Is Windows 8 the New XP?

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Is Windows 8 the New XP?

There are a number of reasons Windows XP has stood the test of time and is still the number one choice for many businesses and consumers around the globe. Vista was a major catastrophe leaving a lot of people scratching their heads as to why they made the switch, whilst others were relishing in the satisfaction that they are still up and running smoothly with good ol’ XP. Many users are frustrated and out of pocket being left with el cheapo hardware under performing in every way that matters from a business and recreational viewpoint since purchasing a Vista machine. In rolled the cavalry with Windows 7 and finally, it looked as though there was salvation for the Microsoft OS. But at what cost? Updating software was expensive enough but hardware as well? Give me a break. “Too little, too late” was the voice of the masses and not until going on a year after its launch did the population start to trust Microsoft again and take the plunge to switch their beloved XP over to Windows 7. But now move to Windows 8? Why?

The expectation for many is that businesses (and individuals) will treat the latest OS in the same way it has each new release – with doubt and contempt and no medium to long-term budget plans for upgrading, let alone jumping on the bandwagon the day its financially and practicably feasible. Ah, but we forget, the same was true back in XP’s release days when many refused XP preferring more “classic” view of Windows 98 or even ME over the new “Toys ‘R’ Us” look on offer. However, the “look” of XP has quickly become the norm and users of newer Windows version still set the XP “Classic Mode” as their choice of view in Explorer on newer machines. We’ve come to really like the way XP looked despite the new bells and whistles brought in by newer software. Windows 8, however, is a completely new ballgame, as those not familiar with the Metro UI (not unlike the Windows 8 phones) may think the world has gone mad for desktop usage.

XP is great, no bones about it. Is this new Windows 8 stable and secure? Let’s face it, XP had its bugs and security issues back in the day. It was a good many years before more than 10% of businesses became fanboys of XP. Kinda strange how we forget what XP was like upon its release, and how only after numerous updates XP reached a pedestal worthy of the title “best OS Windows has on offer”. Except for running perfectly on 64-bit machines, XP had everything the consumer needed from browsing speeds to gaming and everything (mundane) between. From a business perspective, it is secure, stable, low cost and gets the job done for those at their desktops and portable devices alike.

With support for XP continuing until April 2014 its clear that Microsoft are not in a hurry to cause necessary upset among its dedicated band of followers. Indeed, the recommendation is that companies should update to Windows 7 before going to Windows 8, and that’s for a number of reasons, some more noteworthy than others. General home users, well, if you’re still on XP then there may be a plethora of reasons why you’re not already on Vista/Windows 7 so the question remains is Windows 8 what you need?

So, which is right for you – Windows 8 or XP?

One reason XP has lasted 11 years at the top is due to its low hardware requirements. The hardware needed to support a pleasant experience with Vista was too much of an investment for most as it required a fair amount of hardware muscle to run optimally. Realising this, Microsoft shipped out Vista with dirt cheap, minimal spec hardware which, although had enough juice to get Vista up and running, as soon as you started using the hardware you now found yourself at crawling speed – just enough was not good enough. Today’s movie watching, Youtub-ing, app using, Web-gaming multi-surfers want the whole pie, not just a slice, for the same cost. So if you’re on a lower specification netbook or laptop, Windows 8 will be just as fast as XP as it doesn’t have all the “junk” bundled in the two prior releases slowing up your system.

Let’s face it, Vista sucked and didn’t stand a chance of succession to the throne from a user perspective. If you’re sat behind an older desktop Windows 8 will not enhance your user experience by much, and may actually hinder it, for instance, the exclusion of the “Start” button on the home screen. “Outrage!”, you cry. From a business perspective, why at this early stage suffer potential crashes, bugs, security protocol issues, compatibility problems and staff re-training on something that won’t make a difference on a day to day basis of the majority of staff working at desk jobs?

However, you’re more of a mobile user with smartphones, touch screen netbooks and tablets dominating your Microsoft arsenal then Windows 8 may be your best bet as it is designed with the touch-screen in mind. Microsoft are well aware of how much they are lagging behind in the latest technology race as a lot of smaller device users are preferring Android, Linux, Ubunto and iOS operating systems. With XP being “old” and Vista/Windows 7 being “over the top” for low powered machines, the stripped down Windows 8 is ideal for these devices putting Microsoft as a possible contender in this corner of the market. If the cost of new hardware is not an issue, then for the sake of continuity, having a home/office setup the same as your portable device make perfect sense. Bye-bye XP.

In conclusion only one thing is certain. Every new version of Windows is vying to obtain dominion over XP and convince the world that the mistakes and failures of Vista are long gone; not to worry or fear disaster striking, but to confidently update your XP systems. Unless you are on the cutting edge of technology and are focusing on handheld, touch-screen devices for your home/business needs, its clear that Windows 8 will not offer you much more in user experience than what you’re currently requiring. From a budgeting perspective it may be worthwhile holding out on upgrading both hardware and software until the dreaded doomsday in 2014 when support for XP dies or a another Windows version is released. Who knows, Windows 8 may be kicking strong, bug free and secure in 2 years time, leaving only one question at the next budget meeting, “Why didn’t we make the change years ago?”.

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