To Windows 8 or Not To Windows 8

In All, Operate Efficiently, Plan Strategically by Mike Abbott

Windows 8 is Microsoft’s latest installment to their PC and Laptop Operating System family. It has several new features and carries over most others from the earlier versions. Windows 8 brings with it a whole new look and feel that (they claim) is faster and easier to use. It also introduces a new brightly colored Start Screen with Live Tiles which makes it a touch screen friendly operating system.

Background: Windows 8 is Microsoft’s answer to their touchscreen and tablet competition. It allows them to blur the lines between their PC, tablet, and mobile phone operating systems. Windows 8 benefits from having a Windows 7 like backend, which we feel is Microsoft’s most robust OS to date. But has the added benefit of being touchscreen device friendly. Below is a comparison of pros and cons to help you decide if the latest Microsoft OS is right for you.

Pros: Windows 8 offers a radically new user interface thatcaters to the ever popular mobile and touch screen device. The new Start Screen is fully customizable and allows users to flip and swipe through the new layout almost intuitively.  It also displays your news feeds, weather info, and all other types of dynamic information right to your desktop. Windows 8 is going green with better battery life through enhanced power management that reduces energy consuming processes when the system is idle.

Cons: The first downside right out of the gate is the removal of the “Start” button from the bottom left corner of the screen. Users now have to navigate through the whimsical start screen that can prove to be confusing to manage. Due to this modification and several others, Windows 8 presents a steep learning curve which could potentially cost companies time and money. As mentioned earlier this new OS is designed for touch screen devices; Companies planning to fully utilize all of its features would be required to make a substantial investment to upgrade or replace existing workstations. Lastly, there have been reports of compatibility issues with software designed for earlier versions of Windows.

Our recommendation: If you are looking to upgrade from an earlier version of Windows such as XP or Vista, go with Windows 7. If you currently have Windows 7, keep it. Windows 7 is Microsoft’s most complete OS and Windows 8 is essentially 7 with a confusing interface. Now are we saying that Windows 8 is a flop? No. Windows 8, for the most part, is a great OS. But mostly just for tablets and touchscreen devices. It does not have what it takes in the corporate environment to justify the cost of upgrading. In short, the negatives out way the positives. We say Windows 7 is still the way to go.

At least until Windows 9…