Oct 29, 2012 / 5:00 am
Windows 8 is coming. What does it all mean?
What is Windows 8?
Windows 8 is the newest operating system from Microsoft. Windows 8 looks and feels completely different, and navigation takes some getting used to. Earlier operating systems, including XP and Windows 7, rely on a Start button and cascading menus to start your programs. They also rely on the “Desktop” metaphor. In Windows 8, there is no Start button, and the Desktop is not what you see when Windows first start up. Your familiar icons and menu items have been replaced with Tiles and Charms.
The new look and feel is slightly less jarring if you have a smartphone or tablet, and are used to tapping or swiping to make things work. Windows 8 is made for a touch screen, although of course you can still use a mouse and keyboard. This video showcases features of the pre-release version of Windows 8. (I am writing this a few days before the actual Windows 8 release): http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/release-preview?ocid=O_WOL_W8R_OandO_Other_EN-US.
What the heck were they thinking?
Over the past few years tablet and smart phone sales have increased while sales of PCs have begun to decrease. Microsoft is apparently betting that trend will continue and wants an all-purpose operating system it can deploy across all those devices. If you have the attention span of a 13-year-old Xbox player, you’ll probably love Windows 8. The rest of us, who actually need to get work done, might take a little longer to warm up to it.
How do I get Windows 8?
Computers with Windows 8 installed on them will be available October 26. If you’re reading this after October 26, 2012, they’re available now. If you bought a computer with Windows 7 on it any time after June 2, 2012, you’ll be eligible to upgrade to Windows 8 at a huge discount. Check here for details: http://www.winsupersite.com/blog/supersite-blog-39/windows8/windows-8-pro-pc-upgrade-cost-15-143077/.
In general, if your computer is capable of running Windows 7 it is most likely capable of running Windows 8. If your computer is running Vista, it might be capable of running Windows 8. If your computer is running Windows XP, the best way of getting Windows 8 on your computer is to buy a computer with Windows 8 on it.
Do I have to get Windows 8?
Not right now. Maybe not at all. Microsoft will continue to support Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 installed until January 14, 2020. You will still be able to buy a PC with Windows 7 installed on it until October 25, 2014. More about that here: http://www.zdnet.com/how-to-skip-windows-8-and-continue-using-windows-7-7000001734/. And obviously the NEXT operating system from Microsoft is already in development. Just as some of you skipped Vista and went from Windows XP straight to Windows 7, some people will elect to skip Windows 8 and move on to whatever comes after that.
What are your plans? Have you had a chance to try Windows 8 yet? What do you think?
Wishing you a safe and Happy Halloween! http://youtu.be/L6t7oowAsGs.
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