I've been running Windows 8 on some test computers for severals months, so I'm comfortable with the new version of Windows and what to expect from it, but it is very different testing a brand new operating system than it is to convert your primary computer to it.
And so this weekend was the time I chose to convert my primary computer to Windows 8, and finally go do-or-die with it.
You know what? Not only is everything working great on my PC, but there are surprisingly few hiccups, and I'm really digging the new OS.
There are so many cool new things about Windows 8 it would be impossible to list them all, but I guess the most important thing for anyone considering the upgrade is that despite the new "metro" Start screen that replaces the Start Menu, you can operate your PC very much like you're used to with Windows 7 (or Windows Vista, or whatever you're using now).
In fact, if you just think of the metro Start screen as merely a replacement for the Start Menu, you'll be 90% along in understanding the changes to Windows. If you want, you can exist in the traditional Windows desktop mode most of the time, and just use the Start screen as a launcher of programs. In that respect, not much has changed.
But then once you get the hang of the Start screen, and you realize all the additional benefits that the metro interface gives you, there is a whole new world to explore, with a "Windows App Store" that works just like the Apple App Store, in which you can quickly find and download new programs ("apps") instead of having to search around the Internet for them. There are lots of free apps, in addition to cheap paid apps.
Another very cool thing about Windows 8 is if you have multiple PCs and/or devices. Because a Microsoft account is now linked directly into Windows, when you sign into your different Windows devices, it instantly synchronizes all of your settings to each device.
For example, I purchased a new Microsoft Surface tablet running Windows RT (the low-cost tablet version of Windows 8), and when I sign in on the tablet, changes I made on my PC are also instantly visible on the tablet. For example, when I changed the desktop background graphics on my PC, the same background graphic appeared on the Surface tablet. It's kind of freaky-cool the first time you see it happen.
Again, there is so much to like about Windows 8 there is hardly room to list it all, but suffice to say that it's really great. I was really nervous about switching over my primary PC, but I'm really happy I did so now.