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Boulder Computer Maven Newsletter - March 2013

Dear Friends,

This is my customer newsletter, containing information that I hope will help you use your computer more enjoyably, safely, and efficiently. Previous newsletters are available on the newsletters page of the Boulder Computer Maven web site.

This month's topic is Windows 8, the newest version of Microsoft Windows.

If you change your E-mail address, please send me your new one. If you don't want to receive this newsletter, let me know, and I'll remove your name from my mailing list.

For questions or comments, or to schedule an appointment for help with your Windows PC, Internet connection, wireless network, iPad, Kindle, or Kindle Fire, please call me at 720-443-1812.

Best Wishes,
Steve Winograd

Helping People Use Computers in Boulder for Over 25 Years

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Introduction

Windows 8 Start Screen

Microsoft Windows is the operating system software that runs your PC. Microsoft released Window 8 in October, 2012. If you buy a new desktop or laptop PC in a retail store, it will run Windows 8.

Windows 8 is a dramatic change from all previous Windows versions. For example, when you turn on your computer, you'll see a Start screen like the one shown at the right, instead of the traditional Desktop.

Windows 8's user interface is optimized for use on a touchscreen device, such as a cellular phone, tablet, or a new generation of laptops with touchscreen capability. Windows 8 uses touch gestures on those devices to perform common tasks. Using Windows 8 on a traditional desktop PC or a laptop without a touchscreen can be awkward.

Windows 8 Versions

There are three versions of Windows 8 for home users, and it's important to understand the differences between them:

Upgrading to Windows 8

If your current computer runs Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 and meets the Windows 8 system requirements, you can upgrade it to Windows 8. However, an upgrade from Windows XP or Windows Vista will remove all of your installed programs, and you'll have to re-install them.

I see no benefit to upgrading for the vast majority of users, and I won't be upgrading my computers to Windows 8.

I don't like Windows 8, but I need a new computer. What can I do?

There are some computer makers and stores on the Internet that still sell computers that run Windows 7.

Windows 8 has a built-in Desktop program that works almost the same as the traditional Desktop in previous versions. However, Microsoft has removed the Start button and Start menu from the Desktop. Some sympathetic software companies have written programs that restore those features to Windows 8.

Some laptop computers come with a touchpad that supports some or all of the new Windows 8 touch gestures without requiring a touchscreen. There are also external touchpads and mice that do the same thing for desktop computers.

I can help you find a computer that runs Windows 7. If you're getting a new computer that runs Windows 8, I can help you by: