It seems like every time Microsoft produces a new release of Windows, there’s so much resentment towards moving to it and lots of appreciation of how the previous version served so well. I think the release of Windows 7 was a lot less heated because it really didn’t change much compared to Windows Vista, just added lots of improvements. But with the release of Windows 8, there are plenty of major changes to incite frustration among the users and business owners alike.
The most significant of the changes has to be the removal of the start button and menu. With this removal, they have moved all of the basic functions of the computers to completely new places. We regularly have users asking how to even shut down these computers. The driving force behind these changes is the touchscreen. We’ve worked with plenty of touchscreen computers throughout the years, and mostly, it has been a pure novelty with no tangible benefit. With Windows 8, there is real functionality from the touch screen. The whole start screen interface is designed with touch in mind. As computers become more and more touch focused, you’ll find that the changes in Windows 8 were necessary and ultimately, you’ll come to appreciate them.
In buying computers for your organization, you have to consider not only the cost of the computer, but the cost of switching to the new computer as well. The usual costs are the labor involved with having a computer replaced and the loss of productivity a user has when getting used to a new computer. With Windows 8, two more are added: cost of teaching your staff the new interface and lost productivity while relearning it. These are big hurdles that make many organizations want to avoid it altogether.
To the dismay of these people, these changes aren’t going anywhere. As I previously stated, when you use the computer with a touchscreen, these changes completely make sense. For the time being, you’ll still be able to purchase computers with Windows 7, but eventually, they’ll stop being available. You could install Windows 7 on a computer that shipped with 8, but that becomes pretty expensive with the additional licensing fee and labor involved. The best thing to do is to plan for the change instead of being forced into it.
All new consumer computers come with Windows 8, so over time, your staff will become used to it. It isn’t wise to move to it right away; doing this would force you to bear the cost of acclimating your staff to the new interface. Once Windows 8 has been out for between 1-3 years, depending on your staff members’ home interactions with computers, would be the best time to switch. Waiting this long will practically eliminate the having to teach the staff the new interface and the lost productivity associated with a lack of familiarity.
However, if you’re still stuck in the past and have to have a computer experience like Windows 7, there’s always Start8. Since Windows is modular and extensible, products like Start8 allow third parties to create extensions that can completely change the interface, including bringing it back to one like Windows 7.
Windows 8 is unavoidable, but with this insight, it’s nothing to be feared. Proper planning and using Start8 if necessary will make the transition much easier and less expensive.