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should i upgrade to windows 8In case you haven’t heard yet, Windows 8 What You Can Expect To See In Windows 8 What You Can Expect To See In Windows 8 No sooner had the dust settled over the bumpy transition from Windows Vista to Windows 7, than Microsoft started fueling interest around its upcoming new operating system, codenamed Windows 8, which is expected to be... Read More is slowly getting more and more media attention as it nears completion. Recently Windows 8 has been getting a massive amount of coverage since the release of its Consumer Preview, and it’s been pretty good.

If you’ve been following my articles in the past, you’ll probably know that I’m more of a Linux person, but this time I’m looking at the Windows side of things, and why I think you should upgrade to Windows 8 rather than skipping this release in favor of what will become Windows 9.

1. Metro UI

should i upgrade to windows 8

The most noticeable change will obviously be the new user interface. Instead of going for the traditional desktop with a wallpaper, shortcuts, and a panel with the infamous Start button, Windows 8 will go for what they call the Metro UI Microsoft Goes Metro(ish) With Windows 8 [News] Microsoft Goes Metro(ish) With Windows 8 [News] Microsoft’s recent demo of Windows 8 unveiled a big change – an entirely new interface. Clearly inspired by the Metro UI currently used by Windows Phone 7, the demo of Windows 8 featured colored tiles... Read More . Its inspiration? The interface found on Windows Mobile phones.

With this release of Windows, Microsoft is trying to create a uniform look and feel across all Microsoft products, including Windows computers and Windows Phone devices. There are plenty of people that bash the user interface developers for trying to make a mobile-style interface for a desktop system (especially on the Linux side of things), but I see a lot of potential with Metro.

Its strongest two features are style and simplicity, which most Windows users will probably enjoy, as a large portion of them are not exactly computer savvy.

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New File System For Servers

Windows 8 Server will also be throwing away the NTFS file system we’ve grown accustomed to in favor of ReFS (Resilient File System), which was previously codenamed Protogon. It’s sad that ReFS won’t be included in the main client builds of Windows 8 (unless Microsoft has a quick change of heart), but NTFS seemed to work decently enough for most people.

One of the more interesting features of ReFS is virtual space pooling, which means that multiple hard drives can appear as a single volume. This feature has already been highly used by Linux in the form of LVM (Logical Volume Manager) and will be a built-in feature of the upcoming Btrfs file system. Microsoft is most likely including this feature in ReFS in hopes that it will regain some of the server market from Linux.

Windows Home Server also used to have a similar feature, but it was poorly implemented and tended to cause issues.

Hardware Support

upgrade to windows 8

One of the things I am most looking forward to in Windows 8 is the improved hardware support. It’s nothing unusual that each new release of Windows offers better hardware support (and drops the ancient hardware from its support list), but Windows 8 is set to include a reworked thread scheduler, which is aimed at making multi-core processors work more efficiently. This is especially true for AMD‘s Bulldozer series of processors, as it is rumored that their chips are under-performing with Windows 7, with a fix waiting in Windows 8.

Resources & ARM

should i upgrade to windows 8

Last but not least, Windows 8 isn’t going to be a resource-hog like Windows Vista was compared to Windows XP. In fact, Windows 8’s hardware requirements are pretty much identical to those of Windows 7. However, Microsoft has been working hard on trying to get Windows 8 to run smoothly on devices such as tablets and netbooks. Windows 8 is also going to be released for traditional x86 processors (think Intel and AMD) as well as ARM processors (think those found in your smartphone, except bigger when talking about desktops).

Windows 8 needs to be more resource efficient if it wants to run well on ARM processors, and x86 users will benefit from all that work. This is probably the most important reason why people should upgrade to Windows 8, as there is virtually no barrier to doing so if you’re already running Windows 7.


Windows 8 is looking poised to take the operating system market by storm, and I’m very interested to see how well it works when it is released. If it follows Windows 7’s timeline to the market, you can expect Windows 8 to be released somewhere near the end of October. Until then, we’ll just have to play around with the Consumer Preview until our systems catch on fire.

What do you think about Windows 8’s features? Are there are features that, in your opinion, quite simply suck? What are your thoughts about the move to the Metro UI? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Ceo1O17

  1. Kalpit
    August 3, 2012 at 6:27 am

    This is what I've been looking for. It's the decision time.
    I guess metro UI is on the top of the list for me, to upgrade to Windows 8.

  2. Justin Fortin
    August 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Metro is one of the reasons I DON'T want to upgrade...

  3. Vincent Mancuso
    July 12, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    This new Windows 8 looks way to much like the Xbox360 layout. This particular upgrade will confuse ALOT of people who do not understand computers very well. The layout of the computer has been the same for almost 20 years. My mom, dad, grandparents JUST learned how to use computers, along with BILLIONS of others who are new to the computer. Just as they are settling down and understanding the basics of the software. Microsoft goes and COMPLETELY changes the entire layout. Now i have to teach my family all over again to use a computer, even I have yet to learn this new layout. The Windows 7 version is way better and more organized to use. This looks like its for show, not actual performance. I highly recommend sticking with Windows 7. Faster, more organized, and its what we are all are use to, I mean, even Microsoft's logo is changing! whats with all this change? They made BILLIONS of dollars on the previous versions for a reason...the "change" motto didn't work so well for Obama either :P

  4. Matt
    July 1, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    I'll be building a new PC at the end of the year and will load Fedora 17 KDE on it. I already have a work laptop loaded with Win7 and Office 2010 so with Steam coming to Linux, LibreOffice 3.6.0 out by Q3, and WINE's improved stability I have no reason to purchase a new copy of Windows.

    • Danny Stieben
      July 3, 2012 at 7:37 am

      I have to agree that the Linux end of things is looking pretty good. I recently managed to get an old MMORPG from my childhood running with Wine (finally!), so I'm already that much happier.

  5. Marklar
    June 30, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Still waiting on a reason to switch

  6. shaurya boogie
    June 21, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    i love metro ui. want some more colors

  7. Vinay
    June 6, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Good Article. I have posted my Top 6 reasons for upgrading to Windows 8

  8. Amiteshwar
    March 21, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I hate Window 8. Its an outright failure

  9. Tokyo
    March 17, 2012 at 1:55 am

    where are start menu Dx!!!!!!???

  10. Jerry "Long Rant" P.
    March 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Ok, a better task manager... same hardware requirements than Windows 7... and you have to use it like a smart phone.  I'm not sure that really balances out to a plus, much less a rationale to "upgrade".  Maybe we will call it a "sidegrade."  Unless you are talking about servers, and there you get a new file system.  Oooh shiny, I'm going to run out and reload a dozen servers to get that absolutely essential, can't live without feature!

    Maybe they should have 2 workstation versions of Windows 8:

    First will be for "most Windows users[...], as a large portion of them are not exactly computer savvy", it features Metro UI with the big shiny buttons designed for use with a touch screen (or xbox controller), which would also be perfect for your four year old.  No scary "start button" or "menus" or those crazy things called "icons", as those are way beyond the capabilites of many Windows users (though I'm not sure how they are windows users without having the ability to use windows...) Anywho, no need for a task manager, as those same folks won't know what to do with it anyway, and it is kind of scary.  We will call this version "Windows Mac" or "Windows For Four Year Olds."

    Second will be for that tiny fraction of users who would like a bit more usability, and have the computer skills to go beyoud the xbox ui).  No Metro UI, the shiny new task manager, and.... I guess that really was it (unless you mean the need for new hardware that supports Windows 8, new software, new drivers, etc. etc.).  We will call this version "Windows 7 SP2" or "Windows For People Living In Their Parent's Basements." 

    Too bad, Microsoft is only offering the "Windows For Four Year Olds" version.

    "Microsoft is trying to create a uniform look and feel across all Microsoft products, including Windows computers and Windows Phone devices."  Don't forget the xbox in that uniformity.  Yes, the system customized for Call of Duty and Dance Dance Revolution clearly is the perfect setup for the home and business users.  And we all know Windows 7 phone is number one in the marketplace, as everyone just can't wait to use the metro UI.

    To give an example of how popular the Windows 7 phone is, one of our vendors offers a product with support for Blackberry, iPhones, Android and Windows 7 phone.  They have hundreds of clients.  Windows 7 phone never came up during the project, and I only asked about it after stumbling across it in some of their product documentation.  Apparently no one had ever asked for or about Windows 7 phone support.  Their developers thought that no U.S. carriers even had them yet.  These are people who do mobile web work for their living.  And this occurred about a month ago.

    And this is the product that they are going to bet the farm on...  Perhaps they are basing this decision on the popularity and market share of their OS with Metro UI on the xbox?

    Personally, I can't see the "benefit" of moving to Windows 8 ever overcoming the cost in time and effort to perform the update and the subsequent tweaking that has to be performed whenever you change an operating system.

    I heard rumors about Windows 9 development already.  It has the following buttons:  email, the interweb, youtube, twitter, notepad.  That way the least experienced and knowledgeable user will feel at home, and they will gain any actual skill so they will always feel at home. No other buttons are available or allowed, though the Microsoft Bing toolbar has been attached to the core of the system, compeltely integrated and at the top of the screen permanently.  There is no power switch or way to turn the system off, as W9 will be so wonderful that you would never want to, besides the power switch versus a shutdown command has always confounded our core windows population, "do I hit shutdown or just turn it off?"   A true "always on" device, plug it in and you are done.  And the biggest advancement will be inclusion the most popular Microsoft interface ever, the xbox 360 controller.  Have you seen how popular that controller is with the xbox 360?  It has 99.9 percent of the market, so let's make that required on the desktop too, it replaces the keyboard, so W9 will not accept any keyboard connections.  And the system will occasionally say inspirational things like "You are an amazing person" and "You are so smart" to comfort the user if they ever feel sad.  And as their core users are often sad because of such daily traumas as their scissors being unable to cut paper, it will just play those messages every few minutes forever.

    This will rock the market and show those Apple idiots that Microsoft can make products so simple that the dumbest user can use the software's full capabilites whether it is on a tablet, phone, desktop, game console, and whether the user is awake, drunk, sleeping, out of the country or died three weeks ago.

    • Danny Stieben
      March 18, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      If you stay with Windows 7 as Microsoft continues your projected trend...will you stay with Windows 7 forever?

    • Ric Crouch
      March 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      Personally, I think Windows 8 will be the Windows ME of this decade. I think it will not gain acceptance among business users (the key demographic) or even casual users, and the idea of the Metro UI will be quickly shunted aside and forgotten, followed by a subsequent return to a more useful OS.

      If this trend toward "lowest common denominator" computing continues, power users will move to Linux or Mac (which at least looks like a computer, not a video game).

      • Danny Stieben
        March 25, 2012 at 11:18 pm

        Interesting opinion, Ric. So what do you think is making Microsoft do this: pure hunch or some kind of data they dug up?

    • Drew
      April 30, 2012 at 6:08 am

      LOL! this post is literally 100% spot on. I hope Microsoft's market share takes a dive for even thinking this would be a good idea...

      After all... Who would want to be stuck with a boring old computer at work when you now have the luxury of using a super-sized version of your cool and sleek windows phone? (between each round of Call of Duty, of course)

      Productivity is so Windows XP... "Hey cool computer, NERD!!"

      It makes sense though. Statistically, 98.9% of all people play video games for at least 4 hours a day, so it only seems logical to make the transition between xbox and analyzing spreadsheets as seamless and as carefree as possible.

  11. Christopher Prechter
    March 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Could Windows 8 cause the majority of consumers to dislike the "Metro" UI and reject it and just stick with Windows 7 (similar to what happened with Windows Vista)?  If so, do you think that could give Canonical an opening to get laptops pre-installed with Ubuntu 12.04 sold in retail stores like Best Buy??   
    They've got a promo out now: 

    • Danny Stieben
      March 18, 2012 at 10:54 pm

      Who knows? I'd be highly interested if Ubuntu-powered devices actually started selling in decent numbers...

  12. Smayonak
    March 12, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Great article - Would you happen to know if Windows 8 will include speed buffs for RAID 1?

    For example, RAID 1 under Linux performs read operations at around double that of a single drive. Your mention of the new file storage format in W8 is really exciting - perhaps they've brought something similar to RAID 1?

    • Danny Stieben
      March 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      I'm not 100% sure, but since the new file system is software-controlled while RAID is hardware-controlled, I doubt you'll see speed buffs.

      However, remember that the file system will most likely be available for enterprise servers only.

  13. swayaminfotech
    March 12, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Recently Windows 8 has been getting a massive amount of coverage since the release of its Consumer Preview, and it’s been pretty good.

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  16. sueska
    March 12, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Kudos Danny,
    Appreciate the fact that being more of a Linux person, you can objectively evaluate and recognize positives in Win 8. I see you being very successful in life since you keep an open mind.
    Some Win 8 minor improvements: Windows Explorer utilizes a ribbon interface. Paint and WordPad changed from having an application button (in Win 7) to having a "File" tab.
    Some negatives: The Metro UI is awkward on a non-touch screen PC. Playing solitaire with a mouse on my PC is hilariously non-responsive (must be for the touch devices only?). I have a degree in UNIX, and teach Window 7 classes to senior citizens. At the moment I think Win 8 will be harder to teach than Win 7. For example, finding the hidden start screen will be hard for my students and we will likely have to focus on learning more keyboard shortcuts.
    Thanks again - appreciate your articles

    • Danny Stieben
      March 18, 2012 at 11:02 pm

      Thank you! :)

      That's an interesting job! I'm surprised that you go over keyboard shortcuts with your students...for whatever reason I don't find it to be the easiest way (although it's fastest). Except for copy and paste, I don't specifically try to remember keyboard shortcuts.

  17. Joseph Vella-Zarb
    March 11, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    I will stick to Linux.

    • Danny Stieben
      March 18, 2012 at 11:04 pm

      Sounds good to me! This article was more for those who currently run Windows, but...yeah. Stay with the penguin. :)

  18. Anomaly
    March 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I would strongly recommend not to upgrade to windows 8. In fact I suggest everybody boycott the POS. A strong message needs to be sent to Microsoft now that people don't appreciate things being forced down their throats.

    Whats being forced down our throats? Metro for one. It's insane that disabling the Metro UI isn't an option. If I wanted to be force fed crap I would use a Mac all the time.

    Even if the Metro UI was decent I would have a problem with it being forced on me, but it's not decent, it's a train wreck for four reasons:

    1) The huge majority of people are not using touch screen computers yet and I don't know that they ever will . The fact is a touch screen desktop is annoying. If you are a power user you more then likely are a heavy key board short cut user to and that don't mix well with touch screens.

    2) Metro apps? Why? Compare IE in Metro mode to regular IE. No comparison. Metro IE is a crippled and useless POS. Why in your wildest dreams would you want to use Metro IE when the desktop version is eleventy billion times better. This goes for any Metro app. The kicker is they are going to expect you to pay for these stripped down useless POS and except the restriction of only being able to install from the Windows store, a big dose of Apple douche bagness.

    3)Touch screen or not the UI is a navigational train wreck period. Way too many movements need to be performed to do basic things. I mean there have been countless blog posts just on how to shut the computer off in Windows 8. That is insane. Turning off the machine shouldn't be rocket science.

    4) The "We want to be douche bags like apple factor". This has resulted in some disturbing things. A nazi like approach to customizing Windows 8. An app prison called the Windows store. Beinf force fed changes that don't need to be forced on people, like the removal of the start button and needing third party programs to put it back or not being able to disable Metro any more.

    Send a big screw you to MS and don't "downgarde" to Windows 8. The message was sent with Vista and we got Windows 7 as a result. Also learn Linux it's your best weapon against Windows and Apple BS.

    • Aldey
      July 4, 2012 at 7:26 am

      mac is sooooo expensive! i'd rather using windows 8 than mac, not because i hate it, but it SOO EXPENSIVE and only Apple branded computers that can used it except if apple lowered the price then i'll used it

    • Vincent
      July 12, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      Absolutely right!

    • john
      July 20, 2012 at 4:40 am

      I agree with the original post. Windows 7 is a fantastic product. Now, the multiple hard drive connectivity is an interesting option. However, I don't need to spend money on that. I am sure there is a hack or a piece of software I can use to Windows 7 that could do the same thing.

      The problem for Microsoft is that Windows 7 is something they did extremely well. There is no reason to upgrade. Sorry, Microsoft this one is dead on arrival.

  19. Fowlbruce
    March 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Windows is an operating system for those who find thinking difficult. Proselyting on features and improvements is largely a waste of time and an irritation to the audience.

    • Danny Stieben
      March 18, 2012 at 11:07 pm

      Some people would include Apple on that list as well.

  20. Nutz321
    March 11, 2012 at 10:42 am

    "One of the more interesting features of ReFS is virtual space pooling, which means that multiple hard drives can appear as a single volume." Maybe I'm missing something, but what about RAID?

    • Danny Stieben
      March 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Microsoft likes having software alternatives to RAID I guess.

  21. thenonhacker
    March 11, 2012 at 6:47 am

    That Task Manager screenshot is old. The Windows 8 Task Manager is epically way better!

  22. Indronil Mondal
    March 11, 2012 at 6:38 am

    just upgrade to do the same work with a new gui fuuh thats crazy
    i know many who dont bother to upgrade from xp

  23. Arun Singh
    March 11, 2012 at 1:36 am

    windows 8 rock the market.

  24. Oldfagin
    March 11, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Got confused, thought I was still on my Xbox ;-)

  25. Dave Parrack
    March 11, 2012 at 12:15 am

    I'll be sticking with Windows 7 until I buy a new laptop. Then I guess I'll have to get used to Metro UI!

    • Danny Stieben
      March 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      Indeed. I'll probably get a new laptop over the summer before college begins, and those will most likely still have Windows 7 on them. Possible free upgrade to Win 8.

      • Aldey
        July 4, 2012 at 7:23 am

        or how about downgrading to windows 7?

  26. Ravi Lamontagne
    March 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Well guess what Ubuntu is free, so i'll wait when i buy a new laptop to get windows 8.

  27. robotkoer
    March 10, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Metro sucks and other reasons are boring. Nope.

  28. bobconstans
    March 10, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    I don't see much reason to upgrade from Win7 on a not-new PC - it's more like a list of reasons not to dread it when eventually forced to switch. And I like my desktop (with wallpapers) exactly how I have it.

  29. Chris Hoffman
    March 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Underneath all the Metro, it's the best Windows desktop yet (if you ignore the lack of a Start menu.) Windows Explorer and the Task Manager are much more polished, and it's really been optimized.

    It's a shame Microsoft won't let us disable Metro on PCs.

    • Danny Stieben
      March 18, 2012 at 11:10 pm

      True. Microsoft should know better and let their OS be more flexible.

    • Kenny Jackson
      July 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm

      I'm pretty sure Microsoft has already said that Windows 8 Professional will have a way to nix Metro and bring back the Windows 7 Start Menu.

      • Chris Hoffman
        August 1, 2012 at 6:47 am

        Nope -- they've actually said the exact opposite. You can use the desktop, but there's no Start menu and Metro will still be there.

  30. Bline4
    March 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I tried it. Didn't care for the interface with a mouse.

  31. AriesWarlock
    March 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I tell ya, I have a lot of wallpapers I like using and the UI is not doing it for me.

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