How To Decide If You Should Upgrade To Windows 8

Microsoft will release Windows 8 this fall. Whether you’re on Windows XP, Vista, or 7, you’ll have to decide if you want to upgrade. My latest tech column in The Northwest Herald talks about this new version of Windows and how to evaluate a potential upgrade.

Windows 8 has a radically different look and feel, which will be the main reason people decide whether they want it or not. Win8 is designed for tablets and we’re not quite sure how that’s going to translate to desktops and laptops.

As I said in the column, my advice is:

Windows XP
You should plan to upgrade – but if you can’t stand Windows 8, you can go to Windows 7. Just please, for the love of sanity don’t linger on XP unless you absolutely have to (usually because of software that can’t run elsewhere).

Why? Because Windows XP is a ticking time bomb. It can’t be properly protected from viruses because it’s old and doesn’t run the latest versions of software like antivirus and Web browsers. Bear in mind, though, you may have to buy a new computer to run Win7 or 8.

Windows Vista
I’m so sorry you got stuck with this dead-end piece of junk. Go to Win8 or Win7 based on your preference. You could stick with Vista but it’s so much buggier than 7 you’ll probably want the upgrade. Not only that, Microsoft wants to pretend Vista never existed so the likelihood of decent support in the future is not high. The good news is, most Vista-capable PCs can run Windows 7.

Windows 7
If you prefer the look of Win7 over 8, stay where you are. If you want the new features or security improvements and you don’t mind learning the new interface, feel free to try Win8 – but I would wait a few months to see how the bugs shake out after release.

If you buy a new Win7 PC now, Microsoft has an upgrade offer. You’ll find video and screenshots about the new look on Microsoft’s Web site. And you can find information about the multitasking funkiness I mentioned in the column here, but be prepared to smack your forehead in disgust at Microsoft’s hubris.

Try the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, it’s a super-useful tool and will tell you if your hardware can take it. There isn’t an Upgrade Advisor for Win8 – Microsoft explains why.

As I said in the column, the best thing you can do is check out Windows 8 for yourself. Here are some resources to get you started.



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