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January 18, 2013

Should You Upgrade Your Computer to Windows 8?

So you may have heard that Microsoft recently released the much anticipated Windows 8 operating system. It sure doesn’t look like those previous operating systems of Windows that you have seen. Don’t despair since Windows 8 was made with the future in mind as it works well with touchscreens and you will be seeing more touchscreen personal computers over the next few months.

One of the first things you will notice is that there is no start tab. You’re wondering how to turn the computer off. Going to either the upper or lower right hand corner will bring up a bar known as the charms bar. The bottom icon there that looks like a cog a bicycle chain goes around is the Settings icon. Either click on it or if you have a touchscreen tap it and you will see the Power icon at the bottom. Select that and select “Sleep” “Restart” or “Shut Down” You no longer are wondering how to shut your computer off.

You also by now have probably noticed that the screen instead of showing the familiar icons on your desktop show tiles. Each of these tiles represents an app (Programs are now referred to as apps like the apps on your smartphone and your friend’s Mac programs which are also referred to as apps). Some of these apps show information. The weather tile shows the weather for the location noted. You can put a calculator app to do arithmetic operations. One great thing about this new screen is if you are looking for a file, setting, or app just start typing the name of it. Once you start the search screen will show. You can see where your search query for apps, settings, files. Also expect to see more Windows 8 phones out there in the next few months. Don’t despair about not seeing a desktop. There is a desktop tile. By tapping it if you have a touchscreen or moving your mouse to it and left clicking, the old traditional desktop (without the start tab) will show.

One disadvantage of the new Windows 8 is when you go to delete a file there is no longer a confirmation asking if you wish to do so.  No last chance to change your mind. However all is not lost. By going to the recycle bin and right-clicking on it, choose Properties, and check the "Display Delete Confirmation Dialog" box. You now will have that last chance to make sure that you truly want to delete that file.  Another disadvantage is a longer learning curve going to a new operating system. The advantages however outweigh the disadvantages.

So should you upgrade to Windows 8? Windows 8 Pro is available for $39.99 but that is only until January 31, 2013. Unless you are upgrading from Windows 7 you will need to reinstall your apps. I upgraded due to business considerations since I will be setting up new computers that use Windows 8 and training people to use it. There is the learning curve I mentioned earlier and you need to get used to not having a start tab. File Explorer (formerly Windows Explorer), is a lot more user friendly, security is improved and boot time is faster making it a possible investment if you are still using Windows Vista or Windows XP. That said, given the age of your computer if you are using XP or Vista, replacing your computer may be a more feasible option. If you have XP or Vista currently, while Windows 8 requires a minimum of a 1GHz processor I would recommend a minimum of 2 GHz. Other than the tiled apps, there is not a real big change between Windows 7 and Windows 8.

If you have additional questions about Windows 8, I can be reached at (917) 572-3468 or email me at
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