While I think about whether to upgrade to Windows 8 these are the things I’ll be looking for in my test installation: Ease of install, “Learn-ability”, Ease of use, Security/Privacy, Networking, Compatibility with older programs.
By now pretty well everyone knows that Windows 8 is available for sale. Microsoft is touting this new version of their operating system as a reinvention of itself. Indeed, if you look at some of the images of screen shots available on the web you’ll see that it is quite different from the Windows platform we have been used to since Windows 95 first rolled out. So the question is, is an upgrade necessary? This is the question I am going to try to answer.
Within the week I will have Windows 8 installed on my desktop (as soon as I can get a new SSD drive to install it on). What I want to do in this post is to write a little bit about what I have read and expect out of Windows 8. In next month’s blog post, after the install I want to go back and comment on my experience based on my findings and see if I can draw any conclusions. So let’s get at it.
Ease of install:
Whether you are using the upgrade version or the stand-alone copy of Windows 8, Microsoft notes that it is easy to install their new software. One site I ran across noted that there will be tips posted to the screen during the installation that will give you some directions on how to use the new operating system once you have it installed. It is probably a good idea to read them (!)
So, assuming you’ve read the blurbs during the install you should be all ready to use the new operating system. How you use your new OS will depend on whether you have a mouse and keyboard, touch screen monitor, tablet or Windows 8 enabled smartphone. The basic emphasis is on swiping your screen or mouse to make an action happen. In other words – gestures. Visions of Harry Potter swiping his wand came to mind as I read along, but I digress…
Ease of use:
The idea Microsoft had when they created this new operating system was to make it so as to be scalable across PC’s, tablets and smartphones. The plan was to make the experience the same so you can transfer your usability knowledge from one platform to another when you decide to buy a new device using Windows 8. Putting aside the fact that you may have to use a mouse and keyboard with your PC to manipulate the operating system, Microsoft appears to have done a good job. We’ll have to see what the actual experience is like.
This topic is very near and dear to my heart. Tech security and privacy are always issues that concern me. Your work PC may have access to what you may consider confidential information. The last thing you want to be concerned about is someone having access to your data. Further, there is talk that one of the new features that Microsoft has incorporated into their new OS is a process that reportedly thwarts unsafe programs from being installed by sending filenames to Microsoft where they will be validated against a safe list. Now, I can’t really think of a reason it would matter should someone get hold of this data, but I guess it would depend on exactly how much detail goes along with the filenames.
According to Microsoft, once you find the settings for networking, the functionality is pretty well the same. Once I get Windows running I will confirm this. Before the end of the year we will update our website with the process now required to configure your PC for Internet access.
Compatibility with your older programs
So how many of your existing programs (now called apps), will work with Windows 8? There is no way I can try them all but I will be installing all my usual software and will report back on how many issues I run into.
And so, off to the challenge I go. As a tech I am always excited to get my hands on a new operating system to see how good or bad it might be. Will Windows 8 measure up or will it flop like a few of Microsoft’s older OS’s? Stay tuned for my impressions…
Got a question or an idea for a topic you would like to see covered in one of my upcoming blogs? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and sound off. I’ll do what I can to address your questions or concerns either personally in a reply email or on the blog. Until next month, take care.