Windows 8, A Diamond in the Rough?

Feature article by Tech Experts
So should you be planning to upgrade to Windows 7 or hold off for Windows 8?

If you’re still running Windows XP, Microsoft is saying to not bother waiting for Windows 8 and jump into Windows 7. That being said, from a business point of view should you wait for Windows 8 or go for Windows 7?

Windows 8 was initially released as a developer preview on September 13th of 2011 and since has been pushed very hard by Microsoft and the media alike to many IT professionals.

After Microsoft boasted over the drastic rethinking of Windows 8 and how it has revolutionized Windows as a whole, IT pros everywhere picked every aspect of Windows 8 apart.

Is Change A Good Thing?
Many feel it is not going to make a very good business operating system for end users. The reason for this? Change. Windows 8 brings a vast amount of change to the table, some good, some not so good…

After the release of the Developer preview and several months of time for Microsoft to further polish their new Operating System, they released the current version Windows 8 Consumer Preview build 8250 on February 29th 2012.

Microsoft again touted the newly improved OS citing it has made over 100,000 code changes since its previously released Developer version.

So, just what is Windows 8? Well Windows 8 is Microsoft’s attempt at making an operating system to bridge the hardware gaps between mobile platforms and the widely used PC.

Complete Overhaul
Windows 8 has been completely overhauled to give end users a similar user experience whether they are sitting at their desktop computer, using it on a tablet, or (as some experts believe) using a new Windows phone.

While Microsoft has not officially stated that this OS is going to be released on the Windows phone platform yet, it surely would not take them much to do so and would allow them to have their devices all synced.

Synced? That’s right! The new OS relies heavily on the cloud. The way this operating system has been developed it will allow users to login on any computer (provided they have an internet connection) and have the same application access they had on their computer at home.

With further integration of cloud services users will also have access to all of their documents, pictures, and videos via cloud based storage.

Many of Windows 8 features have a long way to go still before they are developed enough for everyday public use.

Metro Interface
One of the most notable features of Windows 8 is its new “Metro” style interface pictured above

This screen is your start menu now. Yes, Microsoft removed the start button that has been in Windows for more than 20 years… This new way of accessing your icons and applications allows you to click on (or touch if you have a touchscreen monitor or tablet) an icon and instantly be using it.

Load times for applications are very low, at least with the applications that have been released via their app store at this point.

Applications opened from this screen also do not need to be closed according to Microsoft (Again very similar to many mobile operating systems today).

The only problem with not actually closing the applications is for those people that never turn their computer off, everything you ever open will stay open and if you don’t force close the programs they will continue to run and use system resources which over time will make your computer run slow.

Even though Microsoft has removed the start menu they have kept the desktop..somewhat. The desktop is still able to be accessed via the Metro application menu but again is not meant to be used unless you need access to files and folders.

One other new feature Microsoft has added to Windows 8 is the ability to have “Picture Passwords”. A Picture Password allows you to select a picture you want to use as your password, and then draw three gestures on the picture to allow access to the computer or tablet.

This new feature is meant to increase security as it will make it more difficult for hackers to gain access to a user’s computer (At least via a keylogger).

One of the big reasons to steer clear of Windows 8, at least at this point, is numerous bugs within the OS and the apps it uses. Bugs range from minor issues such as lack of support for common email protocols such as IMAP and POP, to more major issues related to hardware not functioning inside Windows 8 due to conflicts.

At this point with Windows 8 still being in Beta it is perfectly normal to have the issues they are having with the operating system but, if the issues continue into the retail release of the software they will have another Windows Vista on their hands.

If Microsoft turns this operating system into a winner, it could mean big things for Microsoft.

One major point is if Windows 8 becomes popular, Windows will make a break into the tablet market which is predominately Android and iOS based. This would also give Windows an edge on other mobile operating systems as they would be able to operate across multiple platforms without any lapse in functionality.

So, is Windows 8 worth waiting for? At this point it makes more sense to go with Windows 7. If you are the kind of person that is into change…a lot of change…then hold off for Windows 8, but at this point Windows 8 is looking rough.