Windows 10 is nearly here and Poindexter couldn’t be more excited. It’s a strange, uncanny feeling. I haven’t felt this way since Windows Vista promised to bring (allegedly) awesome desktop widgets and transparency effects to the previously cartoony simplicity of Windows XP. Vista brought significant under the hood changes, too, but… widgets! By this time, I had used Windows XP to the fullest; tweaked it for optimal performance, changed every aspect of its appearance, and mastered its keyboard shortcuts. After a few years, XP lost its novelty, and started to show its age and inadequacy. Vista promised to reinvigorate Windows’ appeal with new technologies, faster load times, and those neato widgets. After launch, however, Vista proved an ungainly beast that ran poorly on modern hardware, lacked essential support for common hardware, and didn’t offers users truly valuable improvements. Oh, and those widgets were a massive security hazard. In reaction, manufacturers hoping to boost struggling PC sales escaped to the safety of Windows XP , while other OEMs struggled onwards, bolstered by improving driver support, service packs, and the bail out of Windows 7.
And here we are, still using Windows 7, the world’s inveterate operating system. I’m no Windows 8 apologist, but I maintain that some of its tools are smart and polished. I do not think Windows 8 was innovative. Overall, It felt like an amateurish effort to tie together multiple kinds of devices, tablets and laptops, into one ungainly platform. The hybrid duplicity that resulted – two control panels, two Internet Explorers, two fundamentally different operating systems shmooshed together – is, in my experience, the main gripe among users. The new full screen Start menu is a giant visual leap over the smaller, less intrusive Start menu of Windows 95 onward. For me, full screen Start is jarring, but hardly a deal breaker. The new menu, plus Windows 8’s incredibly convenient omni-search, deserves the entire screen, but only if you take some time to customize it. Start screen gets me to where I need to go quickly and offers useful information on the fly. Although Microsoft had to abandon desktop widgets in Vista for security reasons, they make a kind-of return here, and provide the user with weather, news, and other neatly animated updates at a glance. The big changes are the best. The small compromises, however, left Windows 8 feeling unfinished, rushed, and clumsy.
There is no Windows 9. By numbering their next installment Windows 10, Microsoft is indicating a large departure from Windows 8. Smart move, and seemingly justified. In some ways, Windows 10 is what Windows 8 should have been, but Microsoft had to take a beating – and a new CEO- to realize it. Windows 8 was meant to force a common experience for tablet, PC, and laptop users, making everything uniformly “the Windows experience”. But scaling a desktop environment down to tablet size and forcing a tablet interface up to desktop PC standards was an aesthetic and functional disaster. The then new Surface tablet (and the now retired Surface RT) was still finding its footing; manufacturers invested in touch screens (gimmicky), aggressively marketed all-in-one computers (costly, immobile laptops); and market share was lost to Apple, who sold technologically inferior products that offered a superior user experience. The stage is set. Manufacturers and users alike are clamoring for an operating system that is easier to sell and use.
Windows XP was retired officially April of 2014, forcing users worldwide to upgrade to Windows Vista or later. For those who upgraded to Windows 7 or 8, Windows 10 will be made available for free. This accounts for 75% of all computer users. That’s a lot. And likewise, a lot is riding on Windows 10 and how smoothly it’s released to the masses. If Microsoft can bring us their vision for Windows 8 without any awkward compromises, Windows 10 could be the answer to a market fragmented across devices. A truly uniform experience for users and developers alike. Or it could be disastrous. Poindexter is excited.
Anticipating its July 29th release date, Microsoft announced that the latest version of Windows 10, build 10240, is complete and will be released to manufacturers soon.
Stay tuned for more updates on Windows 10 and what steps you can take to upgrade safely. If you’re interested in what Windows 10 can do for you or your business, give Poindexter a call for your always free consultation. With Poindexter’s help, Windows 10 is a risk free step in the right direction.