With over 40% of the world’s businesses still operating on Windows XP during its final year of updates, a tough decision will have to be made by thousands of corporations in the near future. Even though Windows 8 has been running smoothly for about six months now, the sheer variety of mixed reviews makes it pretty tough to decide if it is a worthwhile investment over options like Windows 7 or Mac OS X. We’re here to shed a little bit of light on that very subject.
Some Downsides About Windows 8
It’s no secret; Windows 8 looks more like a smartphone app than an operating system. The start menu is long gone, replaced with a customizable “Metro hub” that displays all of your favorite social media sites, productivity software, and other types of applications. The interface is beautiful, but it is very different.
For the average business customer on the outside looking in, this is a terrifying thought; nobody wants to retrain an entire office on topics ranging from how to access email to finding a previously saved document.
Some of the main complaints that businesses have expressed over Windows 8 are-
- No more start menu (but can be installed through a 3rd party apps)
- Big learning curve for your company
- Compatibility issues with Google & other competitors
- Limited Choices in Windows app store
- The “Metro” aspect feels unfinished
- May slow overall productivity in certain sectors
Windows 7, on the other hand, is one of the most stable operating systems that Microsoft has launched in quite some time and it is a much easier transition for businesses migrating from XP. The bad news is that both operating systems will likely require hardware upgrades to at least dual core processors and additional memory, but the performance over XP is also significant. Speaking of processing power; that’s another major knock against Windows 8 since it only slightly outperforms its latest predecessor.
The biggest worry consumers have expressed so far about Windows 8 is the unveiling of the Microsoft app store and what it may mean for future products. For example, Internet Explorer ties in beautifully with your home screen and will import just about anything that a person could imagine; statistics, news updates, or anything else on the fly. Browsers like Safari, Chrome and Firefox do not sync with metro, however, and it makes businesses wonder if Microsoft is going down the path of Apple with intentional compatibility issues galore. If so, then now is officially the time to be worried.
What We Love About Windows 8
Then again, comparing Windows 7 and Windows 8 is like discussing the difference between apples and oranges. While no corporation likes to upgrade unless it’s absolutely necessary, making the move to Windows 8 will provide a number of instant benefits. Here are just a few of the perks from Microsoft’s latest operating system-
- Windows 8 loads very fast
- Great dual-monitor options
- Touchscreen interface
- Better storage options
- More networking options
- Enhanced security
- A step towards syncing all platforms
One thing we love about Windows 8 is that it’s definitely been designed from top to bottom with the 21st century corporate executive in mind. While the interface does take some getting used to at first, the desktop customizations are nearly endless and users can add as many (or as few) app-like widgets as they need. Instead of accessing a control panel, everything your office needs to be productive is neatly organized right in front of them to open or minimize as necessary.
Likewise, businesses will love the enhanced networking options that are designed for employees on the run that depend on numerous connection types to stay online. Files and folders can also be synced in the cloud through SkyDrive so sharing information is a breeze. Add to the mix some beefier security features and Windows 8 is one heck of a productivity suite for the business world.
Of course, we haven’t even talked about the tech side of Windows 8; it’s the first Microsoft operating system designed specifically for touchscreen monitors. Even though you’d think that the “wow factor” would be somewhat diminished since we are used to touchscreens on our smartphones and tablets, there is something deeply satisfying about having this feature on a home or business PC. Then there’s the dual-screen customization options that tech geeks have been begging to get for nearly a decade now; these two options in tandem really bring a workstation to life in a wonderfully productive way.
Once you get past the initial learning curve of Windows 8, we are happy to share that this is one solid operating system with plenty of features and ample shortcuts. While the Metro desktop is slightly intimidating at first, it is a fantastic addition for the business world because it simplifies how employees gather, document and share information.
Should You Upgrade to Windows 8?
If you’re planning on using touchscreen monitors in the near future or if your business is already upgrading your main hardware, then Windows 8 is definitely a no-brainer. Likewise, those who are riding out the last few waves of Windows XP are probably ready for a serious overhaul into the 21st century anyway. If cost in not the most important factor in this decision, then you may as well embrace this generation’s version of Windows since it will be the business platform for at least the next decade.
Then again, those that are content with Windows 7 are probably better off saving their cash until their next round of desktop upgrades. While the processing speed is slightly better on Windows 8 in numerous benchmark tests, the difference is negligible and virtually erased once you consider the initial learning curve for your entire office. Then add in the intentional quirks with Google Chrome and other types of software…Windows 8 is a title you’ll want to wait on.
Our personal recommendation is to download the Windows 8 Evaluation Version to allow your tech department to test this platform for compatibility with your current software. The trial license is good for a full 90 days and it should give a large enough preview to determine whether or not Windows 8 is the next logical step for your corporation.