Comparing Windows 7 and Windows 8
To start with, Windows 8 is a pretty big departure from the succession of Window operating systems (OS) starting with Windows XP. Windows 7 is the last of that line, and by most accounts is a solid and very functional OS.
Windows 7, XP, and Vista combined still account for . The reason why Windows 8 is such a big departure is because it is designed to work on computing formats including mobile phones, tablet computers, and all types of PCs.
A version of Windows 8, called Windows RT launched in October at the same times as Windows 8. It runs on the new . But Windows 8 or versions of it will run on an array of smartphones, laptops, hybrid laptops, desktop computers, and tablet computers.
The big difference between Windows 8 and Windows 7 is that Windows 8 is optimized much more to work on touch screen devices. It supports a wide range of multi-touch gestures, for instance for scrolling, panning, rotating, enlarging, and so on.
Even though Windows 8 is optimized for use with a touch screen, you can still use your existing mouse, keyboard, and non-touch screen monitor to use your desktop.
Touch screens are now common on smartphones and tablets of all types, but still relatively rare on desktop PCs, and laptops, but they are expected to become much more common soon.
The most noticeable difference between Windows 7 and Windows 8 is the look and feel of the interface. With Windows 7, everything hinges off of the Start Menu in the lower-left corner of the screen. That's been there in Windows versions for many years.
With Windows 8 you get a more smartphone or tablet looking start screen with an array of apps on the desktop to choose from. It is possible for users to get a classic Windows-style start menu on their Windows 8 PCs if they prefer that. . They have names like, , or .
· Windows 8 also stores all your settings in the cloud so you can log on to any Windows 8 device and it will come up with your familiar apps and settings, including your Internet Explorer history and your photo collection.
· Windows 8 now has Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus software integrated in the OS.
· Windows 8 starts up twice as fast as Windows 7 and much much faster than Windows XP.
· Windows 8 has a much-improved dynamic search function.
· Windows 8 also relies much more heavily on Windows apps that you can obtain at the for free or low cost. (One concern people have raised is that some of the pre-installed modern apps that live on the Start screen carry unsolicited ads. You have to pay extra to have the ads removed. Also, Windows 8 devices run two kinds of apps: modern and desktop apps.)
One current downside of Windows 8 compared with Windows 7 is that Windows 8 doesn't natively run many older Windows software applications. You can run older Windows applications, but you have to use Desktop, which is an app that is essentially a virtual Windows 7 environment.
Windows also has a "compatibility mode" that provides an emulation for nearly all previous versions of Windows. This also helps run older Windows applications. Given the dramatic change in Windows 8, I'm told that this was probably unavoidable.
So. Given all that, is there any reason for your organization to upgrade to Windows 8?
In a nutshell, I’d say that if your Windows 7 or other OS based computer system is stable and working well, then there’s probably no urgency to upgrade. One caveat is if you’re still using Windows XP. Microsoft is planning to and also Office 2003 in 2014.
If you're getting some new PCs with Windows 8, or if members of your office are getting smartphones with Windows Phone 8, or Surface tablets, then you may well consider upgrading to Windows 8.