Does Windows 8 belong on business desktops?

Moderated by Jason Hiner | November 26, 2012 -- 07:00 GMT (23:00 PST)

Summary: Eventually, sure. But how much training and testing does this touch-enabled operating system deserve?

Lawrence Dignan

Lawrence Dignan

Upgrade now


Not so fast

Christopher Dawson

Christopher Dawson

Best Argument: Not so fast


Audience Favored: Not so fast (69%)

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

Enterprise plays catch-up

Larry Dignan: There are still many enterprises stuck on Windows XP that have delayed desktop refreshes for a long time, using large numbers of end-of-life systems. In these cases, I think that rather than go to Windows 7 on their replacements, it makes sense for them to go with what is on the OEM preloads -- which will be Windows 8.

And enterprises that have Windows 7 can easily assimilate new PCs with Windows 8 into their existing environments without a whole lot of fuss, since the new OS runs all of Windows 7's applications.

No reason to rush

Chris Dawson: When Windows 7 was launched, businesses that had inexplicably deployed Vista flocked to their nearest Microsoft VAR and upgraded. Vista was a sad little OS and it had to go.

Windows 7 now has widespread enterprise adoption and has proven stable, reliable, relatively secure and generally well-liked by users. Which means that businesses have the luxury of time to hold off on Windows 8 upgrades.

Like Windows 7, Microsoft’s latest OS has met with positive initial reviews and early tests of the release candidate have gone well. But it doesn’t look like Windows 7 and few businesses have a compelling reason (like Windows Vista) to rush into the expense, challenges, and potential pitfalls of a hasty upgrade. Users deserve time for training and pilots and IT departments deserve time for testing and the inevitable first service pack before jumping in to an iconified, touch-centric, very new-feeling OS.


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  • Now this will be interesting...

    It's good to see that neither person is a patented Windows 8-hater, which means the discussion can center around whether the OS is good for enterprises now, or whether corporate upgrades should hold off until further testing.

    Personally, I'm for a more hybrid approach, as Larry hints at the end of his opening statement. I think that some new Windows 8 machines could be added to a Windows 7 environment without many complications. This would especially be true for hybrid PCs for those in the field. Rather than pay for a $1000 daily-driver laptop, why not pay for a $1000 iCore hybrid PC with a dock? I don't know that I would go Atom in the enterprise (though Dell's Latitude tablet is compelling with its replaceable battery).

    As for XP houses skipping Windows 7 for 8, I'm undecided. I could argue this, but I think you'd need to do extra prep work due to the new interface. Win 7 is less of a jump for sure, but there will still be moaning and complaining with that. Why not deal with all the problems at once? I could make the arguement either way, and really it depends on the organization and the competency of the people. If you are dealing with an organization where not many of the employees are tech-savvy, then no. Go with 7. But if the organization has more of a technical aptitude or is used to changing software, etc., then maybe go with 8.

    This will be an interesting argument for sure.
    Reply 1 Vote I'm for Upgrade now
    • Win 8 Hybrids can help.

      My organization is looking to Windows 8 Hybrid/Tabs to improve customer interaction. Our users will be able to interact and assist customers with a Hybrid/tablet device anywhere on the floor. At that point they can take the data back to a desk and manipulate it on the same device without switching back to a desktop. Win 8 allows us to do this....We've looked at solutions from Apple and Android but they don't meet our strict security requirements. Windows 8 allows us to leverage modern mobile tech with our existing infrastructure to improve productivity.
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • customer service

        Funny what you say about security of Android and iOS, but your company must be dealing more sensitive and secret data than NSA, The Department of Homeland Security, CIA... well... you are after all working with clients at floor doing customer service ;-)
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • Opps. Meant argument

    (not "arguement")
    Reply Vote I'm for Upgrade now
  • Windows 8 or W8 ~ [Wait]

    Enterprises have just finished their Windows 7 deployments, if that. They are likely to wait a long time before considering another upgrade. Waiting will for most also mean waiting for something post Windows 8 (blue?) and not just Windows 8 later.

    Worrying however to hear that HP has stated that they will not (always?) support downgrading PC's. I am sure customers will be looking for PC's that do support downgrading to Windows 7 and prefer those than support this over the Windows 8 only choices.
    Reply 5 Votes I'm for Not so fast
    • Not necessarily. I work for a university and we are movimg to Windows 8

      We moved to Windows Vista on an aggressive timeline and abandoned it for Windows 7 just as quickly. We leverage hardware lifecycles religiously but we do not ignore the needs of BYOD(students are the ultimate BYOD population) and we need to support, as quickly as possible, the latest hardware ad software in order to meet their academic needs and the needs of their faculty.
      M Wagner
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • And not all of us have finished

        At my own stomping ground, we are still in the process of shifting to W7 from WXP and have a lot of time and resources invested in getting our users across, not to mention the ridiculous amount of legacy software we have to address in order to do it. I'd rather have our user base in one place (I don't want to return to the days when we mixed WXP, W2K and, dare I say it, W98 on one site) and with the work already under way, changing yet again just isn't on.
        Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
        • with you

          i'm in the same boat. we are just going to 7 from xp, w2k. we've been trying a few new desktops with 8 and have gotten a no thanks from up stairs big shots. to much legacy software and incompatable hardware.
          Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
          • Incompatiblities?

            First I hear of that. All software and hardware that works with 7 will work with 8. If there is no Windows 8 driver yet the Windows 7 driver (or even Windows Vista driver) will do as they share the same kernel.

            As for legacy software, besides a switch from 32 to 64 bits or switching from IE 9 to 10 I don't see where things would work in 7 and not in 8.

            Unless you were referring to XP, but then the same issues would pop in both Windows 7 and 8.

            Besides the missing start menu and the removal of Aero glass, nothing's different on the desktop sides of 7 and 8, Windows 8 being even a little faster.
            Reply Vote I'm Undecided
          • 8 is not just 7 with touch support

            I use Classic Shell Menu with XP, 7 and 8 because I still prefer the classic menu format. When I found I could make 8 look and feel pretty much exactly like 7 (both with that addition), I promptly switched.

            At first I thought it was great, but it's turned into a nightmare. What no one is mentioning is MS went absolutely crazy with security. Users who just do wordprocessing, spreadsheets, email, etc., won't know the difference. But power users who edit scripts, etc., quickly find out 8 keeps refusing edit/run permissions. Even running something as administrator isn't high enough.

            Of course, like most power users, I may not use a script every few days. So I didn't notice at first.

            Also, older machines that run 7 fine may not even install 8. 8 REQUIRES a processor that supports PAE and the NX/XD bit. My "built from spare parts" computer (2005-era mobo & socket 478 Celeraon) runs 7 but after the install spent 90 minutes copying files, etc., just as it was about to finish it gave me an error code indicating "processor not supported". Turns out the socket 478-series processors don't support the NX(AMD)/XD(Intel) bit.
            Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided