A lot of people including those who are members here are probably wondering is Windows 8 worth the upgrade and what are the benefits.
After some extensive reading and testing here are my results that you can decide for yourself.
Before I begin I am going to list the Minimum Requirements
for those who have older PC's that "Windows 8" will not run on.
They are as follows:
If you want to run Windows 8 on your PC, here's what it takes:•Processor:
1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2 (more Info)•RAM:
1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)•Hard disk space:
16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)•Graphics card:
Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driverAdditional requirements to use certain features:
•To use touch, you need a tablet or a monitor that supports multitouch (more info)
•To access the Windows Store and to download and run apps, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768
•To snap apps, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768
•Secure boot requires firmware that supports UEFI v2.3.1 Errata B and has the Microsoft Windows Certification Authority in the UEFI signature database
•Some games and programs might require a graphics card compatible with DirectX 10 or higher for optimal performance
•Microsoft account required for some features
•Watching DVDs requires separate playback software (more info)
•Windows Media Center license sold separately (more info)
•BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive (Windows 8 Pro only)
•BitLocker requires either Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 or a USB flash drive (Windows 8 Pro only)
•Client Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system with second level address translation (SLAT) capabilities and additional 2 GB of RAM (Windows 8 Pro only)
•A TV tuner is required to play and record live TV in Windows Media Center (Windows 8 Pro Pack and Windows 8 Media Center Pack only)
•Free Internet TV content varies by geography, some content might require additional fees (Windows 8 Pro Pack and Windows 8 Media Center Pack only)To check if your PC meets these requirements, you can run the Upgrade Assistant
I have provided some screenshots from one of my laptops to compare, and explain differences between Windows 7, and Windows 8.
The first difference you will notice on Windows 8 is the Metro interface
The Metro interface can be used as a Touch Screen in the same manner as you would use your Android or Ipad, or you can access this interface via Mouse. The Metro interface is very convenient in sorting applications in their own groups on unlimited screen space. Such as the way Nero 12 opens below in this new interface.
You can customize your device's Metro interface, adding for instance access apps, web pages, images and even people - or at least their picture, contact details and your combined communication. Metro is bold and striking to look at, and you can change its color scheme to suit your taste. You can also log in to an account, and take your settings and apps with you wherever you roam, similar to using your Google account with Android. Each tile offers live information, so you can see how many emails are in your inbox, for example, without having to open an application. Metro is scalable, too: so if you zoom out the tiles rearrange themselves in a meaningful way.
Metro is one of the new features that scares off many Windows 7 users who don't have a touch screen, but the interface is mouse friendly and you don't have to use it at all as the tradition desktop of Widows 7 is still present just by clicking the Desktop tile in the metro interface. To use older software in Windows 8, you have to use Desktop. This is an app in its own right, and opens up into an environment that looks and acts in virtually the same way as Windows 7.
The 4 corners of the traditional desktop will now give access to the metro interface, open apps, the start menu, power options and settings just by moving the mouse to the corner areas.Speed:
One of the main reasons to update to Windows 8 is because of speed, it is faster than Windows 7 and allocates ram much better.
Startup times are 40 percent faster than Windows 7 on the same hardware, and that the memory footprint of the new OS is 10 to 20 percent better.
Windows 7 uses 389MB of system memory, Windows 8 only 330MB. And this in an operating system that includes more functionality. An older Asus UltraBook with a second-generation Intel chip could boot from cold in just 8 seconds. However, Windows 8 was intended to be what is called "always on, always connected". You don't boot and shut down Windows 8.The OS was designed to be always running switching on and off instantly like a smartphone. The power draw of an Intel-system on a chip Windows 8 slate, using virtually no power in sleep mode, with only the occasional tiny peak when it checked for or received data.
The below graphics compare memory consumption on an old netbook running Windows 7 at idle, and then with the same machine running Windows 8.
Windows 8 has a better scheme for the prioritization of memory allocations made by applications and system components. This means that Windows can make better decisions about what memory to keep around and what memory to remove sooner.
For example, antivirus programs do various checks on files when they are being opened by other programs. The memory that the AV program allocates to check virus signatures is usually a one-time allocation (it is unlikely that specific memory will be needed again). On Windows 7, the memory is treated as if it had the same priority in the system as other memory (say, memory allocated by a running instance of Microsoft Excel). If memory became scarce, Windows 7 could end up removing the memory that helps another running application (like Excel) stay responsive for the user, which wouldn't be the best choice for system responsiveness in this case.
In Windows 8, any program has the ability to allocate memory as "low priority." This is an important signal to Windows that if there is memory pressure, Windows can remove this low priority memory to make space, and it doesn't affect other memory required to sustain the responsiveness of the system.
The PCWorld Labs Windows 8 through a battery of tests and found it generally faster--sometimes a lot faster--than Windows 7 as seen in the charts below Test Methodology
We tested using our WorldBench 7 tests, performed on the Labs' baseline system, which is built around a 3.3GHz Intel Core i5-2500K processor. That CPU is coupled with 8GB of DDR3 RAM clocked at 1333MHz, a 1TB 7200-rpm hard drive, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics card. Our testbed system is certainly no slouch, but it represents what we’d call a middle-of-the-road PC.
We loaded the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 on the system, and compared our results with the numbers we already had for the same system running Windows 7.
Windows 8 ran through WorldBench 7, our comprehensive performance benchmark, 14 percent faster than Windows 7. Generally, any difference of 5 percent or more on WorldBench is noticeable, so this is a difference you should feel when you’re running a Win 8 machine.Startup Time
If you hate waiting for your PC to get going, you should like Windows 8. Our system started up at least 35 percent faster running Windows 8 than it did while running Windows 7. Under Windows 7, our average startup time was 56.2 seconds. Under Windows 8, that time dropped to 36.8 seconds
That number is even more impressive considering that Windows 8 has a built-in handicap. To measure startup time, we command Windows to open a text file in the PC’s startup folder, and time how long it takes from when we press the power button to when that text file opens. Because Windows 8 starts up in the Metro interface, not the traditional desktop, our testbed had to boot up, load the Metro interface, and then load the desktop to get to that text file. The average time to reach the Windows 8 Start screen (without getting to the desktop) was even faster: just 23.91 seconds. And that was on a spinning-platter hard drive--if you’ve upgraded to a solid-state drive, your startup time will be even quicker.
Why is Windows 8 so quick to start up? With the latest incarnation of Windows, Microsoft has introduced a new “hybrid boot,” combining the speed and functionality of Windows’ hibernate mode and the benefits of a fresh startup session.
A bit of background: When you choose to shut down your PC, Windows closes all running applications and services, and then powers down. When you choose the hibernate option, Windows writes everything currently in RAM to a file on your hard drive, and then shuts down. This adds some time to the shutdown process, but your PC will boot faster and be right where you left it before hibernating. In Windows 8, shutting down your PC closes all running applications, but hibernates the underlying operating system. When you turn your PC back on, Windows 8 will load that saved state much faster. The bottom line is that it's just like a clean boot in a fraction of the time. The Building Windows 8 blog details the architectural changes.Individual Tests
The strides that Microsoft has made in hardware acceleration and browser optimization are evident here, with Windows 8 having a frames-per-second score that’s 50 percent better than the same system running Windows 7.
The differences aren’t as great in our Content Creation tests, which measure how well a machine performs in encoding audio and video, and in editing images. Our system running Windows 7 was a bit faster than the same system running Windows 8. Those differences were rarely greater than a few seconds, though, and the results could change dramatically once updated video drivers are introduced for Windows 8.
Windows 7 won decisively only in our Office Productivity test. Our test uses the Productivity section of Futuremark’s PCMark benchmark tool, which includes typical office tasks such as editing text, launching applications, and scanning for viruses. On this test, Windows 8 was roughly 8 percent slower than Windows 7. It’s worth noting that Futuremark is in the process of updating its benchmark suites for Windows 8, and those updates could change this result.
These performance numbers will likely shift in the coming months as Microsoft releases updated versions of its new OS. The Windows development cycle will stretch for months, and will include driver updates, performance tweaks, and general optimizations that are bound to improve things. Windows 8’s dramatic new interface may not be a runaway hit with PCWorld readers, but the numbers don’t lie: Even in its early form, this is promising to be the leanest, most efficient incarnation of Windows to date.
(Note these tests were done on the pre-release final of Windows 8 before major updates have been recently available)http://www.pcworld.com/article/252383/w ... tests.htmlNow for the main question- What is missing from Windows 8?Traditional Start Button & Start Menu
The Start button and Start menu have been key Windows features since Windows 95, but are now gone. Windows 8 has no Start button, nor does it have the traditional Start menu. Instead, you mouse over the bottom-left corner of the screen to reveal the hidden Start button.Windows Aero, Transparent Glass, & Flip 3D
Microsoft no longer considers Aero a premium visual experience. All those animations and transparent glass effects are gone and you'll be seeing flat colors on the desktop. This also means that the gaudy Flip 3D will be going away – if you’re using a Windows 7 or Vista computer to read this, you can press WinKey+Tab to view Flip 3D right now.
Flip 3D was always a glorified tech demo that looked cool the first time you saw it, but was used by almost no one because it was less useful than the traditional Alt-Tab program switcher.DVD Playback & Windows Media Center
Many Windows 8 computers will come without DVD drives – which are being used less with the rise of Netflix and other media-streaming services – and including DVD playback costs money, so Microsoft will be removing the integrated DVD playback support from Windows 8. If you buy a computer with a DVD drive, it’s up to the computer’s manufacturer to include licensed DVD software (and many already do). You can always use VLC to play DVDs, anyway. Unsurprisingly, Windows DVD Maker is also being removed.
Windows Media Center is also being removed from every Windows version (even the Pro one), since it’s used by so few people. You can give Microsoft a few dollars using the Add Features to Windows 8 panel to activate Windows Media Center, if you like – this covers the cost of the codecs Windows Media Center includes.Previous Versions & Windows Backup and Restore
The Previous Versions feature, activated in Windows 7 by default, has been removed. It allows you to restore previous versions of files from their Properties window. Windows Backup and Restore is also being deprecated.
The new File History feature replaces both Previous Versions and Windows Backup and Restore. Unlike Previous Versions, File History isn’t enabled by default. File History is also designed to work with files in your libraries and on your desktop – as well as your contacts and favorites. It’s much more limited than the Previous Versions feature, which worked for any file in and folder.Windows Update Desktop Notifications
Do you have Windows set to ask you before downloading or installing updates? On current versions of Windows, Windows Update appears as a system tray icon and a notification balloon informs you that updates are available. On Windows 8, you can still tell Windows to notify you before downloading updates – but these update notifications no longer appear on the desktop. All Windows-Update-related notifications appear on the login and lock screens – so you might not even see them if you automatically log into your computer.Verdict:
There is some good and bad in upgrading to Windows 8, whether it's hardware compatibility, older software issues, losing Media Player or just the want of learning the new interface. It's a choice we all have for now but eventually Microsoft will discontinue support for Windows 7 as well as software and hardware venders who update drivers and AV programs. You will eventually be forced into the new format if you want to run a Windows based OS. For me, I always run the latest software and hardware and OS just for the sake of staying secure with vulnerability issues as well as staying up with the times. I have Windows 8 now on all my PC's and the speed and stableness for such a new OS is very surprising. I don't have any issues at the time as I am running all the latest software available. The Media Player issue is not a problem although I have it on Windows 8 the DVD playback can be acquired on many different players that are free such as VLC Player
which have many better features and support than the Microsoft player.
Would love to hear any comments or issues regarding Windows 8 that I can maybe help to clear up.