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back to article I just LOVE Server 2012, but count me out on Windows 8 for now

Overall, I think Windows 8 is a truly wonderful operating system. The under-the-hood changes make it a fantastic improvement over Windows 7. I am completely in love with Server 2012; I can't imagine the next few years without it. Despite being in love with the technology underpinning Windows 8, I ultimately have to walk away …

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I upgraded from XP to Windows 7 last week.

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I've just finished the roll out of new PCs to two small businesses. All running Win7... everyone is happy.

For the same reasons Trevor lists, Windows 8 will not be gracing our PCs.

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I've been thinking about making that jump myself. How are you liking it so far?

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I can't find much to grumble about with Win7 now that we've got used to its quirks. The users seem happy enough with it and the (user) transition was painless.

Win7 flys along nicely on entry level i3 hardware with 4GB Ram.

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Why?

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Anonymous Coward

All the "user" PCs having a tech refresh in the last three years were built with twin disks for both XP/W7-64. They have been used pretty exclusively on W7 once the applications were migrated . An earlier one was XP/Vista-64 - but the Vista has never been used.

Today I bought some new hard drives to start the migration of my own big desktop machine to twin disk XP/W7-64. That gives me a couple of years of twin booting to sort out any problems with my expensive applications migrating to W7.

None of my users will be offered a tech refresh to W8.

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Very well said.

I find I agree with absolutely every single word of this article. As a sysadmin myself there is no way I'd roll 8 out as it is. I would, however, if Microsoft took the steps outlined in this excellent post. Again, very well said.

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Totally agree…

After my experience with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, I am now allergic to anything “Metro”. That is coming from a developer that bought Windows Phone 7 when they first came out.

The problem with the Metro is not that it is new, or different. The problem is that it is irrelevant as desktop replacement. It is a UI focused on tablets and touch oriented devices. The bigger the monitor the ugliest it looks and more difficult it is to use.

Microsoft is presenting it as “the future” to catch the attention of developers and herd them towards that direction. Unfortunately they will probably manage to alienate a lot of them.

From a business perspective (in my line of business in particular) all these “new” directions have no value whatsoever and what they have achieved is to demonstrate how irrelevant they can become in the future even for the business. The only thing that keeps them alive (in my field of work) is Excel, everything else is replaceable.

At this point I am waiting for them to either sort out their mess with Windows 9 or else I will have to learn everything from scratch, by moving to Linux.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Totally agree…

“The problem is that it is irrelevant as desktop replacement”

I downloaded Windows 8 a few days ago and installed it on a spare drive to see what all the fuss was about and I don’t understand why people think the Start page is a desktop replacement?

The first thing a lot of people were saying was they didn’t like that it booted to the start page. I admit, at first I thought it was pretty pointless, but after playing with it for a while I can’t see the problem. When I would boot to Desktop in previous versions of Windows, the first thing I would do is click on something (usually Email, Web Browser or Word/Excel). So it doesn’t really change anything, you just click what you want to start doing from the Start Page and it opens as normal. Alternatively, you can hit the desktop button.

The second thing a lot of people were saying they didn’t like was the lack of a Start button. Again, I admit at first I thought WTF. But, after playing with it for a while I actually prefer the Start Page to the traditional Start Menu (and that’s coming from someone who usually instantly switches to Classic menus when installing a new OS). When you think about it, the old Start Menu was just a collection of links anyway. You pressed the Windows button, then navigated to the link you wanted. It’s the same with the new Start Page. I just tweaked it to get it the way I wanted by adding Shutdown, Restart and Search buttons, unpinning all the App crap and just have my proper applications there along with shortcuts to system tools I use. You can add/remove what you want pretty easily.

So, the Start page isn’t a desktop replacement at all. If you unpin the apps and make your normal software the default applications, you don’t have to deal with the new apps at all (which lets face it, for normal desktop users the pre-installed apps are pretty much just a web browser in full screen mode with reduced functionality).

If anything, people should be more annoyed at Microsoft for removing the ability to play DVD’s. Granted you can install VLC Player (or Media Centre), but a new OS should do more, not less.

Still, each to their own I guess, I just don’t understand the massive outrage. I suppose it could be worrying that they will head more and more down the dumbed down apps route.

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Pirate

Re: Totally agree…

"The only thing that keeps (MS) alive is Excel, everything else is replaceable."

Yup. They're starting the descent from a great height, but Microshaft are on the slide, supported only by 'old school' IT techs who think they are still on the leading edge (your big years were 1995 and 1998, guys, and your favourite product peaked in 2002).

Everyone else has realised Android is the way to go for tippy-tappy stuff.

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Re: Totally agree…

> When I would boot to Desktop in previous versions of Windows, the first thing I would do is click on something (usually Email, Web Browser or Word/Excel).

That does seem strange to me, but then I have machines here that haven't been booted since the last power outage over a year ago. Email, browser, and everything else that I use it exactly where I left it. I so seldom see what is referred to as the OS or desktop that I find it irrelevant.

But then I don't use Windows.

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Windows 8 - NEVER

Installed the Windows trial version on my PC. I was back to windows XP after just 12 hours. Dont like it.

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Meh

Used the win8 trial for a couple of weeks and I agree with most of what you say. It seems most odd not to allow (at least) the "Pro" version to stay in "Workstation" mode.

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Anonymous Coward

Most odd?

Really? Once you understand Microsoft's goal, of selling you all your apps all over again in Metro versions, and then locking you into their other stuff like Xbox, Surface, Zune (or whatever it's called this week), then it's quite obvious why they made the old Win32 desktop so horrible and clunky.

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One More Nay

Excellently written article that rationally covers the many flaws of Windows 8.

I loathe the lack of ability to collect related icons and lump them into a single folder on the Metro screen. Even doing it on the desktop screen opens up an ugly Explorer window full of titled shortcuts, not a cleancut display of icons. I would much rather open a folder then click the program icon I want, than to have to endlessly scroll sideways looking for what I want.

And on that note..... sideways scrolling? How unintuitive can you get?

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Facepalm

Re: One More Nay

"And on that note..... sideways scrolling? How unintuitive can you get?"

Yeah it's not as if its been a success on iphones and android devices. If only Apple had stuck to up and down scrolling, maybe they would be somewhere by now

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Re: AceRimmer

There's not many people using a mouse scroll wheel on iphones or android devices. Isn't that why horizontal scrolling on Windows 8 is unintuitive?

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Re: AceRimmer

And there won't be a scroll wheel on a windows 8 tablet device

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Re: AceRimmer

Unless you plug one in...

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Re: One More Nay

"Yeah it's not as if its been a success on iphones and android devices. If only Apple had stuck to up and down scrolling, maybe they would be somewhere by now"

Yes, sorry, my fault for not specifying that horizontal scrolling is unintuitive *on a desktop* since that's the format of the OS this topic is about.

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Re: And there won't be a scroll wheel on a windows 8 tablet device

but we're talking about windows on the desktop where nearly all users have a scroll wheel and horizontal scrolling is unintuitive, the point you originally argued with. Still, why keep quiet and let people think you might be an idiot when you can carry on and prove it.....

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Pint

Windows has always been about options...

.. But this time they take fundamental choices away. I completely agree with this article.

It seems once you install Start8, you can make Windows 8 a perfectly reasonable OS, but the fact that functionality (disable hot corners, bring start menu back, etc) isn't an option in the base OS is just terrible. Without it, I guarantee little to no businesses will even consider it. If a business is on XP, they'll plan to migrate to 7. If you're on 7, you're staying on 7.

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Windows

Very good read

I was pleasantly surprised to read about the authors experiences with remote desktop. I think that can be quite an issue, although we should also not forget that Microsoft has made it no secret that they put their money on PowerShell when it comes to windows administration.

As good as it is; nothing beats being able to look over the users 'shoulder'.

To me this is yet another conformation that Metro has been setup without proper preparations. I get the feeling that they started to setup and embed Metro and only after that was done started to look into the other aspects.. "somewhat". MS wants touch so now everything has to make way for touch support. And we'll also just have to like it most likely.

I think that unless something drastically changes in a future update or perhaps a possible upcoming Win9 MS may very well get into problems again.

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Stop

The first rule of Windows is...

...You never install Windows until the first Service Pack. Hopefully by the time Win8SP1 comes out MS will have had to make a few compromises on the shit features of Win8 outlined in this well written article.

If enough people complain, and sales are low, they will make changes, as they're not completely suicidal.

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Re: The first rule of Windows is...

I doubt it. Service Packs that change or add major features are very rare (for example XP SP2 with the firewall).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The first rule of Windows is...

Nah, the first rule of Windows is that you don't even think about installing it until they release the next version.

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Re: The first rule of Windows is...

...you mean I just imagined XP32 losing support for >4Gb RAM with a service pack?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The first rule of Windows is...

Very good chance of it, 32bit machines don't tend to like > 4Gb ram

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Re: The first rule of Windows is...

Wrong. 32bit x86 machines are perfectly capable of handling >4Gb. What they cant do is hand linear address spaces >4Gb to a single process. The initial release of XP32 and SP2 both supported up to 128Gb RAM with PAE, SP2 dropped that to 4Gb. Those builds would hand as many blocks of 2Gb to different processes as you had RAM.

Even SP3 actually supports 36/37 bit memory ranges. Mine is using RAM mapped above the 4Gb line for it's temp folder right now. I've resisted trying the hacks to reenable proper 4Gb+ support so can't comment on how risky they are.

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Megaphone

I wish we could upvote articles. I have nothing to add beyond agreeing with the article and most of the comments, but it seems a bit lame to post a comment just to say that. Maybe article authors should post a proxy comment as the first comment on the article - "upvote/downvote this if you like/dislike the article" sort of thing?

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You can rate the article.

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Facepalm

no you can't

Oh, wait, I use NoScript...

OP, disable NoScript and you'll be able to rate articles.

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Should be fully rolled out in the government departments in another 20 years

Was hard enough to get everyone to upgrade from Internet Explorer 6 as several mission-critical applications used it. Seems to be a trade off between Java memory errors or Microsoft server errors at least for the server-side stuff.

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Article sums up my feelings

They need to let us know there is an escape hatch from this madness - we can't just rely on 'oh, skip this version, it'll all be OK in 8.1, Win 9' or whatever. If you are in the business IT environment, you have to seriously start looking at alternatives to windows applications as your future core user desktop platform.

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Sil
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Windows Store

I mostly agree with you.

I don't think selling more phones is Microsoft's first priority with Metro though.

It is much more to establish Windows Store as the main channel for software and entertainment purchases:

- earning outrageous money with the 30% cut, just like Apple with appstore/itunes;

- intrinsically monopolistic by nature, enabling a tight control over the platform, just like Apple. As for me just like Apple this should be forbidden on the ground that it is anticompetitive but that's another debate.

- the more people use apps the less they use the web, and this is a direct threat to google's advertising business model. In-app advertising can be controlled by Microsoft, at the very least there is very little incentive to choose Google as your ad powerhouse for mobile apps. Let's not forget that Google is aggresively trying to undermine Microsoft's business, be it with (lame) office apps against Office, (awful) chrome notebook against Windows, Chrome browser against IE, google mail against Exchange and many more.

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"There really isn't anything quite like the stark refusal to give you even a hidden registry-setting "off switch" to make you realise how irrelevant you and your concerns truly are."

This.

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft going for the Apple lock-in.

That's the who goal of MetroUI, to lock you into everything Microsoft, in a way they were never able to achieve with Win32 applications (which only ran on Windows).

Once you buy Metro apps, then you will be locked in Microsoft in a way that make Microsoft marketing men jump about in excitement. It no longer matters how shit Windows Phone is, you will buy it, because you bought aload of Metro apps....

In short, playing on consumer ignorance..

What I find interesting is how Microsoft can get away with this, when clearly it's using their domination in the desktop market, to bruteforce their way into others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-competitive_practices

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Re: Microsoft going for the Apple lock-in.

"Once you buy Metro apps, then you will be locked in Microsoft in a way that make Microsoft marketing men jump about in excitement. It no longer matters how shit Windows Phone is, you will buy it, because you bought aload of Metro apps...."

Until, in typical Microsoft style (Zune, Plays for Sure, Kin1 and 2), they go off on another tangent, leaving you and your Metro apps in the dust.

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I could be wrong on this, but I don't think MS ever intended you to roll out Windows 8. I'm not saying that Windows 8 WON'T be rolled out in some places, but by and large I think Windows 7 will keep the installed base of most enterprises.

But Windows 8 WILL ship out to LOTS of consumers. Consumers will get used to Windows 8, and in 2014 when Windows 9 comes out, the UI will feel very common and familar, and enterprises will happily roll it out.

I say all this believing that the Windows 8 UI is superior for productivity once you get used to it--and it has been for me, a professional that has used Windows 8 for the last several months as my primary OS.

Dan

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Anonymous Coward

"has been for me, a professional that has used Windows 8"

..and just joined TODAY to post that +ve comment !

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How many consumers are going to buy a computer with win 8 on it, in the next 2 years? Not enough to be able to roll out metro ui into a corporate eviron and have it feel confortable, thats for sure.

Windows 8 will be looked back apon by historians as the point where MS lost it. I firmly believe this is a pre- emtive desperate move, to try and claw back marketshare they are just about to lose.

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3rd party hacks

You seem to be putting tremendous faith on the 3rd party hacks that make 8 more like 7

To be honest some are janky (not all mind you) but I doubt any will survive intact an explorer specific windows8 update.

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FAIL

Having Thought About It

So yes, having given it significant thought and a lot of testing on VMs in the run up to release I've decided, from a user point of view, that Win8 doesn't offer any significant gains as a desktop/laptop user and in fact actively attempts to hamper and restrict my experience.

The only things I'd be interested in it for are Windows 8 Phones and the Surface tablet. But MS basically guaranteed that I won't be getting the surface with their price point and Win8 mobile just isn't enough of a improvement over Android to really interest me.

So I will be skipping Win 8 entirely and sticking with my Windows 7 system.

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Now here's an idea

You could make the windowing system, desktop etc., modular and replaceable. Then people could *choose* what level of eye-cruft they want. Heck, you could maybe dispense with it altogether, if it's a server. Maybe you could make the whole kaboodle network compatible, so out of the box you could run the GUI on one machine and the actual application on another.

Madness, I know.

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Re: Now here's an idea

NT3.51 was a bit like this - there was a preview release of the NT4 (i.e. Windows 95) shell, which you could install on NT3.51.

It was a remarkable (at the time) display of abstraction, at a time when there wasn't very much clean abstraction in personal computing.

Nowadays of course we have lots of fantastic technical abstrations right up through the software stack that could make all sorts of great stuff possible, but they're sacrificed for crass commercial reasons.

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Re: Now here's an idea

Hmmm, let me think... are there any operating systems that work that way already?

Well yes, I believe there is an OS called UNIX (though it's little-known among devotees of Windows) which I am told has lots of derivatives, some of them even completely free, such as GNU/Linux. I understand that the UNIX GUI is generally an easily substituted layer atop a network-enabled display server ("X") which, so I have heard, lets you "run the GUI on one machine and the actual application on another."

Who'd have thought it?

Still, let's wait for those clever Microsoft engineers to invent something not quite so mature or versatile, so we can spend our money on that instead.

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Re: Now here's an idea

There has been an option for a while to dispense with the GUI on Windows Server.

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Re: Now here's an idea

Nice idea, but it wouldn't work in the Window's culture. While someone like you and me would no doubt love it (I took a bog-standard Ubuntu and replaced Unity with another User Interface, KDE), I fear the common Windows user would only be confused by being given a choice. I can just picture myself asking an elderly relative which interface to use!

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Re: Now here's an idea

You mean shell replacements? like Blackbox http://bb4win.sourceforge.net/bblean/

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Re: Now here's an idea

And then you could call it Winix ;-)

It has always been possible for Microsoft to make windows more modular and responsive to user preference, they have simply never chosen to do so, since it is not in their own interests.

A homogeneous "windows experience" allows them to attract more developers, lessen support costs, reduce the online rage from people who have configured their windows into a mess, and, as is evident with Windows 8, they can use it as a blunt tool of their sales and marketing efforts.

If you want configurability ( along with lesser device support and fewer supported applications to choose from ), then get Linux or some other Unix family OS. However, be aware that you will probably need to learn a lot more new stuff than with Windows 8.

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