Microsoft’s latest upgrade to their operating system portfolio – Windows 8 – was released last Friday but is it any different to what we’ve already experienced before and is it worth our cash?
The answer is, in short; perhaps (alternatively, read the rest of this article and make your own mind up). While some of the technology utilised in the operating system may be familiar to those with a Windows phone or Xbox games console, experts have heralded the transition to PC as the biggest change to Microsoft’s mainstay platform for 17 years – or since this.
One important point to make about Windows 8 is that it’s affordable. An upgrade from your existing Windows operating system will cost you between £15 and £25 – depending on the exact specifications of your current setup.
So Windows 8 is revolutionary and cheap – what else do you need to know? Well, we assume you want to know what’s different now, right?
Listed below are just some of the changes that set Windows 8 apart from its predecessors and could potentially tempt you into upgrading your Microsoft experience.
A new look
When we referenced to “experts” earlier in this article (it wasn’t that long ago), we touched upon the drastic, and possibly, controversial change Windows had made for nearly two decades. Predominately speaking, this change concerns the operating system’s interface. No longer are you greeted with a desktop complete with start menu and programme icons. Instead, you are prompted with a grid style layout that can be completely customised to suit the desires or requirements of the user.
Geared towards improving the navigation for tablet computers and touch screens, this start-up screen is designed to present you with an abundance of real-time information in one simple scan of the page.
With this being said, you do have the chance to return to a familiar desktop setup from your starting interface, although the trusty ‘Start’ button has been removed completely.
No time to waste
In the technology world, it seems like most things are getting quicker and Windows 8 is no exception to the rule.
The operating system works as such that when you shut down it goes into a partial hibernation. Consequently, the load-up next time you boot up your PC – or tablet – will be substantially faster than you’ve been used to from previous Windows titles.
This will make you Appy
If you own a smart phone – or just generally aware of the iPhone’s imprint on modern technology – you’ll have heard of Apps. Short for applications (as if you didn’t already know that), these bite-size programmes have been brought to the desktop arena after major success on the mobile platform. They are optimised for touch screen devices but Microsoft will hope they’re just as much as a winner with your regular keyboard and mouse users.
These Apps will be instantly accessible from your custom-built interface and will be available from Microsoft’s Windows Store.
Search made easy
In the past, searching for your files, documents and programmes was accessed through the use of the ‘Start’ button which then provided you with the opportunity of typing into a search box.
Good news – Windows 8 just made you lazier. From any point of the opening interface – or indeed while browsing installed Apps – you simply need to start typing and your system will automatically match you up against what you’re looking for.
Carry Windows with you
One particularly neat feature of Windows 8 that could prove exceptionally popular is something called ‘Windows To Go’. This new addition to the series allows users to make a copy of their operating system, along with all their settings, files and apps, which is small enough to fit on a bog-standard USB pen drive.
Not only would this allow you to re-boot your system with a previous copy of your OS if you were to pick up a virus, Windows To Go opens up the possibility of transferring your customising settings to another Windows 8 station with unbelievable simplicity.
So, there you have it. Five observations on why Windows 8 could be a worthwhile addition to your desktop PC or tablet.
Are the changes good or bad? That’s up to personal interpretation. After all, you could be lost without the use of your beloved Start Menu – things may never be the same again, a 17-year relationship in tatters (you’re not that sad, are you?).
Conversely, Windows 8 really is a landmark moment for Microsoft and their acknowledgement towards touch-screen devices is surely only a sign of times. Technology is advancing at a rapid pace and this may be the latest intervention that’s well worth tapping into.