5 Things You Should Know About Upgrading To Windows 8

by Gigi Ross on November 16, 2012


Last week, I took the plunge on the Windows 8 upgrade front.

I upgraded my HP Windows 7 desktop machine.

I tend to think I know way more about computers than I actually do. I’m pretty much a technical dolt. This past week, I complained that our printer wasn’t working, only to find that I had stuck the connector cord that goes from the PC to the printer into the phone jack. Yeah, your printer is not going to work if it’s connected to your PC via a phone cord.

So the process of upgrading a MAYJAH Windows operating system was daunting.

I’m happy to say, though, that I am fully up and running on Windows 8 and it was nothing to be afraid of. Kind of like the boogeyman: the idea is much scarier than the reality. So, here are a couple of things you need to know about upgrading to Windows 8.

Upgrading to Windows 8 is Ridiculously Easy

I was utterly delighted at how easy it was to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8. I did the digital download of Windows 8. You download the file, and it runs an Upgrade Assistant to make sure your computer has the system requirements to run Windows 8. After that, it walks you through the install steps.


As a precautionary measure, I copied all of my documents, photos and music to an external hard drive before beginning. Because losing that stuff would’ve made me very sad. The entire process, from the time I started downloading the files to seeing the new operating system power up, was less than two hours. The wizard steps you through everything and it’s in plain English. I was clear about what was happening every step of the way.

Upgrading to Windows 8 is Ridiculously Cheap

People. It’ll cost you $39.99 to upgrade to Windows 8. This offer is good until January 13, 2013. It’s a no-brainer to snap up this offer while you can. You will get so much in terms of additional features and apps with Windows 8 that it’s well worth the small investment.

You Will Love The Windows 8 Start Screen

Windows 8 will also walk you through setting up your new Start Screen. You can totally personalize the Start screen so that it displays the stuff that matters most to you. Now the screen will come pre-configured with certain apps: mail (which will aggregate mail from multiple accounts), people, calendar (imports your Google calendars if you choose) and more. Each app is housed in its own tile. You can move the tiles by dragging and dropping, and resize them so that the most important ones stand out.

Be Prepared To Surrender Your Computer To Your Kids

Remember when the only games you could play for free on Windows were Solitaire and Minesweeper? Not anymore.I’m having to pry my kids away from my computer because they’re loving all of the great new games they can download for free from the Windows store.  Some of their favorites are Doodle God, Jetpack Joyride and Newton.

windows 8 start screen

Things About Windows 8 That Take Some Getting Used To

There are a couple of things I’m still getting used to with Windows 8. A lot of your old software applications – Office, TweetDeck, whatever you used before upgrading – lie beneath the start screen. You can add a tile to your Start screen for those apps (Windows actually put my frequently used ones right on the screen for me), but when you launch them, the Start screen goes away and you’re back at your desktop, which looks just like Windows 7. I’m having a hard time toggling back and forth between the Start screen and desktop functions, but it’s getting quicker with each day.

I’m also getting used to the eye candy. Wow. A few examples:

When you launch Bing’s new Windows 8 app, the gorgeous imagery literally jumps off your screen. And when you put in a search term and hit “enter”, your results are displayed in a tile format. Super easy on the eyes and fun to use – but it’s taking some getting used to. I searched for KludgyMom in the new Bing app and it looks like this:

windows 8 bing

If you’ve got a big monitor, you’ll love using Bing and all of the Windows 8 apps because they take advantage of every bit of visual real estate.  I also really like the new Weather app – so much great data in one place:

So that’s it! I’ve been really happy with the upgrade so far and have enjoyed exploring the apps – about which I plan to delve into more detail in a future post. Tell me: do you plan to upgrade to Windows 8?

Disclosure: I’m a Microsoft Windows Champion, which means I get access to the use of a computer for a year as well as other opportunities to receive early information and access to Microsoft products. No other compensation was received for this post, and all opinions are my own!


Susi November 16, 2012 at 9:29 am

I feel like I’m right there with you. I have the same “issues” of still getting used to toggling back and forth between the start screen and the desktop. Also, I find I have to check Skype to make sure I don’t miss anything. It was a bit of a problem the first week. But nothing I can’t get used to… so far I love it! And I’m hoping to add a Windows 8 Surface device to our list!!! :)

Gigi Ross November 17, 2012 at 7:06 am

I need about 3 weeks to do nothing but play around with the new interface…seems like as you dig in to apps you find more cool stuff!!

Motherhood on the Rocks November 16, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I took the plunge too! It’s not as hard to figure out as you might think.

Jennifer November 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm

How does the back end work? Like using Explorer and the Control Panel. Those are things I use a lot.

Gigi Ross November 17, 2012 at 7:04 am

From the new Start screen, you mouse over the right part of the screen and a charms menu appears. Select “search” and you type in control panel or an app or whatever you need and it comes right up in your search results.

Christina November 17, 2012 at 8:22 am

Gigi, I’m curious if there is a huge difference between 7 & 8. I have all our computers on 7 & am not sure if it’s worth the upgrade. What do you think?

Gigi Ross November 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Christina, I think for the $40 it’s worthwhile, because you have access to so many great free apps. The underlying engine is still the same and looks a lot like Windows 7, but the overlay of Windows 8 apps is a nice feature.

MatUSA November 21, 2012 at 7:15 am

I went for the upgrade from XP to Win8 too, several weeks ago, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get used to the new interface and the absense of START button … After some searching I was able to find some third-party plugin that brought the button back, but now I feel like I should have waited a bit longer … I will probably dish it and try to learn how to get along with the new interface, after all, life is about the changes we have to take, or? :)

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