The recently release of Windows 8 has been polarising if nothing else. Fans have said it’s a big step forward for the Redmond outfit, while detractors have said it’s gimmicky and not very good in desktop environments. So what’s the real story?Fortunately for Microsoft, it’s the former. Here’s why. Windows 8 is smaller, lighter and faster than Windows 7. The Metro interface certainly takes some getting used to, but once you’re familiar, it’s a breeze. The main thing to understand is that the interface is merely a shiny UI over the traditional desktop and it’s entirely possible to use Windows 8 without using Metro at all.

Hardware

The best news for business users is that you don’t need a hardware upgrade to run Windows 8. If your infrastructure runs Windows 7 or Server 2008, then Windows 8 should run fine.If you need laptops, Microsoft Surface is great. It’s responsive, easy to use and very intuitive. Easily on par with IOS, which isn’t something we expected to be saying about Windows!

Security

Security is a big word in any business and one Microsoft has finally taken notice of. The biggest news for business users of Windows 8 is that even out of the box, it is more secure than ever.At the core level, security software such as firewalls and antivirus are loaded before the OS itself, rendering most root-kits unusable. They are also all switched on by default. It means you’re secure long before Windows itself loads and nefarious apps that used to hide in Windows processes can now be ejected before doing damage, as long as you have the security to achieve it.

Usability

Once you get used to the new tiled UI, everything else is familiar except the fact many programs are now apps instead of installs. Skype for example is now only available through the Microsoft App Store. No problem as it’s easy to use, but a vital difference that needs to be borne in mind for early adopters. The ability to sync between Windows 8 devices is also going to be useful for business. If you’re planning to use Windows 8 phones, a laptop and a tablet, Windows will sync what it can between devices to reduce duplication, a neat trick.Windows 8 has a lot of work to do. Windows 7 was stable, fast and very successful. Many businesses who upgraded won’t countenance the investment anytime soon, but when upgrade time comes along, Window 8 can make a lot of difference to any business.

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