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10/31/2012
02:14 PM
Chris Spera
Chris Spera
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Windows 8 Upgrade: No Touch, No Good

BYTE's Chris Spera has been using Windows 8 since the first preview version. There's a lot to like about it on the new touch PCs and tablets, but upgrading Windows on your old non-touch PC to the new OS isn't worth the trouble.

Tablets Are Now Touch-Enabled PCs

Somebody needs to remind Steven Sinofsky of what a tablet PC is. Slate-based tablets have been around for a long time. They didn't work well back then, but maybe it was a concept ahead of its time.

Microsoft is recasting the tablet as a hybrid. Windows RT tablets and Microsoft's Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets aren't tablets. They're touch-enabled PCs that are lighter, faster and more powerful than earlier generations. Although Apple's Tim Cook might think Windows 8 devices are a jackalope, the mythical animal that's an unnatural mix of two distinct creatures -- in this case a tablet and a traditional PC -- I tend to side with BYTE's Larry Seltzer, who thinks it's only crazy if it doesn't work.

I'm going to be watching how Microsoft markets Surface tablets and how it helps promote third-party Windows 8 devices. I think Larry's right. In order for these devices to take hold, a lot of money is going to have to be thrown at the currently entrenched computing paradigm.

Should You Upgrade?

I've been asked this question quite a bit over the past week, mainly by people in the office anticipating the release of Windows 8, and it isn't easy to answer, but I'll try. Should you upgrade to Windows 8?

Yes, upgrade:

  • If you have a touch-enabled PC.
  • If you are interested in the performance bump. Just be prepared to deal with the dual interface issues -- Classic desktop vs. Modern UI.
  • If you must have the latest version of Windows.

No, don't upgrade:

  • If you have a traditional laptop or desktop. Windows 8's interface doesn't work well on computers with no touch capability.
  • If you have Windows 7 and are satisfied with it. Windows 7 is fine for most users and most existing computers.

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