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Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires 860

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the get-your-free-upgrade-to-ubuntu dept.
MojoKid writes "Microsoft has been loudly and insistently banging a drum: All support and service for Windows XP and Office 2003 shuts down on April 8. In early February, faced with a slight uptick in users on the decrepit operating system the month before, Microsoft hit on an idea: Why not recruit tech-savvy friends and family to tell old holdouts to get off XP? The response ... was a torrent of abuse from Windows 8 users who aren't exactly thrilled with the operating system. Microsoft has come under serious fire for some significant missteps in this process, including a total lack of actual upgrade options. What Microsoft calls an upgrade involves completely wiping the PC and reinstalling a fresh OS copy on it — or ideally, buying a new device. Microsoft has misjudged how strong its relationship is with consumers and failed to acknowledge its own shortcomings. Not providing an upgrade utility is one example — but so is the general lack of attractive upgrade prices or even the most basic understanding of why users haven't upgraded. Microsoft's right to kill XP is unquestioned, but the company appears to have no insight into why its customers continue to use the OS. "
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Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:23AM (#46407585)

    ...to a Mac mini for $599 with the latest OSX.

    FUCK YOU!!!

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:35AM (#46407709)

      My grandmother refuses to upgrade because she's so in love with the greetings card workshop software that came with her first computer in the mid-90's. It's run fine on each computer since, but definitely won't run on Win 7 or 8 so she won't upgrade again. I don't think your solution is any better for her, and she's pretty representative of a large segment of the people still on XP.

      • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @11:32AM (#46408461)

        VirtualBox + Seamless mode + boot VM on host login.

        So automated, even your grandmother could use it. Throw in an SSD and the VM will work so smoothly, she won't even notice.

        • by LoRdTAW (99712) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @12:54PM (#46409499)

          +1 informative.

          I did the same for our PC's at the family business. We use Peachtree 2004, and have been using Peachtree since 1999 or so. Of course it won't run in Windows 7 nor will it run under Wine. I moved the XP install from the P4 hardware to a virtualbox VM with a few registry hacks to change the disk controller (the blight of moving windows installs). I then bought new AMD APUs, motherboards and gave each one a 1tb hard disk and 8gb ram (a little over $300 in parts). Installed Xubuntu 12.04, VirtualBox and automatically start the XP VM in full screen.

          No re-installing anything so downtime was about a day so and I did it on a sunday. My mother can't tell the difference and XP runs *way* smoother. The benefit comes from the faster CPU, more memory and faster HDD (vs the old 5400RPM ATA disk) for the VM. I can also snapshot the VM or move it to a new PC without worrying about hardware changes. The beauty of a VM: hardware abstraction.

          You only boot the system and start the software once a day so an SSD is overkill. I would skip the SSD as you really don't need it unless you have the money to spare or are loading large programs or files constantly. For basic desktop use 1TB is HUGE. I would rather more space for snapshots and other VM's if necessary. A 1TB WD Blue is about 55 bucks on newegg.

        • VirtualBox + Seamless mode + boot VM on host login.

          So automated, even your grandmother could use it. Throw in an SSD and the VM will work so smoothly, she won't even notice.

          And this is for his grandmother?

      • If you're talking about the Broderbund Printshop software, it works quite well under Wine.

        http://appdb.winehq.org/object... [winehq.org]

      • by unixisc (2429386) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @01:21PM (#46409859)

        My grandmother refuses to upgrade because she's so in love with the greetings card workshop software that came with her first computer in the mid-90's. It's run fine on each computer since, but definitely won't run on Win 7 or 8 so she won't upgrade again. I don't think your solution is any better for her, and she's pretty representative of a large segment of the people still on XP.

        But that's easily solved by XP Mode, which can be downloaded from Microsoft's site. So let's say she has a computer w/ Windows 7 and needs to run this, she can, for this application, run XP mode, run her greetings & card workshop in that Window, and she'd be just fine. She doesn't have to put up w/ all the security holes that won't be patched under XP moving forward.

  • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:26AM (#46407615)

    Not to mention the fact that upgrading from any computer old enough to have come with XP to Windows 8 is highly unlikely. You will almost certainly have to buy new hardware along with that expensive software.

    • There are still a ton of windows XP PC's out there capable of running 8.1. Any Core 2 (and some last gen P4's) or Athlon 64 PCs or Higher will run it fine as long as it's got at least 2GB of RAM, but it's the transition that's the pain, especially since MS removed Windows Easy Transfer From Windows 8.1

      There is talk that MS is going to release a Free edition of Windows 8.1, but it will most likely be gimped or restricted on who can install the OS, such as Large OEM's only. If they played their cards correctl

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:42AM (#46407813) Homepage

      Microsoft's list of reasons to upgrade include:

      * Designed with the new mobile lifestyle in mind
      * More background designs and colors
      * Enhanced Bing search
      * A beautifully redesigned store.
      * Deep cloud integration with OneDrive.

      With reasons like that I can't imagine why XP users aren't rushing out to drop $500 on a new PC, $100 on a new monitor and another $300 on a new printer/scanner then replacing/reinstalling all their software and trying to get everything working like it already was...

    • Sounds like an opportunity for an XP to Linux Upgrade utility. One that moves the XP programs to Wine or perhaps an XP virtual machine in the process...
  • XP Works (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:27AM (#46407629)

    People keep using XP because it works just fine.
    There's nothing wrong with it. Why would we change?
    If it aint broken, why fix it?

    Save Windows XP!!

    • by bumba2014 (3564161)
      it works, why change it.... I'm still using it...
      • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @11:14AM (#46408241)

        I'll go a step further - I prefer Office 2003 to 2010. I've been using the "ribbon" for a few years now, and it still sucks.

        • by Drethon (1445051)

          I've been using the "ribbon" for a few years now, and it still sucks.

          QFT

        • I'll go a step further - I prefer Office 2003 to 2010. I've been using the "ribbon" for a few years now, and it still sucks.

          Exactly. People, even technical people, have to consistently go to google to find out how to do X or Y on MS Office 2010 whereas in 2003, such things were easily discernible. I would say that the 2003 interface was the pinnacle of Office's usability. I cannot understand, from a UX point of view, why things were changed so from 2003 to 2010. There is no inherent functional advantage from the later over the former.

  • Win 7 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GuitarNeophyte (636993) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:28AM (#46407637) Homepage Journal

    Anyone who I have known who wanted to buy a new computer, I have told them to make sure they get windows 7. Those people have been pretty ok. If Microsoft wasn't trying to kill their good product (Win 7) by pushing everyone to Win 8, they'd be fine.

  • by Connie_Lingus (317691) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:28AM (#46407643) Homepage

    i'd have to say...isn't it a pretty good assumption that 90% of machines running XP are under-powered (by modern standards) boxes that just won't really be able to handle the transition to the soon-to-be-free 8.1?

    running even win7 on a machine with less then 2G is a nightmare...i can't imaging 8.1 being much better.

    ms has to know this...besides the obvious (to us slashdotters of course) idea to move them to linuux peppermint or xfce, what does ms expect these user to do?

    • by plover (150551)

      For a lot of these hold-out users, it's a matter of pride to keep a 50 year old tractor running, because it proved they made a good investment when they acquired something that has durability. For them, acknowledging that they have to replace a 9 year old computer means they made a bad decision when they bought it, and they don't want to admit that they invested in a piece of crap. Investing in a new computer after such a short time means they personally failed. They can understand replacing damaged parts

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:31AM (#46407671)

    To DEBIAN, bitches!!

  • Windows 7 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by webmistressrachel (903577) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:35AM (#46407713) Journal

    They should just roll back to Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and start from there. It's bloody good, and all this is a bloody shame. They were just getting good and learning from the UNIX crowd about security and user space. Aero is gorgeous and efficient. And they threw all the best bits I got excited about in the bin - and no I didn't get excited about Vista - 7 runs better on anything that runs Vista.

    I've posted before about this calamity that is removing Windows 7 from the shelves for this 8 nonsense.

  • by jamesl (106902) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:36AM (#46407729)

    ... has done a terrific job converting these decrepit XP machines to open source. After all, its free, secure and runs on anything that XP will. The migration tools are free, secure, work really well and available just about everywhere.

    And once she's running Linux, grandma will stop calling with all those support questions.

  • by fermion (181285) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:38AM (#46407747) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft's right to kill XP is unquestioned, but the company appears to have no insight into why its customers continue to use the OS.

    MS is a public firm, so if XP is losing money, and share holder value is not being honored, then yes MS has every reason to kill it.

    But if customers are still finding enough value to pay MS to support it, then MS is just making arbitrary decisions that are hurt long term value. If business customers are not going to be able to trust MS to support core technology that is good enough, they will go somewhere else. Business customers can't be expected to change their business models just because MS want to sell a new toy.

    • Re:Yes and No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Spad (470073) <slashdot @ s p a d . c o.uk> on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @11:23AM (#46408353) Homepage

      XP is over 12 years old, that's one hell of a *free* long term support package. Is there any other OS available that has a 12 year support lifecycle? Ubuntu's LTS releases have a 5 year support cycle, Apple doesn't have a published official policy for OSX but it's about 4 years on average. RHEL comes the closest I can find at between 10 & 13 years depending on the version, but you have to pay for that so it's not directly comparable.

      XP has had a pretty good run of it, all things considered and if Windows 8 wasn't such a PR mess, this "forced" upgrade would probably a lot less contentious.

    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

      But if customers are still finding enough value to pay MS to support it, then MS is just making arbitrary decisions that are hurt long term value

      Not quite. You are skipping over the strategic goals of the company and road map to the future. MS saw mobile platforms, specifically tablets and phones, as the future of computing and started gearing their software to that market. The big mistake they made was ignoring the current users by making a unified UI geared towards the touchscreen mobile market. If they had been smart, they would have provided two UIs, one that is effectively Win7 and the other one Metro, and allowed the user to choose which UI t

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:38AM (#46407751)

    Get rid of metro
    Get rid of apps that take up the entire screen. Don't even tell me I could split the window in half, it pisses me off
    Fix the start button so I can see my programs again
    Restore popular programs that were removed, like video player.

  • by Barryke (772876) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:39AM (#46407755) Homepage

    This article is bogus and even /. MS bashing unworthy. A proper upgrade is a OS reinstall, not a wizard that performs some half-ass "lets copy files and hope it works". Windows XP was never intended to boast a upgrade system like this. Applications can do anything on the whole computer and there is nothing to properly wall these in, except for using a sandboxed OS like Android or iOS. But these are, ofcourse, not as productive.

    Quit the whining, just buy the new hardware and accept that the world doesnt stop spinning because you got stuck in 1994.

    • A proper upgrade is a OS reinstall

      Yes, yes, a proper upgrade is a wipe and re-install. A proper patch requires you to reboot your computer at least once. Those things are only true for Windows, because Windows is broken.

  • Simple really (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Revek (133289) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:42AM (#46407811) Homepage

    Most People don't want to relearn anything. They know how to do this or do that and its different the second you move up to the next version after windows xp and office 2003. Microsoft has to accept its customer base doesn't want to have to learn how to drive a new operating system or application every few years.

    • Re:Simple really (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chris Mattern (191822) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @11:23AM (#46408351)

      Most People don't want to relearn anything.

      As well they shouldn't. Having to relearn something you already know how to do is dead, wasted time. By itself it serves no purpose. Forcing people to relearn things is only justified if it is inextricably tied to making those things better, which, alas, too often it is only in the developer's mind.

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:46AM (#46407849) Homepage Journal
    he company appears to have no insight into why its customers continue to use the OS.

    When something works, why change? And don't give me the crap about security and this and that. Cars from the 60s don't have anywhere near the safety features modern cars do yet have no problem operating safely.

    For the average person who does some web surfing and checks their email, there is no legitimate reason to upgrade ESPECIALLY when you take into consideration the costs involved.

    This will be one of the few times you'll hear this, but Microsoft did too good a job creating XP.
  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:47AM (#46407873)

    WinXP: It's good enough.

    My retired parents use their computer for the exact same things today as when they bought it ages ago. They surf the web, do email, occasionally skype and keep track of things in excel, word and a bit of time on FB. It sits in their home office and each morning one of them turns it on uses it and then at night when the last one is done using it, (s)he powers it off for the night. They've got some ext HD that backs up their computer every day in case something happens.

    It works. Sure they have kindles to read books, but there's no need to fork over $500+ for a new system and then the hassle of migrating all of their apps/data/settings to a new platform.

    What else do they have that "just works"? A toaster oven, a microwave and other appliances. They see the computer as an appliance, it works, it has an interface and a set of expected behaviors. Nice and simple.

  • I have long been a PC user, not because I like Windows, but because it was cheap, and Windows was functional enough for my needs (really prefer the fine grained control I get with Linux, but Linux and Laptops have never really played nice.

    but I recently bought a new laptop for my wife, which sadly came with Win8. The laptop itself is a wonderful, solidly build Lenovo ultrabook.

    Windows 8 makes it damn near unusable. the touchscreen oriented tile interface, the singletasking everything full screen all the time Metro interface all of it is garbage. might be good for a phone or tablet, but positively counterproductive on a laptop or desktop. I had to spend a fair amount of money and time finding and installing third party software to at least partially restore Win7 levels of usefulness

    if the next release of windows doesn't restore Win 7 levels of usability, we will bite the bullet and spend the money for Macs.

  • Why use XP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:56AM (#46408009)
    For the average user XP is generally good enough. They want a browser, maybe an older copy of Word, and the ability to print. That is about it. So if you have something that works and is good enough then why would anyone change. I know people will apples who have asked me which version of Windows they are running and people with Windows who ask me to "install apple". So explaining to these people the nuanced differences between XP, Vista, 7, 8, or 8.1 (or even Mac OS X) is nearly impossible.

    Also these people typically will budget 100% of the technology budget to getting a better mobile device. So they aren't upgrading their hardware which is often a 6 year old laptop with a battery good for 5 minutes and they are happy with it.

    I recently upgraded my Mac OS X to Mavericks only because I needed the latest copy of XCode and it wouldn't run on my two version behind OS and I am a programmer. I won't argue that Mavericks isn't better than its predecessors but if a fairly hard core user such as myself can't be bothered to upgrade unless forced how on earth can you convince Granny?

    A great example of just how odd people's priorities can be would be with my mother. I switched her from an Old Ubuntu to the latest and her number one gripe was that her icons moved a bit; she didn't not appreciate any of the many benefits of the far newer OS such as stability or speed. Apple does have the upgrade system set up to be fairly painless with a low chance of changing things like the positioning of icons so that shows some awareness of the consumer.

    But where I am leading with all this is that if MS wants people to upgrade they need to make a more compelling case. Most people would be happy with Word 97 and Windows XP (except when they got .docx files sent to them) so what killer feature does a newer OS have? Generally the only killer feature is that older applications are starting to not work with XP and thus it is a new meaning to killer feature but that is just abusive to the consumer not a positive reason. I can sort of see why MS tried Metro in that they were trying to make something new. The reality is that the new operating systems don't do anything new. They have these huge CPUs and massive GPUs and all they do is slightly slicker movements of the same old interfaces. How about some AI. How about an AI word processor that you give it 5 samples plus your new content and it coughs together a damn good document that might need one quick sanity check? That would set sales records.

    I remember back in the early 90s when most C++ programmers used Borland. Everyone wanted to get into Windows programming but even Hello World was a pain in the ass. Borland had this stupid OWL system. Then a new thing Visual Studio 1.0 came out with a few templates and then this MFC thing that made you look like a programming superstar. Within a year I didn't know a single person still using Borland C++. That was a compelling feature. The same with Word Perfect. Word was an interesting product but it wasn't until you really needed Wysiwyg for laser printers(and other new not dotmatrix printers) that everyone made the leap into Windows and Word. Almost overnight Word Perfect for DOS just wasn't the cool thing.

    So where I made the switch to Mac was because it was BSD based and very similar to the linux environment where I deploy my applications. Plus for iOS app development there is no other choice. Those are compelling reasons. What positive compelling reason does anyone have to switch from XP that doesn't require a technically nuanced discussion?
  • by EXTomar (78739) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:57AM (#46408021)

    Microsoft is completely correct that if they are on the hook for stability and security of Microsoft products then they need to kill off software they can no longer sustain or maintain. Microsoft should be free and clear to "end of life" both Windows XP and Office 2003. What the problem is that their "replacement" for the products seem dubious.

    We know what the problems are with Windows 8 where you can find the issues all over the Internet with simple searches. Since /. loves the car analogy: Windows 8 is a replace for Windows XP like scooter is a replacement for a 2001 sedan. Or more exactly, it is like trading in your quirky but workable 2001 sedan for a new 2014 model but find the car manufacturer thought scooters were the superior are the future so they completely rearranged the inside around one big scooter seat, a Y steering stick instead of a wheel, and threw out a bunch of nice features normally found in cars under the guise "it was too complex for people". And after all of that the dealer perks up and says, "But don't believe the hate....the Bluetooth integration works great!" Lots of things work really well in Windows 8 but the major interface features do not.

    As for Office 2003, many places have already "dealt with it" where they are sticking with it or moved onto simple alternatives. If one is still using Office 2003 then they didn't need the "cutting edge features" of modern Office where Google Docs is easily more than enough for them. Convince this "bottom segment" of the market to upgrade is a lost cause for Microsoft. These customers feel like they don't need the new features and complexity and not at the price they are asking.

  • by Peter Simpson (112887) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:57AM (#46408023)
    Microsoft has misjudged how strong its relationship is with consumers and failed to acknowledge its own shortcomings.

    You owe me a new keyboard.

    Microsoft has never given the least bit of thought to its (individual) customers or their needs. To say that there has ever been a "relationship" is laughable. For the past few years, Microsoft's effort has been to force upgrades to maintain a revenue stream. Useless features and frills (Metro, ribbon, addition of gratuitous whitespace) have been added to products, because the company is either unable or unwilling to make substantial improvements in quality or performance, choosing instead to force upgrades with incompatible features and formats. Each release is less well thought out than the previous one, and I have yet to meet someone who wants a Microsoft tablet. (I will grant that Microsoft has paid some attention to the corporate customers, but that's not who we're talking about here)

    OK, maybe the above is a bit harsh, but the fact remains that Microsoft seems to have lost the trail (if it was ever on it). When I think about companies in touch with individual customers and their wants, Apple comes to mind, not Microsoft. Love 'em or hate 'em, the folks in Cupertino don't seem to have any problem shifting their rounded-corner wares... People don't want to upgrade from XP, because it does what they need it to do, and it works for them. They don't want (or need) to learn a completely new UI. They'd probably appreciate a more secure OS, but buying an entirely new computer to get it (and shifting all their applications and data over) seems like too much work.
  • Not so fast (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JDG1980 (2438906) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @11:05AM (#46408105)

    Microsoft's right to kill XP is unquestioned

    Well, I'll question it. XP, like it or not, is a major part of America's IT infrastructure. Why should one private company have the right to unilaterally declare this kind of planned obsolescence?

    If we had sane copyright laws, this wouldn't be an issue – Microsoft would have been required to put the source code in escrow back when XP was first released, and after 5-10 years (i.e. by now) it would automatically become open source. But since we instead have copyright laws bought by Mickey Mouse, there would have to be another way to achieve this. Perhaps one or more governments could use eminent domain to seize XP, then make it open source and fund its maintenance. Not only would that do a great deal of good for the computing public, but it would also light a fire under Microsoft – they would have to compete with free versions of their old OS, and would have an even harder time trying to shove Windows 8 down all our throats.

    • by Yunzil (181064)

      Why should one private company have the right to unilaterally declare this kind of planned obsolescence?

      Because they made it?

  • by Bonker (243350) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @11:11AM (#46408175)

    So 'Desktop Linux' is just not cutting it for me yet. Almost, but not quite. (Seriously, get USB keyboards working with yer full disk encryption, Debian.)

    That said, I'm not going to Windows 8 or even 8.1. Evar. In the rare event that I need to run something that only runs on Win 8, I've got a company supplied Virtual box VM image with a legit corporate licensed copy. (I've booted up to run the latest version of MS Dev Studio less times than I can count on one hand.)

    In the slightly more common event that I need to run something that ran fine on WinXP, but won't run on Win7, I have a WinXP Virtual Box image. This has saved my older, but perfectly working USB scanner.

    In the much more frequent event that I want to run in a Linux desktop environment for, say, development work, working with iptables, or the like, I've got a couple different Mint Linux Virtual Box images.

    About the only thing I don't have an image for is a Hackintosh... but I've got a company-supplied Macbook which also has an array of Virtual Box images hanging around.

    Mint is about || yay close to being usable as my main desktop OS, but has a few standout problems. I DO use it as my laptop OS.

    Win 8 will NEVER be an issue for me.

  • by oldfogie (547102) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @11:34AM (#46408487)
    I work with embedded software. Chip designs are often 20 years old. So are the software development tools.

    Software designed for Windows 3.1, or even DOS 5.0, will still run under XP. They will not run under Windows 8, or even Windows 7 (64-bit, I have to get my hands on a Windows 7 32-bit disk and see if it works).

    Moreover, on chips that old you talk to them via serial (either RS232 or RS485). To do it properly, this MUST be done using a real serial port. USB to serial dongles need not apply. This means old hardware. Which means they do not have the horsepower to run Windows 7 / Windows 8.

    I've played with some VM's but there is a problem -- limited access to the actual system hard drive. So I either have 99% of my system in the VM (so all projects area availble), which means I spend all my time in the VM (and am effectively running XP anyway), or multiple small VM's, which limits access to different projects for code sharing...
  • Back up your data! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dynamoo (527749) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @11:39AM (#46408561) Homepage
    I did the Windows XP to Windows 8.1 upgrade on my four-year-old Dell workstation. It works pretty well, and supports a range of really ancient applications either natively or through compatibility mode. I've only found one thing that would not run at all, and that dated from the late 1980s!

    But there's a gotcha.. I upgrade to 8.1 via Windows 8. The first step from Windows XP to 8 ran pretty smoothly, all of my data from the XP installation was moved to a folder called windows.old where it could be recovered from by someone with a basic understanding of PCs. All well and good, but the obvious next step was to upgrade to Windows 8.1.. a bit trickier as you can't do that without installing KB2871389 first (either through Windows Update or manually). The Windows 8.1 download is enormous, 3GB+ but it installs smoothly enough.

    The catch? Well, upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 8 creates the windows.old folder with the old data in. Upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 DELETES that folder and creates a new one with the old Windows 8 settings.. obliterating your original data from the Windows XP installation.

    Well, that wasn't a problem for me as I'd backed up everything onto another drive which I unplugged to be on the safe side. But it wasn't what I was expecting to happen *at all*.. and you can see that a less paranoid customer (or one without a suitable backup disk) could well lose everything if going from XP to 8 to 8.1. And I do notice that there doesn't seem to be a Windows 8.1 Upgrade version available anywhere, so this is the path that a lot of people would take..

  • upgrade (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @11:44AM (#46408605) Homepage Journal

    I know it's shooting fish in a barrel... with a shotgun... and they're already dead... but:

    Look to OS X on how updates are done right. Why does MS always steal the somewhat-nice parts from Apple and never the really cool ones?

    Upgrade OS on the same machine: Insert disc or download image. Click installer. Wait. Reboot. Done. All your data and configuration is intact, down to the desktop background and even the applications you had running will be open again after the reboot.

    Move to a new machine: Get new computer. Turn on. It asks if you want to copy your stuff over from an old machine, so say yes. Connect (WLAN, cable, whatever). Wait. Done. New machine looks exactly like the old one, including all your applications, data and configuration.

    So, it is technologically possible. Makes you wonder why one of the biggest IT companies on the planet is incapable of doing it this way.

    • It does do that. Both of those, in fact (search for "Windows Easy Transfer"). Yes, even in XP, although we'd consider it very archaic today if you used what was built in at the time. You don't necessarily even need the Easy Transfer tool if you've got the installation media. It's just not supported to migrate directly to 8 without a clean install. The supported upgrade path for XP is to Vista. If you wanted to go to 8, you'd have to upgrade to Vista, then 7, then 8.

      Yes, you very likely need to do a cl

  • My Niece (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DougReed (102865) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @12:47PM (#46409407)

    My niece came to me crying because her Windows 7 PC was reinstalling its video driver every other day, the sound didn't work half the time. It wouldn't boot sometimes. One day it just died. Wouldn't boot. I did not have a Windows 7 license around, and she couldn't do her homework. To allow her to do her homework, I put Linux Mint on it. Installed Libre Office, Skype, and a handful of teen related things she might want. I figured after a few days we would have to sort her out. and find a Windows to install.

    That was a year and a half ago. You would have to pry that machine out of her cold dead hands. No viruses, no crashes, battery lasts longer than it EVER did running Windows. Her Videos work, her music works, Libre Office works. She wants nothing at all to do with Windows. She says Mint is perfect. everything works, it's responsive and nothing she needs to do is missing. She can find a tool in Linux to do anything she needs, and most of it is as good as the Windows version. I asked her the other day if she misses windows... She said she misses Windows at least as much as cancer.

  • by MyNicknameSucks (1952390) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @01:03PM (#46409629)

    Here's some insight into why Metro is the way it is and why it's the default UI for Win8: http://www.reddit.com/r/techno... [reddit.com]

    Metro exists, specifically, for the segment of the population that (mostly) single tasks and doesn't want to get bogged down in the nitty gritty of the OS. They don't want multiple desktops or have 10+ windows open; they want to, in the words of pwnies, do nothing more intensive than watch cat videos. It appears to be a deliberate move by MS that most of the included apps suck for "power users" (Mail and Calendar get singled out) and that Office 365 is meant to run in Classic. And, apparently, it's why Metro is Win8's default UI; so-called power users can figure out how to nuke Metro and work more or less solely in classic desktop. Casual users would, apparently, never find Metro if the default UI were classic -- or, at least, they'd never use it since it's unfamiliar. And familiarity's a big deal when it comes to UI design. Think about it for a moment; it's apparently straight-forward make an app that returns the classic UI -- MS must have made it very, very easy to do so from the OS-side of things.

    That's why, in large, part MS has been flouting colours! and customization! and Bing integration! in its marketing -- they're trying very, very hard to get media consumers to use Metro and like it.

    But there are some very large problems to this. Metro is designed around touch and keyboard shortcuts -- not mouse. If you're using a touch screen, Metro's not bad once you grok that swiping from the edges of the screen makes stuff happen. But, damn, good luck figuring out hot corners with a mouse (switching between open apps is not, in particular, very intuitive). Or alt-tabbing. Or "type to find program" (in Win7 / classic, Windows key then type). But ... how many casual PC users have touch screens? To me, it's the flip side of Kinect; with XBone, you get a piece of hardware that's tightly integrated with the system, but provides comparatively little user benefit. With touch screens, there's a low installed user base among the people who would get the most use out of Metro.

    The funny thing is that, by so forcefully going after casual users MS has incurred the wrath of people who need their PCs for work. And those people? If they have to set up a new PC for granny, the first thing they do is install something like Start8. For whatever reason, MS's marketing people have focused on the improved casual user experience for Metro and made it seem like classic is being phased out (apparently, it isn't). And ... Win8 IS a good OS. It was fast and stable out of the box. Driver support is excellent. Security, apparently, is superior to Win7. Unlike Vista, it works well on (comparatively) old hardware.

    MS has become a deeply weird and schizo company. They're supporting a handful of separate UIs (Office: ribbons; Win8: classic; Metro). It's been marketing its new OS as being a superior choice for media consumers who have either already switched to smart phones and tablets or, simply, don't want to change from something that works well enough. The only possible way Metro on a desktop makes any sense is if MS is using it as a Trojan horse to get people to consider using Windows phones and tablets. But, damn. That's kinda' crazy.

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350

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