Windows 8

Microsoft just released a new version of Windows.  There is a lot of information out there discussing (and dissecting) Windows 8 in techno-speak.  Today we are going to take a look at what Windows 8 is and is not, written in plain English.

Why did Microsoft make such a radical change?  Not to alienate the consumer, honest.  I have to believe the radical changes to Windows 8 generated a lot of internal discussion.  In order to stay relevant in today’s world, Microsoft must change.  The choices are simple: change and adapt or go the way of the dinosaur.  Microsoft tries to make switching to Windows 8 as easy as possible, but switching to Windows 8 will require some flexibility on our part.

Windows 8 comes in two versions: Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT.  Be careful when shopping for Windows 8 devices, the two versions  of Windows 8 look the same, but they are not.

Windows 8 is:

  • For your traditional desktop and laptop computers
  • Great on a touch screen computer or hybrid laptop (more on hybrids later)
  • A replacement for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7
  • For businesses and home offices, traditional computer usage
  • For applications installed from CD-ROM, DVD and downloaded via the internet
  • Very compatible with your existing Windows programs (GenDetective and others).

Windows 8 RT is:

  • For tablets and cell phones
  • To compete against iOS (iPad & iPhone) and Android (phones & tablets)
  • For mobile users, replacing the web surfing, email only computers
  • Applications are only available for download from the Windows store (think iTunes and Android Market, ie. “apps”)
  • Office RT is not the full version of Office.  It looks like “regular Office” but it is not!

The bad news, which I will not dwell on, as these items have been prominently covered by the news, are true:

  • The Start button is gone.  However, the tiled view is very “natural” with a touch screen.
  • Windows 8 does have an option for the “traditional Windows desktop”
  • Favorite Windows options/programs have been hidden or appear to be gone.

Back to the hybrid laptop, which is my term to describe new laptops offering dual functaionlity.  What is a hybrid?  It is a lightweigh notebook combined with a tablet.  I just acquired a Windows 8 laptop with a touch screen that swivels, converting into an oversized (12 inch) tablet.  The hybrid combines the computing power of a traditional laptop with an easy to use touch screen tablet.  These laptops weigh a bit more than a traditional tablet (1 pound vs 3.3 pounds), but 3 pounds only feels heavy when holding the laptop in one hand and my Android tablet in the other.  I could not get a good picture, but you can see one here.

I have written more than I intended, but when buying a Windows 8 machine:

  • Know if a laptop is Windows 8 (traditional) or Windows 8 RT (apps only)
  • Verify touch screen or not (most laptops are not)
  • Many stores are offering free training sessions for Windows 8, take the class.
  • Verify your favorite applications will run on Windows 8.  Most will not run on RT!

Good luck and happy computing ..

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One Response to Windows 8

  1. Pingback: Windows 7 or Windows 8? | GenDetective

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