Small Business Brief

Technology & Software

Windows 8.1 vs Windows 10 for Business: A Complete Review

At the end of 2018, Windows 10 became the most popular operating system in the world. It is now running on more than 700 million devices.

It took the crown from the previous market leader, which was Windows 7. But there was another release in between those two that often gets overlooked: Windows 8.

Windows 8 was arguably the biggest overhaul of Windows since Windows 95. And whilst the launch version had a few teething problems, Windows 8.1 proved to be a fantastic operating system for businesses. 

So read on as we compare Windows 8.1 vs Windows 10 to help you decide which is the best choice for your business.

Booting Up

Time is money. Especially when it comes to your business.

So the last thing you want is to be wasting time waiting for your computer to start up. The good news is that whether you opt for Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, both are pretty quick at starting up.

You shouldn’t be waiting for more than 8 or 9 seconds from powering on to being ready to go. Windows 10 may be a fraction faster on slower machines, but it’s really barely noticeable.

Start Screen vs. Start Menu

One of the big issues that many people had when Windows 8 first appeared was the start screen.

When Windows 95 launched, Microsoft famously paid The Rolling Stones $3 million for the rights to use their song “Start Me Up” as the soundtrack for the commercial. The reason for that was because they were promoting the “Start” button that became a staple of Windows operating systems for years.

So when Windows 8 was launched and that button was gone, it put off a lot of previous users. Designed to make Windows 8 perfect to use on both desktop and tablet, it left desktop users feeling a little bit put out. Windows 10 has brought back a hybrid of both, but the good old Start Menu is back.

Application Start-Up Speed

Another issue that’s important to businesses is how fast applications will load.

For general non-business use such as browsing the web or using video chat, there isn’t much difference between the two versions of the operating system. Windows Explorer is a little faster to load in Windows 10 but there is less than half a second of difference.

Using Office

For more business-orientated software, you might expect there to be more of a difference.

And Windows 10 is a little faster at running programs such as Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. But the difference isn’t huge; Windows 10 will probably run these programs about 10% quicker than they run on Windows 8.1.

Using High-Performance Software

If your business uses seriously powerful software such as Adobe Creative Suite, then you’ll want to an operating system that can run these as fast as possible.

And there does seem to be a fairly noticeable improvement in speed when running these applications on Windows 10 as opposed to Windows 8.1. This is most likely due to better driver support and utilization of resources.


If you’re using your computer for your business, then good multitasking is vital.

Windows 8.1 was great for multitasking, but lacked the ability to use multiple desktops, a feature of Mac OS X. Windows 10 fixes that problem. You can now use Windows+Crtl with the right or left key to scroll through as many desktops and full-screen applications as you want.

You can also snap up to four windows together on one screen, which outdoes the maximum of two available on a Mac.


For a business, you need your operating system to be as stable as possible.

And this is where Windows 8.1 really shines. Incredibly for such a dramatic redesign, Windows 8 was very stable from the outset. Windows 10 on the other has had a few frustrating bugs including things such as crashes, glitches, and even accidentally deleting files.

Whilst updates will cure these problems as they are discovered, if you’re looking for stability, Windows 8.1 is the stronger choice.


With the introduction of Secure Boot, Windows 8 cut down the risk of some of the most devastating forms of malware.

And whilst it frustrated users who wanted a dual boot system, for most businesses, increased security is far more important. Windows 10 takes this one step further, allowing manufacturers to lock users out of disabling the safety feature.

If you’re worried about your employees messing with their work computers, this could be a great option.

Battery Life

When you’re on the go, battery life is very important.

There is little to choose between either operating system in terms of battery life. But Windows 10 will run a tiny bit longer than Windows 8.1 under the same load. This probably isn’t enough to make it a deciding factor, however.


If you were using an older version of Windows, upgrading was quite a time-consuming process.

This has been made a lot easier in Windows 10. You no longer need to wipe your entire hard drive for a fresh installation. An in-place upgrade can now be performed from Windows 7 or higher that will maintain all of your documents, applications, and settings.

This isn’t an option with Windows 8.1 but you can find out more about how to install that operating system.

Tablet Performance

Windows 8 was designed to work on both desktop and tablet.

And whilst this was a good start in Windows 8.1, Windows 10 has taken it to the next level. It will automatically adapt your interface depending on whether you’re using it on tablet or laptop. Remove the screen from a Surface computer for example, and you will be asked if you want to switch to Tablet Mode.

This will then remove the taskbar and run all of your apps in full screen.

Chosen Your Winner Between Windows 8.1 vs Windows 10?

Hopefully, this article has helped you choose a winner in the battle between Windows 8.1 vs Windows 10.

Whichever operating system you opt for, you have a great choice for your business. And if you’re looking for more useful business advice, then you’re in the right place. We have plenty more articles covering all aspects of running a small business.

Whether you’re looking for general business advice, small business tips on entrepreneurship, or marketing ideas, you’ll be able to find what you need amongst these pages. Feel free to take a good look around.