Windows 8 Announcement

Microsoft released Windows 8 on October 26th, 2012 and most Windows hardware vendors are now shipping systems with Windows 8 installed.

ITS Recommendation

Information Technology Services (ITS) will support Windows 8 for our clients, including off-campus students, on new systems that ship with Windows 8 pre-installed. ITS strongly recommends that College community members thinking of upgrading to Windows 8 adopt a “wait and see” approach, continuing to use earlier supported versions of Windows (Windows 7 SP1 and Windows XP SP3) until the initial bugs and compatibility issues in Windows 8 are identified and fixed.

It is ITS policy to test new software fully before deploying to College-owned computers. At this point there are no plans to replace Windows 7 as the officially supported Windows Operating System on campus. This stance may change in the future, but probably not before the summer of 2014.

Compatibility at Swarthmore

On current PC hardware running Windows 8 Pro, most College applications function as expected, including SwatWireless, Directory Services, and Swatmail. Notable software and services that are not supported include the Xythos drive, LiveBackup, and our legacy ‘Admin-Print’ server.

Swarthmore’s McAfee AntiVirus software will install and run on Windows 8, but there are no available definition files for the new Operating System as of late January 2013. Though there are built-in anti-virus and anti-malware tools within Windows 8 which offer some protection, users are encouraged to exercise caution and install additional antivirus software until definition files are released. ITS will make definition files available as soon as they are released.

What is New in Windows 8

Windows 8 marks a huge change to the user-facing portions of Windows. The default interface, called “Modern” or “Windows 8”, is optimized for touch screens, with large, finger-friendly tiles and interface elements using various swipes to activate and manipulate windows and tiles. Users of Windows Phone 7.x and other Microsoft consumer devices such as the Xbox will find this interface to be somewhat familiar, though not identical to previous devices.

There are two interfaces in Windows 8: the new Modern user interface and the classic Windows desktop which should be familiar to users of Windows 7 or XP. However, even the classic desktop includes navigation and control panel changes that will create a learning curve for most users.

If you are interested in more information about Windows 8, refer to Microsoft’s page: