Windows 8 and 8.1 Pros and Cons Review
*** More advanced recovery options ***
Reset – This option to reset allows you to completely set Windows to factory settings removing all data and settings. So this option is very similar to the recovery options found with most Windows 7 machines. The Windows 8 has an extra feature however which allows you to securely clean the machine to prevent any data being recoverable after the recovery has been performed. Be warned however this tool extends the recovery time from about 25 minutes to a few hours.
Refresh – This option allows you to reinstall Windows while keeping your files in tact. This works by rescuing any files stored within your usual user areas (Documents, Picture, Music, Videos, etc). This feature will often allow you to save your files even when you are unable to load into Windows to save them yourself. Although some Windows 7 machines have a feature where you can back up files before a recovery, they generally require some temporary external storage to store the files on and this feature is normally a tool provided within the manufacturers own recovery tool rather than built into Windows.
*** Integration of Microsoft Account ***
Some people will argue that this should actually be in the con’s section as it can sometimes be a bit confusing for people who are not overly confident with computers, however it does have its advantages.
A Microsoft Account is basically an online account which can be used as an email address, to store contacts, calendar events, etc). Windows 8 allows you to tie this account unto Windows offering a number of benefits.
Having your Microsoft Account tied into Windows synchronises information stored on your Microsoft Account. This means that contacts, calendar events, etc are stored on your online account. This means all this information can easily be recovered in the event of your PC breaking down, you having to perform a reset to factory settings or the PC being lost or stolen.
Another benefit is that if you completely tie your Microsoft Account into Windows you can then use the password for your email in order to log into Windows. The major advantage to this is that if you forget your password, you can simply reset it through another PC, mobile phone or tablet that has internet access.
*** No native support for DVD playback ***
Unlike Windows 7 and its other predecessors, Windows 8 won’t play DVDs natively. In previous versions of Windows, microsoft had to have a fee in order to package codecs into Windows. Codecs allow Windows to understand different types of myriad. In order to try and reduce the cost of Windows 8, Microsoft have stripped these out. As such if you want to play shop bought DVD’s, you will need to either purchase the Windows Media Centre pack or download an alternative media player such as VLC player which already has the facility to play DVD’s for free.
*** Not as easy to navigate around ***
Many people argue that Windows 8 is not as easy to navigate around compared to previous versions of Windows. I feel the reason for this is that Windows have developed an Operating System where the User Interface is the same for desktop/laptop and mobile computers.
Many people struggle to access the Charm bar for example as this involves taking your cursor to the top right hand corner of your screen and gently bringing it down the side of your screen to display the menu. Where as on a tablet you can simple swipe in from the side of your screen with your finger.
As such, many people think Windows 8 is only really suitable for tablets and touch screen PC’s.
*** Completely different for Windows XP users ***
If you’ve been using Windows XP years, Windows 8 will probably take a lot of getting use to. I generally find that users who have jumped from Windows XP to Windows 8 often struggle to navigate around at first more than anyone. I simply put this down to Windows XP being so basic and straight forward in comparison.
*** Not compatible with some older Software ***
Don’t assume that all your old software will run in Windows 8. Windows 8 may not understand older programs where it was designed for previous versions of Windows. The tricky problem here is that it can be difficult to tell if older software will run in Windows 8 apart from through trial and error or a little research online.
*** Not compatible with some older Printers ***
Lots of people often assume that if they upgrade Windows their printer will work, no matter how ancient it is. This is not always the case as your printer relies on drivers which may not be supported by Windows 8.
The best way to check is to go to the manufacturers website for your printer. For most printers going back a few years the manufacturer will have drivers available for most operating systems – even if Windows 8 hadn’t been released when you purchased your printer.
Many people also make the assumption that if they can’t install their printer using the original disk it won’t work either. However if the printer is a few years old there drivers on the disk may just be a bit outdated, so again its worth checking the website.
What’s the difference between Windows 8 and Windows 8.1?
Windows 8.1 is simply an update for Windows 8. You don’t have to pay for it – it was previously a free optional update for Windows 8, however Microsoft recently changed it to one that installs automatically.
Windows 8.1 is definitely an improvement over Windows 8, however at first glance, many users might not actually notice the difference between the 2 versions of Windows as most of the changes are subtle and superficial.
The main differences are as follows:
✓ The start button is back, however all this does is takes you to the standard Windows 8 start screen.
✓ Depending on your screen size, it’s possible to split the screen between 3 or more apps instead of just two. Users also have more control in how much screen space an app takes.
✓ There is now an option to boot directly to the desktop upon sign in.
✓ The Search charm has changed a bit. It now searches the “Everywhere” category by default which also includes Bing, Microsoft’s search engine. Instead of full screen, the search pane pops open from the right of the screen. Really handy if one is trying to follow on screen instruction displayed in a web browser or something.
✓ Additional integration of Skydrive/OneDrive.
✓ App updates are now installed automatically.
Is it true Windows 10 is already on its way?
Microsoft have already released information about the next version of Windows which will be called Windows 10 (Windows 9 seems to have got lost along the way). It is currently expected to be available from late 2015 onwards.
This is worth considering for 2 reasons. Microsoft have announced that customers with a copy of Windows 8 will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for no additional charge. So you could purchase Windows 8 with the of mind that if Windows 8 becomes outdated you can simply upgrade.
The other reason is that when Windows 8 was first released, many retailers offered it relatively cheap for a few months before the price went up. We may find that a similar thing happens when Windows 10 comes out if they want a big push to get everyone using their latest version of Windows.
I personally use Windows 7 on my laptop and Windows 8 on my desktop.
I wouldn’t personally pay to upgrade to Windows 8 at the moment as I don’t think it is worth it for the benefits it offers. I personally think I would hold out until Windows 10 arrives if I had to purchase a new PC or wanted to update my Operating System.
For me the fact that Windows are already talking about releasing a new Operating System suggests they know Windows 8 was a mistake.