Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Windows 8 Better Than I Expected

I upgraded my laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 8 today. I was induced to do so when Microsoft reduced the Windows 8 Pro version to $39 - from the original "list price" of $199.99 if you believe that. By the way, I learned about the price reduction by a promoted Tweet so bully for them for buying an ad on Twitter. The sale price is good through tomorrow, January 31st, unless they extend it.

I installed it with some trepidation since I have read a lot of negative things about it from friends on social media. But I suspected that they simply weren't adjusting to the new interface and I pride myself on adapting very well. I do after all, move among Macs, Linux machines, and two iterations of Android in addition to Windows.

I also read this WSJ Windows 8 horror story about an upgrade on a three year old computer. I have a three year old Sony Vaio. My own upgrade from Windows 7, was flawless. I didn't time it, but it seemed to take about an hour including several required restarts.

I knew that they took away the Start menu, but that was less jarring than I expected. They replaced it with Start tiles. Just like on my Android phone, I can rearrange the tiles and display most prominently the programs and apps I use the most. Without going into a lot of detail, it took me basically a couple of hours with it before I felt really comfortable with it. This evening I am flying.

Contrary to popular belief, Windows 8 is not just a cosmetic change, although I can see why some people think so. Parts of it, such as the Control Panel, look pretty much the same.

But under the hood it is dramatically improved. Since it is designed for use on tablets, it is necessarily easier on the battery. It boots a lot faster than Windows 7 and just overall seems a lot speedier. There are lots of technical reasons I read about and won't delve into here, just suffice to say I'm glad I made the switch.

If you are someone who hates change so much that you still complain about Facebook's timeline, this may not be for you. But if you're adventurous, it's actually pretty fun.