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Have you been
wondering how Microsoft's Windows 7 and Windows 8 compare? I just thought a quick look at
the features in both Windows 7 and Windows 8 might help answer the question:
there any reason for me to upgrade to Windows 8?
To start with, Windows 8 is a pretty big departure
from the succession of Window operating systems (OS) starting with Windows XP.
Windows 7 is the last of that line, and by most accounts is a solid and very
Windows 7, XP, and Vista combined still account for 81 percent of PC
operating systems. The reason why Windows 8 is such a big departure is
because it is designed to work on all computing formats including mobile
phones, tablet computers, and all types of PCs.
Mobile computing now leads the
way in our post-PC world. Shipments of smartphones exceeded those of PCs way
back in 2011.
A version of Windows 8, called Windows RT launched
in October at the same times as Windows 8. It runs on the new Microsoft Surface RT tablet. But
Windows 8 or versions of it will run on an array of smartphones, laptops,
hybrid laptops, desktop computers, and tablet computers.
The big difference between Windows 8 and Windows 7
is that Windows 8 is optimized much more to work on touch screen devices. It
supports a wide range of multi-touch gestures, for instance for scrolling,
panning, rotating, enlarging, and so on.
Even though Windows 8 is optimized for use with a touch screen, you can
still use your existing mouse, keyboard, and non-touch screen monitor to
use your desktop.
Touch screens are now common on smartphones
and tablets of all types, but still relatively rare on desktop PCs, and laptops,
but they are expected to become much more common soon.
Have a look at Squidoo's roster of
touch screen laptops, and touch screen monitors for
desktop PCs, and also touch screen
kiosks that are appearing in more and more public places like airports.
The most noticeable difference between Windows 7
and Windows 8 is the look and feel of the interface. With Windows 7, everything
hinges off of the Start
Menu in the lower-left corner of the screen. That's been there in Windows
versions for many years.
With Windows 8 you get a more smartphone or tablet
looking start screen with an array of apps on the desktop to choose
from. It is possible for users to get a classic Windows-style start menu
on their Windows 8 PCs if they prefer that. There
are apps for that. They have names like StartMenu7,
Shell, or ViStart.
One current downside of Windows 8 compared with
Windows 7 is that Windows 8 doesn't natively run many older Windows software
applications. You can run older Windows applications, but you have to use
Desktop, which is an app that is essentially a virtual Windows 7 environment.
also has a "compatibility mode" that provides an emulation for nearly all
previous versions of Windows. This also helps run older Windows applications. Given
the dramatic change in Windows 8, I'm told that this was probably unavoidable.
Visit Microsoft's Windows
8 Compatibility Center to see if your existing software applications will work with Windows 8.
also lists the top 10 Windows 7 features that will be gone in Windows 8. The
ones I'd tend to miss are the backup and restore function, recent documents,
and DVD support.
So. Given all that, is there any reason for your organization to
upgrade to Windows 8?
In a nutshell, I’d
say that if your Windows 7 or other OS based computer system is stable and
working well, then there’s probably no urgency to upgrade. One caveat is if
you’re still using Windows XP. Microsoft is planning to end
its support for Windows XP and also Office 2003 in 2014.
If you're getting some new PCs with Windows 8, or if
members of your office are getting smartphones with Windows Phone 8, or Surface
tablets, then you may well consider upgrading to Windows 8.
It is a reasonable
IT strategy if you want to standardize your IT system on a single OS family. We
have also found that older
PCs work well using Windows 8.
For much more on whether Windows 8 is a good
fit for your organization, check out my colleague Ginny Mies' Should You
Upgrade to Windows 8? Questions to Consider.