The Four Faces(Versions) of Windows 8
Instead of having one interface(“Windows Store” formerly Metro) for tablets and a separate one (Desktop) for traditional programs, Microsoft has chosen to include both interfaces in Windows 8. Instead of discussing the interface usability I’ll start with the versions of Windows 8 available.
Understanding the varieties of Windows 8 can be a little confusing even for the experts so I’m going to try and explain it as simple as possible.
There are four versions of Windows 8. Which one you choose may be pre-determined for you.
1) Windows 8 RT (once called Windows on ARM)
If you have purchased a new tablet or similar touchy device and you like the new tiled, Windows Store, interface then a Windows RT device may meet your needs. This version isn’t sold by itself. Currently it only comes with a new device. This version won’t run standard Windows applications on its Desktop with the exception of a few provided by Microsoft. All applications must be re-created to run under an “ARM” processor commonly used in tablets and phones. New apps will be available for download and purchase in the Windows 8 Store.
2) Windows 8
For most people currently using Windows, this is the cheapest upgrade path. If you’re buying a new tablet, Ultrabook, laptop or desktop computer this may be the default version of Windows included. This version includes the new tile or “Windows Store” interface but also includes the normal Windows desktop minus a Start button. Most of the applications that run on Windows 7 will continue to work on Windows 8.
3) Windows 8 Pro
This will be the most popular upgrade path since it includes all the professional features including BitLocker, BitLockerToGo, Client Hyper-V, Domain Join, Encrypting File System, Group Policy, Remote Desktop(host), Boot from VHD. This version also includes both the Windows Store and familiar Windows desktop.
4) Windows 8 Enterprise
This version of Windows 8 won’t be for sale to normal consumers. If your company has a regular sales contact from Microsoft they probably receive Windows at Volume Licensing pricing. The Enterprise version provides some extra features that only apply to businesses that rely heavily on Windows and Unique Software Assurance Benefits.
Should you Upgrade?
If you’re looking to upgrade your current computer you’ll want to download and run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/upgrade-to-windows-8
The upgrade assistant will let you know if any of your applications are incompatible.
Luckily, it will also show you many of the programs which are compatible.
The Windows 8 Media Center Mystery
You should be aware that Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro doesn’t come with Windows Media Center. If you have Windows 8, you can purchase the Windows 8 Pro Pack which will upgrade you to Windows 8 Pro and install the Windows Media Center. Currently, the Windows 8 Pro Pack is $69.95. For a limited time, the Windows Media Center is free but you must request a product key by using your Email address. Giving up your Email isn’t a big deal since it’s required to use Windows 8 anyway.
Click here to request Windows Media Center. You may not care about Windows Media Center since most of its functionality can be accomplished by other apps.
Now that you know your choices for Windows 8 I hope it will help you decide when upgrading to Windows 8 will be right for you.