As we near the brink of massive Operating System overhaul (i.e., the release of Windows 8), readers want to know what to do to prepare and if they should upgrade. Here are some tips to save time, money and headaches.
Maybe, but probably not for the reason you think. If you are planning to replace your dying PC with a laptop, it’s a good idea to see what the release of Windows 8 brings to the hardware arena.
Windows 8 is designed to work best on a touchscreen device like a tablet. Manufacturers are working to take advantage of this by integrating touchscreen capability into laptop-tablet hybrids that will offer the traditional laptop benefits of keyboards and ports for USB, HDMI and the like, while remaining super thin and lightweight. Laptop functionality with a touchscreen? Yes, please!
If you’re in the market for a desktop PC, go ahead and replace your system whenever your budget allows. Windows is running an upgrade program wherein anyone who buys a new Windows 7 PC can purchase a Windows 8 upgrade for $14.99 through January 31, 2013. After it’s been on the market for a couple of months, if you’ve heard nothing but favorable reports you can upgrade at minimal cost. On the other hand, if early adopters find the new OS less than perfect, you’ll be thanking your lucky stars you didn’t wait for it to be pre-installed on your new PC.
I’m never inclined to recommend that you pay to be a guinea pig to a massive design change by Microsoft. Let the nerds get a couple of months with it, at least, so that you can make sure you aren’t investing in the next Windows Vista. My concern about Windows 8 is also what makes it exciting: it’s a hugely different OS. Layout, navigation and application launch are all entirely different from previous versions of Windows. While there has been a preview/developer version available since September 2011 for those in the tech community to flush out the bugs, there will inevitably be hiccups discovered at its official launch.
Microsoft’s carrot to get you to adopt the new operating system early is the bargain price of $39.99 being offered through January 31, 2013 to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for any system currently running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7. What’s the rush? On January 30th, take a survey of people who’ve had some time to use it and decide then if it’s awesome or awful.
Results are quite mixed. Some people find that the look and layout is different but relatively intuitive. The integration of ribbon menus is familiar and launching programs from tiles on the home screen has become second nature due to widespread use of smartphones and tablets. Others feel that the interface is frustrating on a standard desktop system. They argue that the ability to use a keyboard and mouse feels cobbled together, leading to menus disappearing while you’re trying to enter information. Apps on the home page are overwhelming, leading to an annoying game of “find the program I want” among the visual sea of tiles. Experiencing a smooth transition will likely come down to what type of system you use it on and if you’re able to approach it with an open mind, resisting the urge to try to make it conform to the Windows layout you’re used to.