You may have heard that Microsoft recently released the much anticipated Windows 8 operating system.
It sure doesn’t look like those previous operating systems of Windows that you may have seen. But don't despair. Windows 8 was made with the future in mind and it works well with touchscreens, of which you'll be seeing more during the next few months.
One of the first things you will notice is that there is no start tab. You’re wondering how to turn the computer off. Going to either the upper or lower right hand corner will bring up a bar known as the charms bar.
The bottom icon there that looks like a cog a bicycle chain goes around is the Settings icon. Either click on it or if you have a touchscreen tap it and you will see the Power icon at the bottom. Select that and select “Sleep,” “Restart” or “Shut Down.” You should no longer be wondering how to shut your computer off.
You have also likely noticed that the screen shows tiles, rather than the familiar icons you'd typically see on your desktop. Each of these tiles represents an app (Programs are now referred to as apps like the apps on your smartphone and your friend’s Mac programs, which are also referred to as apps).
Some of these apps show information. The weather tile shows the temperature for the location noted. You can get a calculator app to do arithmetic operations. One great thing about this new screen is if you are looking for a file, setting or app, you can just start typing the name of it.
Also, expect to see more Windows 8 phones out there in the next few months. Don’t despair about not seeing a desktop. There is a desktop tile. If you have a touchscreen, you can tap it and the old traditional desktop (without the start tab) will show.
One disadvantage of the new Windows 8 is when you go to delete a file there is no longer a confirmation asking if you wish to do so. No last chance to change your mind. However, all is not lost. By going to the recycle bin and right-clicking on it, choose Properties and check the "Display Delete Confirmation Dialog" box.
You now will have that last chance to make sure that you truly want to delete that file. Another disadvantage is a longer learning curve going to a new operating system. But the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
So, should you upgrade to Windows 8? Windows 8 Pro is available for $39.99, but that is not until Jan. 31. Unless you are upgrading from Windows 7, you will need to reinstall your apps. I upgraded due to business considerations since I will be setting up new computers that use Windows 8 and training people to use it.
You'll need to get used to not having a start tab. File Explorer (formerly Windows Explorer), is a lot more user friendly, security is improved and boot time is faster, making it a possible investment if you are still using Windows Vista or Windows XP. Given the age of your computer if you are using XP or Vista, replacing your computer may be a more feasible option.
While Windows 8 requires a minimum of a 1GHz processor, I would recommend a minimum of 2GHz if you currently have XP or Vista. Other than the tiled apps, there is not a real big change between Windows 7 and Windows 8.
If you have additional questions about Windows 8, I can be reached at (917) 572-3468 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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