Should I Upgrade To Windows 8?

Windows 8 has been available for a few months now. To help you to decide whether you should upgrade to Windows 8, I’ve writen this article listing some of the advantages and disadvantages of upgrading.

First off, the disadvantages of upgrading to Windows 8 now are obvious:

  1. The interface is unfamiliar. I actually don’t like the interface because is misses the organisation of a hierarchy and it requires too much travelling around the screen with the mouse. Having said that, the search function is fantastic which means that most of the things you need to do can be done with the keyboard.
  2. There is always the concern that applications won’t work after you upgrade to Windows 8. Generally, I’ve found application suppport pretty good, but this is certainly a valid consideration for not upgrading to Windows 8 at the moment.
  3. Similarly, there are concerns about hardware incompatibilities. Again, certainly a concern, much of which (note: not all!) can be dealt with by running the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant or the Microsoft Asessment and Planning Tool (MAP) if you are upgrading a computer network.

Those are the negatives, but there are also compelling advantages, should you decide to upgrade to Windows 8 now:

  1. There are hundreds of Apps, many of which are free that come with Windows 8.
  2. Windows 8 is much faster.
  3. Windows 8 offers better battery utilisation and therefore battery life of mobile devices is longer.
  4. Windows 8 is cheap to upgrade to, costing only USD$40 to upgrade from XP, Vista or Windows 7 or just USD$15 to upgrade from Windows 7 OEM! Having said that, a low price is not an incentive to upgrade, but the removal of a barrier to upgrade. If you don’t need to upgrade, then a low price will not be a reason to upgrade 🙂
  5. There is a much improved graphics subsystem, which means that applications appear to run faster in Windows 8.
  6. There’s a new file system (optional), which makes file storage more reliable. Additionally, upgrading to Windows 8 brings a new feature called Storage Pools, which effectively allows RAIDing of drives, making them more reliable.
  7. There are many other reasons for businesses to consider an upgrade, but as this article is aimed at the average home user thinking Should I upgrade to Windows 8? I will end by mentioning the improved driver support – as you upgrade your hardware, you will have better support by being on the latest operating system.

As mentioned before, businesses may have other reasons to upgrade to Windows 8, such as additional GPO options, compatibility with server products like bundling of new, faster RDP clients into the operating system, better security, etc… As this article is aimed at home users considering upgrading to Windows 8, I will sumarise by saying that Windows 8 is worth upgrading to if you want some of the new features, speed, compatibility with new hardware and extra security (if you are using a currently unsupported operating system like XP and soon Vista). It’s probably not worth upgrading if you have very old hardware, don’t cope well with technological change or have no need for the upgrade!

As a technical user, I have little need to upgrade, but would probably take Windows 8 knowing that I could always revert to Windows 7 if I find any crippling application incompatibilities. After all, Windows 8 is faster and my time is important to me.

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