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TMCNet:  Tech Q&A: A look at who is likely to use Windows 8

[November 14, 2012]

Tech Q&A: A look at who is likely to use Windows 8

Nov 14, 2012 (Star Tribune (Minneapolis) - McClatchy-Tribune News Service via COMTEX) -- QUESTION: I read your column advising someone to avoid Windows 8 and stick with Windows 7 if they don't have a touch screen.

But another option is to get a new touch pad, which allows you to use the same gestures you would on a touch screen. Wouldn't that be easier to use than a touch screen because we're already primed to use a device beside our PCs _Tom Regnier, Minnetonka Beach, Minn.

ANSWER: What you suggest strikes me as a way to force Windows 8 onto an older desktop or laptop PC that wasn't designed to run it. That's probably not a good idea.

Why Unlike earlier versions of Windows, Windows 8 isn't much of an improvement over what preceded it. All it offers, really, is a new touch-screen interface. So if the touch-screen experience isn't satisfactory, you have to ask yourself why you bought it.

There are four distinct groups who will potentially use Windows 8, probably with varying degrees of satisfaction.

_Tablet computer users: This is still a new market, and there's room for another major operating system besides Apple's iOS and Google's Android. While Microsoft's own Surface Windows 8 tablet is not quite as slick as Apple's iPad, it's a good touch-screen device.

_Smartphone users: There's more competition for Windows Phone 8 in smartphones because iPhones and Android phones both have loyal users. Microsoft has barely made a dent in the smartphone market in the past, so it has a steep hill to climb.

_Users of new Windows 8 desktop and laptop PCs that come with touch screens: The success of Windows 8 will depend on whether it's better for doing real work than Windows 7 or XP that are run by a keyboard and mouse. Since millions of people have been happy with the traditional Windows interface, it's unclear whether the Windows 8 touch-screen approach will be successful.

In addition, using the Windows 8 interface on a new PC means having to buy all your software over again. (Windows 8 allows you to switch back to the traditional Windows 7 mode to run your existing software, but that defeats the purpose of buying Windows 8.) _Users of older PCs without touch screens: My advice is to stick with Windows 7, not Windows XP.

Q: I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get rid of my free AOL e-mail account. I don't use it, and in May some hackers got into it and created a mess.

I've tried to call and write to AOL, but they don't respond. What can I do _Grace Nolan, Maple Plain, Minn.

A: See "How do I cancel my free AOL account " on AOL's help website, at

___ ABOUT THE WRITER Steve Alexander covers technology for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Readers may write to him at Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55488-0002; email: Please include a full name, city and phone number.

___ (c)2012 Star Tribune (Minneapolis) Visit the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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