Nancy, a college freshman, was super excited when her dad gave her a brand new laptop for Christmas. She took it to her mom to set up. Nancy’s mom is no stranger to computers. She works full-time online, maintains her own office network from home, and commonly uses smartphones and other electronic devices.
Much to her surprise, and Nancy’s disappointment, Windows 8 was so radically different from any interface either had experienced that they were forced to call tech support.
Though Nancy has learned to surf the web, listen to music, and write her college papers on Windows 8, it’s still frustrating and confusing for her months later. Unfortunately, Nancy and her mom aren’t alone. Windows 8 users are abandoning it en masse, and Microsoft is feeling the heat. Still not recovered from the hideous experience caused by the unpopular, bug-riddled and insanely frustrating Vista, Microsoft didn’t wait long to start backpedaling on Windows 8.
Windows 8: What to Know
Image via Flickr by Fillip Skakun
If you’re considering a new machine that comes with Windows 8, or have considered upgrading from Windows 7 or a previous version, you need to be aware of the problems. Users of tablets are happier than traditional mouse and keyboard users, primarily because Windows 8 is designed for a touch-based workspace. Windows 8 just isn’t configured for typical mouse and keyboard users, such as writers, programmers, and office workers.
Here are the major considerations of upgrading to Windows 8:
- The Start button is no more. Because previous Windows versions rely heavily on this little feature, it’s like handing someone a car without a steering wheel.
- The “Modern UI” is a tile-based interface, very unlike the windows that makes Windows Windows. It works more like your smartphone, which isn’t optimal for the majority of laptop and PC users.
- Windows 8 is expensive. Even the upgrades aren’t cheap, and once you’ve switched, it’s a nightmare to go back. Most users need professional help uninstalling Windows 8 and reinstalling Windows 7.
- A tutorial is available so you can see how Windows 8 works before investing. If you’re unsure whether or not you’d enjoy the touch-based interface, this is a good way to find out.
Keeping Windows 7
Image via Flickr by JPalm_Photo
On a positive note, Windows 7 will still be available with full Microsoft support, at least through October 2014. In fact, the overwhelmingly awful reception of Windows 8 has driven up demand for Windows 7, which has experienced the best market reception of any Microsoft operating system in years.
Upgrading to Windows 8 Really That Difficult?
Image via Flickr by mobilo_it
Why did the longstanding tech giant Microsoft make such a huge blunder? According to 45-year tech veteran Judson McClendon, Microsoft grossly misread key indicators in the marketplace. McClendon stresses that though sales of mobile touch-based devices are growing while sales of PCs, laptops, and other traditional keyboard/mouse setups remain flat, this is not an indication that typical users are switching to mobile devices.
Instead, traditional users (such as those in offices, programmers, writers, etc.) are remaining constant, and will continue to need these types of system interfaces. The growth in the mobile touch-base market (where Microsoft planned to target Windows 8 sales) is an emerging market of a different type of users, such as gamers, casual web surfers, and shoppers. According to McClendon, even though sales are level in keyboard machines, the rising sales in the mobile world are no indication that average users are abandoning their traditional Windows-based user interfaces.