Until a couple of weeks ago, we here at the CompUcoach office would have advised you to steer clear of Windows 8 for business unless you were purchasing a tablet.
However, in light of a recent press release from Microsoft, we may be changing our opinion. If your computer is running Windows XP, now would be the time to start budgeting for a new computer.
If your computer was made before 2007, in addition to a new computer, you may also need to buy a new printer, scanner or other peripheral devices. Why? Because most peripheral devices made prior to 2007 are not Vista/Windows 7 compatible and they will be difficult, if not impossible, to run on Windows 7 or 8.
During the summer of 2014, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP. Below are our recommendations if you would like to upgrade to a new machine and want an easy transition:
If you are looking to get a laptop, the main functionality you will need to determine is if you need your laptop to also act as a tablet. Several manufacturers have created laptops with flip-down screens enabling you to use the laptop as a tablet. If you need this type of functionality, we highly recommend using Windows 8. The operating system was designed specifically for touch screens (Windows 7 will not be able to take advantage of the touch screen capability). If you already have a tablet, such as an iPad, and need the laptop strictly for computing purposes, stick with Windows 7. Unfotunately, if you are a mouse user and are familiar with the Start button interface of Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7, you may get frustrated with the new Windows 8 tiles and the missing Start bar.
If you are in the market for a desktop, you can also purchase a new monitor that also has touch screen ability or an all-in-one machine that contains a touch screen monitor. The same rules apply to laptop users.
However, if you can hold out off on purchasing a new laptop until the end of 2013 (when the update to look more like Windows 7) is released, we recommend Windows 8. Why? Because the learning curve from previous Windows versions to Windows 8 has been frustrating to most users and Microsoft will be offering the update due to poor sales for their desktop and laptop machines.