Geeks4Sure is a montly blog segment where one of our very own brilliant techs, Andrew McGillivray, shares his thoughts on a hot new gadget. He gives you the inside scoop on all the pros & cons as well as recommendations of why the feature product might be a good fit for you. His opinions are his own, and he doesn't hold back! Check back every month to see how well the newest technology innovations are holding up! Also, if there's something you would like Andrew to test out, simply comment below and well make sure its reviewed in the coming months! Enjoy!
Until recently it seemed as if Microsoft had stopped trying in the innovation & development of their operating systems. They were no longer pushing the envelope; every new version of Windows was simply just a natural progression. There was no real advancement... until recently that is.
Meet Windows 8. Radically different than its predecessors, from the user experience to the core framework. True innovation is happening at Microsoft headquarters, this isn’t anywhere near that Windows XP computer that’s (hopefully) collecting dust in a corner somewhere.
At first glance you’re greeted with a clean, simple and beautiful start screen, which got its roots from Microsoft’s own Window’s Phone platform. All of the “tiles” are laid out in a grid allowing you to move them around to your liking. Many of these tiles are constantly changing and displaying relevant information on them (Email tile displays new messages, Weather tiles displays current temperature) this saves you from opening the app to check for new items. The interface is perfect for touch screens, but still very usable on desktop machines.
Digging deeper into the settings you can change the color scheme of the system, your lock screen photo and your account photo. From the start screen you can change the size of each tile (full size or half), turn on/off the live tile functionality, and rearrange tiles to your liking.
This may seem like a dramatic change from the interface that everyone has grown used to, it really isn’t. Clicking the Desktop tile brings you to that familiar desktop that everyone is accustomed to. Although there is no start button, all the same functions can be accomplished from the start screen, which will allow Windows 7 users to feel right at home. Windows will still act and feel the same as it did in Window’s 7 which is a great relief for many power users. The user interface is the best of both worlds. Simple to use, yet if you dig deeper there are all of the power features that make our lives easier (Window snapping, keyboard shortcuts, etc.).
People will be glad to know that Windows 8 actually requires the same minimum hardware as its older brother; Windows 7, yet it uses its resources more efficiently. On my machine, which hasn’t been rebooted in a week (roughly), and which currently has three office programs running (Lync, Word, and Outlook) and a slew of other applications running, for the fact I simply don’t like to close stuff, it has yet to slow down. Even when it’s bogged down opening an application or the start screen the animations are still fluid and crystal clear and the applications open instantly.
If you have a machine that runs Windows 7 sufficiently then you should have no worries upgrading to Windows 8. You can either erase everything and start fresh or simply upgrade your system while maintaining all of your files. I’ve done the upgrade both ways and both have offered the same performance. This is a huge benefit for existing users who want to upgrade but don’t want to go through the hassle of performing a complete overhaul of their device to maintain performance levels.
For the IT Professionals
This is where I put on my techie hat. For years the concept of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has baffled many IT professionals. How do you lock down a device to allow it to be safely used in your network, while permitting them to take the device home and maintaining the ability to keep it personal? Well Microsoft has come up with the solution, Windows to Go
Windows to Go, is sure to make a lot of IT professionals happy. A self-contained system image that allows the whole operating system to run on any Windows computer (even XP) and still be secure. This is perfect for many users that are on the go and where a dedicated hardware purchase cannot be justified or simply just prefer their own personal laptop. You’re still able to control your users via group policy and active directory, so IT admins can rest easy. Your users aren’t leaving your grip.
Windows 8 also introduces a revamped task manager
, providing more information than ever. By default the view is relatively simple (less to worry about for end users) but once the view is expanded you’re greeted with a whole slew of features. Processes are grouped together, which means no more searching for multiple instances of a process. Even the startup can be edited! Secure boot
is also sure to make system admins sleep happy. Blocking any unsigned code from running at start up. Quite simply if the code hasn’t been signed by Microsoft or an OEM it’s not going to get executed. Linux fans need not fret as this can be disabled to install a third party operating system.
Pricing and Upgrades
Got a PC since June 1st
2012? Well you have an upgrade sitting there for you. At only $15 it is a steal. Any existing PC purchased before this time frame (Running XP, Vista, and 7) can be upgraded for $50.
The upgrade is a painless process. You don’t have to be an IT nerd to do it. Pop the disc in, or run the installer, and just follow the instructions on screen. In about 40 minutes you’ll have a drastically new computer, and for the first time ever the upgrade won’t slow your computer down (Windows 8 is very efficient
Although there are many die-hard Windows fans out there will go to great lengths to convince you never to touch Windows 8, everyone simply needs to try it.
Change can be both good and bad, but Windows 8 in my opinion is a great change. A fresh new interface, a new backend and a slew of new features make it a really great product. Best part of all? You can download it for free to test!
There is no reason not to try it for yourself; I guarantee that you’ll find something about it that you love.
If you have any questions about the Windows 8 product, feel free to comment below and I will do my best to fill you in with all of my Windows knowledge. Also, don’t forget to come by next month to see what my next Gadget obsession will be!