Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires Thanks To Low Loyalty, Limited Benefits

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News Posted: Tue, Mar 4 2014 4:43 PM
For the past few months, Microsoft has been loudly and insistently banging a drum. All support and service for Windows XP and Office 2003 shuts down on April 8 -- no more security updates, no more fixes. In early February, faced with a slight uptick in users on the decrepit operating system the month before, Microsoft hit on an idea:  Why not recruit tech-savvy friends and family to tell old holdouts to get off XP?

The response to this earnest effort was a torrent of abuse from Windows 8 users who aren't exactly thrilled with the operating system. Microsoft has come under serious fire for some significant missteps in this process, including a total lack of actual upgrade options. What Microsoft calls an upgrade involves completely wiping the PC and reinstalling a fresh OS copy on it -- or ideally, buying a new device.

According to Gene Grabowski, an executive vice president with PR management firm Levick, this disaster was predictable. Microsoft has misjudged how strong its relationship is with consumers and failed to acknowledge its own shortcomings. Not providing an upgrade utility is one example -- but so is the general lack of attractive upgrade prices or even the most basic understanding of why users haven't upgraded.


If you're not familiar with modern operating systems, this is not a feature

Microsoft's blog post listing reasons why consumers should upgrade include the following "advantages." We've thoughtfully included our evaluations.

Windows 8 is "Highly Personal."


True. Since I started using Windows 8, I've begun referring to my computer with very particular names and specific phrases, most of which I didn't learn in Sunday School. When your ad copy includes the phrase "more background designs and colors" as a feature, it's possible that you're marketing to the wrong crowd.

"The Best Windows yet... scaling from 8-inch tablets, two-in-ones, and large-screen all-in-ones."

Remember, this is a blog post aimed at selling people running Windows XP. Forget tablets -- what does it do for ancient eight-pound Inspirons with wheezing fans and a mole rat living in the ducting? How's it work on a VGA-based LCD with a maximum resolution of 1024x768? Please, tell me how your touch-based tablet experience will boost the performance of my roller-based mouse.

"A beautifully redesigned store."

Full of software no one wants with hardware requirements your computer couldn't meet if someone kicked it off a cliff. If you're still on Windows XP, it's entirely possible that you're stuck with graphics hardware that's barely DX9-capable.

"Deep cloud integration with OneDrive."


If I tell my grandmother her new OS has "deep cloud integration," she'll look concerned and ask me if it makes the computer hard to see. She might even hook up a dehumidifier nearby to keep the water vapor down.

Underneath the snark, a real problem

Ok, so, making fun of Microsoft is easy -- but underneath the tone-deaf messaging, there is a genuine problem. Windows XP is 13 years old and Microsoft has no obligation to continue supporting it -- but failing to support it means that many of the most vulnerable or cash-strapped customers could end up playing host to an avalanche of malware or security exploits.

Microsoft's right to kill XP is unquestioned, but the company appears to have no insight into why its customers continue to use the OS. The fact that it only recently made a file migration tool available is evidence that Redmond hasn't actually investigated the problem. Do consumers need a low-cost upgrade version? Upgrade tools? New hardware? Are the 29% of users still stuck on XP pirates, consumers, small businesses, or enterprise users? Are we talking about broke kids in their 20s with old netbooks, elderly people stretching out the lifespan of a computer, or foreign users who can't afford an upgrade?

The fact that Microsoft apparently can't be arsed to find out means the upcoming transition will be ugly. 
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XP is well over 10yrs old, for the love of god let it go already.

Why should they support something so dam old? Windows 8 and 7 are far better then windows XP.

Move on people move on......

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Why should they support something so dam old?

Because for millions of people, it still works fine.

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I agree to some extent that Window XP is still one of my favourite OS. And Window 7 is the modern version of it. But when looking at Windows 8, it looks cool but somehow doesn't appeal to me. Maybe because of compatibility?

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lipe123 replied on Tue, Mar 4 2014 5:59 PM

Bottom line, windows 8 is a pain in the ass on the desktop. XP users are desktop users.

XP -> windows 8 = fail.

Not only is there a huge problem with windows8 on desktop but there is also nothing being done about it.

Every day I get a messed up windows 8 laptop in with a broken hard drive I have to install win8, then update to 8.1 redownloading the massive 3.6gb update each and every time.

8.1 refuses to install with a win8 key, WTF is that?

Then they brag about the new updates for win8 with prettier blocks and more shiney BS that NOBODY asked for.

Compare windows live mail to the mail app from win8, its a total joke. even my gmail app on my android device has better functionality. What about the "photos" app vs the "old" photoviewer, once again the "old" program was light years better. Same goes for the reader .. and every other fancy new fullscreen featureless "app" they took from their failed phone experiment and dumped onto the desktop.

Make windows 8 work properly on a desktop before doing anything else.

The best feature of windows 8 is to be able to install a program like start8 or classicshell and bypass all the useless junk and get back to work.

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Joel H replied on Tue, Mar 4 2014 6:07 PM

I disagree with all the people who say "Windows XP works fine," for two reasons

1). It doesn't work fine. It's archaic, based on flawed standards and compromised security. It's not "fine," and after 13 years, Microsoft has more than fairly supported it. I'd rather use Windows 8.1 than Windows XP, given that Windows 8.1 includes DX11.2, support for >4 cores, modern audio and networking capability, TRIM, 2D and 3D desktop acceleration, better task switching, better multi-threading, and a better memory usage model.

I say this as someone who is still using Windows 7 because I don't *want* to be using Windows 8.1. But between XP and 8.1? 8.1, all the way.

2). Unless you're still doggedly sticking XP on modern hardware, chances are your computer is now 10 years old *or* was a dead-slow netbook in the 2006 - 2007 era. In either case, your computer now performs like a dead manatee. With asthma.

Nobody wants a dead, asthmatic manatee, which is why I seriously doubt very many people *want* to be using XP. Yet we know people *are* using XP. Millions of them. This, in turn, suggests that the reason people haven't traded in their decaying sea cow for a nice fresh dolphin is because they're prevented from doing so by work restrictions, economic problems, or both.

If you want people to stop using your product in a situation like this, you have to develop a mitigation plan that actually addresses the reasons why they aren't switching.

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Windows XP is by no means better then windows 7 or windows 8. Just because you don't like the UI with windows 8 doesn't mean its crap or a fail. As a core OS is more stable and faster then any other version of windows.

I have to support Windows XP and i bloody well hate it, We have windows 7 as our core OS and testing Windows 8. I can understand that people done like the metro UI and miss the old start button, however that is no reason to say windows xp is better os. if you want the start button back install classicshell. I for one did not install classicshell because i like it better the way it is.

In a corporate environment windows XP is not fine at all, not anymore.

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XP is good for a lot of simple compute tasks and it runs on old, moldy PCs without problems.

This makes it perfect for Point of sale, inventory, NCC work, and other bisiness tasks.

It's already out there and working,....so why buy new for a lot of money?

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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Just shut down the Windows Update service for XP users on April 8, then que sera sera. Don't try to convert them.

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curti_m replied on Wed, Mar 5 2014 4:46 AM

All you MS apologists out there, there's a good reason we don't want to "upgrade". Years of unfixed bugs, substitute bugs in new versions of windows, and predatory marketing. I was forced out of my Win98 world by Flash10, which kicked Win98 off the internet after an intense campaign to convert websites to Flash10, websites that didn't need it. I replaced my old hard hardware with "new" stuff that had Win7 & found that all the programs that I paid big bucks for won't work in it. I'm talking about PhotoShop, Dreamweaver and many others. I then "DownGraded" to XP and have a few more years of use from them. The system I have does everything I want it to. Buying "new" is good for the industry but makes bad financial sense for me. When this rather large investment becomes unusable (as when they put out Flash20 to kick XP off the net...) I'll switch to open source and carry on from there. I don't like the MS marketing model and won't be participating.

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Windows 7 doesn't run 16-bit programs. You might say those are "really old", or that an option is to run them in a VM, but part of the reason my family still has Windws machines at all is for 16-bit software we purchased.

In an enterprise setting, likewise, there may be in-fouse software developed with 16-bit Turbo Pascal, or any of the other hundreds of compilers and toolkits that were advertised in _Byte_ or _Dr Dobbs Journal_ in the late '80s. You'd hope that the organization has a way to migrate, but no one will be happy with a new deadline for that.

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Joel H replied on Wed, Mar 5 2014 11:55 AM

Curti_M,

1). All of the Adobe software going back to the mid-1990s can be banged into functioning in Windows 7. I've run Photoshop 7 (released circa 1998) on Windows 7 64-bit with no problems. I don't know what issues you encountered, but they're solvable.

2). I'm sorry that you were forced to upgrade off an archaic operating system in 2008. I'm certain your system use was crippled by support for multi-core processing, a vastly improved driver model, an actual functional security model, better multi-user support, reliable support for >512MB of RAM, system uptime measured in months instead of days, better application support, and an avalanche of other improvements.

Unless you were running mission-critical 16-bit software, there's no reason for you to be in a Windows 98 operating environment.

3). By running archaic software on archaic platforms, you lose access to dramatic improvements that have accrued over time. I completely understand why you might think that upgrading every version is a bad idea; I'm still using Windows 7 and Office 2007 on my home system. But that having been said; I upgraded to Office 2007 from Office 2000 precisely because the newer version offered multiple important improvements and a better security model.

You appear to believe that because you created a workflow in the late 1990s, it remains the "best" workflor simply because it's familiar. That's actually pretty normal. Insisting that upgrading to Win 7 over Win 98 is a bum deal is not. Whether you recognize it or not, the improvements baked into Win 7 matter.

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3vi1 replied on Wed, Mar 5 2014 1:14 PM

Thought provoking.

I think Microsoft's trying to switch sales models. They've been mostly adamant about the Win8 interface, because the one feature/purpose is to put The Microsoft Store in your face.

If they want to stick with that, they can make it work. They just need to release Windows9 for free (as in beer), and accept that they're going to have to make the money on OEM/Enterprise support and their store kickback. I'm pretty sure the "now free" campaign would get them so many additional installs that they'd make money on the deal.

The only problem therein lies with destroying the perceived value of the operating system, which they're already doing with the massive price cuts. Short of a tidal wave of frivolous patent lawsuits, I don't see this ending in their favor.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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what about ATM's That Need Continued Support do they Goto Windows 7 Ultimate Edition with XP iin Virtual Console Post April 8th 2014

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I have a cousin who still uses XP. Here is what it uses it for:

1.Web browsing

2. Downloading movies (not playing them, dedicated hardware player for that)

3. Writing documents

As long as his computer continues to do these, he will NOT buy a new PC. He uses the PC for 1hour a day tops, there is no benefit.

Oh, and no XP user is scared of the end-of-support thing. They don't care.

Microsoft doesn't understand that in the past, a significant number of people upgraded only when they got a new PC. Because a 1998 PC was useless in 2002. Now, even a 2005 PC can do the three things above.

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NickChristides:

what about ATM's That Need Continued Support do they Goto Windows 7 Ultimate Edition with XP iin Virtual Console Post April 8th 2014

I would hope ATMs do not have internet access and instead are on their own VLAN on the corporate network.

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The problem is that if you wanted to upgrade your old XP box, where will you get a copy of Vista? And then you have to upgrade that to Windows 7, or even 8 or maybe you'll just wait until Windows 9 comes along.

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If the hardware still runs and is useful, people will use it. I still support some schoolteachers refurbishing 30 year old TI-99/4As for use in the third world.

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What's the point in upgrading? Beside missing OS patches, there is no compelling reason to ever upgrade to new plastic Barby (all looks no functionality) OS from MS.

What keeps me back:

- 1) Having to spend money on new machine and OS. Because MS shareholders need to get even reach-er than they are now?

- 2) Having to buy all new versions of 3rd party software. For some of these one can not even find adequate modern version (e.g. Adobe Photoshop where one can not buy offline (= not cloud based) version any more).

- 3) Having to learn new GUI, loosing benefits/efficiency of all the useful shortcuts, tricks and habits acquired over years of using Win2K/WinXP.. It takes me years to discover useful shortcuts and gotchas with software (and hardware), and now I have to scrap this because some genius in MS had idea to break all user-interface paradigms ever used.

- 4) Having to spend years to understand how to customize new version of Windows (which services & features to disable/remove, where are various command / system tool applets, etc).

- 5) Having to throw away two perfectly functional machines? Because we live in country where old still functional objects must be replaced by the newest toys?

I have squeezed 14 years (1999-2013) out of my previous system with Win2000. It was perfectly functional, well hardened (never using MS browser or mail program, no chat clients, using well armed alternate browser, using etc/hosts file to block recognized sources of tracking, adware and mallware, controlling running services on weekly basis, weeding out pests/autoupdaters [Adobe, Java, Google] as they appear, running up-to-date anti-malware scanner). The only reason I still do no use it is because hardware (few started giving up, and it is not possible to find adequate replacement in stores any more.

So, when these two current machines start dying, I will consider my options, and do accordingly. Currently I am leaning towards installing a Linux distro.

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Joel H replied on Wed, Mar 5 2014 6:07 PM

MarkSimons,

Posts like yours make me want to bang my head against the wall.

1). I don't know how old your current hardware is, but if you're using *old* equipment, you're waiting 2-5x longer for it to perform tasks than you might otherwise be. Furthermore, Microsoft has a right to make money on its products. If you bought Windows 2000 Professional at list price, you paid $319 for a product you have used for 14 years, or an average of $22 a year.

I'm not feeling too bad for your profit/expense ratio on that one.

2). Copies of the Adobe software can still be bought online. Alternately, you can continue using the copies you own -- though if you bought those copies in 1999, you're missing a huge number of performance optimizations.

3). Windows 8.1 can be configured to boot to desktop. Replacements for the Start Screen are available. The entire OS can be reset to look like the classic Win2K interface the same way every other MS operating system can.

4). The old days of hacking out bits of the registry, running Reg Cleaners, turning off services to gain back performance, and other low-level tweaks of that sort are no longer necessary. More often than not, the people who recommend such changes today don't understand the actual underlying code and purpose (I still see people claiming that Vista and later operating systems "suck down all your RAM" for example).

5). No one has said you should throw these machines, or any machine away. However, I would like to submit the following, since you seem to think upgrading is so worthless.

Compared to Windows 2000, Windows 8.1 offers:

*Vastly improved multi-threading support. Windows 2000 didn't handle Hyper-Threading very well as was never updated for multi-threading in the Core i7 era. It does not understand AMD's multi-threading model for Bulldozer products. Windows XP supports HT, but not CMT effectively.

*Vastly improved power management. Windows 2000 barely supported any CPU power management methods. Windows 8.1 has extensive support for these features. Windows XP supports minimal power management compared to later OS's.

*2D / 3D GUI acceleration. This substantially improves window draw times, application launches, alt-tabbing from an already-open 3D application, switching between multiple applications that use the GPU, and HTML5 rendering.

*Search: Windows 2000 didn't support instant searching (search-as-you-type) or the same type of file indexing. Searching on Windows 8.1 is orders of magnitude faster than on Windows 2000 or Windows XP.

*Hard Drives: Modern hard drives >2GB use a 4K sectors not 512b sectors. This causes significant performance degradation in Windows 2000. That's ok, though, because you can't use HDD's >2GB on Windows 2000 -- it doesn't implement the GUID Partition Table. Windows XP can handle this with patches.

 

I could go on. I haven't talked about vastly improved sleep / hibernation support, native codec implementations, hardware-accelerated media playback, faster boot times, better wireless networking support, far better security models, better wired network performance, the new audio engine (introduced with Vista), support for multi-core CPUs, better performance monitoring and reliability tools, or a hundred others. I could talk about application pinning, the redesigned and vastly improved Task Manager, vastly more flexible multi-monitor support, better high resolution font scaling, or the new File History feature.


But you, evidently, have decided that every single new feature of the OS world is either 1) useless or 2) A shameless attempt to grab money, despite the fact that these features represent the collective efforts of thousands of programmers working millions of hours over a period of more than a *decade.*Because how *dare* anyone improve anything without kowtowing to your decrepit hardware and self-entitlement complex.

 

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Joel H replied on Wed, Mar 5 2014 6:28 PM

If you want to use ancient hardware and software, then use ancient hardware and software. That's 100% your right. I'm not going to tell you that you can't.

But don't pretend that your decision to stick with ancient equipment actually reflects a lack of progress by the rest of the industry.

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Joel H:

If you want to use ancient hardware and software, then use ancient hardware and software. That's 100% your right. I'm not going to tell you that you can't.

But don't pretend that your decision to stick with ancient equipment actually reflects a lack of progress by the rest of the industry.

 

Definitely, for example someone still using an old version of Photoshop might be well served by a free program like Paint.net or GIMP on the newer operating system. And also with an older operating system you may have needed to install an app to do something but in a more modern version of the OS there maybe some built-in functionality you can live with. 

 

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HeiZahn replied on Thu, Mar 6 2014 5:27 PM

Extensive list of features available in more recent versions of Windows, that I miss in my trusty Windows XP x64 SP2:

* TRIM support

EOL. If my operating system can't fit on a single CD, all drivers included, it has too much clutter that I don't need and certainly don't want, nor will ever use. The only software produced by Microsoft that I actually use are the base operating system, the calculator and the task manager. They all have everything I need or could wish for from a piece of software in their category. Sometimes Notepad, if I can't be bothered to fire up a real editor.

Maybe this will finally be the kick I needed to move to Ubuntu; it certainly seems getting a vanilla, stripped down Windows without horrendous bells and whistles is no longer possible. Please just give me the foundation; I want to build my own house, not spend my days changing the wallpaper.

There *is* a feature that I miss on this site though; a working Twitter sign-in button, that doesn't simply pop up a page with a 404...

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Joel H replied on Thu, Mar 6 2014 7:37 PM

HeiZahn,

1). Good luck with that. Ubuntu now requires more than one CD of disc space. The image size is 2GB.

2). Declaring that data should fit within a file format established circa 1993 is ridiculous. You say that the "only software produced by Microsoft that you use... is the base operating system."

Just the C:\Windows\ and C:\Windows\System32 directories contain a total of 446 executables in Windows 7. The majority of those programs run in the background, whether you're aware of them or not.

You're treating the "base operating system" as a static product that hasn't evolved. When you boot to desktop, the base operating system measures which applications you're likely to load and caches them into main memory. If you schedule tasks, those tasks rely on the base operating system to run appropriately. If you have background applications, those applications still hook into Microsoft's frameworks for proper execution.

Any application you own that uses .NET relies on frameworks created by MS and embedded in the OS. There's an *enormous* amount of software running in the background that you're dismissing because it doesn't meet an arbitrary size vector.

If you want to keep a modern Linux distro to just one CD, you'll have to look elsewhere for options.

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What some of you may have forgotten or maybe to young to remember is that when Windows XP it was a piece of software damn near everyone wanted and it totally blew existing desktop operating systems out of the water when it came to desktop computing while preserving compatibility with exisiting software.

In some cases even the old legacy software could be made to run better while running under XP.

Windows 7 and 8 are a significant improvement over XP in terms of security and reliability but are far from ideal.

Linux is also much more competitive now when used as a deskop operating system, sadly *some* of the more appealing Linux desktop applications and desktop managers are lacking even XP's UI refinement. To a person willing to tinker or even look up the instuctions to change desktop managers this is not as big of an issue. But its something you never had to do with XP.

I noticed a post earlier where it was mentioned how Windows 7/8/8.1 uptime can be measured in months. In theory thats possible, but with the constant barage of Windows Updates, System Software (.NET/JAVA), and a few other programs also updating i find it hard to believe you will go more then a month or two without rebooting and having a secure system.

Lets talk about security. Unless you use third party ($$$) software and/or hardware along with a Professional or Ultimate level of Windows you have no file system security. A simple linux boot disk with NTFS support and access to your computer I can not only see all your files for all your users, I can also view/copy/modify and touch (change date/time stamps). Sound far fetched? Give it a try on your own computer. Download and burn a live distro of Linux (Linux Mint - Cinnamon is a valid option for this experiment) to a DVD or USB Thumb Drive, reboot your computer, Set your BIOS or UEFI settings to boot from your DVD-Drive or USB drive.

Now after a few minutes of getting accustomed to your new Linux environment you will be able to browse the contents of the files on your system. And with careful but certainly not difficult steps you can view, modify and even delete any or all files on the system with out leaving a trace as to how these events took place.

The same is true for XP Home systems.

A lot of people don't like the UI of the newer versions of Windows. There is a learning curve to jump from XP to Windows 7, and its even steeper to jump to Windows 8/8.1 for an XP user.

The hardware requirements are obsurd. Microsoft and Windows is not completely to blame here but it baffles my mind when a driver for an intergrated sound chipset for Windows 7 is 109 MB. Another example, open up and run Firefox or Chrome and browse the internet for a day. At the beginning of the day note the amount of RAM used. Now at the end of the day not the amount of RAM used, and yes make sure you only have one "tab" open when you make the messurements. Do the same experiment with multiple tabs open.

For common everyday websites (not niche gaming sites) I see no practical reason why Firefox or Chrome grow their memory foot print to near or even beyond 1GB. You could argue in-memory cacheing for speed? Thats nice, give me the option to easily turn it off or better yet manage it. This is a problem with these browsers even in Linux, they love memory.

Which is sad, one of the reasons Firefox orignally came to be was they didn't like how resource heavy Netscape had become. Looks like its time for a rethink here too.

Here are my ideas. give us the core of Windows 7 or 8/8.1. And then present us with a UI that suits are needs. You may want windows 8.1, I want 7, a lot of people want XP. There is no reason Microsoft can't do this. Better yet provide a set of api's of various hardware requirements to their developers and let developers create UI's that can be sold on Microsofts App Store. Doesn't Microsoft get a piece of the profits?

Just my thoughts.

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Floppy Disks worked fine also and hard Drives are also working fine. 

 

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jra716 replied on Fri, Mar 7 2014 5:52 PM

This OS along with the many old computers running it just refuse to die. (x_x) I moved from XP to Vista and was sorely disappointed. Windows 7 was great and after getting used to Windows 8/8.1 I now love it.

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Joel and others.

I've worked with computers for most of my life. Microsoft has missed the boat entirely on Windows 8. While I no longer work in the IT field I am still considered by most of my friends and peers to be a computer enthusiast. I am one of those people that enjoy working with and on computers. My machine contrary to many of the arguments here is a state of the art desktop. It hosts the most current I7 processor, boatloads of ram and dual graphics cards and despite all of that Windows 8 has rendered my system a pain in the ass to use. I have multiple monitors on my system but even my wife's single monitor system has problems because of an interface that was designed for a tablet.

Working on something simple as a document (using Microsoft Word) becomes frustrating when I try to navigate the document and the damn screen keeps popping up to the left and bottom of my document. Try to open up a program and I have to fight with the Microsoft App store because they want to install a poorly written app in place of a well written program (Skype is a good example of this). Simple necessary programs fight this interface and it should say something that a program like Windows Classic Shell sells as well as it does.

You are right about the file structure being better, you are right about it being a better underlying program. However, you miss the point. The Betamax was the better machine, but it didn't make it as a product because the people who most used it disliked it.

Microsoft is making a lot of bad marketing decisions. Look at the early surface machines which wouldn't run MS Office products. This is one of them. Bring back an interface that lets desktop users who don't want/need touchscreens to function. I am not going to trade 3 30" monitors for a damn crappy touch interface just to make my OS - not my programs - my OS to function. Microsoft Windows 8.1 has become the OS/2 of this generation - technically advanced but not wanted.

For what it's worth Intel is about to make the same mistake with BGA chips. It will kill the enthusiasts market and when it comes down to just who has the cheapest machine AMD will win because no one will care if it's a percentage point faster, they will care if its cheaper.

Windows 8.1 epic fail

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Joel H replied on Fri, Mar 7 2014 9:52 PM

LowNimble,

I actually remember a great deal of hatred spilled over XP and people decrying Day-Glo interfaces and stupid icons, declaring that you'd pry Windows 2000 from their cold, dead hands. I've gone 3.5 months on a single reboot; my system has been up for 30 days at the moment.

2). I agree with you that Windows 7 / Windows 8 do not offer default file encryption on the Home versions, but what this shows is that "security" is a very diffuse topic. "Encrypted file systems," is an absolutely valid security metric, but so is "Fewer OS-level exploits" or "Non-Administrator accounts."

Windows 7 and Windows 8 are more secure out of the box than Windows XP, with fewer intrinsic points of weakness. Are they secure enough to satisfy a truly security-minded individual? Not by default, no. Not by a long shot.

3). Drivers: Keep in mind, the driver for your integrated sound card is not 109MB. The driver is 109MB because the driver author (Realtek) includes extremely fat DLLs and executables. (I just checked this. A set of Vista sound drivers for just Vista and Vista64 are 268MB unpacked -- 123MB per OS, with every file duplicated between the two.

That's horrendously inefficient, but it's not necessarily Microsoft's fault.

As for memory caching, I imagine they do it because the RAM, for the most part, is there and doing nothing else. I typically run 40-50 tabs. If they all grabbed 1GB, I'd quickly run out of room. But I expect a tab I haven't opened in 12 hours to still be sitting there, waiting for me, without the drag of reloading again.

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If they want to convert users, they should be offering cheaper updates. I don't see why they charge so much for an upgrade when they seem to be coming out with a newer version of Windows every other year these days. Windows XP lasted so long then Vista, 7, and 8 went by in the blink of an eye with the news of 9 coming out soon.

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Joel H replied on Sat, Mar 8 2014 5:31 PM

Mike,

I'm not going to argue that Microsoft 8.1's UI is great. In many ways, it isn't. While I don't mind the desktop losing Aero, like you, I find myself fighting with triggering the left and right menu options. I dislike it. I also dislike the fact that the system defaults to using poorly-written full-screen file preview software as opposed to the Classic Desktop "Windows Photo Preview." The desktop application is actually the better solution.

So I'm 100% on-board with all such arguments -- that's why I'm still using Windows 7, after all. So if you tell me "I prefer Windows to Windows 8," (or Ubuntu, or OS X, etc) then I'm on-board with that, no problem. For me, the benefits of using W8.1 don't outweigh the negatives.

But when people say: "Windows XP or Windows 2000 are just as good as Windows 8," that's where I draw the line. Because no -- in many, many, many ways, those operating systems are *not* better than Windows 8. They aren't better than W8 for a huge number of below-the-hood reasons and they really *shouldn't* be used anymore.

I'd be happy to help someone build a Windows 7 or Windows 8 desktop experience that replicated their classic Windows 2000 environment to the maximum extent possible, or to install software that got rid of W8.1's annoying Metro qualities -- but the massive improvements baked in between 2001 and 2009 (or 2012) are more than just an annoying UI.

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Joel H replied on Sat, Mar 8 2014 6:36 PM

PrinceDevil,

Windows 8.0 was sold for something like $30 as an upgrade for months. Windows 8.1 is free. Windows 8.1u1 is free.

The only reason Windows XP lasted as long as it did is because Bill Gates pulled everyone off Longhorn and set them to work repairing XP's broken security. That resulted in XP SP2, which made so many fundamental under-the-hood changes, it was arguably a different operating system altogether.

Windows 3.0 = 1990

Windows 3.1 = 1992

Windows 95 = 1995.

Windows 98 = 1998

Windows ME: 1999

Windows XP = 2001

Windows XP SP2 = 2004

Windows Vista = 2007

Windows 7 = 2009

Windows 8 = 2012

Windows 9 (Estimated) = 2015.

In other words, while you're quite right that XP stuck around longer than any other operating system, if we consider the release cycle based on the significance of the enhancements to the OS, XP SP2 slots *neatly* into place between XP and 7. Microsoft has historically operated on a 2-3 cadence between OS versions.

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Personally, I consider Win 8 an utter failure. 7 was OK. I still love 98SE. I hated giving that up. XP was nice. 8 isn't nice. That's the true difference.

They are saying beautiful buttery things about 8 but really it's just not a computer. If I wanted a tablet I'd buy a tablet. If I wanted a phone, I'd buy a phone. But I bought a computer. I expect it to look and act like a computer. I'm one of those rare people who still do not own a cell phone. And I never will own one. Did it every occur to the makers that maybe everyone doesn't want to move into this new "phone" age? I know I'm not the only one. My kids have those silly cell phones but none of my age group does.

I'm hoping WIN 9 goes back to the old XP or 98SE format. PLEASE!!

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HeiZahn replied on Sat, Mar 29 2014 1:31 PM

1) How big does this file look to you?

http://www.ubuntu.com/start-download?distro=desktop&bits=64&release=lts

That's right: exactly 1 CD. Not that this really matters - it's a ballpark idea rather than an absolute. The most important difference, however, is that it's modular, so you  can pick just the parts that matter to you, and actually remove the parts you don't need or care for, or choose never to install them to begin with. Not so with Windows. With Windows XP, however, you have nLite which at least let you do the same prior to install; strip it down to what you actually *need* and *use*.

2) When I say I use the base operating system, I mean the kernel and window manager. If you're gonna care about the 446 executables in the Windows 7 system directories, you better start calling Linux "GNU/Linux" too. I didn't care to perform this particular nitpicking, but rather described Windows and Linux as ecosystems upon which software is built, software that the user actually chooses to start and interact with - a distinction I believed was clear from my choice of words. This is the software I was referring to;  you boot your operating system, and you stare at a desktop. Then you...actually start some software that lets you use your computer. Some of that software might come with the operating system, some software you've chosen to install separately even if it has an included counterpart.

I more or less exclusively use software in the latter of these two categories, because Microsoft's offerings beyond the operating system simply do not appeal to me. I don't use it, and so I have no interest in installing it. I *do* have an interest in libraries and frameworks that support the applications I want to use, and I have no desire to get rid of features like the preload cache (although I have disabled that in registry since the gain with SSD is negligible).

If you were to run DOS today, on modern hardware, it would be lightning fast, but the feature set would not be particularly satisfactory. My point is that XP too is lightning fast on modern hardware, but I don't miss anything from its feature set (other than aforementioned TRIM support). Because it is already lightning fast, additional optimizations implemented since are not of use to me - they would serve only to partially offset the OS (..and all that comes with it) being heavier. I don't want heavier - that's why I run a small tweaked and trimmed OS to begin with, and pick my software carefully, focusing on optimized and well-written little performance-driven apps with  as few bells and whistles as possible. This also means largely avoiding .Net applications (with nLite being a notable exception, but one that rarely needs to run).

As for what's running in the background; no, it's not an enormous amount. That's deliberate. Having used this OS since the beginning, for all these years, I have a very good idea what each component does, and whether it's actually needed. If it's not needed, it is either stopped or removed entirely. I wouldn't be making the point I am (which it seems you may have missed) unless I had a reasonable idea what makes up an operating system, from the kernel and up.

I'm sure there are many whining about XP losing support simply because they don't like change. While that may not be a rational argument, I can both understand and relate to it, and suggest you consider the possibility of there also being other, rational arguments supporting the same conclusion.

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realneil replied on Thu, Apr 10 2014 8:09 AM

I've resisted moving to Win-8 because I really like Win-7, and hated the Metro interface on my desktops. This newest flavor of Win-8 may be OK, it looks OK to me anyways. But I already own Win-7 64Bit on a total of six PCs in the house. Why buy six copies of Win-8 when I like what I have now. (That equals the cost of an upgraded PC)

On two of my PCs I have a dual boot and I am puttering around with Linux. I like that too. It's incredibly quick on my i7-2600K machine,.......

Linux does it all, but it takes a little learning to use it properly. For the price of free, it's worth it to do, as I see it. I remember that Win-7 was free for a year and I dabbled with it for that long and fell for it quickly too. I liked it so much that I took the resources and bought it for every PC in the house. Win-8 isn't there yet and may never be. show me Win-9 please,.........

- Neil Mathieson

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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