After 12 years of existence, Microsoft is finally pulling the plug on Windows XP on April 8. After then, the operating system will no longer receive security updates – rendering it much more liable to viruses and malware. Unfortunately, the only solution to this problem is to spend some money and upgrade to a new version of Windows. But which one do you choose?
Our Which? Tech Daily writers Rob Leedham and Mike Plant have differing opinions on whether you should upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. Here they debate the merits of both operating systems.
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‘Just like New Coke, few people want Windows 8’ – Mike
Windows 8 might be the latest thing but, like New Coke before it, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better than its predecessor. Switching between the Start screen and the Windows 8 desktop can be confusing, and that’s a situation made worse by Microsoft’s introduction of apps. If you have to make the upgrade from Windows XP – I’d avoid this hassle and find yourself a copy of Windows 7.
‘Windows 7 is quickly gathering dust’ – Rob
I do understand why you’d want to stick with what you know, Mike – Windows 8’s apps and different modes take a while to get used to. That said, I’m less sure why you’d want to upgrade from XP to a platform that’s constantly improving (Windows 8) or quickly gathering dust (Windows 7).
Since Windows 8 launched 18 months ago, it has already received a major update in Windows 8.1 and further enhancements are expected soon as Microsoft’s so-called ‘Project Threshold’ rumbles ever on. Simply put, Windows 8 is the priority for Microsoft and every major PC software manufacturer.
‘Windows 7 still works, and that’s good enough for me’ – Mike
That may be the case, but Windows 7 still works – and isn’t that what’s most important? It’s simplicity itself to use, especially if you’re upgrading from Windows XP. It has the same layout and menu system making it the natural, familiar choice for those who don’t want, or don’t have the time, to learn a new operating system all over again.
I’d rather avoid the hassle caused by such unnecessary design choices as releasing two versions of many popular programs – an app version, and a normal version. Take Outlook and Internet Explorer which ‘benefit’ from such treatment, so causing me to have to shuffle back and forth between both versions.
‘Classic Shell and Windows 8, a great compromise’ – Rob
Having lived with Windows 8, I really don’t mind it. Thanks to those apps, all the programs I want to use immediately are available on my Start screen. Plus, the desktop screen is still there if I ever get nostalgic. Honestly, it took about a week to get used to switching between the two screens – now it’s second nature.
And, for Windows XP users who are nervous about making that jump, I’d recommend the free to download Classic Shell, which smooths the transition even further.
‘I’m happy to wait for a better Windows 8’ – Mike
I see where you’re coming from, Rob, but for my money, I’d rather hold-off on upgrading until Microsoft releases yet another operating system that bridges the gap between 7 and 8 entirely. Windows 8 to me is going nowhere quickly, so who’s to say that Windows 8 really does have a future any longer than that of Windows 7?
‘The PC era is over, time to embrace change’ – Rob
Deferring from Windows 8 on that basis is a bit like King Canute trying to hold back the tide. The PC era is over, and tablets, hybrids and all-in-ones are now conquering the new computing landscape. Bearing this in mind, a return to the old traditional desktop-style Windows just won’t happen. I really do think its better to embrace the change and its benefits right now by upgrading to Windows 8.