Windows

Should Windows 8 be in your future? Part 1

For IT organizations that are still with XP, there's a trifecta of troubles brewing as they consider where to go from XP.

Microsoft shops have been in a difficult position with regard to OS upgrades the last several years. After a good run with Windows XP, most sat out the release of Vista after critics panned the OS on release. At that point, XP was regarded as "good enough," and many of the purported improvements were regarded as consumer-driven fluff rather than compelling enterprise features.

Windows 7 arrived to positive press; however, many CIOs decided to wait for the first service pack for the OS to "prove itself" while Microsoft continued to support Windows XP, and it even underwent a bit of a resurgence with the rise of netbooks. Not long after Windows 7 received its first service pack, rumblings of Windows 8 were well underway. For IT organizations that are still with XP, there's a trifecta of troubles brewing as they consider where to go from XP.

XP is moving from old to ancient

When Vista arrived, many considered XP "good enough." It supported the hardware of the time, had nearly endless software compatibility, and was even faster and more stable than the initial release of Vista. While those were all acceptable reasons to sit out the cost and effort required for an upgrade, in 2012 XP is finally well past its prime. Multi-core processors and 4-8GB of RAM were astronomically expensive and relegated to only the most expensive server-room hardware in 2001 when XP was released, but they're now commodities available on most entry-level business desktops and notebooks.

XP now has markedly inferior performance compared to Windows 7, and the clock is rapidly ticking down on official support from Microsoft. Enterprise software providers are also shifting away from XP, especially as these vendors have little interest in testing, supporting, and maintaining their software for three or more Microsoft operating systems (potentially over eight variations from XP to Windows 8, in 32-bit, 64-bit, and ARM guise).

XP is no longer the "computing standard"

One of the great things about Microsoft retaining dominance in corporate and consumer computing was that for years you could assume an average person would know how to use Windows XP. The software shipped on consumer and corporate hardware was nearly identical, and the user experience essentially the same. In short, if a new employee owned a computer or used one in a previous job, they had probably used Windows XP and thus would be familiar with their new computing environment.

While Windows Vista and Windows 7 are not as dramatic a departure from XP as Windows 8 is to 7/Vista, it does represent evolutionary change. Vista has been around for the past five years, and for your university hires XP is likely a distant memory. While I doubt some of the claimed productivity benefits of an evolutionary OS release like Vista or Windows 7, remaining with XP further alienates your company from the current computing standard, and does affect your users.

Windows 8 represents a sea change

While Windows Vista/7 were largely an evolution of Windows XP, Windows 8 represents a more fundamental change that many are comparing to the leap from MS-DOS to Windows 95. If you're currently on XP, the leap to Windows 8 is even larger. Not only are you incorporating the evolutionary changes introduced with Vista like enhanced search and the "aero" interface, but all of this will coexist with the new Metro interface, making the leap to Windows 8 almost akin to two new operating systems in one.

While a large-scale OS rollout may not be the most technically complex undertaking, it is a critical effort; if users can't even boot a working computer IT is going to be run through the wringer. Another negative wrought by a long reliance on XP is that your IT department is likely out of practice in managing an OS upgrade, and likely will require careful planning and attention to do so successfully. In the next part, I'll look at how to plan an OS upgrade, as well as a recommendation on which OS should be your platform of choice.

(See also Where to get the Windows 8 beta.)

About

Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. He has spent ...

49 comments
omahamike
omahamike

I have tried and tried to download the Windows 8 upgrade, and have spent nearly an hour on the telephone trying to get help, and all I get is transferred from one phone number to another with an equally uninformed/untrained person trying to find my problem. The last place they sent me was to the Windows store, and they told me that they couldn't do anything at all for me. They check their crib sheet and when my problem isn't addressed directly, they push me on to the next phone number. I CAN download the program that checks your computer for all the problems you might have after installing Win8, but when I go to download the upgrade itself, I get the error that it cannot be downloaded in my locality. I told them that perhaps it was because I am on a satellite internet connection, and they might not be able to tell that I am in Iowa rather than in Ethiopia or Hong Kong.... but, my patience ran out and it appears that I will never be able to see whether I like Win8 or not! I even asked the Windows store to send me a disk, but was told that they could do nothing for me. I can't get an e-mail address to write my complaint/problem to either, just more phone numbers and more people who know less about it than I do! I'm tired of chasing my own tail around the Internet, and doubly tired of the incompetence of the people they hire as tech support help! (However, I must commend them for the fact that 98% of them can at least speak English!) This tirade may not even belong here, but at least I can vent my frustration, even though it may fall on deaf ears!! Sorry if I'm taking up valuable space in this thread, and feel free to delete it!

Researcher75
Researcher75

Why Not? - innovative & smooth - don't like using shortcut keys though (just a personal fad!) - so many different facets which would seem to be - Building Blocks? HOW MUCH THOUGH????

kennethabrewer
kennethabrewer

Windows 8, Really? Windows 8, Really? Yesterday I began to write about my short experience with Windows 8. Then my poor old XP machine I often use crashed. I was going on about the things I did and did not like about windows 8 and then it crashed. What a chore, to search and find the reboot disk I made so long ago. You would think even after I moved my office I would keep track of that kind of stuff. I did find out where it went someone barrowed it and never returned it. Oh well right? I built a new machine in a Mid Tower with 6 fan holes, neon blue lights; the amenities really have no effect on me other than a customer might like that. The machine turned out to be a Quad Core AMD 3+, with 32 gigs of RAM on a Gigabyte 970-A-UD3 motherboard and a MSI DDR3 Video card and 7.1 HD surround sound. I contemplated what OS I should use; I went with the Win 8 and was happy the new machine took the OS. It seemed to run on the Vista or 7???s platform of drivers. (If I???m wrong I would like to know). Turning the OS on was easy, the operation was a bit annoying to learn. Still keep in mind because the tablets that sport touch screens Windows 8 can be set up for the use with a finger or a pen. With keeping that in mind 8 might work out well for most persons. I continued to use this Bata version for close to a month before reverting back to a Win 7 Ult. OS. Why, you might ask? The lack of the ever so infamous start button is missing and things like the missing off button can have an annoying effect on a body. It???s a road trip of learning and the experience you may or may not want to hassle with, just yet. If you???re like me and love to stick with the things that we are comfortable with; like sticking with the things that we know work, well we find it hard to change don???t we? If you are wondering about my time machine, excuse me please, I???m referring to the XP. I will recover the data then I will finely update it to a Win 7 32 bit and put it into service in my internet caf??, so it will still be around for a while. Good luck with Windows 8 if you decide to try it. Please let me know your experience with the new format of Windows. With a further thought split the OS and toggle between your favorite OS and Win 8 if you only have one machine. If you ask me, stop what you are doing NOW Microsoft, fix win 7 to be more touch friendly. You forced us to upgrade to 7 and we are complying to the demand, but 8? Why so soon and I see problems and no benefits thus far.

Researcher75
Researcher75

Well structured piece of engineering which needs just that little bit more - don't you think? It doesn't seem to want to remember my wireless key so that each I boot up, I am not connected automatically? Can't use Microsoft Security Essentials, probably the best anti virus program ever written? Other than this, it looks to have some sort of prospect - liked the "Curtain Up" entrance, once I had sussed it out!!!! Looking forward to the "Final Version"

gregnewm7
gregnewm7

I have been using Windows 8 consumer preview since it was released to the public. What I think Microsoft must do to make it acceptable to the public is 1= Make it automatically boot up and go to lock screen then to the sign in screen and then to the desktop screen if the Windows 8 OS senses that the computer is hooked up to a non touch monitor which most People and Businesses have because touch screen monitors are costly. Now if a Windows 8 OS computer senses it's hooked up to a touch screen monitor it will automatically go to Metro tiles screen.but there will be a metro tile that will cause the computer to reset it's boot up so that a user can go to Desktop screen if they desire to and also put a quick computer shutdown Icon short cut on the deasktop and a computer shutdown Metro tile on the metro start screen..Also Microsoft must inform People that the metro start system is for them to put the Apps, documents, and other computer functions on the metro start screen in the order of how they want to use them. The great thing about the Metro start screen is that a person sets up the Computer in a way that the Apps you want to use most can be quickly accessed and used by single or double mouse click of a single tap on a touch screen monitor. you get things done faster this way and you still have the Old Windows 7 desktop if you want to do things the Old slower way.

Researcher75
Researcher75

Just managed to install this impressive work of electronic engineering - Ribbon bars by the score - what a treat - so much to see and if one is savvy with W7 then this uprising is a doddle. ONE PROBLEM! It will not stay connected to my wireless connection when awaking after sleeping or restarting or rebooting. So far, every time I have had a re-boot or restart, I have been disconnected from my wireless connection because the system does not seem to be able to remember my wireless key??? Anyone please!!?

12312332123
12312332123

It is completely inaccurate to say that XP is not a modern OS. Updates have been made right up until last year with XP SP3 providing all features required in 2008. Driver support is still widest on XP, XP has the best support for 'legacy' Win32 software and contrary to popluar opinion, this is the bulk of all software on Earth.XP is faster and except for some issues arising on very new platforms it is usually more stable. I'm not against progress, but fear-mongering, when clearly 3 successive OS generations - Vista, 7 and 8 - have very little new to offer over an OS published in 2001 is hardly helpful.

Slayer_
Slayer_

And use the legacy desktop view, they could quietly get people to migrate to Windows 8. But Microsoft is not known for making smart business decisions anymore. One day, MS will die. I just hope Apple doesn't replace them.

lupingodoy
lupingodoy

Then use Android, MacOS or Linux :)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The first two are reasons to abandon XP, but not to adopt W8 or any other specific OS. The final one, with it's ' W8 is two operating systems in one', supports making the easier jump to W7.

GBowes54
GBowes54

I have my own proprietary data encryption software. Another tip of the hat to you for explaining the different versions of Windows 7, before I bought my system. Regards TMV

Trick-Starr
Trick-Starr

Wish people could just accept change and carry on with their lives. There have been change since the beginning of times. Touch screen cell phones were criticised, in fact, almost all technological improvement were criticised. People, get a life and let the Windows Evolution happen, just like about anything!!

GBowes54
GBowes54

I just went out and got a loan from the bank, to buy a Dell XPS 8300 all decked out, Windows 7 Pro 64 bit computer, with a quad core processor, and 16 megs of ram. This will (I hope) last me as long as my last Dell XP machine (10 years). I believe that Microsoft will have all the bugs out of Windows 8 by then. I don't use a notebook, or a mobile pad, so I'm hoping that Microsoft will have a mobile version, and a desktop version that work by then. iPad like versions of Windows may have there uses, but I'm disabled, and need a desktop PC, I have 4 TB of hard drive storage, and am looking for some more.. Besides, With the Pro version, I can still use all my old proprietary XP software. I have you to thank for that decision. Your a great resource, please keep up the good work. Regards, TMV

nwmc
nwmc

Vista/W7 is only faster if it has a lot more RAM and a faster processor than XP. W8 pre-releases do seem to perform more like XP probably because MS is hoping to run W8 on tablet hardware. For my company upgrading to Vista/W7 would have required a complete hardware refresh making it a very expensive upgrade. On the other hand I'm hoping that when W8 is finally released it will still perform like XP. Also, I'm not a huge believer in the upgrading your OS to gain efficiency idea. From XP on MS has released some pretty efficient operating systems. They start fast, are easy for end users to understand and use, and there are a lot of management tools for IT departments. If you want to gain efficiency look at upgrading or improving the LOB applications that end users are using.

alfred
alfred

Ken I fully agree XP does all that is needed for most people and is so familiar that people are efficient users. One item you did not mention is that moving to W8 will not only be a steep learning curve it will also render a number of useful programs obsolete. This means added costs and more learning. Two programs I need do not work on W7 and their replacements are "improved" so that they are worse, having dropped useful features in favour of the new which I find make some things I need unavailable..

ramnet
ramnet

I continue to find these sorts of articles annoying , inaccurate and merely pandering to Microsoft. Give me some serious BUSINESS reasons why I need to abandon XP. Yes XP is old so am I - should I be terminated now ?? for daring to think differently to you. New is NOT automatically better. You listed some hardware reasons why W7 might be seen as some sort of improvement - mostly overcoming the 4GB RAM barrier on XP but I have not found W7/W8Beta to be better or faster than XP and frankly doing old tasks new ways is not efficient nor does it lead to increased productivity. What it leads to is poorer support , greater cost , more downtime and angst in the workplace but clearly improved revenue streams for Microsoft if you buy that line of thinking. Look I would like W7/W8 to be the OS of choice but Microsoft kind of makes that impossible - there is no upgrade from XP to either W7/W8 and it is only someone elses opinion that these OS are better . I have yet to see one tech writer come up with a compelling reason to change and so far I see zero benefit in terms of ease of use , maintaining an ability to use software and keeping costs down and productivity up. Ken IT Director Melbourne

AreV
AreV

MS has a golden opportunity here. They are the only OS or mobile OS company that is not after the hardware revenues per se, or our information, personally identifiable or not. Most here so far are talking as if the preview is the finished product. I used the developer's preview last year and loved it but it was very much different from the more complete Consumers Preview I am using now. I loaded it on an Acer Aspire One AOA 150, the original XP 8.6" screen and 1GB of RAM. I had just disassembled it and upgraded the RAM to 1.5 GB and it ran both previews of Win 8 fine, ion fact very fast. However the new consumers preview has the resolution minimums so I could only use the desktop, no apps with it so I restored the XP image I saved before trying it. Now I have Win 8 loaded on a two month old Toshiba laptop I upgraded to 8 GB of RAM and a 128 GB Crucial M4 SSD. Simply put, it screams. Everything is easy and ready when I am no waiting. The boot times are almost as fast as I can open the lid. It takes longer for me to type in the password than any part of boot. I think it is about time for e sea change again like when we went to Win 95 from windows for workgroups 3.1 and DOS before that. We all hated mice and any GUI because we had our DOS commands down pat. Kind of like the Linux folks now who feel superior because they can go to a command line and make inputs and system commands from there. So 80's. Anyway folks how many of you are using the preview instead of just talking about it. It took me about a months to go from lost to liking the old developers preview, and be able to be productive in it. For example what programs have you tried on it. I have all my software I use in Win 7 and XP loaded and it all runs fine. I now have trouble when I switch back to my desktop with 7, or worse XP. I think MS can break away from the pack without the locked in hard and soft ecosphere like Apple, or the very intrusive anti privacy Google. So many people are lost in the 80's and 90's in the computing world. Folks calling MS evil when they are too young to have been doing it in the 80s along with me and all the other Boomer Techies that wrote code before most here were born. If you like another OS then by golly use it and keep you own counsel. Do people really need to hate everything that is not their choice? I have news for you. If you use windows as an OS and talk bad about MS doesn't the contradiction even occur to you? We used the first Macs in the mid 80's as well. And programmed the first ISP software so you could talk trash online in Unix before Linus Torvalds. I am not trying to talk trash here, just trying to say that if you are using it you already know the advantages of the fast boot, the new hybrid sleep/hibernate mode that id reliable and very fast, the secure boot and protected mode in IE 10 with a spell check finally! The preview is free and available. You can image your computer free with Windows 7 and restore it reliably so no excuse not to try it. If you have XP or Vista use EaseUS Todo free imaging and cloning software. I haven't been able to find the image program in 8 so I downloaded EaseUS Todo and imaged my Windows 8 image to the same external drive and can switch back and forth in about 15 minutes for every image restore to each OS version. Could you please comment on what you know and have tried? Because anything else is as we say in Texas, all hat and no cows.

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

I have read a couple of articles by people using win 8. One said that to really work with it you need multiple monitors... as well as a touching rapsody about the touch screen, and another was all a twitter about the "hidden" access points. Well, all we need is a motion driven GUI and well can and we can touch, jump and flap our way to the physcial therapist. We can trade in carpal tunnel for sprained ankles and shoulder problems. The old GUI and methods work fine, but I guess you have to justify all those buildings full of human factor specialists at Microsoft and the price tag of yet another half finished OS. Yes, I said half finished. Downloading patches has become the excuse for not getting the OS even close to ship. Hey, why bother we can send another patch. However, I was hoping for a complete, faster, smaller, and more secure operating system. I guess Linux is looking better and better. I don't have to put up with the "better ideas," I can plug-in whatever GUI I want and it is FREEE.

1ndy
1ndy

I haven't heard one compelling reason for a corporation to switch from Windows 7 to Windows 8. With the high cost of moving to a new OS, I just don't see the value. If anything, it looks like a steeper learning curve with nothing to justify for the pain. Maybe I missed something?

wysetech2000
wysetech2000

After stumbling around for a few days in Windows 8, I can't understand why they don't have different versions of 8 for different applications. After all Microsoft has several versions of Vista and Windows 7. In my opinion the Metro look is gonna kill the operating system it before it's even completed. Productivity in business will be lost with it and will cost $$$ until professionals learn how to use it. Most people don't like change, especially when it's "totally" unfamiliar to them.

wysetech2000
wysetech2000

Not only can jt59 not make proper paragraphs with correct punctuation, he is soo dumb he has to blame an operating system for hosing his hardisk. Get a life!

ttx19
ttx19

XP is no longer the ???computing standard what world do you live in xp is now used by a lot of companys and people not windows vista or windows 7 (vista 2) or the windows 8 (vista 3) and windows 8 is DOA it is so bad it makes me think of windows me and it is stuck like vista is and to let you all know windows 8 is so bad to run i put it on my notebook and had to go buy new hard drive because of windows 8 and it was working fine before i put it on my notebook

bcscouse
bcscouse

It's all well and good that Microsoft is looking into the future but I think they have focused too much on combining desktop with mobile with the emphasis on the latter. When Vista was released it showed a lack of pre-developement and as you poimted out, the first versions were cumbersom and memory heavy. They could have carried on and called Windows 7 an upgrade of Vista but the general consensus was Vista was and always will be one of the worst operating systems by Microsoft so they had to drop the entire project and introduce a very similar but more robust and stable version with a new name Windows 7. This has proved more popular and is growing substantialy from XP upgraders which I am one. I have run Windows 7 since its first appearance and it has fulfilled my needs in both 64 and 32 bit versions. I did try the first Wndows 8 publication and was immediately totally disappointed with the Metro interface on a desktop where most of my work is carried out. I felt it was too focused on touch screens and tablets with desktops as an after thought. I read all the time about the various tablets being developed and introduced with a lot of the media saying this marks the end of the desktop as a result but my tablet is used very much like my smartphone which I consider as add-ons to my desktop which is the centre piece and the current software works well enough together for my needs. So the bottom line to all this is do I need to spend more money upgrading to an operating system which is not compatible with my requirements or setup? From my own experience has very little to offer any form of enhancements to a desktop over Windows 7. The current market already shows that Android and IOS can intergrate with Windows well enough to carry out most of the requirements. Windows 8 should have been developed as a pure mobile to compete with the current tablet systems on offer and not the messy dual purpose thing it is now. They should have developed it along side Windows 7 and slowly intergrated it with upgrades when they got a response from the market as to what the people realy wanted. So for me Windows 8 is a none starter and I will wait for Windows 9 just as I did with Vista.

Skruis
Skruis

But not exclusively. For the business desktop and probably laptops, Windows 7 is the best answer. It represents the least amount of change with the greatest benefits. For those more mobile users that are candidates for a tablet/slate, Windows 8 is a viable option. It has the capability to be docked into a desktop mode and it has the touch friendly metro interface for "on the go". I don't think, at this point, that Metro is ready for "prime time" use as the primary interface for business users but for any user that needs glancability and touch access to web, email, documents for reading and messaging, metro is more than up to the challenge. Every tool is the "right" tool when used for the "right" job. So is Windows 8 the "only" option in our futures, nope but is it a good option for select cases in the enterprise, sure.

nwmc
nwmc

Now try running 7 on 1GB of RAM. Win7 is not suitable for tablet hardware.

AreV
AreV

@ researcher, Win 8 is using a renamed advanced version of their premier security solution the Forefront engine which is used in their MSE and Forefront enterprise security products. They just recycled one of their old trademarked names "Windows Defender," which in its current incarnation is nothing at all like or similar to the Defender of old. One of the best things about MSE, aside from its efficacy, is that it is silent, and does not try to impress you with the overkill of alarms and approvals of normal activities every day, ten times at least, as other commercial products do. They have taken the security further under the hood with this iteration of the Forefront antimalware engine called an old name "Windows Defender" with a totally new program attached to the name now. I have no problem using the Windows desktop in 8 with no trips to the tiles except upon log in and to log out. On the desktop I have pinned the classic control panel and pinned several other programs I regularly use that I had to search for every time. Problem solved! But I am working with it as a fun project which is what any new OS is to me that is compatible with my PC hardware, before I saw the many good things about it that outweigh the few hiccups any new OS is going to experience. Of course I have also loaded CCleaner MS Office, EaseUS Todo for lack of any imaging program as with Win 7, and FoxIt and all my other paid for and free software. It is apparent that most of the posters here may have seen the Windows 8 screen in an article and may have even loaded it on a marginal machine. But few have even looked at the technical articles about what is under the hood for security etc. The only thing I see missing is the System imaging program that is provided free in Windows 7. For making and restoring images to and from an external drive or drive dock and drive like I use, it beats Acronis and Ghost hands down, with easier procedures, and much more reliable restores of images. I hope they include that imaging program in 8. (I can live without that as I also like the free EaseUS Todo, but they crippled it past version 4.0.0.2, so if you try it, get that version with a search, it is still available. Then save it and don't upgrade it. Don't get the latest version.) For the types who can't use the old imaging program you shouldn't even be here as you aren't fully using the last technology in 7, or any OS, and XP with 2 GB of ram and a 1.6 atom processor will suit you! You don't have to change as you seem to think you are being forced to do. We need you too! We call you paying customers! Thank you for your continued business. For the rest of you that can spell IT and do it to any degree, and are telling us here that you don't need or want any change, shame on you for losing the fun of new toys and technology to play with. If you were around when cell phone first came out you would be crying over why the dials need to replaced with noisy buttons that are hard to accurately press. People complained when microwaves came out convinced they had radiation that would mutate their children. If you lost that love for the experiment, and hate your IT job and are trying to make a case for not getting off your dead axe to those of us that DO love it and do or did it long before you, stop trying and crying. See if the local garbage collection company is hiring. Then you can sling around real garbage, not invented garbage. You might be happy, you never know until you try. Oh, right, I forgot for a second. There is that little thing about refusing to try and incapable of learning. Disregard the change in profession suggestion. That will be coming soon, to a manager near you. Your fear of being left behind is irrational. You have already been left, and no one is dragging you along by force. For the rest I am very interested with all the comments to see what MS does come out with for a release candidate. They have a window for debut of October 2012 to deploy the final version retail. Will it have a Metro tile turn off? Will it be switchable between a desktop only and a Metro mobile only and a combined environment for those who want that? I really want to get rid of Android (Yes I have a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and a Galaxy smartphone I do try fun new technology) and will not go Apple anything. I don't like Google privacy intrusions on all their products in return for their use, nor Apple hardware and software control issues using identical hardware for their computers and other products,made in the same factories as the others, just charging 30% more with control issues leftover from Jobs. None of that was a criticism of those who do like those things in return for getting taken care of. Just not my preference. I like to tinker. Most of the whiners don't want to change to a familiar new version of their known program. Good luck with them leaving quietly and changing to another OS entirely! LOL!

cbci
cbci

and call it a new mobile OS. We have seen absolutely nothing in 8 from last year, or 8 from last week, that is a compelling reason to burden our clients with it's inherent learning curve. The vast majority (>90%) of desktops which we support are used for LOB software which in most cases (again >90%) is loaded after login and remains running until the end of the business day. Our clients cannot be the only ones that use business desktops in this manner and so far, nothing about 8 enhances, or even deals with, that fact.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

although I suspect W8 may cause a few people to re-examine Linux. That will depend on the applications they use.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Wish you would tell us whose going to foot the bill to implement those changes. Wish you would tell us the benefits of this change, instead of proposing we adopt change simply for change's sake.

Head_IT_Man
Head_IT_Man

Microsoft is clearly in business with RAM suppliers as we needed to run several of our critical applications within XP Mode. The trouble with XP Mode is that it hogs resources and you effectively need to double the amount of RAM required. Now RAM is cheap, but why do I suddenly need 4GB RAM on W7 to run the same software I was running on 1GB in Win XP ??

sire_tim
sire_tim

Don't test. Don't review. Don't ever understand your decisions. I like your style. We use focus groups to determine the user impact; and only after IT have worked with the new software enough to be familiar with it (be it OS or otherwise). Worst case scenario we have a valid case statement on why we won't support the product. Just saying that there's nobody out there to do your work for you is kinda cheap. And I'm not talking about testing stuff that has no impact; we know Microsoft will pull support for a prior OS once the current OS gains traction. History tells us this. So if I'm going to advocate staying on an OS to the detriment of my company (financially or otherwise); then in my honest opinion, I better have a damn good reason for it. Equating human lifespan with a software product is about the most bonkers thing I've ever heard (and I've heard some real WTF things over the years). I suppose you use DOS 3.3 in production still, hey it works right? Can't be older than you, so surely isn't anything wrong with it! Just considering the basic security differences in vanilla Win7 vs WinXP makes my back twitch when I think of how many XP users are still on my network, let alone the patching and support nightmare that follows XP. Should you just upgrade because there's a new shiny OS out there? No. Hell no. But saying "it's junk" without actually spending some time with it and verifying your facts you're effectively letting everyone else do your job. As the leader for IT in your organization, one of your jobs is to actually understand the decisions you make and enforce. If you try it out with a test group and decide it's got no benefit to your company; then ok you've done your job and your ongoing decision to stay with XP can be ratified. Otherwise it's just your "opinion" - something which you seem to have a low "opinion" of in the first place. Advocating a +10 year old OS which was designed with administrative privilege requirements for most user activities, over an OS designed for security that doesn't need admin privileges for everything, let alone assumes your permission for everything, speaks volumes about the environment you're fostering over there. Tim Edgemer Chief Information Security Officer UK

Head_IT_Man
Head_IT_Man

I had the same conversations about XP --> W7 and only introduced W7 when our suppliers stopped shipping new PCs with the XP OS installed. Continual upgrading of an operating system - hmmmm - how do I calculate the ROI based on continuing to do what we currently do. I'm a bit over patching, service packs, OS upgrades. David IT Manager Melbourne

sire_tim
sire_tim

"They are the only OS or mobile OS company that is not after the hardware revenues per se, or our information, personally identifiable or not" Yeah, because they're suing their competition to pay them instead...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Now I have Win 8 loaded on a two month old Toshiba laptop I upgraded to 8 GB of RAM and a 128 GB Crucial M4 SSD." Dude, Windows 2000 would scream on that hardware. The performance says more about your hardware than the OS. I don't have that caliber of system available for testing. I've got W8 on a four-year-old Dell D630 laptop, 2 gig of RAM, 80 gig of mechanical drive. It performs admirably, as far as I can tell. But it doesn't matter if it handles like a dump truck, since I can't figure out how to navigate it effectively. I'm still looking for the 'W8 for Previous Windows Versions Users' Guide'. I don't expect full help documentation in a beta, and I'm sure it will be there in the final release. In the meantime, I'm stumbling around in the dark; if I wanted to spend time on Google to learn an OS, I'd be playing at Linux instead.

AreV
AreV

What high cost of switching the OS? All my Windows 7 programs run in it. I even uninstalled my MS Office 2010 and installed my old copy of Office Pro 2003 and it worked perfectly! CCleaner/EaseUS Todo/Flash/Java/FoxIt Reader/Picasa all work fine in Windows 8 Consumers Preview. If you have Windows 7 and an external drive already, and you should for backups and images, you can image your current setup, do a clean install of the free Win 8 preview, and download EaseUS Todo and make their boot CD and image the Win 8 image and re-image whenever you add a new program or test and switch back and forth from there. Tomorrow is Windows update day, and I will be updating Win 8, and then restoring my Win 7 image and update that across the board (Windows updates, MSE updates, and any program updates that are new) and then I will re-image the Win 7 image and restore the Win 8 to continue trying it out. So what is the expense here? If you are talking about having to pay at the end of the trial later this year you don't have to. You can just re-image 7 or Vista, or XP and go back to the way you are used to. Only after you know it can you even begin to assess the costs to a business, and then only your business, and then only if you are the IT for that one business. Otherwise it becomes an exercise in apples and oranges.

AreV
AreV

in Win 8. I have the control panel and Task manager pinned to my taskbar in the Windows 8 desktop and find with a few weeks of using it, not reading about it, that it works nicely in all areas. I also have a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and wish I could load it there to try out the Metro areas with touchscreen. I like the idea of having the same OS unified on my Tablet, my Galaxy Prevail smart phone, and my desktops and laptops. That kind of integration no one has yet. Apple is making their OSX closer to iOS, and Google has all but a desktop/laptop OS in place. MS is poised again at a nexus and may make a real impact once again. BTW, I stumbled around in the developer's preview last year for a months before i felt comfortable and productive with it. Give it, and yourself some time to adjust. And I didn't get comfortable without gradually working up to using it most of each day except when an emergency came up I had to switch over to my desktop and 7 to get done fast enough. Now in the Consumer Preview it is like using windows 7 on the desktop just better and faster, and i have the metro page to explore at my leisure. Hang in there you''ll get it. Heck it took me a day to figure out how to open the first screen to log in the first time last year. You'll do fine, you'll see.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

There's definitely a place for it on tablets and phones, but not on the desktops and laptops that will remain the primary corporate and consumer workhorse systems. Dude, it's a beta OS. You aren't required to install it. If you chose to buy a new drive to run a beta product, you deserve what you get.

bvonr
bvonr

I feel like one of the lucky ones as I have a touchSmart tm2 convertible laptop/Tablet. this machine has 8G of Ram and a 500 G HDD running Windows 8. I was at a sports meeting just when the CP was released and I was writing manuals and presenting them. I was switching back and forth from the desktop to apps all the time and a great experience using the touch screen, touch keyboard and pen.

tfbonline
tfbonline

It's just a variant of Linux, stick it in a virtual machine and off you go!

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Something must change - this is something - therefore it must change!!!

AreV
AreV

The thought about why not use Win 98SE occurred to me too. "So if I'm going to advocate staying on an OS to the detriment of my company (financially or otherwise); then in my honest opinion, I better have a damn good reason for it." You said a mouthful there. I was building our company network and server when the XP-->Vista change happened. I ordered business machines that came with a 3 year on site and a free downgrade to XP with a copy of Vista for when were ready. I also chose Server 2003 to run the quad core server. We only had 6 desktops and 5 laptops to support. Of course we never loaded Vista, I tried it on my HTPC at home and hated the bloat with no float. I have since retired again at 58 and they are still running XP. I am going to have a talk with them about doing a paid consult to bring them over to Windows 7. Then get rid of their bloated Acronis sever and workstation software and replace it with the onboard back up solutions already in 7 for imaging. No big cost except for me. But that is not a giant corporate system like we had before I retired from the AF. They of course are running XP too right? Wrong! And they are not waging a cyber war as we type are they? Of course they are. When you can buy computers today with a functional OS already loaded ion them with productivity software included you can thank The recent crop of folks who merely continued what was started before them Gates, Kildall, Woz/Jobs, and Torvalds. That our infrastructure is safe so far in the US you can thank the Military for. They aren't still using XP either. I think their networks are larger than any corporate one aren't they? And don't talk to me about funding because they are, and have been, working with half and doing twice as much for several decades since about 1975. But they don't run XP either. "Just saying that there's nobody out there to do your work for you is kinda cheap. And I'm not talking about testing stuff that has no impact; we know Microsoft will pull support for a prior OS once the current OS gains traction. History tells us this. " Amen again. And it starts with self. My goodness are there people in IT who don't have home systems to use as initial test beds? Because no matter what is under the hood of the server/s, that is the major thing to contend with, the end users. I have been around around too many social misfits who consider the stupid "LUSERS" (not users) to be an intrusion and beneath them. And the senior company leadership to be the same just not to be treated with overt smugness. I had to get rid of folks that despite training could not crack the code of how to be proactive instead of reactive. The answer to should you be ditched because you are that old is increasingly yes. If you have, at any age, ceased to be able to change and adapt regardless of your calendar age you are over the hill, and a young 59 year old like me can step in and make things happen. But here is the most compelling reason to consider 8 and see what it may do for your company. It will be the first and only completely unified desktop/server/ AND mobile OS that will be consistent across the board. It is in development right now and you people who pretend to be technologists are covering your ears and screaming NA NA NA NA NA NA! I guess I am getting old but we used to pull all nighters at home when we got a new OS, or hardware piece we could learn. In the 80s there were no IT departments for the emerging Micro computers soon to be called PCs. We used to have to use crude tools like edlin to write batch files to automate anything. Then we strung them together and added some language and we were making programs. But here, where once you strain out the wannabe's it is just us techs talking. For the first time in the history of MS they are releasing their newest OS to regular users. And here we are talking amongst ourselves and you are giving us the BS that apparently works for you someplace. There are people right now who see it. My age to tweens. 8 will be mobile, touch, phone and slate, desktop and tablet. What you don't know about Windows 8 is apparent to those of us who have actually tried it. It is merely a better Windows 7 so far on the desktop mode. I have used it and it does not drop us into a metro abyss with regular desktop programs and functions. All of your users will adapt immediately if they have a Win 7 machine at home. They might even have a spare laptop that they are experimenting with 8 on without your knowlege. They might even be putting your company software in virtual scenarios and figuring out the steps to a smooth transition to an integrated mobile and office device world that will streamline the company and its IT ecosystem. So let me see if I have this straight. Yiou are the IT personm maybe even the head of an IT depaqrtment, and you don't run anything but XP at home right? Oh you have 7 at home? So you know 7 works and is just like XP pretty much for the end users. But at work you are convinced that it won't work with your network? Why didn't you write the software? No? Then the work was done by others. Those other probably already have advanced to Windows 7 and are testing 8 right? If not, you are in trouble if you stay and if you go. In any event the coordination will be done bu the software writers internal or external for 7, and many will already be getting their systems ready to go from 7 to 8. I can't believe there are company CEOs who have allowed their company to sit on XP and haven't realized why. Or don't care. In the past 4 decades of electronics and computer work I have encountered folks who when I already was using a beta that was closed were bragging to users about how they are exclusive beta testers and started prevaricating things the beta just didn't have or do. I never corrected them, just made a mental note to get rid of them if they worked in my section, or to never allow them anywhere near any work group I was leading. Nothing personal, either here or there. I wouldn't want to be personal with one of those 10-20% we find in any group. Thank goodness I know about the other 80-90% who are ready to replace them and help us succeed with a smile not endure with a scowl. Anyway folks, if you are real and haven't gotten a "Round Tuit" yet, consider this a gift of one. Try it for a few weeks before your CEO does and you tell him some of the same tell-tales some of you have here. It may not be for you or your company, but many here don't know that yet except as hearsay.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If they're not after our personal information, why does the OS prompt you for a Microsoft Live account immediately after installation? If they're not after hardware revenues, why does it include links to Xbox and compatibility with Kinect?

1ndy
1ndy

You mention deploying, which in itself with a worldwide organization that I work for, is a challenge in itself, but there is a multitude of products that must work on this new OS and its not a matter of "does it run". Networking between OSes has to be tested along with custom code. The list goes on and on. An international company with thousands of employees has to make sure everyone can still work productively. The cost of testing, security, upgrading and changing for compatibility, training, and deploying adds up to millions of dollars in a large corporation. The corporation I work for just switched to a Win7 and XP mix less than a year ago. I would predict that it won't be until Win9 or later before we move to a new OS. If you give people time to learn the new OS on their own personal machines, then you won't have to worry as much as about productivity loss or training costs. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Who knows? Maybe this will allow other OSes to be more competitive, which is good for all of us.

bwexler
bwexler

Over this weekend I finally got around to my OS testing mode. I have three separate drives, and now have five different OSs installed. I have XP 64 which has been my primary for a few years. XP 32 for a few special apps that do not like XP 64. I installed Ubuntu and find it different but no worse than Windows 8 which I installed on an SSD (it is quick). Than I installed Zorin an offshoot of Ubuntu on the SSD. I can go to BIOS and select the boot drive, than the boot manager will let me choose an OS. I don't need to image anything to switch. So now I can play with everything but Windows 7 which I may now skip entirely. I did run Vista for about six months and gave up on it. Since more and more of my clients are looking for "cheap" machines, I am going to pay close attention to Ubuntu and Zorin which can cut $140 off my cost of building a machine. That may translate into building a nice machine that competes favorably with Walmart, Costco, Dell and HP.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

of purchasing it. Of training people to use it. Of upgrading hardware to run it. (I had to upgrade the BIOS on both of my test systems before I could install it. That's free, but it takes time to find those upgrades and install them.) None of these are reasons not to test it in the way you describe, but they're all stumbling blocks to actually deploying it as the article proposes.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

is that workplace users don't have the time to gradually get comfortable with it. The learning curve with W8 is much steeper than with Vista or Office 2007. Employers expect that learning a new tool may result in a temporary loss of productivity, but it looks like W8 will result in a longer loss than is justifiable for the minimal benefits. In short, the boss ain't gonna be willing to wait while users grope around in the dark.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

but I wasn't aware installation media was available for downloading by the general public. Is it, or did you copy it over from a device? Thanks.

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