win8logo Windows 8 is now generally available to the public, but the question that I keep getting asked is “Should I upgrade?”. My answer is simple – yes, but only if you’re prepared to spend an hour or so learning the new features!

So without further ado, here are my top 6 reasons for upgrading to Windows 8:

1. It’s Faster

Before upgrading my laptop (a Samsung series 9 ultrabook), I timed how long it took to boot from a totally off state, login and start Google Chrome. On average this took just under 50 seconds. After installing Windows 8, that time dropped to a shade under 25 – and that included loading the BBC homepage!

It’s not just starting Windows that’s quicker – you’ll find that everyday operations like copying files complete quicker, and the whole experience just feels better.

2. Better Security

Microsoft have really got their act together since Windows Vista came out in 2007. With the release of Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows 7, as long as you didn’t install anything truly nasty you were pretty safe!

In Windows 8, Microsoft have tightened up security yet again, but somehow kept the whole experience non-intrusive. Windows Defender (really a rebadged Security Essentials) is included and turned on by default, so no need to buy expensive protection software like Norton 360.

Windows Updates now install in the background, don’t interrupt your workflow (or when you’re watching iPlayer!), and instead install when you switch off your computer.

3. File History

How many times have you been working on an important document, only to delete parts of it by mistake or save over another file without realising? With File History in Windows 8, you click on the file and pick a date and time to restore back to – it’s that easy!

4. Apps

Everyone loves apps! They’re on your phone, your tablet, Facebook – everywhere! Now they’re coming to Windows in a big way. Everything from converting currency to looking what’s on the TV tonight; all without opening your Internet browser! But it’s not just productivity apps that are in the Windows Store – all your favourite games like ‘Cut the Rope’, ‘Angry Birds’ can now be played on your computer.

5. Storage Spaces

A somewhat more advanced feature, but it still makes my list! External storage is cheap now – you can pick up a 1TB hard drive for under £50. Only problem is when you fill that drive with all your precious photos and memories and it decides to fail. With Windows 8 storage spaces, this is no longer a problem. Just buy two drives, plug them both in and instruct Windows to mirror the contents – it will do just that, so if one drive fails, you still have everything on the second. Automatically.

6. The Cost

If you’re running Windows 7 or Vista, there’s a very high chance that it will be happier running Windows 8 – it uses less memory and less battery than Windows 7 or Vista. Ask your local PC repairer for advice and how to upgrade – the software itself costs less than £50!

 

To borrow a phrase from Apple: ‘It just works’.

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