Microsoft is releasing its milestone operating system, Windows 8, tomorrow.
In fact, for those of you in Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania, “tomorrow” is already there. If you live in those regions, you can actually pay for and download Windows 8, right now.
So the question is, does Windows 8 present enough reasons to upgrade?
For a mere $39.99 for existing users of Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7, an upgrade seems like a non-brainer. Even for those that want to install it on other systems, the $69.99 price is a far cry from the cost of previous Windows versions, that cost up to $200 per license.
The basic requirements for installing Windows 8 on a machine, are as follows:
- 1 GHz or faster processor
- 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
- 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
Clearly, very basic requirements for any machine on the market since about 2005.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Windows 8 will feel like mercury on ice with just the bare minimum specs. Modern computer systems, particularly those that were certified for Windows 7, will be performing the best. As always, the more RAM, the merrier.
Windows 8 does away with the usual desktop environment, instead returning to its roots: a tiled, multi-colored layout that some jokingly refer to as the re-incarnation of Windows 3.1. Of course, that’s not the case. The “metro” style supports touch-sensitive screens and pads, and offers gestures and other goodies found in today’s smart phones. Applications run in tiles and can come to the foreground as needed. Thankfully, switching to the old desktop look is an option, albeit a hidden one.
How complicated can the new Windows 8 interface be? According to this guy, whose 3 year old son seems to handle it just fine, it’s a cinch.