Every time Microsoft comes out with a new operating system, people who have the last or an even older version of the Windows operating system wonder if they have to upgrade. There are various ways to look at this. According to Microsoft, of course, you’re really missing out if you don’t upgrade to the latest, greatest operating system they have on the market. Anybody who had Windows Vista or Windows ME knows that upgrading isn’t always the best option. Let’s look at some of the reasons why people upgrade and you can, for yourself, determine whether it’s the right decision for you. The Differences The biggest difference between Windows 7 and Windows 8 is the removal of the start menu and the replacement of it with a tile interface. This is designed to increase compatibility between Windows phones, tablets and desktop computers. To access the Start screen, you move your mouse over to the lower right-hand section of your monitor and this screen – with your programs on it, of course, – will open up for you. You click on a tile to open up any of the programs. If the programs run in the Desktop environment, you will go back to a regular Windows desktop. If the program is an app, you will get a full-screen interface that is pretty much the same as what you would get if you were working on an app on a tablet computer. Let’s be honest about this. Some people absolutely hate the new interface. For some people, there was nothing wrong with the Start menu and trying to turn a desktop computer into a tablet – which is really a more primitive, less powerful device – is utterly senseless. This is probably the feature that has driven more people away from upgrading to Windows 8 than anything else. Whether or not you want to deal with this is up to you. Be aware that there are programs out there that you can add on to Windows 8 that give you the start menu back. Even though Microsoft – according to many users – may have really made a mistake in trying to, essentially, sell tablet computers by making their desktop operating system connect with them better, one of the real standout features of the Windows operating system is that there are plenty of independent programs out there developed by people who aren’t working for Microsoft. The start menu replacement programs are good examples of this. Syncing Microsoft runs a cloud storage service called SkyDrive. Windows 8 is designed to make it easy to sync with SkyDrive and other Microsoft services. This is one of the features that people sometimes consider to be a rather obvious effort on the part of Microsoft to imitate their chief competitor, Apple. Nonetheless, some of the syncing features that have been added on Windows 8 are pretty handy. If you happen to be a person who uses a Windows phone or a tablet that utilizes the Windows operating system, you may have some use for this feature. Windows 8 works fine with other online cloud storage services, including Dropbox, Amazon and others. The integration of SkyDrive, the ability to sync Internet Explorer bookmarks and history and other features are really just Microsoft’s effort to jump in on the idea of offering cloud services to their customers. Is It Worth It? Windows 8 does have some great features to it and, for some users, the new interface will be a breath of fresh air. For people who are very much invested in the Windows 7 operating system and who don’t really want to change things at all, Windows 8 may be an unnecessary complication in their lives. Whenever a major manufacturer comes out with a new product, the Internet lights up with people reporting problems, making complaints and so forth. The best bet is to try it out for yourself. If you’re not sure what Windows 8 is really about and you want to try it out before you buy it, one way you can do that is to go down to a local computer store and work on one of the demonstration computers for a while. If you hate the new operating system, stick with Windows 7. It’s great, it’s stable and it certainly has a large fan base. If you want something new, try Windows 8.