Now is the perfect time for Microsoft to resurrect Windows 8 – for one simple reason

Alright, I know that headline is a bold statement. Windows 8 was one of the most widely reviled iterations of Microsoft’s flagship OS – released at a time when everyone was still yearning for the functional simplicity of Windows XP, and sporting a weird tile-based UI designed to benefit the Surface tablet line, a product series that Microsoft has never seemed fully able to commit to.

I won’t lie, I was riding the Windows 8 hate train at the time; hell, I was the damn conductor, and I owned a Surface. The biggest failing of the OS, to my mind, was that it also included the option to swap to a conventional (and frankly, better) Windows desktop interface, but not by default – adding an annoying extra step to getting to my desktop every time I fired up my device. 

To make matters worse, the Surface didn’t need a tablet-style UI. Part of the appeal was that it was a tablet with the functionality of the best Windows laptops, so I simply didn’t want a different UI – I wanted a laptop. But what if that tile screen was actually good – just ahead of its time?

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Microsoft Surface displaying Windows 8.

The classic Surface is an object of nostalgia for me – but not because of its operating system, that’s for sure. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Surface tablets are still a feeble competitor to the Apple iPad, if market share is anything to go off, but there’s a new breed of Windows device in town: gaming handhelds. After the success of Valve’s Steam Deck, we’ve seen a handful of Windows-powered imitators: the Asus ROG Ally, the Lenovo Legion Go, and the upcoming MSI Claw, just to name a few.

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