Windows 8 is the latest version of Microsoft’s Windows Operating System. An Operating System is the nuts and bolts that keeps all the other things you want to do on a computer working properly – think of it as rather like the Air Traffic Control people who keep planes in the air: you don’t need to know how they do what they do, but you’re glad they do a good job. Here’s why buying a Windows 8 PC (or putting Windows 8 on an older PC) is handy for business.
Windows 8 is fast
A raft of under-the-bonnet performance improvements make Windows 8 faster and more frugal than its predecessors. Indeed, in a world where PC prices are not going to come down (to be fair, they’re appreciably lower accounting for inflation than they were ten years ago), some reviewers have pointed out that Windows 8 is sufficiently Spartan that it will allow you to rescue old PCs and put them back into service. That has to be good news for money-conscious new businesses. On newer PCs, Win8 boots up (that’s techspeak for ‘switches on’) faster, and browsing the web is exceptionally nippy.
A desktop which follows you
Do you work in different places, on different PCs? You can choose to sign in to Windows 8 using your Windows ID; which stores all your basic desktop information online (in fact in your SkyDrive account). This will allow you to sync all sorts of information - settings, desktop apps, favourite websites etc. - automatically, whatever device you log in on. Even your mail and calendars can be synced. Now every desktop can feel like home.
Windows 8 is secure
After productivity, security is probably the number one IT concern for any business owner. Win8 includes new security tools which (like air traffic control...), nobody’s going to shout about, but which you should be glad are there. First off, Win8 ships with a fully-featured anti-virus service. It’s built into Windows Defender, an all-in-one security solution which has been around for a few years now, but which has been beefed up for Win8. Then, if you’re using a relatively new PC, you can also take advantage of Secure Boot (you may also hear this called UEFI, but let’s not get too technical...), a tool which prevents hackers from doing damage when they start a machine up (i.e. before Windows gets to load its own protective layers).
Store your stuff safely
Let’s look at SkyDrive in a bit more detail. SkyDrive is a cloud-based (i.e. online) storage space, and the perfect place to keep your business information. It’s secure, and it’s accessible not only from Windows PCs, but also (via an App) from Macs and several phone handsets, too. What makes Win8 spectacular is that you can drag-and-drop files to SkyDrive just like an inbuilt drive. Cloud storage just doesn’t get any easier. Then there’s Storage Spaces, a nifty tool for managing your hard drives. Whatever drives you connect to your PC or network, it will help you create archives which are easy to search and even duplicate (also called ‘mirroring’) so that if one drive breaks down, you won’t lose any data.
A world of Apps – right on your desktop
If there’s one thing we all love about our smartphones, it’s Apps. Windows 8 takes Apps and puts them on the desktop – just like your mobile’s home screen. Apps aren’t just like small programs, they also serve to make key information visible on your desktop – right where you need it. Win8 includes free apps for email, social networks (see feeds from LinkedIn and Facebook in real-time), web searches and SkyDrive (see above). Add Skype for videoconferencing, Amazon for purchasing, and many more...