Windows 8: No, I AM YOUR OS UPGRADE!

Summary:Say what you wish about this release being only for tech geeks: The Microsoft Empire will prevail with Windows 8.


My opponent, Obi-Vaughn Kenobi, Master Jedi of the Linux greybeards order, has proposed that older PC hardware needs Windows 8 like a "fish needs a bicycle".

His comparison is as ludicrous as if he were to propose that his beloved Shi-Tsu is even anywhere near as intelligent as either of my miniature poodles. Which it isn't.

Look, if your PC is ten years old, guess what: It's time to buy a new PC.

Even the most inexpensive, bargain basement $399-$499 COSTCO or Wal-Mart laptop or desktop Chinese special running Windows 8 is going to give you a better and certainly more secure experience than what you're (probably) currently using, no disrespect to Obi-Vaughn's beloved obscure Linux distribution running on his TRS-80 or Atari 800 intended.

But for those of you who have systems that are in the range of four or five years old, installing the Windows 8 upgrade is probably a no-brainer, and your system will run faster and more reliably and more secure than it did before.

But you may ask, "What is the value of upgrading my PC to the newest version of Windows?"

From the perspective of the regular and corporate end-user I believe that Windows 8 represents a substantial refresh and performance fine-tuning of the traditional core Windows operating system components which include a the kernel, device drivers, networking services, the Win32 desktop and Internet Explorer.

This is combined with a number of value added services which include built-in anti-malware in the form of the new Windows Defender (antivirus/antispyware) as well as cloud integration (single sign-on via Windows Live account, Skydrive, etc.) and built-in virtualization for Windows 8 Professional users (Hyper-V) just to name a few. 

It is on these improvements alone that I feel that Windows 8 is actually worth the $40 upgrade cost that existing genuinely licensed XP, Vista and Windows 7 users will incur if they decide to make the switch. 

At the same time, while Windows 8 provides many of the same types of improvements that the Windows 7 upgrade had over Windows Vista and Windows XP, Microsoft is also introducing a new paradigm in the form of applications which use the new WinRT API -- what we've all been calling "Metro" until recently. 

The introduction of the new WinRT-based Start Menu and "Metro-style apps" is critical for Microsoft because Win32 is now 20 years old and is getting long in the tooth. 

So Windows 8 represents both a technology refresh/update for the end-user as well as providing a bridge to the OS's future, particularly as it applies to systems such as ARM-based tablets which will rely on it as the primary UI and programmatic interface.

I think that a substantial amount of end-users are going to find value in terms of improving system performance, improving system security, and having access to the latest software technology for a mere $40.

For end-users who buy PCs in the current timeframe, it will cost even less. 

The bottom line is that Microsoft is going to provide an Upgrade Advisor utility that anyone can download and will inform the end-user if their system is a good candidate for the upgrade. 

That's the end of the argument from a "Should I upgrade and will it work with my hardware" perspective as far as I am concerned. Heed the words of Darth Perlow.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, PCs


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet is a technologist with over two decades of experience with integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer... Full Bio

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