Computer Guide

Should I upgrade to Windows 8 from XP?

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Our trusty desktop computer runs on Windows XP Pro. I noticed recently a supplier offering Windows 8 upgrade for a low price. Do you believe this is a sensible purchase?

Generally I do not advise users to upgrade the operating system as there is very little to be gained and a bit to lose apart from the time and cost in performing the upgrade. For most users the operating system is not important but your applications are what is important. Upgrading the operating system will not make your applications faster. You will not receive mail faster, Word will not run any better etc. Also some hardware such as older printers, scanners may not work and additional costs will be involved. Some very old programs, including some games that you may have had for a couple of decades may not work.  But upgrading to Windows 8 will involve a lot of learning as well as possibly having to purchase some new hardware.

However, at some point there will come a time when some applications that you need will not run on an old operating system and an upgrade will be required. Windows XP has now been superseded by four generations and some security vulnerabilities in XP may not be fully addressed.  Windows 8 is considerably more secure, boots faster and will run on old computers that run XP.

Currently the upgrade from XP to Windows 8 operating system is not expensive and may be worth considering, but the upgrade will not keep any of your programs, only your data so you will have to re-install all your software, set up your e-mail account(s), reconfigure and apply any patches to the software that you install, download and install upgrades etc. Also I would do a full backup just in case before starting.

In my opinion Windows 8 is more suited for the tablets with touch screens than it is for a desktop computer. Also the number of apps available for Windows 8 is tiny compared to the number available for the Apple or for the Android operating system, but the number of apps available should increase rapidly.

If your current computer is getting old and you are planning to purchase a new computer in the next 12 months then it may be better to wait and to purchase Windows 8 with the new computer.


To look at the e-book in PDF format, Computer Guide, based on these columns click here