Windows 8.1 Update: Can It End The Rut? - InformationWeek

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Windows 8.1 Update: Can It End The Rut?
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anon5281862239
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anon5281862239,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2014 | 11:48:33 PM
Windows 8.1
If updates of 8.1 is allowed for Windows XP , even with nominal charges, it may become extremely popular
ANON1254157396540
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ANON1254157396540,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/5/2014 | 12:30:58 AM
Re: Windows 8.1
Who cares?

As a previous commenter wrote, if they gave it away for free to XP users, people might care more about it -- but only if it runs well on those older machines, which isn't particularly likely.

Compare http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_XP#System_requirements with http://www.pcworld.com/article/2058683/new-windows-8-1-requirements-strand-some-users-on-windows-8.html and http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/system-requirements

Computers older than six years might have trouble running Windows 8.1, and I bet a lot of those XP boxes are older than six years.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
3/5/2014 | 8:21:46 AM
Re: Windows 8.1
Another point is that, people get used to treat Windows as pure desktop OS. Nobody really considers it as OS for portables and pads. Furthermore, Windows 8/Windows 8.1 itself do not look very attractive. From first glance, there is no significant difference compared to Windows 7, which is dominating at the current stage. There is no attractive features/app that can lure users for upgrading.
bttlk
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bttlk,
User Rank: Strategist
3/5/2014 | 1:31:08 PM
Re: Windows 8.1
Li Tan;

There are numerous differences in Windows 7 to Windows 8, both in the desktop and Modern presentations, Speed, security, touch to name a major few items are different.  Do a little research and discover many more enhancements.  Consumers are using Windows tablets like they do an Android or iPad, with the added advantage of being to use appliccations (not apps, there is a difference) like the Office suite or Outlook email. Your false statement is nobody considers it an OS for portables and pads.  I use a Windows phone for that also.  Please get your facts straight before posting on a blog, you mislead uneducated readers.
UberGoober
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UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
3/5/2014 | 1:57:07 PM
Re: Windows 8.1
OK, now I understand.  Win 8 is good because YOU say it is.  We're all wrong.


Pardon me, but maybe about 90% of users hate it for reasons you've missed or don't care about.  I don't think you're winning any friends by denigrating everyone else's value judgements about what's important and what's offensive.

So sad....

 
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/5/2014 | 2:51:24 PM
Re: Windows 8.1
I think it's inaccurate to say Windows 8 doesn't offer improvements relative to Windows 7-- it does. But, depending on your perspective, it also includes a few steps backward (though many of them can be overcome with only a little effort-- installing a Start Menu app, enabling boot-to-desktop, or doing whatever else to shape the UI to your preference).

For many, I think the improvements simply weren't persuasive enough. Miracast is cool, but are you going to buy a new tablet or convertible just for that feature? Touchscreens have use, but for many, that use is more evident on horizontal surfaces (e.g. tablets) than vertical ones (e.g. laptops and desktops). As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, I find Windows 8 systems to be stable and fast, but I can see why people who were happy with Windows 7 haven't necessarily jumped at the upgrade, especially if it would have required purchasing a new device. This might have been true even if the Modern UI hadn't been so divisive. The fact that it's been so polarizing has only exacerbated Win 8's adoption difficulty.

 

 
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/5/2014 | 2:41:51 PM
Re: Windows 8.1
@ANON: Yeah, we'll see. It's definitely a problem right now. The vast majority of old Windows XP machines aren't gonna run Windows 8.1. There's been some chatter about Windows 8.1 Update 1 reducing the OS's footprint and enabling it to run on lesser hardware-- so perhaps there's hope. But from what I can glean, that effort has more to do with encouraging OEMs to produce cheap devices than with extending the life of 10-year-old computers.


But what about those cheap devices? If you're running XP at home, I can understand the hesitancy to shell out $1000 or even $500 for a new PC. But if an OEM released a non-touch Windows device with build quality of a mid-range Chromebook for $250, would any XP holdouts be interested?

I get the feeling a lot of people still using XP resent that Microsoft is effectively forcing them to buy new machines. For many, this objection is no doubt legitimate, but for others, I wonder. Even though the marginal benefit from new processors has dwindled in recent generations, I'm often surprised that some people with decade-old computers are so aggressively opposed to new machines. I can certainly appreciate the financial considerations, especially if the aging computer continues to be "good enough." But I really wonder how some people define "good enough." In my experience, if you're still using XP (or even a lot of Win 7 machines out there, for that matter), you're gonna spend a fair amount of timing waiting for pages to load, dealing with application crashes or system freezes, and generally managing other productivity-killing time wasters. And to be clear, I'm only talking about moderate multi-tasking, not power use cases. Windows 8.1 offers plenty of ammunition for criticism, but at least it and the newer machines on which it runs are fast and stable. But maybe I've been unlucky with aging computers.

 
ANON1254157396540
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ANON1254157396540,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/5/2014 | 3:10:26 PM
Re: Windows 8.1
I agree, new hardware is becoming cheap enough that old XP boxes should just be taken out back and shot.

I recently watched someone replace an old XP box (Dell Precision gx270) with a new $250 Windows 8.1 box (Lenovo AMD A-4 5000 with 4GB RAM) because this was easier than buying a copy of Windows 8.1 or fixing the virus problem on the XP box.  The desktop snappiness was almost ok.   

If Windows 8.1 had been a free download, they would have tried installing that instead of buying a new computer.  I suppose that's why Windows has not been a free download so far :-)
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/5/2014 | 3:17:29 PM
Re: Windows 8.1
Yep, if people had been allowed to run Windows 8 on older XP hardware, I don't see how the experience would have been anything but terrible. It wasn't even particularly good (at least until Win 8.1 came along) on non-touch Windows 7 hardware. But I wouldn't judge Microsoft too harshly for this tactic. Windows 8 and 8.1 are certainly open to design criticism, but the march of technology waits for no user, and after a certain point, backward compatibility becomes untenable. Apple does the same thing with iPhones. Plus, a new Windows laptop might soon cost about the same as a new iPhone 5S.
himanshusingh
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himanshusingh,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2014 | 11:58:25 PM
There are other aspects which make Windows 8 story a little better
One of the things that is currently going against Windows 8 (all versions of it) is that it is nearly impossible to have a pirated version. Pirated versions of all previous version were readily available and there are pataches which make them function as genuine OS and even recieve updates/upgrades from microsoft. In countries like India, China etc. this would result in much lesser sales. 

However for Microsoft, the revenue coming from Windows 8 would not be so low.

Secondly, Windows 8 presents a paradigm shift from normal windows OSes. For enterprise adoption it presents dual challenge: train IT guys and employs on the new OS and secondly ensure that employee productivity is not lost due to plethora of apps etc.

It will take time for users and IT departments to resolve these two issues. Only once they are confident of resolving these two, will they think of benefits  of Windows 8. Till such time most users of XP will migrate to windows 7 and not windows 8.

Microsoft needs to be patient. The new OS is good and over a period of time, it will become the OS of choice for most. It will take time though to happen.
bttlk
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bttlk,
User Rank: Strategist
3/5/2014 | 1:35:11 PM
Re: There are other aspects which make Windows 8 story a little better
We have migrated about 20% of our user base this year from XP or Windows 7 to Windows 8.  This was done with minimal user training, and we have had very few questions and no problems after the migration.  Users are using 4-5 applications simultaneously and on the Internet.  We had more problems in the past with some prior OS upgrades and suite upgrades.  DO NOT BE AFRAID.  Train one or two IT staff and you are set to go.

Also, survey your user base being upgraded.  You may be surprised at how many are using Windows 8 at home.  That will make the transition smoother for all involved.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/5/2014 | 3:01:25 PM
Re: There are other aspects which make Windows 8 story a little better
Thanks for sharing your experience, bttlk. I think the training concerns might be a bit overblown, as your post suggests. Somewhere between 150 and 170 million people are using the OS now, Windows 8.1 made the UI more user-friendly, and it looks like Update 1 will take another step. If someone has never seen Windows 8 before, I think they'll find it baffling. But between the OS becoming more common (it even has weekly and ostentatious product placement on "The Following") and Microsoft making it easier to use, many users can be trained with minimal fuss. I wouldn't be surprised if could train an employee to competently use Windows 8 faster than you could a brand new CMS or CRM product.

There are concerns in addition to training, of course; as I mentioned earlier, the perceived benefit of upgrading seems to an issue, though Microsoft is slowly pulling more Modern line-of-business apps into its ecosystem. It's all headed in the right direction-- but as this article explores, Win 8's trajectory doesn't suggest it will have the influence of past releases. There's a difference between "big player" and "biggest player."

 
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/5/2014 | 3:10:46 PM
Re: There are other aspects which make Windows 8 story a little better
"Microsoft needs to be patient. The new OS is good and over a period of time, it will become the OS of choice for most. It will take time though to happen."

You bring up several good points, himanshusingh, but I don't agree with your conclusion. Historically, Windows has been "the OS of choice for most." But as this article explores, Windows 8 and 8.1 are falling short of historical precedents-- and not by just a little bit. I think it's fair to say Windows 8/8.1/9 (or whatever future iterations with Live Tiles are called) will become more popular, and it might become the chosen platform for certain market segments and device categories. But to achieve beyond that, the OS will need a bigger boost than Microsoft has been able to provide so far. My argument isn't that Windows 8 is a flop; a lot of CEOs would sacrifice their first-born child to have such a ubiquitous product. But even if Windows 8 isn't an out-and-out flop, that doesn't mean it's not a disappointment, and that it isn't particularly helping Microsoft to stave off disruption.

 
j0el
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j0el,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/5/2014 | 12:28:19 PM
What is wrong with Windows IMHO
I mostly use a Mac, and my wife uses Windows.  She bought a new laptop that came with Windows 8 and had a horrible experience.  Let me tell you why, but first my personal observation is that WIndows 8, as it stands, will never work for the above average user.  It is clearly designed for people with one window open to browse, email, facebook or play a game.

 

The first problem with WIndows was the bloatware.  The thing came loaded with games, backup software, security software, trial versions of things.  And there was no easy way to wipe it all off.  I had to patiently delete all the crap she did not want.  I know the haardware people get money for inconviencing their customers, but aat some point they will have to decide whether customers or software partners are more important.

 

The second problem was the conflicting software.  Having Microsoft and Intel and HP software trying to control the wireless is not a good idea. Likewise the printer.  I deleted all of that stuff and went back to basics.  The energy saving and so on is just not worth it.  Too many problems and delays in resuming, reconnecting to wireless and so on..

 

The third problem is the often criticised main wondow.  The laptop has a touchscreen, but frankly I use ctrl-x and ctrl-v to cut and paste so I do not have to move my hands to the ouse.  No way am I going to reachout to swipe the touchscreen.  It takes time, effort and makes the screen smudgy.  I have an iPad and if I was just going to read or browse I would use the iPad.

 

The 4th problem is that it was too different form what was before.  Had to leaarn new ways to invoke programs, find files and so on even though there was no advantage to the new way.  It may have been slightly better or slightly worse, but it waas different, and that is a problem.

 

So then I decided, screw it.  I will install Windows 7.  That was a trip.  First I had to discover quasi-secret BIOS settings to change the boot and the behavior of some on-board devices.  Then I had to find drivers and that was not so easy either.  Took me 5 hours to finally get 7 running, everything configured, and all her files restored.  ANd I have been in this industry as an engineer since 1972.  

 

SO to sum up.  Too much bloatware that I did not want.  Too confusing to use various control software from HP and Intel and Nvidea and the touchpaad vendor.  Nop benefit form the new UI.  No benefit form the touchscreen.  Eventually decided it was not worth it and found MSFT and HP did everything they could to makae it difficult to install Windows 7.

 

I had none of these problems with my Mac.  No bloatware.  SOme difficulties with UI enhancements, but not major.

 

My wife will continue to use Windows because a number of apps she needs either need Windows or Internet Explorer.  I will continue to use Mac, but I will admid that I run Parallels and Windows 7 on it for one reason.  Ecxel for WIndows is superior to Excel for Mac and I need Excel for work.

 

I think a brand new person buying their first PC will still have trouble with Windows 8.  That is too bad.

 

My servers at home run Linux by the way and I doubt I would ever change that.  And the Mac has enough compatiiblity with Linux that I do not need a Linux laptop.  
bttlk
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bttlk,
User Rank: Strategist
3/5/2014 | 1:23:22 PM
Re: What is wrong with Windows IMHO
J0el, why write a book for a short 2 paragraph summary!  Way too long for most to read on a blog.  I disagree with your analysis and methods to workaround what is a perfectly good OS, an OS you haven't taken time to understand (a very simple task by the way.  I guess your age as being early 60's, same as myself, so the old guy excuse won't work for you either.  I use Windows 8.1 on several devices and greatly prefer it to Windows 7.


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