For two decades, Microsoft’s Windows operating system has dominated the personal computing landscape. Microsoft’s success comes from making computers easier to use, without being tied to one particular computer hardware manufacturer. But, what really makes Windows King of the Hill is that it provides a common experience between users and a common platform for hardware and software developers. This is a quality at odds with multiple versions of Windows being in use, but Windows must nevertheless progress to new versions. And so, Microsoft is releasing a new version of Windows October 26, Windows 8.
Windows 8 is the most secure and stable Windows ever. It is also faster than other versions of Windows in common use, provided you have enough memory. Windows 8 is, in nearly all respects, the best Windows yet. With maybe one exception: Microsoft is introducing a new user interface for the PC, the first new interface since 1995. Microsoft wants a consistent interface across Windows smart phones, tablets, and PCs.
Whether you like the new interface may be a matter of personal preference. If you don’t like it, the old interface is still available.
Now is the time to consider upgrading. Windows 8 improves performance over previous versions of Windows. But, more importantly, support for Windows XP is dwindling. A couple of years ago, Microsoft stopped releasing new versions of their software, such as Internet Explorer, for Windows XP. Windows XP users, and soon Vista users, find their operating system increasingly without support from software and hardware companies. Here, at ICON, we’ll soon get to the point where we’ll have to focus on Windows 7 and 8.
Windows XP users who upgrade will likely need to upgrade memory as well. But, you might consider a new computer, rather than investing more into an old computer. Computer hardware has come a long way since the days of Windows XP.
Windows Vista users, your computer should run Windows 8 much better than Vista. Go get the upgrade! Window 7 users, upgrade only if you really like that new interface, or if you want the new tablet-like ecosystem Microsoft is going to provide for Windows 8.
Andrew Cummins, President, ICON Computer Users Group, MO
October 2012 issue, The ICON Newsletter