Upgrading to Windows 8? Most IT pros say no

Microsoft has finished building Windows 8 and will release it at the end of October. What do IT pros think about the upcoming operating system? 

Microsoft recently announced that it’s finished developing and testing Windows 8 and has sent the operating system to hardware manufacturers. Those manufacturers will sell computers and tablets running the OS at the end of October, at the same time Windows 8 upgrades become available for purchase.

Windows 8 represents a significant update over the previous versions of Windows that IT pros and users are familiar with. The OS is designed to run on both PCs and tablets, and therefore incorporates significant changes to its user interface. Even the ubiquitous Start button users have been used to seeing for years is removed from the OS.

Those changes have resulted in a lot of criticism aimed at Windows 8 from observers who say the interface is clunky and will take a lot of time and training before users are comfortable with it.

IT will avoid Windows 8 upgrades

Aside from the new UI, there are other challenges that will keep many companies from moving to Windows 8, according to a recent Tech Republic survey. Among the 1,888 IT pros survey, the majority (884) said they do not intend to upgrade. Another 655 are undecided, while only 349 plan to upgrade to Windows 8.

Their biggest concerns are that users will require massive training to begin working with the new interface. Beyond that, the biggest cons IT pros see with Windows 8 are:

  • Fragmentation — Windows 8 will be released for both Intel and ARM-based devices. However, ARM devices (which include many tablets) won’t be able to join Active Directory domains, which could take away a significant advantage of deploying Windows tablets instead of other devices.
  • Desktop abandonment — Many IT pros believe that Microsoft focused too much on creating an OS to run on tablets, which has resulted in a poor experience when running the OS on a corporate desktop.
  • Hardware issues — Likewise, Microsoft has touted Windows 8’s ease of use on touch-based devices, but companies will have to make significant hardware upgrades if they want to take advantage of that.

Benefits of Windows 8

Despite the reluctance to upgrade, the IT pros surveyed did acknowledge some benefits Windows 8 could have for businesses, including:

  • Common experience across devices — While many people dislike how Windows 8 works on desktops, some respondents appreciate the fact that the same OS can be run on PCs and tablets.
  • Windows to Go — A new feature in Windows 8, Windows to Go, will allow users to run a copy of Windows 8 from a USB drive on any computer that has any version of Windows installed.
  • Push button Reset and Refresh — Windows 8 will simplify the process for returning a machine to its default install (Reset) and restore factory settings but keep data and applications (Refresh). IT will also be able to control which of those options users can access.

Does your organization plan to upgrade to Windows 8? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below.