Should I upgrade to Windows 8?

A lot of people have been asking me over the past week or two if they should upgrade to Windows 8. Upgrading to Windows 8 is extremely easy-: Download the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, pay Microsoft £25 and download and install the new operating system on your PC.

The real question is… Would you really want to upgrade?

Well, the answer to that is probably down to what you want from your PC. We’ve come up with 8 reasons you may or may not wish to upgrade – 4 reasons for each.

Reasons to upgrade.

1. You want your PC to boot quickly.

Microsoft claim that Windows 8 is faster to boot up and faster to use than Windows 7. The first half of that claim seems to be justified, the second half is being hotly debated across the net by people who seem to have a lot more time on their hands than we do. For our part, we’ve not seen much difference in performance when running Windows 7 or 8 on the same test PCs. Windows 8 might be faster, but if it is, it’s not by a lot. It does boot much faster on every system we’ve tested it on, so if you want your computer to start quickly, this is the OS for you.

2. Improved security.

Microsoft claim that this is the most secure version of Windows yet. The Secure Boot feature which in Microsoft’s words ‘stops a computer from loading an operating system that hasn’t been signed by the publisher’ should make Windows 8 a very tough nut for the malware producers to crack. I doubt even Microsoft would put money on the bad guys finding a way through it eventually but compared to previous versions of Windows, Windows 8 does come with a lot of robust security features.

3. Internet Explorer 10

Internet Explorer 10 is great. No question in our minds that it’s not only the best browser that Microsoft have ever made, it’s the best browser out there right now. (Would you really upgrade your OS just to get a better web browser? Seriously?)

4. Cloud integration.

Microsoft are very proud of their cloud service, Skydrive. Windows 8 is built to use this online service like it’s a local hard drive, integrating not only the OS and any Microsoft programs you have installed, but also enabling any apps you download to use the service too. In addition to this, you can backup your system settings to Skydrive which means if you buy a new Windows 8 PC or have to reinstall the OS for any reason on your current one you can use the same environment without having to manually change all the settings again yourself. Very handy.

Reasons not to upgrade.

1. You don’t have a touchscreen.

Simple question: Would you buy a smartphone or tablet with an OS designed to work best with a mouse and keyboard? If your answer is no, then why would you buy an OS that is designed to be used with a touchscreen for your non-touchscreen PC or laptop? We’re not saying that you can’t use Windows 8 without a touchscreen, but it seems fairly clunky without one.

2. You mainly use your PC to create content rather than consume it

Maybe it’s just us, but Windows 8 ‘feels’ like it’s designed to consume content rather than create it. Perhaps it’s just that whole tablet/phone look that it has about it, but it feels somewhat counter-intuitive to slide, touch and drag tiles about on a touchscreen and then switch to the keyboard to start a document or spreadsheet. It just doesn’t feel right somehow.

3. Reliability

There seems to be a lot of people complaining about error messages and blue screens on their new Windows 8 systems. While Microsoft are doing their best to address these issues, it has to be noted that there isn’t the range of diagnostic software available for Windows 8 yet, or experienced service personnel (because it’s only just come out) that there are for other versions of Windows. In time there will be both software and experienced support staff so you might want to stick with what you’ve got for now if the prospect of downtime terrifies you.

4. Windows without windows.

The biggest complaint about Windows 8 is the new interface. The phrase ‘Windows without any windows’ is all over the web at the moment. Not everyone thinks this is a bad thing, with many commentators suggesting that the old windows based interface was outdated and tired. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that many of these commentators are the ones who repeatedly state their preference for Macs over PCs. Did Microsoft create Windows 8 to appeal to their existing user base or to win over Apple users? We suspect the intention was definitely the former and are not sure that’s what they’ve achieved.

Conclusion

So to sum up. Do you want a computer that boots quickly, has good security, a great web browser and integrates with the cloud? If so, Windows 8 it the way to go. If you like your current interface, value reliability, use your PC to create content and don’t have a touchscreen, then avoid Windows 8 like the plague.

Thanks for reading.

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