5 reasons to upgrade to Windows 8

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Like-DislikeI’ve already gone through 5 reasons why you shouldn’t upgrade to Windows 8 but there are quite a few reasons to upgrade. Windows 8 has received tons of negative feedback about shoehorning a touch-centric interface on top of the traditional Windows desktop, but that’s just one aspect of the operating system.

There are actually quite a few reasons why someone may want to upgrade to Microsoft’s latest operating system. I’ve chosen my 5 favorite features that I’ll highlight in this post.

Here’s why you may want to upgrade to Windows 8.

1) You live in the cloud

windows 8 cloudIf you spend most of your time on your computer in a browser using web services, you’re probably really going to love Windows 8. Microsoft has done a great job integrating all kinds of different services, like SkyDrive and various social networks, into Windows 8. If you’ve linked all of your social networks to your Microsoft account previously, all you have to do is log in and all of your accounts will be ready for you.

The Messages app will handle chats from Facebook, MSN, and more. Your email will be synced immediately to the Mail app. Photos from Facebook and Flickr will populate the Photos app. The people app will pull information from Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter to provide you updates for specific contacts. Everything is simple and well integrated.

Be sure to check out our guide on integrating your social networks into Windows 8.

skydrive

Office 2013 is also serious about the cloud. SkyDrive plays an important role in Windows 8, providing cloud storage and syncing. Your documents, preferences, and settings will all be synced between devices running Windows 8.

Windows 8 is all about the cloud and it executes it well.

2) Performance improvements

Windows 8 Home screenWindows 8 is fast. Boot times are especially quick when compared to Windows 7. Having tested Windows 8 for several months, I can tell you that boot times have remained consistently quick. Everything in Windows 8 feels snappy and fluid. Switching from app to app provides a quick animation instead of being too showy with a slow one. Apps launch quickly and there is no noticeable lag when switching between them. Scrolling is also smooth and predictable.

Microsoft has done a great job of making Windows 8 very responsive.

3) Access to Modern UI apps

windows storeAlthough there aren’t many Modern UI apps at the moment, there will be soon as Windows 8 and Windows RT begin gaining traction. Apps in the Windows Store are generally solid, all conforming to Microsoft’s Modern UI design language and fully utilizing the widescreen nature of Windows 8.

Reading content from apps like USA Today is a pleasure. The apps take full advantage of the screen and provide a visually appealing format for reading. Pictures take up the screen and provide a beautiful, tactile experience.

As more and more apps are released in the Windows Store, you may begin to feel some “app envy” from your peers running Windows 8 or Windows RT.

4) Useful new features (File History, Storage Spaces, and Refresh/Remove)

The Windows 8 Modern UI definitely steals the show in terms of features and changes but there are actually a ton of useful features that are lesser known. I’ll talk about three of my favorite, lesser known features of Windows 8: File History, Storage Spaces, and  Refresh/Remove.

File History

Windows 8 File HistoryWith File History, losing your work should be a thing of the past. What File History does is continuously back up your personal documents in the Documents, Video, Music, and Photos folders. It will also save contact information, favorites, and items on your desktop. Users can also tell File History custom folders to back up.

Once File History is set up, it’ll back up your files automatically. You can browse a file’s history to choose the version you want. This is great and similar to what OS X has with Time Machine. Files are save continuously instead of being on a schedule so your work should be preserved no matter what.

Storage Spaces

Windows 8 Storage SpacesWhile RAID is powerful, most consumers will not understand what it is or how it works. Microsoft takes the thinking out of this by introducing Storage Spaces to Windows 8. What Storage Spaces does is creates one virtual drive out of multiple disks. If you have several internal or external hard drives, it can be a pain to manage all of them, as each one will receive a different drive letter. More drives can be added later to expand the virtual disk.

Storage Spaces even handles redundancy so you can create backups of your data. This will of course require two drives and will only provide enough space for one of the drives, as it has to make a redundant copy.

Never worry about managing multiple drives or backing up your data. Storage Spaces will do all that for you in Windows 8.

Refresh/Reset

windows 8 resetLong time Windows users have probably experienced “bit rot” at one point or another. Bit rot is basically the slowing down of your computer due to little bits and pieces of programs left from installing/uninstalling apps and just general use. Many Windows users reinstall the operating system from time to time to get rid of the effects of bit rot.

Microsoft has made this easier to remedy in Windows by allowing users to either ‘Refresh’ or reset Windows 8. Refresh will retain all personal data, settings, and Modern UI apps. All other files and desktop programs will be scrapped. A list of desktop apps that have been removed will be generated so you know which apps you have to reinstall.

Resetting Windows 8 restores Windows to factory settings, before you installed anything. This is great if you want to start fresh. Windows 7 could do this too but takes significantly longer. Microsoft claims that Windows 8 can be reset in as quickly as 6 minutes. If you opt to zero out data for security purpose, it’ll take much longer.

5) You own a Windows Phone or computer with touch screen

Windows Phone 8If you own a Windows Phone device, it’ll integrate nicely with the operating system. Managing media will work seamlessly and you’ll never have to sync your phone with your computer, as both Windows Phone and Windows 8 rely on the cloud for syncing data.

If you have a touch screen PC that came with a customized, more touch friendly version of Windows 7, you’ll definitely want to upgrade to Windows 8. Windows 7 was never designed to be used with touch and it really shows. No matter how much PC manufacturers tried to skin Windows 7, it will still pale in comparison to Windows 8.

Windows 8 was made for touch and if you have a device that supports touch, you’ll definitely see the benefits of Windows 8.

These are just a few of the reasons why you should upgrade to Windows 8. Have a reason that you don’t see up here? Let us know in the comments below.

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