Windows 8 review

By Jared Lakin

I’m not a computer expert, but I do like to keep my software up to speed. I was content with my chosen landscape of a background along with the start menu button in the left corner, but when I laid my eyes upon the new layout and heard of the incredible discount that was ending soon, how could I resist?

I’m still getting used to the new Windows 8 operating system, though it was released back in October 2012. It was only a month ago when I upgraded from Windows 7.  It’s not similar to upgrading from Windows XP to 7 (or for the Mac users, from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion) and this new upgrade has the near future in mind; a transition from what might soon become primitive, a keyboard and mouse, to all access through a touch screen.

With my impulsive mindset, this was one of the advancements I didn’t take into consideration. My desktop PC was my source for the upgrade, and yes, like many of us, I still use a keyboard and mouse. The new Windows 8 layout is focused on touch-screen devices such as smart phones and tablets. It’s easily adaptable if you have a scroll on your mouse, and learning the use of keyboard shortcuts isn’t complicated. Don’t worry about losing your old desktop layout; this option is reachable in order to run older software (Internet Explorer has its own app, but will open in your preceding Windows operating format).

One of the first options I questioned was Internet security. When I performed the upgrade analysis before I went through with the download, it said that I was no longer going to be able to use Microsoft Security Essentials. The analysis stated that my “firmware did not support the secure boot” (whatever that meant).  There are many third-party security systems, but I’ve had the best outcome with a firewall directly from Microsoft, so I did some research by surfing online forums for others with the same problem. Luckily I found that Windows 8 has its own version of security for the Internet. This is great, but would my computer be compatible? I was about to receive a crash course in computer schematics.

Loyd Case from pcworld.com wrote, “Reviewing an operating system is an odd endeavor, because people don’t really use operating systems; they use applications.” This is truism, because what seemed like mumbo-jumbo computer terms began to flood my memory bank. I was able to understand a general conception of BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) and UEFI (Unified Extensive Firmware Interface), which was the difference of operating systems between older desktop computers and newer touch-screen devices. In conclusion I presumed that my PC would still be protected by the new upgrade even though I was unable to separately install security software.

After the first day I was contemplating if I had made the right choice. Now I had to sign in with a new Microsoft user account, and I was having trouble installing apps that I was supposed to do with ease from the main menu. Once again I was back to scouring the online forums reading about the opening of a new Microsoft Store at the Rockingham Mall in Salem, N.H., where I attended a Windows 8 seminar that’s ironically offered almost daily. Of course the instructor used a 38-inch touch screen, which made Windows 8 seem flawless, and after an hour of feeling belittled with improvements in modern technology and restraining my desire to purchase a $500 touch-screen monitor, I left with only slight confidence that I would have ease in operating this new system.

“The decision seems like a no-brainer,” says Brad Chacos who also writes for pcworld.com. “…If you plan on upgrading your Windows 7, Vista, or XP system to Windows 8 at any point in the future.”

Unfortunately this was back when they were on sale for only $39.99, and that sale ended on Jan. 31. Now to purchase a Windows 8 Pro edition you’re looking at coughing up $200.

All in all I’m satisfied with the upgrade, but I won’t boast. I’ve been subdued into spending more money to upgrade other components and my excuse will be the fact that I become bored too easily, so I’m always looking for a change or improvement. Maybe I should take another step toward a productive future and focus on a smaller contraption.

For a video demonstration of Windows 8, click www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULJPpkLMi2o&w=560&h=315

If you’re like me and prefer the DIY, search credited online forums there are many more like us. If you’d like a detailed summary of my upgrade email me at jlakin@student.fitchburgstate.edu.

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