10 reasons why Windows 8 is great for traditional PC users

Windows 8
Windows 8: There's much more to Microsoft's new OS than the touch-feely Modern UI

The big noise around the Windows 8 launch involves touch-enabled devices like Microsoft's own super-slick Surface.

But Windows 8 is great news for regular desktop and laptop users. Here's 10 reasons why.

1. It's dirt cheap

Well, by Microsoft's standards, at least. If you've got almost any kind of legit Windows installation, from XP onwards, it's yours for £24.99. If you've got Windows 7, it could be as little as £14.99. What a bargain.

2. It's less confusing for PC users.

OK, the whole Windows 8 versus Windows RT thing is currently causing a bit of a headache if you're in the market for a portable touch device.

But for PC users, it's very straight forward. There's none of the Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Business or Ultimate nonsense. It's just Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro. Simple.

3. Quicker boot times

Not much more to be said here. It boots quicker from cold and in most cases resumes are almost instantaneous.

It's all a result of the fact that Windows 8 is optimised for ultramobile devices. That also explains why Windows is simply...

4. Faster all round

On any given box, Windows 8 runs better than Windows 7. That's quite something when you consider that Windows 7 also runs faster than Windows Vista.

Designed to run on tablets and ultrabooks, Windows 8 is lean and mean, and that means it'll fly on a traditional desktop or laptop machine.

5. Better battery life

Once again, those ultramobile optimisations will pay dividends for conventional laptops. Slap Windows 8 on your existing portable PC and there's a very good chance you'll see better battery life.

Ok, you do lose some of the more resource-hungry features from Windows 7, including the Aero Glass interface, but you gain a whole lot more, which brings us to...

6. It looks better, too

When it comes to the traditional desktop part of the Windows 8 interface, Microsoft has realised that less is more.

Gone are the complex transparencies and drop shadows. In comes a cleaner, simpler interface that's kinder on the eye and will likely age very gracefully. Of course, there's also the new Modern UI which effectively means you get...

7. Two operating systems for the price of one

OK, more like a second user interface rather than full additional operating system. And much of the time, the Modern UI is just plain infuriating on a non-touch device.

But it is a completely different experience and when it works – and that does happen occasionally with keyboard and mouse – it's thoroughly refreshing. Of course, Modern UI also comes with a set of funky, built-in apps...

8. Those touch-enabled Modern UI apps

Your mileage will vary, but there's a good chance you'll like using at least some of the pre-baked Modern UI apps with your keyboard and mouse / trackpad. The Mail, Calendar and People apps, for instance, look great and are slick and simple to use.

9. Internet Explorer is pretty good

Speaking of slick and simple, you could say the same of Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8.

There's native native flash support and new features like Flip Ahead, which helps navigate long web pages, and automatic updates.

OK, you're probably going install the browser du jour, be that Chrome or Firefox, on your home PC. But if you have to use IE, perhaps on a corporate box, it's far from the bane it used to be.

10. Improved security and data recovery

Security. It's perhaps Windows' biggest problem. Heavy lies the crown of operating system ubiquity.

Anywho, Windows 8 at least has a stab at addressing that with standard anti-virus in the form of Windows Defender. Better late than never! The Push Button Reset also allows you to return your PC to factory fresh condition in minutes without losing settings and data.

Storage Spaces, meanwhile, is essentially a more user friendly data mirroring option to replace clunky old RAID arrays. And File History back ups give you access to old versions of files. Not a bad list of extras, we're sure you'll agree.


Technology and cars. Increasingly the twain shall meet. Which is handy, because Jeremy (Twitter) is addicted to both. Long-time tech journalist, former editor of iCar magazine and incumbent car guru for T3 magazine, Jeremy reckons in-car technology is about to go thermonuclear. No, not exploding cars. That would be silly. And dangerous. But rather an explosive period of unprecedented innovation. Enjoy the ride.