Windows 8 summary review

Windows 8 is being released by Microsoft on 26th October 2012 and brings with it significant changes to the way you use Windows.

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Windows 8 no longer has a 'Start button'

For 17 years since the release of Windows 95, the first step in starting a program in Windows was to click the ‘Start button’ to display the ‘Start menu’. Windows 8 dispenses with this system and introduces a completely new start screen which takes up the whole screen with ‘live tiles’ which can be clicked to start programs. These ‘live tiles’ can also show information on themselves like mini screens for each program. So why have Microsoft disposed of the familiar start menu?  It's so they're large enough to touch them with your fingers.

Windows 8 is touch-screen

Chances are your current computer monitor or laptop screen is not touch-screen which means you’ll need to use your mouse to click things on the screen in Windows 8 as you have done in the past. However, more and more laptops will be touch-screen capable in 2013 onwards such as ViewSonic's monitor shown above, so you will be able to press items and drag directly on your screen as well as much more. For example, Excel 2013 is designed so you can use it with touch-screen along with Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and many other programs.

Windows 8 also runs on tablets

Windows 8 is also designed for tablets like your iPad. Windows 8 won’t run on iPads, they are incompatible but unlike Apple, Microsoft are happy for any company to make tablets and sell them with Windows 8 on them. This will give you a large variety of tablets to choose from.

Even better is that unlike the iPad, Windows 8 tablets will have usb ports – the lack of which is a common complaint about iPads. As well, Windows 8 tablets (not including the RT version) will be running a full version of Windows 8 so unlike iPads, you will be able to run the full versions of all your software such as Excel, MYOB, Project, InDesign – in fact, any program which runs on a Windows 8 computer will happily run on a Windows 8 tablet.

As well as usb ports, many Windows 8 tablets will have ports for memory cards, VGA ports, in fact anything a normal computer would have.  Some will have removable screens so you have the best of both worlds - a laptop and a tablet in one.  Windows 8 is heralding a new era in laptops and the possiblities of computer hardware.

Should I upgrade to Windows 8

Windows 8 has many advantages such as a very fast start-up and shut-down time and does not require a powerful computer to run. The new start screen opens up exciting new possibilities and it has a rapidly growing app store just like Apple products. There are many advantages not covered here such as much-improved multiple-monitor support.

However, if you don’t own a touch-screen computer then you may find the new system to be a little fiddly to use. There is no doubt that Windows 8 has been designed for touch-screen first and mouse-operation second. It can be an unusual transition on a mouse-based system.

My recommendation is if you are happy with Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 then stay with that operating system. If you are buying a new computer, laptop or tablet with a touch-screen then consider moving into the first technological steps of being Tom Cruise in Minority Report and go with Windows 8.


Nicholas Jankovic

T7 Training Systems


Tuesday, 23rd October 2012


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