Windows 8.1 is a very capable operating system hiding behind a touchscreen requirement. Yes, the user interface requires more corner moves than an elementary school four corners game. Yes, they did wholesale theft of the Sony PlayStation 3 menu system which is, arguably, the worst thing about Sony's device. But if you can get your brain past the stupidity then most everything else is better than 7. And, frankly, it is refreshing to know that Windows 9/10 is on the horizon.
One area that many complain about is lack of compatibility with Windows 7 drivers. Understandable given the manufacturers not so subtle approach of asking us to purchase new equipment. (Those sales do not benefit them financially in the slightest, of course.) However, you can connect even your oldest hardware with a little extra effort.
We have an old Fujisu SnapScan workhorse that the manufacturer says will grind to a stop on Windows 8. Nonsense. Download the drivers that will get it up and running on Windows 7 and run the software in Windows 7 compatibility mode. It is surprising how many pieces of software that supposedly will never work on the latest version that suddenly snap to life with this approach.
Printer drivers are more tricky, of course. We have an HP LaserJet 8550 color printer that, again, is completely incompatible with Windows 8. What they will not tell you is that HP has a Universal Printer Driver that is compatible with nearly every HP printer out there. Admittedly, it is not the prettiest driver and it sometimes requires you to go into sub-settings to get features (like color printing?!) to start up, but I have not found an HP printer manufactured in the last two decades that will not spring to life with the driver. And, it is Windows 8 compatible.
Sure. For old hardware you might have to work a little harder to get it working perfectly again, but it is usually possible to do. If you do not mind hunting down a solution to these vexing devices then the transition to 8, while we await a true upgrade. can seem almost acceptable.