Why I Chose Windows 8 for My New Computer

The Windows 8 Start screen. Image: Microsoft
The Windows 8 Start screen. Image: Microsoft

Our family was in need of another desktop computer. Previously lively computers recently became doorstops, and something needed to be done. I, -brazenly- reluctantly volunteered to be the one to get a new computer, mostly thanks to an early Christmas subsidy from my mom. (Thanks, Mom!)

I’ve heard about–and experienced–the alternating quality operating system theory for Windows. I loved XP. It worked great. I held onto it until Windows 7. Love Windows 7. A very functional and useful OS. And it’s still available on new computers now. You usually have the choice between Windows 7 or Windows 8.

There has been much talk about Windows 8. “Where’s the Start button?” “Why does Microsoft want my computer to look like a tablet?” “I don’t have a touch screen so I don’t need it.” “It must be bad because every one of my friends is telling me to avoid it, right?”

I’ve been using Windows 8 on a light-duty laptop for months. The laptop has a touch screen, and so can utilize the full functionality of Windows 8. But I was told that all of the touch features are able to be used with a mouse.

Ponder, ponder, ponder. What to do? I did what most people do, and I asked my friends. I have one friend who extols the virtues of Windows 8. She didn’t think she’d like it, but she loves it. A lot. A few of my friends said that their opinion of which OS version to get depended on whether or not I had a touch screen. And quite a lot more of my friends said, “Just go with Windows 7.”

More pondering.

The Windows 8 Store. Image: Microsoft
The Windows 8 Store. Image: Microsoft

I gave my Google-fu a shot. I asked Google, “Is Windows 8 all that bad, or do people just fear change?”

The web returned a lot of “Oh no! It’s something different! Where’s my Start button? I fear change!” results, and also several quite helpful ones, discussing the differences between Windows 7 and Windows 8, and how Windows 8 is actually a good operating system. For me, it turned out to be one of those research projects where the negative reviews were more helpful than the positive ones. Okay, I get that you don’t like it, but why? If your answer is anything like, “It’s hard to use,” or, “I don’t have a tablet, I have a computer,” it’s easy to discount your negativity.

As I always do when making decisions on large electronic purchases, I researched my options, cogitated on it, and then went with my gut. My gut said to just go with Windows 8.

Why?

It’s newer. Newer operating systems get more attention from the manufacturer. If things go wrong, Microsoft is being as attentive as possible to remedy the situation. They want their newest baby to look good.

It’s fun. That missing Start button? Well, it still exists, you just have to hover your mouse in the lower left corner. And while there isn’t a Start menu per se, Microsoft turned the menu into an entire Start screen, where you can organize your applications, and your new Windows 8 apps. Just put the ones that you use most on the screen, arranging them as your whims dictate. Also, if you want to access all of the apps, there is a button for that, too.

It has apps. Kind of like tablet apps, yes, the Windows 8 apps are sometimes abridged versions of regular applications. But in those cases, they are usually free while the full versions might not be. They also carry many other kinds of apps in their store, both free and paid–apps like games, utilities, and more. As we are learning to utilize the streamlined apps of tablets, this is spilling over into regular computing.

It’s fresh. Sometimes we just need to rearrange our furniture to feel like there’s something new to play with. This fills that bill for me. And yes, you get full functionality without a touch screen.

So far I’ve been happy with Windows 8 on my desktop machine, as I have been on my laptop. I have no doubts that I’ll continue to be satisfied with my purchase for years to come.

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Jenny Bristol is an Editor at GeekDad and a founding Director at GeekMom. She is a lifelong geek who spends her time learning, writing, homeschooling her two wickedly smart kids, losing herself in history, and mastering the art of traveling on a shoestring.