Windows 8 released – should you update?

The successor to Windows 7 – appropriately named “Windows 8″ – was released on October 26, 2012. It can be purchased as an upgrade for Windows Vista, Windows 7, or pre-installed on a new computer. A common question that we receive is “should I update to Windows 8?”

I’ve been using the final release of Windows 8 since August, 2012. From my experience I recommend that people DO NOT upgrade to Windows 8 nor purchase a new computer with it installed – unless you like change. It has been described as “revolutionary” and “reimagined”. That also means “unfamiliar”. Two of the biggest changes in Windows 8 are the new tiled Start interface, and the removal of the “Start” button and associated menu from the Desktop interface.

Windows 8 new tiled Start interface

Microsoft developed the tiled Start interface to make it easy to navigate Windows 8 if you’re using it on a touch-screen tablet computer. But if you like to use a desktop computer with a separate physical keyboard and mouse, in my opinion the new Start interface is distracting. You can switch to the Windows 7 style of Desktop interface, but the Start menu has been replaced by the tiled Start interface and other methods to access things that you’re trying to do by moving your mouse to different corners of the screen and waiting for menu options to appear.

If you’re interested in seeing more of Windows 8 so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth upgrading – see this review which includes more details and screen shots.

If you’d like to discover Windows 8 for yourself, most local big box stores have it on display on their demonstration computers. I recommend that you spend some time using it to do the things that you normally do on a desktop computer to see if it’s right for you.

Windows 8 Desktop interface (note the Start button is no longer present)