So yes, Windows 8 is finally here and Microsoft has already sent out mails letting users know that they can download a copy for themselves from their website. For existing Windows users, an upgrade costs just $40 ($15 if you have recently bought a new PC). But, before you click on the download button, here are a few important things to keep in mind before you decide to upgrade:
It looks a whole lot different, with a tile-based interface, which could take some time getting used to. The OS can be used in two modes – Desktop and Touch mode. The Desktop mode is more familiar for people used to previous versions of Windows, but with a few slight changes. For instance, the Task Manager on Windows 8 provides more detailed information on the processing power and memory being used by running programs. For those using the latest version of Microsoft Office, the “ribbon” style menus of Windows 8 would also look familiar.
Even the Lock screen on Windows 8 has been redesigned, and now features notifications from the applications running. You can even log-in to your systems using your Microsoft ID – the same that you use to log into SkyDrive or Hotmail. If the new design gets too much to take, you can always revert to the good old Windows design by pressing the Windows key and D together.
The Touch mode on Windows 8 is truly remarkable and this is where you start noticing considerable changes in your favorite OS. The good old Start button, a standard feature on Windows is gone and in its place is a Start page – from where you can access your favorite apps, and updates from news, weather, social networks, etc. Search is also a lot easier on Windows 8 – just start typing on the Start page and your PC will find what you are looking for. The “fluid” tiles on the Start page will constantly get updated with headlines, but works well only with Microsft apps and products. This feature doesn’t work quite as well when using third-party apps on your system.
The new interface can take some time getting used to, so we recommend that you give it a try at a store before you upgrade your system and get overwhelmed by the drastic change. Given that you have to constantly switch between the Desktop and Touch interface as you work, it might get a little frustrating initially. The good news is that if you never get used to it, you can always downgrade back to Windows 7, even with a new PC that has Windows 8 pre-installed in it.