1. Narse77's Avatar
    The biggest complaint I hear about Windows 8mis the lack of a start menu. When I hear this I ask what about the start button do you miss? 7 times out of 10 they can’t answer my question. After 20 years working in the IT industry, from helpdesk to corporate network and PC support, it has become clear that the issue is nothing more than change. I was working in a small mom and pop computer store in northeast TN in 1995. This was the time Windows 95 was released. What many people in the industry seem to have forgotten is that people really didn’t like Windows 95 when it was first released. I vividly remember customers coming into the store I worked at demanding DOS 6.22 and Windows for Workgroups 3.11. They had heard horror stories about applications that didn’t work and the plug and play nightmare that was also commonly known at the time as “Plug and Pray”

    After a year or so people were talking about how much better Windows 95 was than Windows 3.11 was, DOS was quickly becoming generally hated as the command line was now only used by people in IT. The config.sys and autoexec.bat file customizations you had to do to play games was no longer needed as games were native to Windows 95. 3D graphics cards hit and that was the nail in the proverbial coffin for DOS. The same Windows 3.11 people had just two years ago demanded was now dead, it was seen as old and clunky. I was honestly amazed how the same people came in talking about how much better 95 was thinking I had forgotten how they hated it just a year prior.

    The next release was Windows 98, it removed a bit of legacy support but kept most of it intact. Unlike Windows 95, Windows 98 was mainly a cleanup of Windows 95 and not a major redesign. Windows 98 focused on improving USB and DirectX and Direct3D support. It was universally accepted and reviews were fantastic. Not much changed so people didn’t complain.

    Next up we had the infamous Windows Me. Windows Me was Microsoft’s attempt to ease the path away from real mode dos mode to the pure 32 bit environment of the NT kernel. This was needed to shorten boot times and make the system more secure among many other needed improvements. It was also intended as a stop gap from the previously business only Windows NT that had just seven months earlier been updated to Windows 2000. Windows Me has been widely considered the worst version of Windows ever, even though it was only Windows 98 second edition with real mode DOS removed. The issue here again, in my opinion, is due to change. It wasn’t a direct change the way Windows 3.11 to Windows 95 was but it was a change. Many popular programs at this time still required real mode DOS. This was especially true for many games. If you were one to get a new Windows Me computer and find it couldn’t run your favorite game you were pissed. Luckily Windows Me was a short lived OS as Microsoft released the next OS, Windows XP, a little more than a year after Windows Me.

    Windows XP did away with the previously home oriented 9x kernel and brought all Windows OS kernels to the same version. No longer did we have separate Windows kernel for home and business. Windows XP had a slightly newer base kernel over Windows 2000 but for all intents and purpose it was Windows 2000 with a new skin and higher res icons. Talking to people now you would think that Windows XP would have been held as fantastic. It was not. Windows XP, being based on the Windows NT kernel, was not compatible with many older peripherals such as printers, scanner, modems and the like. Also as it had no real mode DOS the same games that did not work in Windows Me did not work in Windows XP. Windows XP was also very criticized at release for its choice in UI colors. I remember well the UI being mocked on popular tech sites as a “Crayola” OS. Windows XP was not really widely accepted until they released service pack one almost a year later.
    I personally feel that the major press backlash MS received from Windows Me and Windows XP were the reason that it took six years to get new version of Microsoft’s operating system. By the time Windows Vista was released in 2007 everyone had forgotten how they hated Windows XP when it was released. Windows Vista changed the Windows explorer interface and changed the driver model audio hardware among other driver changes. It was released with minimum system requirements that could barely run the OS. This was one of the major reasons that Windows Vista was met with such bad press. The other major issue with Windows Vista was the drivel model and access to the HAL was completely different. Hardware OEMs were slow to release stable drivers for the new HAL. Unfortunately this combination made a system that was slow and prone to crash. With new hardware that was fully supported with Vista drivers, a fast CPU and plenty of ram Vista ran fantastically. The lack of driver support hurt Vista badly in the business sector. Many items like credit card readers, thermal printers and barcode scanners were not supported until a year and a half after Vista’s release. At this time corporations already knew that MS was going back to a two to three year release cycle and chose to wait on Windows 7.

    I will never forget running the betas of Windows 7 thinking people would hate it as it was nothing more than Windows Vista with a new taskbar. Windows 7 was relapsed to superb reviews and critical acclaim much to my complete surprise. I was amazed how no one, not even the media realized it was the same base OS, the same driver model, the same HAL that they had all bitched and moaned about just two years earlier.
    This is when it dawned on me completely and utterly. People just don’t like change. It happens every time something major changes in computers. People hated the change from DOS to Windows 3.11. They hated the change from Windows 3.11 to 95. They hated the change from 9x to Windows XP. (XP is the oddball as XP SP2 should have been the Windows 98 to Windows 95 but the principle is still the same) They hated the move from XP to Vista etc. etc.

    So as you see throughout Microsoft’s history they have made changes. The changes they make are often met with bad press and the public outcry that if they don’t change it back it will be the end of Microsoft. But you know what? Microsoft has never went backwards. They always move forward and this is why the Start Screen is here to stay. This is why your beloved Start Menu has to go. Give Windows 8 a chance. Learn the differences. I promise you that it is faster. It is more efficient. Windows 8 is the first operating system since Apple’s OSX was released that I have found to be better at managing multiple applications. It has the best hotkey and keyboard shortcut system I have ever used. It is a fantastic operating system and it is a shame that you would miss it due to not wanting to change.
    06-12-2013 02:15 PM
  2. anon(6038817)'s Avatar
    Thanks for the good write-up.

    I've been using Windows 8 at work for a month and a half now, and, while it has a few quirks (that may be attributed to lingering OEM bloatware or 3rd party drivers and not Win8 itself), I find it to be a very efficient, very capable OS that has all of the qualities I've come to enjoy from the Windows platform.

    In fact, the start screen "formerly known as metro" interface inspired me to try my first Windows Phone 8 device (Nokia Lumia 521), which I've had for about 2 days now, and am enjoying very much.

    Before I tried Win8, I was skeptical of it and questioned whether it offered any real advantages over Win7. But I'm glad I had the opportunity to try it, because it's changed my opinion of it.

    For desktops, the advantages of Win8 over Win7 are more subtle, as desktop users will probably live in desktop mode and make little use of the "formerly known as metro" interface and apps. However, performance enhancements, reduced boot time, and other "under the hood" improvements might go unnoticed by the average user, but not by me. The new task manager is excellent.

    For touchscreen devices, the advantages of Win8 over Win7 are much more apparent. Along with the performance enhancements, the "formerly known as metro" interface was made for touchscreens.

    The upcoming Windows Blue update will reinstate the start button and allow you to configure Windows to boot directly into desktop mode. I welcome these enhancements, and I think this will assuage the fears many people have about Win8.
    Laura Knotek and a5cent like this.
    06-12-2013 02:44 PM
  3. Bartdog's Avatar
    Perspective is a wonderful thing, isn't it?
    Laura Knotek and a5cent like this.
    06-12-2013 05:10 PM
  4. SnatchedIT's Avatar
    You just expressed all my feelings in a post.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    06-12-2013 05:18 PM
  5. Narse77's Avatar
    You just expressed all my feelings in a post.
    I am very happy to hear I am not the only one to feel this way.
    06-12-2013 05:55 PM
  6. stmav's Avatar
    Really liked your comments on Vista. I used it for my operating system on my mcse. Even contracted with Microsoft doing Vista small business support at their office here. Yes, the drivers were a problem. But also they way they marketed it. Instead of focusing on bitlocker and things most users wouldn't care about, they should've stresses snap, ready boost and some of the aero features. A lot of clients loved it when they found they could use a usb stick instead of buying more memory and having to install it.
    06-12-2013 06:21 PM
  7. Narse77's Avatar
    The marketing was horrible. I never could see any real world benefit from ready boost. My brother works for SanDisk so I got to test with all the latest and greatest at the time. It is possible that my hardware was too fast for ready boost to show any real world performance gains. I can't tell you how many brand new laptops I saw with 1GB ram running vista though. I used to carry around new ram in my bag just because of this. MS really shouldn't have allowed Vista to be loaded on less than 2GB IMO. To this day I think that and driver support were the reason for all the bad press
    06-12-2013 06:30 PM
  8. stmav's Avatar
    I totally agree on the memory requirement. Though I did have several cases where the ready boost did help sub standard computers. Small companies already had usb sticks lying around and were glad to save a little cash. They brought a tiger team down from Redmond to ask our inputs on how to improve the Vista experience. When I mentioned the marketing and a couple of points. I was told ok and given a thanks for playing look.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    06-12-2013 06:44 PM
  9. Narse77's Avatar
    Too bad they didn't listen. Vista wasn't really a bad OS. It had many advantages over XP, especially when it came to security. My workplace never loaded it on many machines so after I tested ready boost on my PC I never really tried it again. May have been a option for a couple of my personal clients. Makes me feel kinda stupid I never tried it on one of those laptops lol.
    06-12-2013 07:31 PM

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