8 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 8

Windows 8 Pro UpgradeWindows 8 has been out for a few months, and it’s had mixed reviews. Some people like it; others hate it. I’m convinced that it’s a worthwhile upgrade for Windows 7 users (and a must for Windows Vista and earlier users)—especially at the current introductory price.

My experience with Windows 8 went something like this:

  1. Intrigued. When I saw what Windows 8 was going to try to do, I was impressed. Could Microsoft really unify desktop/laptop and tablet/phone OSes and apps?
  2. Frustrated. When I started trying to use it during the beta stage, my excitement turned to frustration. Where’s the Start button? Isn’t the new Start screen a step backwards? What use is there to having two different versions of the same apps? Why is sleeping, restarting, etc. buried? Wasn’t this really just two very different OSes poorly stitched together?
  3. Happy. Once I started noticing all of the nice little improvements throughout the OS and realized that I could ignore the new Start screen and launch apps and find stuff just as easily as I could in Windows 7 (hit the Windows key and start typing), I was sold on Windows 8.

Many others have had the same experience. So expect a learning curve and an adjustment period before you give up.

Here are 8 reasons you should consider upgrading to Windows 8:

  1. Speedy startup. They did a lot to speed up the boot time. I don’t restart often, but when I do, I appreciate how quickly I’m back up and running.
  2. Attractive user interface. The new clean, flat UI is attractive. It also contributes to the overall snappier performance.
  3. Better search. Just like with Windows 7, you hit the Windows key and start typing. In Windows 8, the results are organized in three categories: apps, settings, and files. If you want to jump straight to settings or files, you can hit Windows + w for settings or Windows + f for files.
  4. Smarter moving and copying files. Moving and copying files is improved. If you’re copying multiple sets of files at a time, they’re now conveniently grouped together. Even better, there’s much smarter duplicate file resolution.
  5. New Task Manager. The new Task Manager is awesome. It has everything you need to manage your apps, performance, resources, and more.
  6. Remote access. Microsoft’s cloud storage app, SkyDrive, lets you access any file on your computer from another computer—even if you’re not sharing it. Dropbox and Google Drive are great (and I use them both), but neither of them can do that.
  7. Cloud sync of settings and preferences. Since your Windows 8 installation is now tied to your Microsoft account, your settings and preferences are stored in the cloud and synced across your Windows 8 devices.
  8. Introductory discount. You can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for only $39.95 for a download or $66.99 for a DVD. That’s unheard of for Microsoft. The price is the same whether you’re on XP, Vista, or 7, and it doesn’t matter what level you have (e.g., Home Basic or Home Premium). Starting on February 1, the price will go up to $199.95.

A few other nice improvements include Hyper-V, refresh or reset Windows, spell check, and file deletion without being asked to confirm that you really hit the delete key.

If you think you might upgrade to Windows 8 at some point, there’s good reason to do so by January 31.

Are you going to upgrade? Why or why not?

If you’ve already upgraded, are you glad you did? What do you like or dislike?

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7 Responses to 8 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 8

  1. Robert Warren January 29, 2013 at 6:29 am #

    Phil:

    I upgraded a circa 2010 Win 7 laptop and a circa 2006 XP desktop. It really breathed new life into the XP machine (2.8 Gh, 3 Gb RAM). I’m guessing the PC makers aren’t real happy with MS.

    At first, I only upgraded the Win 7 machine so that i would know enough to help my wife with the upgraded XP machine, but it is a lot snappier than Win 7. I liked the visual effects of Win 7, but I think the extra zip is worth it.

  2. Dave Wolfe January 30, 2013 at 4:04 am #

    Can you clarify the remote access part on number 8? All of them allow access to files via the web, do you mean something different?

    • Phil Gons January 30, 2013 at 6:56 am #

      Dave, Dropbox and Google Drive give you access only to files you put in a particular folder and make accessible from the cloud. SkyDrive does that, but it also gives you access to all your other files as well—as long as your remote computer is on. This can come in really handy at times, since you don’t always know what very file you’re going to need in advance (and may not want to store duplicate copies of everything).

  3. AJ Gibson January 30, 2013 at 7:40 am #

    Thanks for the tip, Phil. I’m giving it a shot. Unfortunately, the $39 download is not available in Mexico–bought the DVD on Amazon. Blessings, my friend!

  4. David Schwegler January 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    Sorry Phil, couldn’t disagree more. The catastrophe that is Windows 8 serves only to remind us why companies that are too big to fail have no qualms releasing a product that hurts consumers because they know people will buy it either now or later. All they have to worry about is whether they are losing more customers to Mac/no desktop PC at all. Currently that’s not the case, but a product like this sure makes that reality more probable. Rather than releasing an improvement to a system consumers and businesses need to be productive, they are trying to release a product that is ‘different’. The notion that any sane person would release a product for the desktop where you have to swipe the screen with a mouse is the simplest example of the way they thought about Windows 8. Which is unfortunate, because I’m a big Windows fan.

    • Phil Gons January 30, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

      I agree that the touch interface and Metro apps don’t make a lot of sense on a traditional desktop. But it’s not that hard to completely ignore them. What you’re left with is a nice improvement to Windows 7 (as I outlined above). The minor annoyance of the new Start screen is more than offset by the new features and enhancements. Once you make that realization, you can move from being frustrated to enjoying Windows 8.

    • Nathan R Elson January 30, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

      This comment intrigues me: “Rather than releasing an improvement to a system consumers and businesses need to be productive, they are trying to release a product that is ‘different’.” It seems to me the most revolutionary things that have disrupted how we use technology to be productive have all started as being different: the calculator replaced the slide rule, the personal computer replaced typewriters (and manually printing layout methods, and film editing, and audio mixing, and…). To hold Microsoft accountable to doing the same thing they have always done and to just simply improve what they already do (as Phil points out in a lot of ways they did actually do this with Windows 8) is to deny their history and innovation. Is Windows 8 great? I think so, but only time will tell if they were right with their vision of different. I use personally use Windows 8 on a laptop that has a gesture capable track pad – it is natural and intuitive to me and is easier to use than Windows 7 or Mac OS X in that respect. Is it perfect, no – do I feel it is a step in the right direction. Yes I do.

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