Windows 8

Windows 8 infographic: Pros and cons at a glance

TechRepublic polled its members as to whether they had plans to upgrade to Windows 8. We also have the top reasons why they will or won't.
We know that, especially with IT pros, time is money. So TechRepublic is introducing its own infographics that let you grasp information easily in an accessible graphic form. You are welcome to repost the image on your site. All we ask is a link back to TechRepublic. (Click to enlarge.)

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Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

74 comments
Oldsmobile_Mike
Oldsmobile_Mike

I just don't get why people list "boot time" as important. In our office the PC's stay on 24/7 and are rebooted by each employee when they leave for the day, left ready & waiting at the login screen for the next user. Leaving the machines on also allows them to be remotely accessed by field workers, able to install it's updates in a timely manner, etc. Power requirements are so low on these new systems, anyway, why would you even bother turning it off? If people cared so much just about boot time, my Amiga or Commodore 64 would still be viable computing platforms - they boot up much faster than any version of Windows. :-P

malcolmreynolds
malcolmreynolds

...for mobile devices, and this is where I keep looking at Microsoft with a O_o. Windows 8 looks like it will be a bomb of an OS to use on phones and tables, and even some laptops (with good touch screens), but I would say at least 90% of the PC ecosystem doesn't have touch interfaces at all, and most laptop's touch capabilities are just the trackpad (single touch only). I sincerely hope in the next version they bring back the old desktop model, until then, I'm just glad they made Windows 7 so good.

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

When I saw that Microsoft was changing the interface for Windows, I decided that if I was going to be forced into a completely different user interface, that I might as well migrate to a Macintosh and just Windows in a virtual machine rather than directly on the hardware. It seems like the new "Metro" user interface is forcing people to write web pages instead of real applications and I do not no part in using web pages as replacement for real applications. Desktop computers will always be better than notebook computers and I for one feel that notebook computers have had their useful time and are on the way out of existence. They are not useful while mobile and require too much work to keep synchronized with a desktop. It looks like Microsoft has worked on this for Windows 8, but I for one would not like to have it use some cloud based service, but I would rather use resources local to my network.

Andrew Happ
Andrew Happ

but please do the underlying data justice by accurately plotting them. As it presents the graphic suggests more than 50% say no. The reality from the data is that approximately 47% say no.

jaiekeyz
jaiekeyz

As with any "new" software, a learning curve is required. From Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7. There are curves. Some curves are a little steeper than others. Being an IT geek, it took me about 10 to 15 minutes to get accustomed to the new interface. But after gaining some level of comfort, I was able to navigate pretty well. I support users on both extremes. Those that are pretty savvy and then those who may or may not need a computer based/dependent job. Changes of ANY kind would disturb my users that are not really meant to work a computer based job. But those that are pretty savvy, would probably have a similar experience as I did. The direction that Microsft took with Windows 8 is very nice. I haven't always been a fan of their OS releases. But, Windows 8 brings a fresh new interface. A lot like Windows 95 did over the previous versons.

LaPomme
LaPomme

Unlike people in IT departments of large organizations, I work with small (sometimes tiny) businesses and individuals with home-office needs. No doubt some will feel they have to upgrade because Microsoft is selling something new, or because they want the cool touchscreens, etc. The more savvy ones know there are bound to be problems, service packs, incompatibilities to deal with and they'd rather wait for others to do the involuntary beta testing. Some of the less savvy will wait because there's no economic reason to switch. I've spent decades avoiding Windows use myself (longtime Mac-head) but got a netbook last summer with Windows 7 Starter preloaded and was pleased to see it works far better than any of the previous iterations. Now I'm using it daily, with a variety of non-standard programs. It's only crashed once, which is good for a low-RAM toy that gets things installed, tested and uninstalled most weeks. Since I couldn't live without it,. I'm not planning to switch to 8; time enough for that when (if) it becomes unavoidable for some business reason. Otherwise, when 7 becomes unusable for security reasons, I'll be in Linux full-time. But we've got several years ahead in which to make up our minds about 8, so there's really no rush.

j.flener
j.flener

I currently keep internet shortcuts on my desktop, and rarely is IE or other broswers drop down, and any need ed apps are also shortcuts. The new interface seems to less convenient.

logos200
logos200

1. Unproven OS; companies would rather wait until SP1 - if at all. 2. Learning curve would require large-scale training, which would cost $ and impact worker productivity. 3. Due diligence and budgeting. Testing existing/legacy apps/ecosystems with Win 8 would necessitate more resources and time. The thing is so many businesses are *still* using XP and here MS is peddling Win 8! The adoption rate in corporate American will be very, very small and I'm sure MS anticipates it. MS is just so anxious to get into the tablet wars and get a piece of the financial pie which Apple dominates. Good luck to them.

rmixon1
rmixon1

need a pc with a crank on side to start (boot) or up grade to the Cole fired model no need for a change

zeljko.baralic
zeljko.baralic

I use almost everything on daily basis, Android, Linux, Windows (XP and 7) and OS X. From my point of view Windows 8 contains already seen stuff, but consolidated on one place. I think that Microsoft and its Windows had its time in the past when it had best development environment, when enormous applications were developed for Windows, which made of it what is it today. Nowadays you can use Windows (XP or 7) with bunch of free and open source applications to be productive. This means that it is only good base OS which can be easy replaced in most of the cases, nothing more. Why would somebody like to be controlled and clouded using a Windows 8? Is Microsoft sales not going well so they need internet aToones or Dart Store to sell apps!? I don’t think so. I think that MS has lost its touch and being conquered by new ideas and innovations. Lots of us will still have to buy Windows because of some specific application that runs only on it, but the future is not so bright for W8 as it was decade a go fore previous releases when every body eagerly expected new release of Windows with improvement and innovations. Now days people are also eagerly expecting new releases of Ice Cream Sandwich, new GNOME/Linux and iOS. And I do not see any revolutionary innovations in Windows 8 that will make me like it, or better say make my digital life easier.

desizemo
desizemo

I'm surprised that Microsoft has taken this long to really and truly (Finally...) enter the Tablet/Slate ecosphere. I have used some form of a desktop for over 20 years now as an educator and as a technology facilitator for teachers and administrators and even students. I currently use a laptop as my desktop, and both an iPad and a Asus Transformer tablet as test beds for software and for training purposes (my first computer experience was with a Univac monster when I was in the Navy). What I have discovered in the last year is that for most of my writing projects and batch processing of digital photos, I prefer the laptop, but for just about everything else I find my self using a tablet. Having said all of that, I would like to point out that I have experienced one phase of a transition that may eventually make a desktop history, and that was when I was trying to view a web page on my iPad that required Flash, I put down the iPad and immediately touched the screen of my HP laptop to interact with it, just like the toddler who did the same thing when the iPad was switched out for a magazine! The point is that the desktop will eventually be replaced; the question now is "with what, and by whom?"

trawlerman
trawlerman

I strongly opine that MS ought to segment their software into two streams. One for mobile devices and one for laptop/desktop corporate settings. MS has flown in the face of one product logic for many years. That is the grievous error of often "wiping out" the experience basis of their long term users. On portable devices, as the screen surface is small, it has been reasonable to go to different boot-screen approaches. However, for the corporate segment, it seems crazy to me to take a companies workers and kick them back a good deal in their familiarity and expertise. I believe that software started out being the bottleneck in user productivity and has progressed to the point that there is some real straining to provide much more useful functionality. Were it up to me, I would concentrate on two things: 1. Speeding up all the functionality that I currently have, and 2. Carefully studying user feedback as to what they like and don't like, and what they want and don't want. Seems to me that in many cases the new product has a lot of gee whiz stuff that is rarely if ever used by the average user, while at the same time there are functions that are frequently needed that require some real drilling down to use. I don't think that any other product in this world would require business owners to invest a lot of money in their employees on a regular basis just to allow them to use the wonderful new product. What is wrong with the antediluvian idea of the vendor meeting the customer instead of the other way around? Just my 2-cents worth. Would not pretend to be a real IT "pro".

winscott
winscott

655 + 349 = 1004 vs. 884 This is not a 50/50 split as the graphic seems to suggest. And to top it all, you don't even indicate the % of the three groups. HS grade, D!

rmacleod
rmacleod

We are getting tablet and cell phone, iphone crazy! There is no doubt Win 8 has removed some important conveniences. The task bar with start is essential for quick desktop navigating. Not all will be touch based. Removing the start button and all programs and quick search to device manager etc. is a major drawback. This is like insisting only a touch pad can be used for navigation! Slow slow slow. The upgrade means no more Entertainment Centre. If you use it then another big loss. I don't know why Micro beta tests, when in the end they ignore.

rwscolari
rwscolari

I've installed win 8 preview edition in 25 of my user desktops. The learning curve is sharp but short. I installed stardock and most of learning problems went away -- now the users could deal with the desktop as they know it. Metro is useless to desktop users.. I feel Microsoft has totally misread the business market; by insisting on the metro (or whatever) interface they've almost assured most businesses will NOT switch over to win 8. I like the fast boot up and shut down times. The OS seems stable. I plan on getting at least one of the final release versions to test out.

BobManGM
BobManGM

Some of the items on the list are true for ANY operating system (i.e. new hardware, training). And 3G/4G is help to a corp user on a desktop/non-mobile machine how?

andrew232006
andrew232006

I admit I haven't tried it, so maybe I'm missing out on some stuff. But I still haven't seen a compelling reason to install this on my desktop PC instead of windows 7. Common user experience: Doesn't it always start out this way? Are they saying I can't customize it to my preferences? Windows to go: Why? Push Button Reset: This could be useful, but I'm skeptical. Isn't this built in reimaging? If not, how will it preform against corrupted registries, root kits, viruii and buggy applications/toolbar addons installed by the users? New log in options: The passwords work great for me and don't require new hardware. How do you write down a gesture you forgot? Faster boot time: Great. But this takes about 10 seconds of my time, about once a week currently.

GaryLK
GaryLK

I can't stand seeing that Metro screen. I think they just want to put me in a box. The screen space that is just empty bothers me too much.. What is the value of a big white space or big black space? Run things full screen? Ok for a movie, but why buy a big monitor to just see one mail box or control panel? I like a cluttered desktop, real and computer. I have one window on top and seven hanging out parts in the corners so they are there when I want, fast. I like groups of icons around the sides and spaced just how I like. not on some bodys else grid. Some people like neat, organized and clean. Ok, up to them. And then there are people like me who see their own order in seeming chaos. I'll stick with Mac and some windows on a virtual machine for the rare times I need it. Note to Windows users, You can now run the Mac OSX as a virtual machine on a windows box, so no need to buy a new computer. http://www.souldevteam.net/blog/2012/07/28/os-x-mountain-lion-10-8-retail-vmware-image-release-notes-links/

GreyTech
GreyTech

All the bleating about the start screen seems to be nonsense to me. It makes sense to have the same style of interface for users desktops, laptops, tablets and phones. It doesn't matter that two of them are not touch devices, the style makes it easier for users. It seems to me that it is only a few of the IT journalists that didn't get it and they have unreasonably influence those who were not prepared to fully try it themselves. I've used every version of Windows (and DOS, CP/M, OS/2 and many versions of Linux) and windows 8 seems to be the best so far. It has all the benefits of Windows 7 plus a UI that is like my Android phone. As Deb pointed out it also has UEFI and secure boot. It is faster than 7 to boot, it doesn't appear to carry as much baggage as previous updates. I think after the inevitable resistance to change it will probably be the most successful Windows yet. I will be demonstrating it to other retired computer users at this month's computer club.

sarai1313
sarai1313

this is the poll and your numbers dont add up

sarai1313
sarai1313

these are not the numbers publish at the time of the poll. look for your self.

youngmaester
youngmaester

Windows 8 hauls ass and on old hardware. Take those old XP machines either are no longer getting security updates and repurpose them. I absolutely love it. I'm going to be reactivating some boxes I haven't used in years.

rgeiken
rgeiken

I have two relatively great Windows 7 computers with i 7 processors, and I will be content to wait for up to a year to really see how things work out for W8. I don't see any immediate reason to update. I don't expect to buy a new computer for at least one year or possibly longer, so will be content to stick with W7. W7 is the best O/S from Microsoft so far, and W8 may be better, but most W7 users will likely stick to W7 for the foreseeable future. If you are using a desktop, the so called Metro interface may not be as desirable as the actual desktop that we have now with the start menu. I use the start menu pretty frequently for programs that I don't actually want to put in the launch area. In about a year, we should know if designing the interface the way they did is a net negative or positive. If for some reason I have to buy a new computer and decide to stick with Windows, I will not have much choice. One thing that Windows needs to do is cut down all the background services that they have running. They are selling a home user basically same computer as they sell business, and we have very different needs frequently. Even W7 can be extremely difficult for a home user to fix when things go wrong. They probably need more human factors added to the O/S

thekman58
thekman58

These numbers look pretty typical to me. I don’t know of many enterprises that upgrade their OS’s within the first year or two of availability anyway.

thekman58
thekman58

Were the 5 cons listed actually given by IT professionals? Need for Massive Training - The one has merit just not sure if it can be considered massive. No Start Menu? You have an entire start screen. Fragmented Ecosystem? This would be for tablet users only and still beats whats currently available. Desktop Abandonment? So it does not include a desktop? Hardware Outlay? My 6 year old system is performing better now than when it was new.

deb
deb

No mention here of UEFI and Secure Boot. Although a controversial feature for those who want to install Linux, it's definitely security enhancement in the corporate environment where you are probably not going to be dual booting or wanting to install a different OS. Memory allocation improvements also add security. This paper from BlackHat goes into the low level security improvements: http://illmatics.com/Windows%208%20Heap%20Internals.pdf . Of course, the sandboxing of apps and vetting of apps through the Store will also improve security. Also disagree that the corporate desktop is an "afterthought." I've been using Windows 8 for months as my primary OS and rarely go into the UI formerly known as Metro. The desktop works fine. I especially like the improvements in multiple monitor support that will make things a lot easier for corporate employees with high end, multi-display workstations. Touch is there if you want/need it, but it's not required, and with the changes made to the RP version, using the mouse with the new UI is now much easier.

craigber
craigber

The Start menu still exists. It's just been reconfigured as the "UI formerly called Metro". In other words, the tiles. But, that doesn't eliminate the need for retrianing users.

piratesmvp04
piratesmvp04

I'm not sure what people are complaining about the learning curve. Having used Consumer Preview and not Release Preview on my main machine, I have to say that it feels just like Windows 7 with improvements. Honestly I never have to go into Start menu and I imagine most employees in the enterprise won't have to either once all their applications are pinned to the taskbar. Even when you have to go into the start menu, it's really not that much of a learning curve; just a couple different steps. Honestly, I hardly use the Start menu and almost all my applications are on the taskbar or desktop just as they were in Windows 7. I actually forget I'm even using windows 8 sometimes because the desktop interface is just like Windows 7. The only annoyance is the way they've changed Start search which is the only thing I really use Start menu for. If MSFT changed that, I'd be totally on board with the metro update. Now of course, whether it is worth the upgrade to Windows 8 is another story. A Windows 7 user would have little difficulty transitioning to Windows 8. But, there is not much in Windows 8 that makes it worth the cost to upgrade. It's kinda similar to Office. There were plenty of reasons to upgrade to Office 2007 from 2003. But, there's not enough new features in 2010 to make it worth the upgrade from 2007 unless you use the cloud or Office 360 features. Similar thing applies here. It was worth the upgrade to Windows 7 from XP, but I don't think it's financially worth it to upgrade to Windows 8 from 7.

Skruis
Skruis

Good 1. Common user experience across platforms - agree 2. Windows 8 to go - is this really a big thing? I'm not planning on using at all for my small to mid-size clients but then again, they typically wouldn't be the ones licensing a Windows OS in the manner to have access to Windows8 To Go so I'll have to rely on other more corporate administrators to give their opinions. 3. Push button reset - I've tried it and it worked ok. It made me wish Windows 8 restored more items automatically via it's cloud sync. I haven't looked into the technical details but it's probably just a matter of time until the right virus cracks this method and makes the benefits of the clean slate evaporate. 4. Touch log in - I prefer using a PIN but to each their own. Surprised this is a highlight. 5. Faster boot time - much improved, agree. 6. 3g/4g support - Have to wait to see how this works out. My Slate doesn't currently have built-in 3g/4g and my Verizon LTE dongle isn't supported yet. BAD 1. No start menu, worth mentioning, agree that it should be pointed out but I'm not quite sure it belongs necessarily in the bad column as a single item as it really is more about the retraining as the start menu's functionality for the most part has been replaced by other elements. Also, in most environments, I tend to find that users use desktop icons and taskbar icons more than the start menu regardless but it might be a crutch for users regardless. I would think the biggest task for IT would be to make sure that the users icons are on the desktop, pin'd to the start screen and pin'd to the taskbar and that would eliminate most questions though the topic of the start menu WILL come up as a training issue. 2. Training, yes, agree but I think that people will 'get it' after a day or so primarily because most of their day is spent in the apps and very little of a day is spent performing system tasks like opening applications, shutting down or logging off. I don't think 'massive' training programs will be necessary and probably a 'things to know' list and some screenshots would be more than adequate. 3. Fragmented Ecosystem - I really do think that ARM's non-support of native Active Directory is not that big of a deal and here's why: If AD support is necessary, there are x86 options that are rumored to have good battery life (~10 hour range and more for the transformer models when used with keyboard). The typical Slate which would be the only real option for ARM cpu's, is not really meant to be used primarily in the office. Why by an ARM powered slate for a non-mobile employee? And if they're mobile, why use AD to lock them down when their attack surface is much much smaller than typical Windows. For security conscious persons, there are methods for managing ARM devices remotely via non AD tech though I do agree that it would be best if ALL management of Win8 devices (ARM and x86) were done via a single interface though I doubt Microsoft would transition them to native AD/GPO and will probably merge their support in System Center. 4. Desktop abandonment - I'd argue against this one. The desktop is pretty much as good as it can get. What innovations are really left for 'the desktop' that can't be added to or offset with 3rd party software for those unusual/non standard user demands? So assuming that the desktop is 'finished' in terms of innovation, why would you assume it's abandoned because Microsoft has rolled in other methods of usage? It's like if I praise an employee's performance when getting a task done, am I at the same time automatically saying the other employees have performed badly? No, I'm just noting good work. Microsoft by adding a touch mode is just saying 'here's another path and we're proud of it' and that doesn't automatically mean that the desktop is 'abandoned'. This seems more to me of a worry/perception issue than an actual issue. 5. Hardware Outlay - Seriously? Windows 8 runs better than Windows 7 and from what I've read, it's ran pretty well on the same hardware that runs XP. Now, specifically you mention touch interfaces: There's NO requirement for Windows 8 that you purchase touch hardware and if you are specifically looking at touch for your mobile workforce, the touch requirements are exactly the same as any other touch operating system (iOS, Android, etc). You wouldn't touchify your desktop for mobile usage, you'd buy a mobile device with built-in touch capabilities. To counter, here's my list: Good 1. Common user experience shared on PC and Phone 2. Possibility for using a single device for most usage scenarios (desktop, mobile and couch) resulting in decreased costs for mobile oriented employees when compared to mixed vendor solutions (desktop/notebook+ipad vs single Slate device) 3. Increased security and resiliency to infection (should Metro be used more than the desktop for data access outside corporate mandated apps, it probably would be as the store would be the source for app installs and IE metro is sandbox'd more so than before) 4. Faster startup / Decreased boot times 5. Windows store for easy access to apps selected and approved by IT 6. Mobile print support 7. x86 versions support remote desktop/screen sharing applications for easier remote support 8. Hyper-V support allows for easier packaging of legacy systems across servers/workstations 9. Native USB3 support BAD 1. Requires additional user training than previous Operating System upgrades. Start menu removal, system task adjustments and processes, etc. 2. Inconsistent experience quality for mobile users across hardware brands/models (iPad is pretty much the iPad always apart from storage and versions where different Windows vendors may provide different levels of hardware quality - this applies more to Windows itself rather than Windows 8 as a traditional problem with desktop and notebook devices but now that it's intended as a viable tablet platform, it's worth re-iterating for mobile devices) 3. The Metro UI may present graphical issues for Remote Desktop/Citrix installations due to the heavy use of animations in the Metro UI 4. Legacy or niche device incompatibilities due to missing, incomplete drivers - USB security devices may no longer work or not work properly

SquelchQuelch
SquelchQuelch

The Pros look pretty weak, not very strong points for upgrading, while the Cons seem massive in comparison. The Common User Experience Pro assumes that people will own a Windows Phone or go out and buy one just because of Win8 - not gonna happen. Windows To Go - I've absolutely never needed this...ever, so who cares? Push Button Reset - Meh. IT already has processes in place for this scenario so not much value add here. Gesture Login - Again, on a PC, who freaking cares? I don't have a touch monitor nor would I want to reach 3 feet to login with it. Faster Boot Time - This would be great if it were true. From the time I turn on my machine and can get to the Start page, yes it's around 8 seconds. But is it 8 seconds from boot to actual productivity? I doubt it. 3G/4G Support - Again, this assumes you have a Windows Phone or will buy one.

kirkbubul
kirkbubul

My Windows history is Windows (for WorkGroups) 3.11, 95, 98, XP and 7. Of all these, I prefer Windows 7. In my hands, it is far more robust than XP, and the learning curve up from earlier versions was easy to manage. Just a Woody Leonhard Dummies book was all I needed. I have no smartphone or tablet, and no plans to upgrade to a product that doesn't allow me my 40-odd desktop icons where I want to see them and 10 Quick Launch icons. If MS doesn't revert to sanity by Windows 9 or 10, I'll be converting to Linux. I feel played, with MS wanting to implement Gates' decades-old dream of making monthly subscription fees a reality, and treating us as if we were Apple sheep. I won't stand for it. Classic Menu Forever!

mdbizzarri
mdbizzarri

I have Windows 7 at home and work, and I can say that I am not impressed. I think that for using MS Suite as well as email, XP not only was efficient, it was simple. It is a shame that some company doesn't take this opportunity to push for Linux desktops. I hate Apple as a company, but I am starting to think that I might need to get a Mac just so my computing environment doesn't keep changing!

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