I’m a fan of Windows 7, as are many others. If you share this opinion then you’ll be happy to know that Windows 8 (which will be available October 26th for a $40 upgrade) offers you just as good of an experience with some increased performance. It ran buttery-smooth on a 6-year-old laptop! The interface has been tweaked a bit and this is where all the FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) stems. In reality, things aren’t all that different.
It’s true: Windows 8 doesn’t have the Start Button or Start Menu that you’ve known since the days of Windows 95. The Start Menu has been replaced (and enhanced) by the Start Screen; a full-screen menu that features app icons and widgets (aka Live Tiles). Everything is all laid out like goodies on a dessert tray – not nested in folders. You can browse by scrolling left-to-right or by typing the name of the application you want. You get to this menu/screen the same way you always have: click the bottom-left corner of the taskbar (where the Start Button used to be) or pressing the Windows key on your keyboard. I prefer the latter.
The Start Screen has produced a lot of noise on the Web. I’ve found that the majority of this noise is coming from folks who just haven’t had much (if any) experience with it. I’ve used this interface through various iterations over the past year and the changes to my workflow from Windows 7 have been very minimal. Getting used to the Start Screen took all of 5 minutes and it’s fantastic once you customize it to your liking. I still use the traditional Windows desktop the majority of the time, though.
There are very few differences between the way I use Windows 7 and the way I use Windows 8. Scott Hanselman wrote a great article summarizing any discrepancies you might come across. Ultimately I think you’ll find they are minimal and Windows 8 isn’t all that scary, despite what the Internet may yell about.
What’s your biggest concern about Windows 8?