Buying a New Windows 8 Computer

 Don Trauger – Kennett

            Back in August of 2012 I wrote an article that introduced you to Windows 8, Microsoft’s newest operating system. You can review that article by visiting our newly designed web site at www.hersheysmill.org. Double click Resources, and then click on Windows 8.

 

            As I write this article Windows 8 has been out for 1 ½ months and it’s being reviewed with mixed results. The area of concern centers on the newly designed tile interface. If you have seen the Windows 8 TV ads, the tiles are represented as square or rectangular blocks on the screen. The ads, so far, tell you nothing factual about Windows 8 and appear to be set in some fantasy world. If and when you go computer shopping consider the following. Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 all had common interfaces. The interface is described as the screen you see after the computer starts. The basic screen consists of icons on the left side, a Start button in the lower left corner, and a clock in the lower right corner. Windows 8 does away with all of that familiarity. Instead you have a screen that consists of tiles that you can scroll from right to left to see all of the choices. You make your choice by clicking on the selected tile. The tiles do act as icons but the look and feel is entirely different.

 

            My personal opinion is that Windows 8 is best suited for users that feel comfortable using computers. I don’t recommend it for first time buyers or users that still feel daunted by Microsoft’s earlier operating systems. Availability of Windows 7 computers will shrink as retailers introduce more Windows 8 models. February should be a good time to purchase a Windows 7 computer.

 

            However, if you decide to purchase a Windows 8 computer make absolutely sure you receive some in-store familiarization or training. There are many different operating facets in using a Windows 8 computer, so unless you are computer savvy, you will find yourself potentially frustrated without some training. For example, there are new keyboard shortcuts that can enhance usability. A keyboard shortcut is where you press and hold one key while you tap another key.

 

            Now that I’ve mentioned the negative aspect of Windows 8, are there any good points about the system? Indeed there are. First, you can revert back to the startup or Desktop screen – sort of. The Start button is gone but the other familiar items such as icons can return if you customize it. It’s not the best scenario but it can work. Other improvements consist of a Windows system that is faster on startup and shutdown, more secure, and a design that will be the basis for future developments.

 

            Our PC Computer Club is open to all residents. There is no formal membership or experience required. Your questions and problems will be addressed at the meeting. We meet the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM upstairs in the Ardmore room of the Community Center.