Microsoft is only a few months away from launching Windows 8 and you're probably wondering whether you should upgrade.

We've put together eight reasons why you should upgrade to Windows 8 ahead of the launch which is expected to come along later this year. Windows 8 is a major redesign of the operating system (OS) so you'll want to consider carefully before taking the plunge.

See also: Microsoft Windows 8 review and Windows 8: The complete Guide

Windows 8: Touchscreen support

Windows 8 supports devices with a touchscreen and is fundamentally designed for them. The Metro style user interface is meant to be controlled with touch. This makes it an appealing upgrade for those with an existing touchscreen device such as an all-in-one PC.

If you don't have a touchscreen device then you might want to get one specifically for Windows 8 even though it means a hardware purchase on top of the OS. However, Windows 8 does support the traditional keyboard and mouse input. 

Windows 8: Metro user interface

The Metro-style interface which we mentioned earlier is the basis of Windows 8 and represents a somewhat radical redesign for the OS. It looks very similar to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 interface and instead of the normal desktop with icons there are live tiles.

These will launch an application like an icon but also have the ability to show live information such as new emails and up-to-date weather.

Overall the interface is really easy and intuitive to use, especially with a touchscreen. Different gestures, either with touch or a mouse, will do clever things like close apps, open your last used app, access menus and more.

Windows 8 Metro interface

Windows 8: Apps

Windows 8 has a more mobile OS approach when it comes to app with its own Store. This is where you can browse, download and install apps designed for the Metro user interface and likely a touch input.

The selection of apps is currently limited but it is expected that the number will be significantly higher when Windows 8 gets its full launch. A lot of apps will display in full-screen with one example being Maps. This app uses Microsoft's Bing Maps service to provide locational search and directions on a global scale. Windows 8 comes pre-loaded with a number of Metro apps including People, Calendar, Photos, Music, Messaging and Video.

Windows 8 Maps

Windows 8: Cloud services

Windows 8 has a cloud focus to it which might be a tempting feature. Microsoft stores all your settings and customisations in the cloud so whenever you log on to a Windows 8 machine you will have it looking and working your way.

Other elements of the cloud system include pulling your email from Gmail, for example, and viewing all your photos from Facebook.

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