Windows 8

Windows 8 has been out for awhile now and has received reviews that range from “WOW this is a great release” to “Why did they release such a crippled OS.”  Being an IT support company here at Clear Focus IT there was no choice.  We had to install and use Windows 8; otherwise, how could we take care of our clients who use it or are considering using it?

So which is it, their best ever or their worst ever?  Neither.  It is a very good product (especially if you are using a touch screen), but it is different and takes some getting used to.  There is no longer a Start menu and for many that is a game stopper.  However, if you have a standard set of applications that you use day in day out, the new interface is actually easier to use.  The Start Screen makes it easy to add and remove items.

Let’s be honest with ourselves; how many applications do we really use on a regular basis? Probably not that many.  There is our web browser of choice, a set of office applications such as Word and Excel, our email, and maybe one or two others, and that’s it.  Put those on your Start Screen as tiles, and get rid of the default tiles you never use anyway.  You now have a very clean and easy-to-use place to launch the applications you actually use.  For all those other things you sometimes use, you have two choices.  Create and group a set of tiles for those items, or switch to the desktop mode and just put the icons on your desktop as you always have.

Should you upgrade to Windows 8 on your current computers?  Except for touch screens systems, why bother?  UNLESS, you are still using XP and if that is the case, it might be time to bite the bullet.  Microsoft has made it very clear that as of next April there will no more support or patches made to XP, Server 2003 or Office 2003.  Considering the way the bad guys are always finding new ways to infect computers, it is not a good thing if you are still using one of those after they drop support.

If you are wondering what we use, well it is a mixed bag here.  For our standard work some of us use Windows 7 and some of us use Windows 8.  For our work bench computers that never connect to our network, it’s mainly XP and Linux, as that is how our diagnostics work best.