mute, it sounds like you’re going from Vista straight to Win 8, am I right? In that case, I’m sure Windows 8 is an improvement for you. Vista, while it had some great ideas, was critically bloated and in dire need of streamlining.
I just wanted to note that in my own tests on Windows 8 I’ve confirmed that it’s actually a little more RAM and resource intensive than Windows 7- which shouldn’t be a surprise, but a lot of people have been saying “Wow, Win 8 is so fast and lean!” when it is actually slightly less so than Win 7… it’s still a lot better than Vista, though.
However, in my own tests, I uncovered something really odd (and possibly concerning). The DPC Latency checker that many folks use to diagnose their PCs for latency issues reports that a computer running Windows 8 has an average latency over eight times greater than Windows 7 running on that same PC (with both configurations running at “high performance” mode).
I had been hoping my tests were an anomaly, but I’ve been hearing on other forums that my findings were consistent with others. I’ve also heard this may have to do with some power saving changes in Windows 8 (and power saving in Windows generally means reduced performance). This difference has been observed by others in tools other than the DPC Latency checker, but I still haven’t seen any real-world DAW performance tests yet between Win 7 and Win 8 on the exact same hardware.
Also, driver compatibility, in my own experience, is better on Windows 7 than on Windows 8. Again, shouldn’t be a surprise, as Win 8 architecture has changed a bit, and they’ve also pulled some old drivers and OS features for housekeeping. There are even some really weird (likely accidental) omissions on Windows 8, in the FireWire and optical drive areas. I’ve been working on Win 8 for nine months and I can’t tell you how many times it installed on a PC and it didn’t even install the driver for the SAME OPTICAL DRIVE THAT WAS USED TO INSTALL THE OS. I had to set up network shares if I needed to install anything from a disc after initial setup. I am hardly the only one who experienced this, either.
So anyway, for maximum compatibility and performance, Windows 7 is probably still objectively the place to be. Speaking purely subjectively though, as someone who’s actually had to develop software for Win 8, it is my least favorite desktop OS that Microsoft has ever produced. They have removed a bunch of features and introduced a lot more clicking and hovering to the workflow. If Windows 8 is seriously the way Microsoft is going with their desktop OSes… well let’s just say I’ve been making sure to download the Mac OS versions of all VSTs I’ve purchased this year.