Windows 8: No, I AM YOUR OS UPGRADE!

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.

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TOPICS: Windows, Microsoft, PCs
154

Vader-win8

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

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience 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.

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154 comments
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  • I was able to install Windows 8 on a PC with ...

    Intel Pentium 4 with HT @ 3.00 GHz, 2 GB SDRAM, Nvidia 440MX AGP 8x. The machine is archaic by today's standards. I happen to have it lying around in the office. The only problem that I faced was that the graphics card does not have any drivers which are even WDDM 1.0 certified. It is no longer supported by Nvidia. But the built in display driver works just fine.

    The memory consumption for an idling system without any applications running is about 512 MB. Boot times are faster than XP.
    1773
    • performance

      Outside of faster boot times how is performance in the operating system compared to windows xp?
      dsm7809
      • faster

        on a Core 2 Duo, browsing, file copying and multimedia tasks are all faster
        mary.branscombe
        • Reset

          Nothing wrong with Core 2 inputs Mary, but those are to be expected. The poster dsm7809 was asking how the performance was head to head in regards to the older Netburst platform, to wit, a P4 with decent cycles and adequate RAM + VID specs.
          klumper
      • Compared to XP

        Compared to XP (On the same computer) Core i3 on a Gigabyte Mini ITX

        Full Format Times on a 16GB Patriot Exporter Thumbdrive @ FAT 32 - Default allocation size
        Windows 8 Full formats the drive in 33 minutes and 24 seconds
        Windows XP Full formats the drive in 22 seconds (91 times faster)

        Windows 8 will not run many thinstalled portable apps that run just fine under XP

        Windows 8 did not run Portable Photoshop CS5
        Portable Illustrator CS3
        Portable Audition 3.0
        Portable Handbrake
        Portable Massive
        Portable Quicktime

        and many others including several games that were installed and run fine on XP

        However, Windows 8 can run many older versions of the above software but its hit or miss

        If you need to maintain ABSOLUTE compatability for XP software, you need to keep XP - PERIOD!

        Just run XP on an OFFLINE drive for best security and run all your Internet crap and spyware on the Windows 8 Drive (The one you don't give a crap about)

        Windows 8 will provide you better security online from any of the spies not directly associated with Israel or the United States Gov't

        Xp will let ALL the spies in regardless of who they are working for

        That is the main difference between the two
        OutOfBoxExperience
        • Portable Photoshop CS5 can run on my Lapie..

          Just to inform to Mr. OutOfBoxExperience and all friend, I have 4 laptop with years made in 2008 (2), 2010 and 2011. I use Windows 8 OS on two laptop, but I can only run Photoshop CS5 perfectly in my first laptop.
          Sultan Rasyid
    • Unsuopported NVidia

      You are probably better off with your graphics being unsupported.

      The NVidia Ion driver in the Windows 8 RTM suck ass - blinking screens and corrupted output.

      HP have no Win 8 drivers yet, and NVidia don;t want to know, as it is an OEM part in a laptop supported by HP. not them.

      Back to Win 7....
      neil.postlethwaite
      • Ion graphics

        Did you go to the Nvidia site, I found ION graphic drivers there for windows 8 on there.
        schultzycom
      • AMD finally got their decent

        It hasn't released to the public yet, give them time.
        marks055@...
  • 8 adoption will mainly be new PCs.

    Just like every operating system before 8 the major adoption rates will be with new PC buyers. Face it, people buy a computer and whatever is on it is what stays on it until it breaks. Mom and Pop don't know a device driver from an exhaust port and have no interest in delving into arcane arts to be enlightened about their IRQ settings.

    Window XP had a long run - and people will no doubt continue to use it regardless when it reaches end of life, Vista took a hit because it brought in major architectural changes, 7 refined those changes and because everything was ready driver wise - unlike Vista's launch - everyone loved it.

    There will be a percentage of users who opt to upgrade their installations to 8 but I suspect it will hover in the low double digits. Everyone else will run their existing machine into the ground and eventually get around to buying a new computer. Which will have 8 or maybe even 9 by then.
    BP314
    • i agree

      With windows 8 i doubt you will people running out to upgrade and most will just get in when they get a new computer. Windows 7 was they only windows os where i noticed average people upgrading.

      tablets and hybrid computers with touch screens will fuel strong sales for windows 8 aswell. Though i think it may struggle on desktops due to the interface challenges to your average user however it seems many pc makers are going to include some sort of start menu replacement like Samsung showed so im just not sure how reaction will be
      dsm7809
    • I agree also. But..

      For the most part, you're right. People won't really need to upgrade right away. Windows 7 is a totally awesome OS. However, what makes this upgrade different is the "Modern/Metro" side of things and the fact that tablets, phones, and X-Box's will be sporting it (or something very close to it). Want to use Microsoft's SmartGlass app to interface with your with X-Box and other devices? You'll need to get Windows 8. How bout all the other things that are on the way with Windows 8's "other side"?

      Also, even if your current PC runs better on Window 8 than it did with XP or 7, you will be tempted to upgrade soon because of touch. Starting this Oct, it's going to start to become harder to get a PC or laptop without a multi-touch screen. When you see how cool it is, you'll want it trust me. I can not wait to have touch on my 3 monitor system. I've always wanted the option to drag/manipulate stuff around with my hands instead of reaching for the mouse and scooting it along a table top. It will feel so much more natural with touch.
      MCTronix
      • It's not a case of "need", it's a case of "want".

        Microsoft Needs users to Want the new version. It's the Want that sells Apple's OSes as quickly as they do. Microsoft is trying to get Windows users to Want Win8--but we can see where too many users are so afraid of this new change that they're going to resist it as hard as they can.
        DWFields
      • For some, touch screens are an absolute turn-off

        I agree with BP314. Touch-screens on notebooks or desktops, however, are a definite NO for me. I'm certainly not going to pay extra for the "privilege" of using them. The difference would be better spent for non-frivolous hardware improvements. I don't want greasy fingerprints all over my monitors.

        MCTronix there are alternatives to mice. Track balls are stationary and are less likely to cause carpal-tunnel when used correctly. I'm not sure why anyone would want touch on 3 monitors. Whack-a-mole?
        jlongino@...
      • .

        i doubt you will see many people upgrade their windows 7 machines to 8 and that most windows 8 sales will be generated through sales of touch enabled devices. Overall if Microsoft gave you the choice of turning the start menu on or off it would of kept everyone happy
        dsm7809
      • It's people who think Win7 is great...

        ...that will be panting after Win8 upgrades. They've already proved they're Barnum-ready.
        Vesicant
    • While I essentially agree, this is NOT what Microsoft wants.

      Every time a new version of OS X comes out from Apple, adoption is quick and massive. Usually within one year of release, something like 80% of the Mac user base has adopted it--unless their hardware is simply too old to handle it.

      Microsoft has something in Windows 8 that surpasses Apple's OS by accommodating hardware more than 5 years old while still offering streamlined and accelerated performance across the board. Yet, the best they've ever been able to do for new version adoption is roughly 3 years before they even reach 50% and usually running about 20% at the end of two years. Is it any wonder that Microsoft takes so long to come up with new releases? With quicker adoption you would see more frequent and more significant upgrades.

      Microsoft has made itself irrelevant simply due to the mistakes they made in the 9 years before Win7. They lost the enthusiasm they'd gained with the earlier versions (through XP) but when they took nearly a full decade to truly produce a replacement to XP, well--nobody gets excited about Windows any more.
      DWFields
      • OS X upgrade percentages

        The thing is that people are actually happy and productive with older versions of Windows. It does everything they need it to do. The case for upgrading is a difficult one to make when you are 100% satisfied with your current version.

        The story is not quite so rosy for OS X. There is wide dissatisfaction with every version of OS X. It never does what people want it to do. So yeah, when a new version comes out, they upgrade, hoping against all hope that THIS is the version of OS X that works. One day, they might even be right.
        toddbottom3
        • That's exactly right...

          Windows 7 does EVERYTHING that I (and the users in my small business network) want from my/their PC. If I (personally) want to customize it with a different start menu, there are free downloads that give me a somewhat metro-like feel (mainly larger icons that spread out, see here: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/best-alternatives-to-windows-start-menu/)

          Now, I can get behind the speed improvements, that actually would be worth a $40 upgrade to me!

          HOWEVER, the article's comment in regards to Metro explains why we won't be upgrading: "Only for the weak-minded, I say". This is exactly the kind of arrogance (DARK SIDE THINKING) that is making me move away from Windows. My users (yes, I'm an admin and I veiw them as MY users, people under my CARE) are not the most technically savey in the world. They have difficult accounting tasks and procedures that require them to be able to sit down and do their work. I put off the move to Windows 7 until last fall, mainly to give them time to see and use it for themselves on their personal computers. Same for Office 2010.

          And guess what, after almost 10 months of use they have gotten used to most of the interface changes... and have not become more productive in the least. As far as speed improvements, Windows 7 started out MUCH faster than before, but many are now experiencing slow-downs, just like they did with Windows XP. The Windows 7 way of handling notification windows is sometimes difficult for them (Not getting calendar reminders popping up in front, printer authentication windows not coming up in front, but instead a stupid blinking icon down on the bar). Most are still confused by the stupid Office ribon.

          So here's the deal, if Metro and the interface changes to the start menu was an OPTION, I'd be seriously evaluating this for my users. But the incremental speed improvements provided will likely fade after a year, and what will I be left with? My poor users trying to cope with more impediments to doing their work.

          Windows 7 is here to stay.
          Technical John
          • Windows XP is here to stay also

            Windows XP was the best, lets admit it
            Jabe124