Windows 8, the Debate Rages On
Windows 8 and...10?
So, Windows 8, the debate ranges on. Actually, the furor has died down quite a bit as, with the advent of the Windows 8.1 upgrade, many of the disliked features in the original release of Windows 8 have been greatly improved upon.
Because of this, I am now recommending Windows 8.1 to clients who are looking to get a new computer. Windows 8.1 is fast, stable, easy to work with and can be trained to work enough like Windows 7 (and even like XP for you die-hard users) that your transition will be smooth and relatively confusion free.
This is particularly relevant because Microsoft will be stopping support of Windows 7 in the new future. Does this mean your trusty Win 7 computer will die an early death? No! Will it suddenly stop working? Also No.
But there will not be any new software updates at some point in the future, much like what occurred with Win XP last year. And so Win 7 too will fade away gently into Microsoft's history.
The reason for this is that Microsoft is shortening their product life cycle with the goal of a new version release every year. This is part marketing ploy and partly because the technology continues to improve and evolve at such a prodigious rate (technology from 6 months ago is considered "old.") that in order to keep up they HAVE to discard older versions.
In any event, because of these changes, Windows 7 s on its way out, Windows 8.1 is in its heyday and...wait for it...Windows 10 is going to be released sometime this year. Notice how they left out Windows 9? Well, maybe they consider 8.1 to be 9 and maybe they are just positioning themselves against Apple's O/S 10 but Windows 10, it is.
Should I upgrade my Windows Operating System?
When I talk about Windows 10 coming out, many people ask me if they should upgrade their Windows 7 or 8.1 machines. Now, an operating system, for a computer, is like an engine for a car. You can upgrade the engine but you still have the car itself and the age it is, with the same old hardware etc.
Same thing with a computer. You can upgrade the operating system, but if the computer hardware is 4-5 years old, then then it's far slower than today's hardware specs and since most computers really only last about 3 years, you could spend your money on an operating system upgrade only to have the hard drive or other key component fail at a (not much later) date! Definitely not worth it.
So, Windows 7 Users, keep your trusty machines just they way they are. There should be few or no Windows 8 users because the upgrade to Win 8.1 was a free upgrade early on. It's now a paid upgrade, which is one more reason to weigh the upgrade vs buy new options.
Truthfully, there is no REAL need to do the Win 10 upgrade to your Windows 8.1 machine unless you just geek out at the idea of more cool features! But, when Windows 10 DOES come out, and if you really do want to upgrade, my current advice is wait at least 3-6 months after the initial release before even considering it. This allows for bug fixes and a general stabilization of the Operating system to occur. Then it's a matter of calling me for an appointment and we'll "git 'er done!."
Want to tackle it yourself? Well ok! You will need to be very proficient at backing up all of your files beforehand and then you should be able to walk through the upgrade step by step online. It does take some time, and you can't quit in the middle. But as always, there are no guarantees on DIY with computers.
What do I get for my efforts with Windows 10?
Well so far, you get the classic start menu back, along with the Metro live tiles which are now incorporated into the start menu instead of being on a separate start page.
I'm sure there are many internal changes that we will never see or need to know about from a user standpoint, but the start menu change is the most obvious one at this early stage of the game. The actual release date for Windows 10 has not been set so this is my advice for now, subject to change, as always!