Later this month Windows 8 will be released as the latest and the greatest OS from Microsoft.  To some extent, the decision dovetails with what users want as Jon Phillips, Editor of PC World contends (“Three Keys to Windows 8 Success” November 2012):

“The votes are in, and tech users want mobility and touch control.  These elements are the future of personal computing in homes and offices, and the sooner Microsoft gets with the program, the better it positions itself for another 20 years of OS dominance.” (p. 9)

Although Phillips and others have proffered strong endorsements for Windows 8, intelligent opposing viewpoints exist.  The new OS presents a radically altered user experience, the accommodations to selecting alternative user interfaces get clumsy, you cannot easily access multiple applications running simultaneously, significant hardware upgrades will often be required, and serious questions remain concerning how well current or even new software will run in Windows 8.  Lincoln Spector comments on just one of these challenges—alternative user interfaces (“And Why You Shouldn’t” PC World):

“Windows 8 retains the old user interface, which is now officially called Desktop, but in a sadly hobbled form.  You can’t use Desktop as your default interface.  You can’t boot into it or close Windows from it.” (p. 91)

Here is where I come out on Windows 8:  In principle, I fully agree with Phillips’ endorsement of Windows 8.  But in practice, we always have to consider the software compatibility factor, the disruption factor, and the timing factor.

1—The software compatibility factor:  The last thing in the world I want is to jump from Windows 7 to Windows 8 only to find I now have serious issues with my software.  Yes, I understand we have workarounds.  But why look for trouble?  I remain confident Microsoft will refine Windows 8 over time and the bugs will be resolved.  I just don’t want to be one of the guinea pigs.

2—The disruption factor:  Any OS changeover is disruptive.  One must carefully consider the costs and the benefits of doing that right now.  In some cases, the disruption will be worth the benefit and in other cases it won’t.  In this case, the radical change of Windows 8 from Windows 7 simply forebodes way too much disruption.

3—The timing factor:  Somewhat building on numbers 1 and 2, timing becomes critical in an OS changeover.  Some times are smart to perform an OS changeover and other times are not.  In my case, my mission-critical systems are all operating on Windows 7 and they have been performing better than I ever imagined.  This is by far the most satisfying, stable OS I have ever used.  Given that my investment in these units was fairly recent, to get the most bang for the buck, I intend to run these systems a good while longer.  Therefore, the timing just isn’t right for me.

Well, that is my take on Windows 8.  My position is right for me.  It won’t be right for everyone.  I highly recommend you perform due diligence.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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