Gartner is giving the thumbs up to Windows 8.1, crediting the operating system refresh with overcoming the major downsides of Windows 8.
Improvements to Windows 8 that will become available next week should prompt businesses to consider deploying it for desktops and laptops, not just touchscreen devices, Gartner analysts say.
While the operating system originally released last fall is heavily
touch-centric, the announced changes that come with Windows 8.1 should
be enough to make the new version enterprise ready, say Gartner analysts
Michael A. Silver and Stephen Kleynhans. “Based on the information
currently available, we believe Windows 8.1 features could quiet most of
its detractors,” they say in a blog post.
Those improvements include the capability to boot directly to the
desktop rather than the Windows 8 Start screen and restoration of a
Start button on the desktop. Ready access to the desktop should make it
easier for users to find a familiar interface, and Gartner says that
means they will be able to interact with their current apps as they do
with Windows 7. “Microsoft has not released many other details, but
Gartner expects only minor changes to the Windows desktop, which would
ensure high levels of compatibility with legacy Win32 desktop
applications,” the analysts say.
Gartner recommends that businesses set aside time for testing their most
important applications on Windows 8.1 and make sure the publishers of
these applications are on board with support for Windows 8.1. “In the
future, Windows will likely include more updates like 8.1, perhaps on an
annual basis,” Silver and Kleynhans say.
They say businesses should consider adopting Windows 8.1 as they replace
old PCs so long as they’ve done testing of these key apps. Internet
Explorer 11, which comes with Windows 8.1, will also require testing
with current apps.
Pilot programs involving Windows 8 are OK to continue, but they should
be transferred over to Windows 8.1 preview as soon as possible, they