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What if I donít want Windows 8 yet?
Author: Jeremy Herring
January 1st 2013 -

In the near future you may find yourself in the market for a new computer so you roll into the appropriate aisle at your local electronics superstore and VIOLA! Microsoft Windows 8 is everywhere! Placards and banners proclaim the innovation of the new operating system and all of the featured systems on display prominently proclaim that they have Windows 8 preinstalled.

Now Iíve always been frank about the fact that Iím not an early adopter. I like to wait at least until after the first major update is released which should fix most of the bugs inherent in the initial version. However, the problem you may face with early adoption of Windows 8 might simply be that you wonít like itÖ at all! The new Metro interface is dramatically different than previous versions and nothing is in the same spot where you remember it being from before. Additionally, Microsoft didnít provide a simple switch to revert back to the classic desktop mode so once you get to Windows 8 youíre stuck with it. Therefore, from the perspective of ease of adoption this might not lead to a promising first experience. You see, Microsoft believes the future of PC interface is touch screen, which is a pretty safe prediction following the trend of touch screen smart phones and given the enormous market share that tablet sales have stolen from the desktop market. Microsoft knows theyíre not setting the trend in this regard but they do want to Ďget it rightí the first time around when it comes to adapting the haptics of the mobile world with the computing power of the desktop realm.

The second obstacle you may encounter with early adoption of Windows 8 is support for legacy devices and applications. Until software vendors are able to fully test their applications in the Windows 8 environment and then if necessary release Win8-compatible updates or upgrades, you could find that the software you were using without problems on your former computer simply wonít operate correctly on Windows 8. Certainly Microsoft has gotten much better about ensuring backwards compatibility from the operating system perspective but the final responsibility for compatibility issues will always be the software developer.

Businesses with large numbers of computers are also not early adopters, and for both of the reasons I just offered. Large companies with technology lifecycle strategies budget for the amount of money they have to spend on replacement hardware, software upgrades, employee training and of course user support; these; these lifecycle plans can run 4 years or longer, making each of these concerns a long-term liability to the idea of upgrading earlier rather than later. Of course this is also one of the reasons Microsoft has what is called Downgrade Eligibility but this policy has rules and restrictions. First and foremost, NO HOME VERSIONS of Windows operating systems are eligible for downgrade. If you buy a retail computer off the shelf that comes with Windows 8 Home Edition then you are stuck with Windows 8 Home Edition. However, in consideration of the number of businesses that will be buying new computers but arenít ready for the new OS, computers with Windows 8 Professional are eligible for downgrade to Windows 7 Professional or Windows Vista Business.

The downgrade path is a little bumpy though because you still have to obtain the media required to install the prior version along with the activation code. Then, the activation code for the prior version is going to fail the validation process if itís been used on another computer. Therefore, youíll have to call the activation hotline and explain that youíre downgrading and provide the Windows 8 activation code to prove that you are eligible to downgrade to a prior version.

Chances are that you can grow to appreciate many of the new features Windows 8 has to offer but it will take time to adjust to the user interface. My recommendation may be to purchase your next home computer with Windows 8 or a Windows 8 tablet device to gain proficiency with the interface before inflicting it upon your professional life. Thatís my plan!

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