After a recent install of Windows 8, I found myself scratching my head wondering, “What did I just get talked into?”
While most upgrades require a little bit of relearning, particularly when it comes to new or updated features, it is obvious from the start that Windows 8 is drastically different and requires a learning curve. That’s because Windows 8 was built for tablets and touch screens, and how you use Windows is more like how you would use your smartphone and less like how you would use a traditional computer.
But when you don’t have any of the touch screen or tablet capabilities, such as with a traditional desktop or laptop, should you take the time to upgrade, knowing the learning curve will be steep?
For this computer user, the answer is a resounding yes. While I’ve only been using the new operating system for about a week now, there are several reasons why I already prefer it to the prior versions of Windows.
More Places to Go, More Things to Do
One of the biggest changes about Windows 8 is that it’s no longer desktop centered. Instead of logging in and going straight to your desktop, the first thing you see is now the Start screen – a screen with colorful, flashing live metro tiles begging for attention.
Click on any of the tiles, and the app opens up in full screen mode, a feature that is similar to today’s tablets. To flip between open apps, access the hidden menu by placing your cursor on the left corner of the screen and dragging down. This will show you any apps that are open and will allow you to jump from one to another as you work.
The result is that you feel like there are more places to go and more things to do on your computer than ever before, because you don’t have to access everything through the desktop. Of course, not all programs function like apps, and more traditional software will only open on the desktop for use, just like the traditional Windows you are accustomed to.
Take Advantage of Apps
Taking a hint from smart phones and mobile OS’s like iOS and Android, Microsoft now makes the Windows Store available to all users. Download apps, games, media and more, and make the most of your computing needs.
While Apps and the Windows Store may seem like a silly thing to be excited about on a desktop or laptop, it actually gives you more options and flexibility with your software and computing needs.
Makes Your Computer a Hybrid
Overall, Windows 8 does a great job of making computing “feel” more modern. That is, because of all the changes and features that are tablet driven, the new OS goes a long way to making your computer feel more like a mobile, touch screen device, even if it isn’t.
This can be good news to those longing for a tablet, especially if you’ve held off buying one because you are concerned about the cost or the ability to produce work on an actual tablet device. Windows 8 on a laptop or even a desktop alleviates these concerns because it allows you to still produce work like you’re used to, while also being able to take advantage of mobile features like Apps and being constantly connected to the Cloud.
Of course, these are just a few of my initial reactions to the new OS. There are many more reasons, including some good technical reasons, to upgrade to Windows 8. The more I use the operating system, the more I find I enjoy the extra usability the new features bring to the system.
If you are sitting there wondering if you should upgrade to Windows 8, don’t let the lack of a touch screen or other tablet features hold you back. You may just find that you are pleasantly surprised with all of the additions and extra features. (I know I was.)