Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 13th Jan 2014 10:06 UTC
Windows

Paul Thurrott on the next version of Windows and the future of the platform.

In some ways, the most interesting thing about Threshold is how it recasts Windows 8 as the next Vista. It's an acknowledgment that what came before didn't work, and didn't resonate with customers. And though Microsoft will always be able to claim that Windows 9 wouldn't have been possible without the important foundational work they had done first with Windows 8 - just as was the case with Windows 7 and Windows Vista - there's no way to sugarcoat this. Windows 8 has set back Microsoft, and Windows, by years, and possibly for good.

With even Paul Thurrott claiming Windows is in trouble, it becomes virtually impossible to deny it is so.

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RE[2]: Microsoft in transition
by davidiwharper on Mon 13th Jan 2014 22:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Microsoft in transition"
davidiwharper
Member since:
2006-01-01

If you ever saw Vista it was, UI-wise, also fairly similar to XP. While the 5.0 series (Windows 2000 and XP) was all about porting the UI & consumer features of Windows 98 across onto the NT codebase, the 6.0 series really has been, at least until Windows 8, all about the internals. A lot of what was bolted on to XP as they went along (Desktop Search, data execution prevention, .NET) was integrated properly into the OS, and added to this was a brand new security model, much better troubleshooting tools (automated start-up error repairs, automatic rollback of failed Windows Updates [which used to hose the entire system], ability to recover from a graphics driver crash without BSOD'ing etc.) and a far friendlier installer/recovery environment.

For all that Windows 8 went and "broke everything again", the fact that Microsoft felt able to focus almost entirely on the UI for NT 6.2 is a testament to the stable foundation of 6.1. That stability has not been a given in Windows history. People forget how bad XP GA was, and to an extent XP SP1 as well; it was really only when SP2 came along that XP became the gold standard. By comparison, Windows 7 GA was feature-complete and very stable; its SP1 was the most boring service pack of all time (a good thing really).

Regarding your personal experience of the Windows 8 desktop, if you ignore the tablet mode (and especially if you buy Start8) Win8 does indeed have some nice improvements over Windows 7. The problem is that most users are not power users; they generally find the whole split personality thing very difficult to handle and benefit from the advances you mentioned. Win7, as you pointed out, did a nice job of staying out of the way for people who comfortable using XP; Win8, not so much.

Reply Parent Score: 5

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I personally never had any stability or security issues with XP, so all the updates in that regard that went into Win7 was meaningless to me. As I said before, 7 was just thoroughly underwhelming to me. Just because Vista sucked ass for a lot of people doesn't suddenly make 7 a gem by default. It was also a little confusing for my parents when I updated their machine, having to get used to the way the new taskbar worked. And I also point out a lot that the reason Classic Shell was invented in the first place is because people hated the start menu in 7. I have never installed a start menu replacement on 8... didn't take me long to get accustomed to the start screen.

To be honest though, I've had more problems with Win8.1 than I did with 2000, XP, 7, or 8. Mainly because of video card driver issues (GeForce 460) that seem to have finally gotten sorted out recently. I went from running flawlessly on Win8 for a year to my machine freezing at least once a day on 8.1.

Reply Parent Score: 3

davidiwharper Member since:
2006-01-01

True story: I met a fellow the other day who is still using Windows 98 as his primary OS and doesn't see any reason to get rid of it. He is an outlier, and chances are you are too - although for different reasons.

In the case of the '98 guy, he rote-learned his computer skills and thus finds it difficult to contemplate upgrading. He's an extreme case, but there are lots of people who use XP, don't have great proficiency, and have no desire to learn a new OS every few years. Classic Shell exists for people like that, and we should all be thankful it exists - especially now because most people will be forced off XP when it goes EOL in April.

In your case, you clearly know what you are doing, know what you want out of your PC, and aren't going to be stung by most 'average' problems. But trust me on this, Microsoft didn't spend billions of dollars rewriting Windows' internals just for the fun of it. They were responding to flaws in NT 5.x - particularly security issues and problems with the driver model.

By way of an anecdote, I know a lady who rote-learned Windows XP and Outlook Express, but somehow managed to miss the lesson about not opening attachments from strangers. So literally every few months her poor brother has to disinfect the machine and sometimes wipe it entirely. While it's not impossible to infect Windows 7 in a similar manner, it's definitely harder in general and specifically *much* more difficult for malware to hijack the underlying OS without some kind of payload being voluntarily installed by the user. If and when she upgrades to 7, my friend's relative will notice this difference and likely appreciate it enormously - as will my friend!

Another anecdote, this time about the UI: when Microsoft released Desktop Search 4.0 for XP, most people never installed it (it was opt-in) and because the widget lay outside the Start Menu, where users are trained to look, many people who had it installed for them didn't understand how to use it. In Windows Vista this was moved into the Start Menu proper. I personally don't use it all that much, because I know where my files are, but your average user generally has crap all over and can't find things easily. So having "Search" right there in the Start Menu makes a huge difference, because now with a tiny bit of training (essentially being told, "if you've lost something, type the subject here and it will magically appear") they can be much more comfortable using their PC.

IMHO it's all too common stories like these that help to explain just why Windows 7 is so highly regarded. For a lot of people it genuinely is a much better experience than XP.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: Microsoft in transition
by StuS on Tue 14th Jan 2014 01:22 in reply to "RE[3]: Microsoft in transition"
StuS Member since:
2012-12-01

Given your experience, windows 8.1 isn't Vista - it's Linux! ;)

(Sorry, just spent some time upgrading Ubuntu from LTS to the latest normal release because docker (crapper) wanted me to bring in a backported kernel to LTS without mentioning this upgrade will break my ati driver, and therefore my X setup, and... yeah, if you upgrade and it breaks video, you got Linux ;) )

I am a Linux fanboy, but even I know it has it's issues (but has gotten a lot better!!)

Reply Parent Score: 2