Windows 8 - start

I had to stop from my regular news reporting this morning to get this out there. Windows 8 is fine. The water is warm and you should feel free to dive right in. I’ve been running the consumer preview for several months and I haven’t had any major issues that are bothersome. Here’s why I needed to write this.

There were several reports this morning suggesting that Skype for Windows 8 was coming and that it’s one of few applications that will be available at launch. That’s not true. Not in the slightest. It’s the ARM-based Windows RT systems, such as Surface RT, that this is a problem with. I’ve been running Starcraft II and dozens of other games, Chrome, Firefox, the current version of Skype, Photoshop, Spotify and every other application I ever ran on Windows 7 without a problem. Your applications will all run perfectly fine on Windows 8 when it  launches on Oct. 26.

The issue at hand, and the reason some press outlets appear to be confused, is just that… the SKUs are confusing. Windows RT runs on ARM-based processors, which means that your standard Windows apps won’t run. It’s essentially a mobile operating system like Windows Phone 8 is, just specifically for lower-priced tablets. As such, there won’t be tons of applications at launch, I don’t think, and you’ll need to wait for the ones you like to be optimized. Some won’t ever be.

So when I saw news this morning that Skype was going to be among the few apps available for Windows 8 at launch it had me worried. Consumers need to know that this isn’t the case. You’re fine. Instead, the new version of Skype is optimized for Windows 8. That means it will support live tiles in the new, optional, user interface. It also has touchscreen support for the new computers and tablets that will launch with Windows 8 installed and with touchscreen displays.

My only gripe with Windows 8 is that, honestly, I’m not a huge fan of what I still call Metro UI. Microsoft changed the name, but I’m sticking with it for consistency sake. I still prefer the full desktop user experience and barely, if ever, use the tile-based one. But that’s what’s nice about Windows 8 – you can choose.

So stop worrying. Just make sure you’re grabbing a Windows 8 system, and not Windows RT, if you want to run all of the applications you already have.

There, I feel better.