7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Upgrading to Windows 8

Are you ready for Windows 8?Are you ready for Windows 8?With the recent release of Windows 8, lots of PC users have been wondering whether they need to upgrade. While a decision will depend on each user's individual circumstances, there are 7 questions you can ask yourself that will help you make a rational decision:

1. Will you be buying a new PC within the next year?
The overwhelming majority of new PCs and laptops are already being sold with Windows 8 pre-installed. If you think you will be buying new equipment within the next year, then you can probably wait for your Windows 8 initiation until then. You will save money and can learn all about Windows 8 at the same time you are learning all the other features of your brand new machine.

2. Are you thinking of buying a Surface tablet?
This is an interesting one. Microsoft's new Surface tablet will be running Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 that has been optimized for tablets and ultra-light touchscreen PCs. If you are planning on building a personal Windows ecosystem with a PC, tablet, and maybe even a Windows Phone, then it might make perfect sense to upgrade your PC to ensure a consistent operating environment.

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3. Do you have kids between the ages of 4 and 12?
If so, get ahead and start learning the ways of the new operating system everyone will be using on PCs in a few years. This will come in super handy when they have questions for you when it comes to school work, including opening files, saving projects, using Powerpoint, and creating graphs, so why not be savvy about all or most of it?

4. Are you a power user?
If so, then you are already maxing out your current Windows 7 machine, and then an upgrade starts to become more attractive. Windows 8 will expand your world beyond the desktop and incorporate all your mobile and cloud-based activities into the Windows experience. If you are truly ready for the next step in computing, then Windows 8 is for you.

5. Are you still using Vista or Windows XP?
If you are still a Windows Vista, or more likely, a Windows XP holdout, then it could be time to drag yourself into 2012 and get an upgrade. Besides, you can skip the learning curve that's required for Windows 7 and throw yourself straight into the deep end of Windows 8. But first, you need to make sure that your creaky old desktop or notebook can run Windows 8. If the answer is "no," then see question 1 above.

6. Are you part of a larger network?
In contemplating a move to Windows 8, you also have to consider the environment in which you work. If you are a stand-alone, home-office businessperson, then what you do with your own operating system will probably not affect anyone else. If you are part of a larger, integrated network, then you need to consult your colleagues first. The last thing you want is to operate in an unsupported environment with all the technical and security issues that can pose.

7. Is it worth it?
Finally, you need to decide if Windows 8 is worth the money. If you are interested in upgrading, Microsoft is offering a limited-time download price for Windows 8 Pro of $39.99. Alternatively, you can have Windows 8 Pro shipped to you for $69.99. Whatever you decide, Windows 8 is clearly the future for PC users. We will all get there eventually.

- By Monica Vila

For more tips on upgrading or buying a new computer, visit Babble!

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Monica Vila is the Chief Technology Mom and co-founder of The Online Mom, the market leader in providing online and off-line tools to make parents of kids K-12 smarter and more comfortable with the technology that touches their family.

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