In the past it used to be vital to upgrade your work machines with each new edition of Windows to take full advantage of improved security and features. In recent years however Windows has become reliable to the point that upgrades are not as needed as frequently. This trend is fairly recent and started with the release of Windows XP in 2001. The system was so solid and reliable compared to its successor Windows Vista (released in 2007) that Microsoft was forced by businesses and users to extend general support until 2009, however select larger companies are being given support until 2014.
Today a new debate is brewing with the upcoming advent of Windows 8 because it literally is like no other version of Windows released before. By getting rid of the familiar Start button, implementing a significant overhaul of core Windows components, a focus on touch screens rather than traditional displays, along with many other technical changes, the decision to upgrade hardware from Windows 7 to Windows 8 should not be taken lightly. While it normally pays to update as soon as possible, Microsoft has not announced plans to discontinue support for Windows 7 in the near future, meaning there is not a need to rush to upgrade. That being said, there are a few instances where upgrading to Windows 8 is worthwhile.
The biggest reason to make the switch to Windows 8 is if your company depends heavily on tablets and other touch screen devices. The latest version of Windows will come equipped with Metro, which is a fresh new interface exclusively for touch screens. Additionally, as Windows 8 supports logging into Windows using your Windows Live ID (Microsoft’s online suite of services) plus integrating Windows SkyDrive cloud storage into the platform, Windows 8 is well suited for users who use multiple devices or are constantly on the go.
Additionally, Windows 8 Enterprise has a feature called “Windows To Go” which allows corporate users to copy a clone of their Windows desktops to a flash drive and then have access to that image on most modern computers. This feature however is not supported by any other features of Windows.
Aside from the previously mentioned features, Windows 8 packs numerous other improvements at the technical level, but is there enough to justify making the leap to an unproven and untested system? If you’re like most business owners the answer to that is no. Whenever a product comes out, it is always best to wait until the major bugs and technical difficulties are sorted out. On the other hand, when operating tablets or touch screen devices, the Metro interface in Windows 8 is a must have feature since it was built from scratch to accommodate today’s new generation of devices.