WINDOW(S) SHOPPING: Windows 8 does just enough to matter as an operating system upgrade
The debacle known as Windows Vista created some serious hard feelings between PC enthusiasts and loyalists and the Windows operating system.
Vista wasn't well received and almost seemed like a meld of Windows 2000 and Windows 7 but with little or no direction. It almost felt like Vista was almost finished and probably could have been Windows 7 but someone hit the start button a little too soon and Vista simply felt unfinished, not to mention incredibly slow as an operating system.
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Windows 7 was a major upgrade but before the honeymoon period began, low and behold Microsoft delivered Windows 8 and thus the comparison began between the two operating systems loomed large. Perhaps to the naked eye, not much has changed but a closer look reveals that eight actually is higher than seven.
Easily the best of Windows 8 is the live tiles and touch screen, which is available on most laptops and desktops but not yet all -- that's coming soon enough. The repositioning of the Start Screen is another added plus; it's still in the bottom left-hand corner but upon clicking it, the live tile screen populates and thus a new-look Windows is born.
The live tiles are a welcomed change, even above and beyond the touch screen option. One could argue that the live tiles are long overdue since they basically have the look and feel of a smart phone or tablet (i.e. apps). It's also incredibly easy and efficient to flip between a conventional desktop and the live tiles, should you have a penchant for the old desktop look. The Microsoft logo in the bottom left of your keyboard allows that function.
Also included in Windows 8 is a Windows Store for purchasing apps, which appear on your live tile screen. Pre-loaded Netflix and eBay is a nice touch as is the sections featuring the picture of the envelope (mail) and people (social media). Mail can be accessed immediately as well as the "people" section, which keeps the all-important Facebook and Twitter messages remarkably easy to access.
Despite the ideological bickering between Apple and Microsoft, they can agree on one thing: backing up your files. Microsoft finally got on board with the "cloud" concept in the form of the Windows 8 "Sky Drive."
Microsoft 8 reaches for the proverbial sky and actually delivers plenty of positives, which is a good thing since the bad taste of Windows Vista is still left in the mouths of customers. Windows 7 built back some of that good will lost thanks to Vista but Windows 8 nearly restored all of it with only a few, albeit important, changes.
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