The Wired Homeschool

WHS 40 – Windows 8 Consumer Preview and You


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The Wired Homeschool

John Wilkerson

Description: Tech, tools, and tips for homeschooling a digital generation

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WHS 40 – Windows 8 Consumer Preview and You

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No doubt you’ve probably already heard about Microsoft’s latest version of Windows, Windows 8, and the blessings or curses (depending upon your point of view) that come with Redmond’s latest operating system.

Windows 8 is being hailed as revolutionary and revolting by pundits all across the Internet. Depending upon your approach to desktop computing I understand both arguments. For everyday consumers this techno-babble causes FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Hopefully in this podcast I can assuage some of the FUD and give you the information you need to know in order to wade through the waters of Windows 8.

First let me start out by saying that this is not a “how-to” episode. I’m not going to tell you how to install Windows 8 nor am I going to provide any tips, tricks, or instructional material that pertains to Windows 8. This is a high-level overview of the new operating system based upon what I’ve seen myself. With that said, let’s begin…


Windows 8 is the upcoming operating system from Microsoft:

It’s Windows reimagined and reinvented from a solid core of Windows 7 speed and reliability. It’s an all-new touch interface. It’s a new Windows for new devices.


Microsoft has placed a lot of emphasis on touch interfaces. Windows 8 will be available for ARM-based devices (most likely keyboard-less tablets). This means the “hub” of Windows is no longer the desktop but a start screen with tiles for accessing applications and features.


According to Bloomberg, work on Windows 8 will finish this Summer with an expected release date of October 2012. While this means that Microsoft and its partners will miss the back-to-school purchasing window (pun intended) it will allow for a large roll out just in time for the holiday shopping season when the majority of new PC purchases historically occur.


Windows 8 Start Screen aka Metro

While there will be retail versions of Windows 8 available at retail outlets like Wal-mart, Best Buy, and Staples, most consumers will get Windows 8 with a new desktop, laptop, or tablet PC. I doubt there will be a downloadable version available on the release date but it wouldn’t surprise me is future updates come via a “Windows store”.

Should I upgrade to Windows 8?

No. Let me be clear: No. If buy a new computer (or tablet) and Windows 8 is available then moving to Windows 8 won’t be such a hassle. Upgrading your existing computer from Windows XP/Vista/7 is not something I’d advise for the average consumer.

Geeks like me will probably take the risk of upgrading our existing computers to Windows 8, after all, the latest OS is designed to run on today’s hardware. Unless you have a compelling reason to upgrade (like buying a new computer or having to support it for a job) I can think of no reason for you to upgrade.

Remember that quote from above? “It’s a new Windows for new devices.” Keep that in mind every time you ask yourself or if someone asks you if they should upgrade.

Windows 8 Charms

Most people won’t see Windows 8 until they buy a new computer and that’s OK. You’re not really missing out on any new technology. Windows 8 is based on the existing Windows 7 core but just has a new graphical user interface (GUI) that really takes advantage of touch devices. I suspect most people will first encounter Windows 8 on an inexpensive tablet they purchase.

The new “Metro” interface doesn’t really blend well with the desktop. The desktop is where average people spend their time on a Windows computer. Given the fact that you’re probably not going to update to the latest “Metro-style” apps, you’d be wasting your time upgrading.

Wait until you buy a new computer. If you just bought a new computer in the past few months you’re not really missing out on much and by the time you’re ready to upgrade Windows 9 will probably be in the hopper.

Other articles mentioned in the podcast:


If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email to, or leave a comment on the blog. Follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers. Also follow the podcast on Twitter: @wiredhs. Join the Facebook page over at

Music: Poofy Reel by Kevin Macleod.

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