If you’re looking for product keys for Windows 8, if you’re wondering what happened to the platform, and if you’re wondering what level of support is still available… then you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll go over everything that you need to know about product keys for Windows 8.
What is Windows 8?
Starting from the beginning, just what is Windows 8?
Windows 8, and its slightly newer iterative update Windows 8.1, are collectively the second most recent version of Windows (which is 10). Going forward, we will refer to Windows 8.1 and 8 simply as Windows 8. The most current version available right now, is Windows 10.
Windows 8 marked a huge departure for Microsoft. Following the highly successful Windows 7, Windows 8 had a clear goal: to provide a more adaptable operating system that would be suitable for use on both desktop computers and tablets. This meant that the operating system had to be more touch-friendly, and would support ARM-compatible apps called ‘Metro Apps’ that would be smaller, and also more touch-friendly. The difference is stark, even when compared to modern Windows 10 computers, and many will buy product keys for Windows 8 simply to experience this change.
To accomplish these goals, Windows 8 did away with the usual Start menu, and instead used a ‘Start Screen’ that filled the entire display with tiles. These were much larger and could display information from an app – in a manner very similar to the also-defunct Windows Mobile.
If you were to choose a Metro app from the Start Screen, then it would open up and fill the entire screen. Using swipe gestures, it would be possible to ‘pin’ more than one app to the screen at once however, for easy multitasking. You could also swipe from the edge left and right in order to scroll through running apps.
If you were to choose a legacy ‘desktop’ app however, then it would send you to the ‘Desktop mode’ where it would open in the usual resizable window. Oddly, Desktop mode was treated as its own ‘app’, meaning you could swipe it to one side to jump into a full-screen, parred-down Metro app.
These changes were somewhat controversial. Apart from anything else, the touch-screen modes were not terribly welcoming for keyboard and mouse users. On top of that, constantly switching between modes could be seen as a little confusing and disorienting. The Windows Store was also very sparse in terms of the apps available, meaning that tablet users would be forced to try and navigate the old desktop-mode with just a finger.
Even the menus were half metro and half old-school – some dating all the way back to Windows XP and Vista.
Many of these concepts would be improved upon with Windows 10. In particular, the juggling of touch-screen and mouse-input apps is now handled via the ‘continuum mode’, which automatically adjusts to better suit the type of apps being used. Again, some might choose to use product keys for Windows 8 if only to see the operating system that laid the foundations for what was to come.
Eventually, Microsoft announced Windows 10 and informed Windows 8 users that they had 2 years to upgrade for free. Following that, the company ended all support for Windows 8, meaning that it no-longer receives security patches.
Product Keys for Windows 8 Today
While Microsoft no longer officially supports Windows 8 – and thus no longer sells product keys for Windows 8 – it is possible to buy the old operating system from a number of 3rd party sellers. This will work just like the original product, but is extremely affordable. It is important to keep in mind though that there is no support, it might not work on your system, and it today poses a security risk.
Make sure when buying product keys for Windows 8, that you avoid buying the ARM-only ‘Windows RT’. This version was designed for mobile processors and will only run Windows Store apps. You should also think – as ever – about whether you need a business or personal license.
Why Would You Want Product Keys for Windows 8?
So, why might you want product keys for Windows 8? Other than the aforementioned historical interest, product keys for Windows 8 will allow you to use an operating system that is arguably better suited to touchscreens even than Windows 10 – depending on your intended use. It is also a much more affordable option than Windows 10 and will work better with some old hardware – Windows 10 actually damaged some of the devices it was pushed to.
Plus, while Windows 8 won’t receive updates… for some that can be considered a bonus. Just make sure that you don’t keep any sensitive information on this machine if you plan on storing personal data here.