10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 8

10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 8

by Larry Neal Gowdy - Updated October 6, 2013

Screenshot of Internet Explorer 10, Word 2010, and Windows 8

Dual monitor screenshot of Windows 8® with Word® 2010 and Internet Explorer® 10.

1. Internet Explorer 10 – I still prefer Opera® in XP and Firefox® in Linux®, but IE9 and 10 are by far my favorites. I myself have not noticed much difference between IE 9 and 10, but 10 does have a few improvements under the hood that appear to give a somewhat better experience for the greater number of websites.

2. Theme – everyone has different tastes, but I am extraordinarily happy with Windows 8 skins; the loss of Aero enables solid colors and faster computing all around. The Stardock® Win8 theme for Windows Vista® made Vista a delightful operating system for my needs, but the real thing on Windows 8 is even better.

3. Image Burner – there are a lot of ISO image burner programs available, but it is nice to simply right-click and burn an ISO file onto disc. (ISO files are disk images like software disks that enable you to install software onto a hard drive. I burn live Linux disks for use as tools for servicing computers with dead or corrupted hard drives).

4. Price – until January 13, 2013 Windows 8 can be downloaded and installed for only $39.99, or buy it on DVD for $69.99. I purchased one DVD and two downloads so that I could upgrade two XP computers and one Vista. I had expected to pay around $300.00 to upgrade one computer to Windows 8, but I got three computers upgraded for half the cost; it's too good of a deal to pass up. For those of us who ran XP for ten years, if we run Windows 8 for ten years the cost of the upgrade will be around one penny a day, far less than the cost of the electricity to run the computer. (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/buy?ocid=GA8_O_WOL_DIS_ShopHP_FPP_Light)

5. Better than XP. XP is still a great operating system, but it is simply getting too old to support the newest software like Internet Explorer 9 and 10. Windows 8 is not as fast as XP when loading some menus, but over all Windows 8 is competitive. Important programs like Word and Excel® load as quickly in Windows 8 as in XP, and the programs' skins have a much better appearance in Windows 8. The lightweight skins in Windows 8 have a similarity to XP's which enables Windows 8 to be speedy due to less CPU overhead. Too, the file explorer in Windows 8 is vastly more useful than XP's.

Screenshot of Windows 8 with Expression Web 4, Paintshop Pro, IE10, Zune, and Pandora

Dual monitor screenshot of Windows 8 with Expression Web 4®, Jasc Paintshop Pro®, Internet Explorer 10, Zune®, and Pandora®.

6. Installation is super easy. I was surprised that Windows 8 installed over XP without my having to reformat the drive, and too all of my personal files remained intact (I still made backups, of course, just in case). Windows 8 has probably been the fastest and most pain-free operating system I have ever installed.

7. Windows 8 does not include a traditional start menu, but there are already several good start menu add-ons like Stardock's Start8. Rumor has it that Microsoft might put the start menu in a future service pack; if a start menu is a must, and add-ons are not wanted, then in a few months the start menu might be available again. (Update: It appears that Microsoft may not offer a start menu as we originally hoped. Nevertheless, many of us have become accustomed to using keyboard shortcuts, and for my personal tastes I now prefer to not have a start menu at all.)

8. The movie maker program is of a better quality than all but the most expensive that were available only a few years ago. Word Pad, Notepad, and the numerous other programs that come standard in Windows 8 are all of high quality.

9. Compatibility - Windows 8 will run Office 97 and most other older 16bit programs (an important ability for people who want to continue using their old software). I did not have luck running DOS games nor Doom I and II, but maybe further into the future I might install a DOS emulator if I feel a necessity for DOS.

10. Mahjong – My wife and I have purchased several Mahjong games over the years; the Mahjong that is included in Windows 8 (free through the store) is the best that I have seen. Of the four different W8 Mahjong themes my favorite is cosmos and its relaxing music. The Mahjong game by itself is worth twenty bucks at least.

Screenshot of Windows 8 with Zune and Pandora

Dual monitor screenshot of Windows 8 with Zune and Pandora.

Over all Windows 8 offers hundreds of dollars of quality built-in programs, and Windows 8 puts it all together in one nicely stable operating system. Some people were concerned that Windows 8 might be another Vista or Millennium Edition, but from what I've seen over the two weeks of using Windows 8 it is easily the best operating system to date for my needs.

For me, the Modern UI (formerly known as Metro) is kept in the background where I tend to think of it as a separate program for entertainment. Switching back and forth from the desktop to Modern requires a bit of mouse movement or the use of the Windows key, but over all I am now sufficiently accustomed to the layout that I instinctively know where to click to open wanted programs.

(Update October 6, 2013: With my now having used Windows 8 for almost a full year on three of my own computers, there is absolutely no question nor hesitation in my saying that I like Windows 8 above all other operating systems. I still have three computers with XP and other operating systems that I use for business needs, but I spend over 99% of my computing time on a self-built Windows 8 Pro machine. Of the businesses that I have seen mixing new Windows 8 computers with older XP computers, there have been some compatibility problems with specialized software, but to date I have been able to properly configure the old XP software to function correctly in Windows 8. Keeping our fingers crossed...)

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