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Bill Bennett


Windows 8 is the new Windows Vista

In “Threshold” to be Called Windows 9, Ship in April 2015  long-time Windows watcher Paul Thurrott looks at Microsoft’s next operating system set to arrive early next year.

It seems Microsoft has woken up and realised just how unpopular Windows 8 is with users. Thurrott, never one to be unduly harsh when commenting on Microsoft writes:

 Windows 8 is tanking harder than Microsoft is comfortable discussing in public, and the latest release, Windows 8.1, which is a substantial and free upgrade with major improvements over the original release, is in use on less than 25 million PCs at the moment. That’s a disaster, and Threshold needs to strike a better balance between meeting the needs of over a billion traditional PC users while enticing users to adopt this new Windows on new types of personal computing devices. In short, it needs to be everything that Windows 8 is not.

My Windows 8 experience is almost certainly not typical, but I realised early on how Microsoft needs to draw a line under the product and quickly move on before any more damage is done to the company’s long-term future. If I was the new Microsoft CEO, I’d accelerate Windows 9 and get it out as soon as possible.

Hasta la Vista baby

When Windows 8 arrived, I purchased it on day one. Within weeks I was so frustrated I wiped my PC clean and reinstalled Windows 7. That wasn’t the answer, so a month later I went back to Windows 8 resolving that I would just get over the things I didn’t like. We never got on, so when I needed to buy a mobile computer in mid-2013, I opted for a MacBook.

Although lots of people want to talk about the missing start button and start menu, that was never a big problem for me. What grates is the regular switching between the traditional desktop user interface and the more modern Metro interface.

I also found Windows 8 to be just plain painful on a non-touch screen computer. When I used a touch device, Windows 8 made sense, but touch does nothing for my productivity, indeed, I found I was working less efficiently with Windows 8 than I could on Windows 7 or now do on OS X. That speaks volumes.

Microsoft dropped the ball so badly, some people are seriously considering using clunky, second-rate Android as a desktop OS. That’s about as damning an indictment of Windows 8 as you could get.



11 thoughts on “Windows 8 is the new Windows Vista

  1. I have to disagree. I have a non-touch computer and I find Windows 8 a refreshing touch of sanity from Redmond. I am coming from multiple years of using either XP when I absolutely needed Windows and using FreeBSD (a Unix descendant) for everything else. I still have a harddrive for my laptop with FreeBSD on it but I find myself only using it to pull off files from it and not much else. My mom hates Vista (she has it on her laptop), and I was lukewarm about 7 (using it occasionally on a buddies laptop), but 8? I’m completely in love (which is weird for me because since 1997 I was almost exclusively Linux or FreeBSD).

    I hope Windows 9 doesn’t pull too much of a regression with the interface, otherwise I’ll wait until Win10 before upgrading.

    1. Don’t you find it jarring moving between the two user interfaces?

      Personally I find all the fuss over the start button and the start menu hard to understand and in a number of ways Windows 8 is an improvement, but I don’t like it when an OS can’t make it up its mind where it wants to be.

      1. No, not really. It’s rather similar to the multiple desktop concept used in desktop environments and window managers under Linux and Unix. It, and the awesome integration with cloud services (albeit all Microsoft ones at the moment), is what keeps me using it on a daily basis.

  2. I find it odd that you call tiles the ‘more modern’ interface; to my mind it’s just different but crucially less responsive to my needs (have you tried setting a proxy that applies to both desktop and metro browsers?)
    That I could forgive if the configuration options weren’t so deeply buried. When I used 8 I just lived in the desktop and the metro was something I flashed through to get to the next real application – if i’d been on a tablet that might’ve been different.

    The point about metro to me is that it’s unnecessary and doesn’t solve anything. I could live with it but choose not to.


    1. In this context you could take “more modern” to read as “tablet-style and touch screen focused”. This works just fine on a Surface 2 (the earlier Surface is just too darn slow) and makes sense. On a standard, non-touch PC it’s just annoying and like I say above, moving between the desktop and Metro is jarring.

  3. Modern (the interface formally known as Metro) works with touch. It doesn’t work with … anything else. If I was in charge (sadly I’m not) Threshold (Windows 9) would do away with Windows Phone, Windows RT and Window 8. There would be Windows Touch (an ARM version and an Intel version) and Windows Desktop. All the complicated stuff should happen in the background. See? Simple.

    My hate for Win 8 started when I fired up my beloved’s new Ultrabook and to get to Word I had to use the track pad to scroll the across to find the tile. That was just about unforgivable since then I have grown to see there are a lot of good things in 8. But launching a touch screen OS for machines without touch screens? That’s a joke, right?

    As for the start menu isn’t that basically Charms now? That’s where you go to turn the thing off and get settings and such.

    1. “launching a touch screen OS for machines without touch screens? That’s a joke, right?”

      Quite. If I was Microsoft CEO – memo to Bill Gates I’m available for this gig – I’d have it so the touch screen parts of Windows 8 only fire up on a touch screen device, but I guess that’s too obvious.

      1. I think the issue here is that people are too focused on touch screen vs. non-touch screen. Microsoft is trying to focus on one user experience across all desktops and in that regard 8 is a home-run. Personally I’m tired of having to learn a new interface every time I get a new device. Windows 8 (though honestly I’d love to see FreeBSD or some Linux-derived distro) does this wonderfully.

  4. Like Alex above I get on with 8, the need to go Modern for an app is irritating. One wonders what sort of chimpanzees do user testing for Microsoft as they just do not seem to understand people at all. The Start button thing is irrelevant in the scheme of things.

      1. In fact this point over ” fixing ” the Start button goes a very long way to illustrating much that is wrong with Microsoft.

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