Christmas lights are beginning to sparkle all over Iowa and local retailers are teasing us with impressive holiday savings. No doubt Black Friday will feature incredible discounts on all sorts of personal electronics, including PC’s and tablets featuring Microsoft’s most recent version of Windows 8.1. If your goal is to save as much moola as possible, the holidays are a great time to invest in a cost-effective computer. But with Windows 10 set to release next year – and possibly as a free upgrade – is now the time to purchase a new Windows 8.1 computer?
My clients who are using Windows 8 and 8.1 often find that their computer is hopelessly confusing and provides little guidance on how to do basic things like closing an open window or shutting things down. Practice definitely helps, but most clients get very little reward for their effort. At best, they are able to use their computer as efficiently as they used their old one, but the new features of Windows 8 don’t really benefit them. In my opinion, a computer’s operating system should fit like a well worn glove and Windows 8 is missing a few fingers.
Any PC you buy from major retailers like Best Buy or Wal-Mart will have Windows 8.1. If you’re in the market for a new computer, ask yourself a few simple questions to see if it’s worth the jagged pill of Windows 8.1.
Wait for Windows 10, coming next year.
For Windows 8 users, the new Start Screen is optional. This is great for tablet users who genuinely benefit from the tiled layout.
Windows 10 takes the best parts of Windows 8, but repackages them into an operating system that people can actually use. In Windows 10, the new Start Screen is optional and can be switched to a more traditional start menu. The new Start Screen was largely intended for tablet users, which desktop and non-touch screen laptop users found frustrating.
Windows 10 users can use a smaller start menu, much like older versions of Windows. Live Tiles can be added, which we think is awesome.
Thankfully, Windows 10 includes a desktop corner start menu which resembles Windows of old. It gives the user an easy way to jump to their favorite programs, without gobbling up the whole screen. It also allows the user to customize it, much like the new Start Screen, by adding in Live Tiles. Live Tiles are the animated tiles, like Mail and Weather, viewable on Windows 8 start screens. Live tiles were a great part of Windows 8 and we’re very excited to see them preserved for Windows 10.
All programs open in windows on the desktop, unlike Windows 8.1 programs which sometimes took up the whole screen when you opened them.
Windows 8 and 8.1 suffered from a weird duality. Some programs, called apps, would take up the whole screen when opened. Other programs wouldn’t. This won’t be an issue in Windows 10. All programs open in windows with the familiar maximize, minimize, and close buttons in the top right corner. It’s Windows, like you remember it, but dressed in new duds and ready for a bright new future.
Although Microsoft hasn’t confirmed it yet officially, there are compelling rumors that Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade for Windows 8 users. This would be a smart move on Microsoft’s part for a number of reasons and it has big implications for the holiday buying
season. Windows 10 will debut next year. It smartly addresses many problems people have with Windows 8. It will be great for desktops, laptops, and tablets. It will run smoothly on newer and older hardware. It might, might, be a free upgrade. This makes your holiday decision making simple.
Is now the right time for a new computer?
Upgrading from Windows XP? Yes.
This April, Microsoft officially retired Windows XP. In most cases, a new computer will be more cost effective than trying to upgrade your old Windows XP machine. Poindexter does not recommend using a Windows XP computer on the internet any longer, especially for sensitive things like online banking. If you’re switching from Windows XP, yes you should get a new computer, but be prepared for a shock. Windows 8.1 is a heck of change to do in one big step.
Upgrading from Windows Vista? No, wait.
Windows Vista was released after XP, but before Windows 7. If your computer is running this and you enjoy using it, there’s no need to upgrade to Windows 8.1. Poindexter recommends waiting for Windows 10.
Upgrading from Windows 7? No, wait.
Windows 7 came after Vista, but before Windows 8 and 8.1 and it remains the most popular operating system on Earth. Even today, many people request specially built computers that come with Windows 7 instead of Windows 8. Most desktop users agree that Windows 7 offers a superior experience as compared to Windows 8.1. At present, there’s no good reason to upgrade to Windows 8.
Buying another Windows 8.1 computer? Wait.
This is a simple choice: don’t buy another Windows 8.1 computer just yet. Windows 10 will be released next year and computer manufacturer’s will scramble to support it. No doubt retailers will offer significant incentives to upgrade. If Microsoft does offer Windows 10 as a free upgrade, your current Windows 8.1 computer will receive the upgrade. If Windows 10 isn’t free, wait until computer manufacturer’s begin to support it next year to avoid getting stuck paying the $100.00 that Microsoft usually charges to upgrade.