Matt Wilson writes:
I’m about to purchase a new PC without a touchscreen. Most PCs sold today come with Windows 8 preinstalled. I have not heard many great things about Windows 8. Do you think it would be a good idea to “downgrade” the new laptop to Windows 7? What are your thoughts on Windows 8?
The point you made about the new PC not having a touchscreen is really the big difference maker here. Windows 8 has a very schizophrenic interface that responds best when the user has a keyboard, mouse or trackpad, and a touchscreen. Without these components in place, the user experience suffers. Downgrading your Windows 8 installation to Windows 7 is a good idea if you feel that Windows 8 isn’t a good experience for you.
What I would recommend anyone do is to try the new operating environment out for a few days to see if it works for you. There are plenty of people who prefer Windows 8 to Windows 7, and better is — and will always be — relative. I have little patience for Windows 8 at this point after having invested plenty of my own money on devices that were supposed to offer a good experience only to suffer at the hands of Windows 8’s segmented user interface.
When Windows Vista was the new kid on the block, Microsoft had to make the tough decision to offer users inexpensive downgrade options in the face of tremendous user backlash. For that reason, there are still many users who use Windows XP (including my father) because it’s familiar to them and it still works just fine.
There’s no reason to force an upgrade on yourself if you don’t enjoy the new experience. Downgrading is a perfectly acceptable alternative. Windows 7 will remain in full support by Microsoft until 2015, and that date can be extended if the user base is still largely invested in the platform.
In the end, you have to do what is best for you. Forcing yourself to use a new operating system simply because it came with your machine can hurt more than help. While you may want to give it a week in the off chance that you end up liking it more than Windows 7, there’s nothing wrong with searching for alternatives.
Image: Chris Pirillo