I grant that a change from W7 can be disruptive, yet look around at the other OS. It took me all of five minutes to retrain users to use the pop-up bar and sliders because they own other OS that have no start menu (e.g. someone show me a start menu on Apple OSX and Ubuntu Unity). W8 brings users up to speed with the UI they own at home, or that their friends/family own. It's actually easier to cross-train when diff OS are more similar. Except for a hardcore, dedicated start menu junky who wants to prune and manage their menu lists (if such a person exists) more experienced/advanced users already are used to and expect no start menu.
Also note that the upgrade process has a key verification step that is super annoying. If you get an error during upgrade that you have the wrong media for your key, you don't have to download another copy of the media. Instead, just modify the ei.cfg file to point to your current media, as detailed by Microsoft, or use a SKU removal tool
Incidentally, I have to bring up again why I criticized Apple for their single-user marketing nonsense; security does not fare well when product management has a one-user-one-device mentality. Apple ads always portray a single adult user looking at an iPad screen. Kudos to Microsoft for pictures like this one that hint at a more typical multi-user environment.
And all that being said, if you aren't married to some application that requires the Microsoft OS or if you like the idea of getting off the Windows train, then really you should take a look at Linux.
Either way, please DO NOT stay on XP or Vista – Move to Windows 8 or Linux now. Don't delay the W8 (pun intended).