back to article Windows 10 won't help. The PC biz is doomed, DOOMED, I TELL YOU

What a difference a year makes. At this point in 2014, PC vendors were riding high on Windows XP support doom, but fast forward to the here-and-now and the pending launch of a certain OS isn’t causing the same waves. Anyone mildly connected to the IT industry understands chip and operating system updates don’t have the same …

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Facepalm

Correct

I've been playing with Windows 10 this week, so can say with confidence there's absolutely no reason for a Windows 7 user to "upgrade".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Correct

Completely agree: at home I use Apple kit and it does just what I need it to do and looks good doing it. At work we're on Windows 7 - all our real heavy duty systems and grids of import run on Linux and the Windows 7 desktop is fine for the fluffy stuff - it's fast and reliable enough, albeit a bit fugly compared to OSX. No reason to move right now.

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Re: Correct

...apart from the possibility that you won't be able to get Win7 drivers for new hardware in the next few years and MS might just terminate support for Win7 altogether on the grounds that Win10 is a service pack.

But yes, Win10's most appealing feature is that it is less like Win8 and more like Win7. If only MS would go the whole hog and bring back Aero then Win10 would be almost perfectly pointless for Win7 fans who don't like unnecessary change.

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Re: Correct

I will not be upgrading to Win10 for one reason: privacy. Windows 8.1 and 10 does not respect my privacy at all. I have told Microsoft many times in the Win10 feedback how unhappy I am with the anti-privacy built in to Windows 10. They won't listen, because they know most people won't bother. "Cloud first, mobile first" really means "Customer last".

I know I cannot escape all the tracking done by computers today. That doesn't mean I should just give up.

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Re: Correct

"MS might just terminate support for Win7 altogether on the grounds that Win10 is a service pack."

Nonsense. Your hypothesis fits the the business models of Apple and the non-commercial Linux distros.

The updates will come until early 2020. Since not all Windows 7 editions are eligible for the update, namely the Enterprise and Embedded version, those systems would still need people to develop patches.

As is the case with XP, Microsoft will be selling expensive support options for the EOL systems for a year or three after that date.

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Re: Drivers

No doubt Microsoft will quit signing new and updated Window 7 drivers any day now. You will move along whether you want to or not. The question is: to what? Another circle once around the turnstile, tramping out their grain with more of their ware and the prod again at the end? Or something new?

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Re: Correct

On a tablet or touchscreen laptop? Personally I can't wait to move off my "old" Windows 7 corporate image on a fantastic Dell M3800 touchscreen. Windows 7 is unusable on the touch screen except for flicks up right and left.... down for some reason doesn't work so well. Closing an app with your finget at full resolution is impossible, but there is always ATL-F4...

Window 10 FTW on touchscreen...

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Re: Correct

So far I honestly prefer 8 on a touchscreen. 10 is simpler but 8 was pretty awesome when you got used to it, certainly the power-users touch OS of choice. Can't help feeling in order to appease the "omg windoze 8 sucks so bad ra-ra-ra" crowd that seems to have sprung up (ffs people just install classic shell if you don't like it) Microsoft are throwing the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to touch.

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Re: Correct

I have to disagree, I am writing this comment on the latest build (10122) of the Windows 10 preview and as a Windows 7 user am very impressed with it. Back in January I was not very enthusiastic about Windows 10 but since the preview was free I would give it a try and was pleasantly surprised. I loaded it onto a fresh partition on a Lenovo Laptop which took ages to boot and crawled under Windows 7 Professional. It has rejuvenated the laptop! boots in about 40 seconds and is much, much faster in use. I loaded up some old games(Quake 2, Quake 3 Arena) and they run better than on my desktop Win 7 PC, compatiibility updating seems much improved. All my usual apps run perfectly - Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, VLC, Irfanview, etc. I have actually grown to like the start menu and the tile apps - news, finance, food, sport, video, photos, etc. As someone who never upgraded to Win 8/8.1 as I really was put off the interface, I now am using Win 10 preview in preference to my Quad core SSD Win 7 PC.

There are still a few bugs and it is a bit rough around the edges but it is stable and no show stoppers.

I for one will certainly looking forward to updating my main PC to the release version.

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Windows

What's changed in the last few years?

Win 10 is an incremental improvement on Win 7, unlike the tosh that was W8. Hardware's incrementally improving, but there's no great leaps in performance as per the multi-core changes of a few years ago. New features such as touch screens (on desktops & laptops) aren't gaining traction.

There's competition now from tablets & phones on the domestic space which wasn't there before.

So it's boring. No compelling reason to update desktops or laptops and it's hardly surprising that the market's flat or falling.

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Windows

Re: What's changed in the last few years?

I have read several articles claiming that Windows Vista, or 7, or 8, 8.1, or 10 would be better or worse than other versions, but none that seemed to know what the actual differences are.

So Redmond boasts it will sell a billion licenses in two years, but I wonder when they will break beyond 200 % market share (twice as many DOS/OS/2/Windows/CE/NT/RT licenses as there are humans on the planet).

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Unhappy

Re: What's changed in the last few years?

> Win 10 is an incremental improvement on Win 7...

At least from my perspective, it's more like Win 10 is an incremental improvement on Windows 8/8.1.

To me, it's still worse (for desktop productivity) than Windows 7...

It looks to me like MS is still intent on forcing a 'mobile device content consumption' /visual style/ provider lock-in/ 'Cloud everywhere' model for the PC desktop.

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Re: What's changed in the last few years?

> Redmond boasts it will sell a billion licenses in two years

I read that hey were going to give Windows 10 away for free, so where is the 'sell' ?

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Stop

Re: What's changed in the last few years?

Repeat after me, opportunity costs. Read the EULA and all the other agreements binding to Windows 10. There are incidental costs when W10 doesn't support some software or hardware which you require. Lastly, learning the OS. Again.

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Paris Hilton

Ho Hum

We have reached a sort of plateau where even a cheap PC is more than man enough for most users.

Especially when you can carry an 8 core processor and several gigabytes of stuff in your trouser pocket.

The only way for windows10 to drive new PC purchases is to be bloated and a bit rubbish, slow down your hardware, etc, and that just isn't going to wash these days.

Extended life of hardware means an extended refresh cycle.

Even Paris is looking a bit sad and boring these days.

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FAIL

too late, I'm already gone...

Sorry, MS. It's too little too late. I bought a Windows 8 laptop, and loathed it so thoroughly that I stopped using it completely. I get by at home just fine without ANY of your software...and do my level best to avoid your services too...no Skype, no Cortana, and I sold off all of my Xbox 360s too. Know what? I couldn't be happier. I use an Android phone, an Android tablet (sometimes with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse), a Chromecast, and a PS4. Between all of those devices, my home computing needs are covered. I can't see myself EVER going back to a Windows PC. If I ever DO feel the need for a desktop machine, I will use some flavor of Linux. Good bye and good riddance, MS.

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Meh

Re: too late, I'm already gone...

So you swapped one corporate data munching behemoth for two others. Well done.

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Re: too late, I'm already gone...

I was with you there until you mentioned PS4. That's made by Sony who live in the 7th layer of hell along with Adobe. Up against them MS almost appear to be saints.

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Re: too late, I'm already gone...

The difference is, I actually trust Google not to abuse my data that they collect, I dont trust MS. MS recently had an "age guessing" website. Upload a picture, and it would (incorrectly) guess your age. Fun, right? Problem was, it was later found to be mining your uploaded photo's metadata for advertising purposes. WITHOUT disclosing this to the users. No thanks, you keep trusting MS, I have moved on.

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Re: too late, I'm already gone...

Just curious...what about Sony Computer Entertainment has you pissed off? Yes, Sony MUSIC put a rootkit on CDs, which SCE had nothing to do with. Yes, Sony MOVIES has been pulling some shady stuff, which again has nothing to do with SCE. Clue me in.

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@jnemesh Re: too late, I'm already gone...

"The difference is, I actually trust Google not to abuse my data that they collect, I dont trust MS."

I think both your distrust of MS and your trust in Google are a bit overblown.

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Anonymous Coward

@jnemesh - Re: too late, I'm already gone...

They killed Linux on PS retroactively. They advertised it will run Linux, they allow people to use it and then they pushed an upgrade to remove the feature. You don't do this if you are a honest corporation (I know, it's an oxymoron).

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@jnmesh RE: "I actually trust Google not to abuse my data that they collect"

That was absolutely side splitting old chap - its the way you tell 'em and succeed at keeping a straight face at the same time. What, you meant it? Oh dear.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: too late, I'm already gone...

If you can't figure out how to install Classic Shell or one of its many alternatives on this laptop you say you had, then best of luck with Linux.

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WTF?

Re: too late, I'm already gone...

jnemesh,

So to clarify...You bought a laptop with Windows 8 pre installed on it. As you didn't like Win 8 you then never used the laptop again? Do you still have the laptop?

Bit of a waste of money. Why not install linux? Why not give the laptop away to charity?

.

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Re: too late, I'm already gone...

If I had a need for a notebook, I would install Linux...but as I stated, I have my computing needs covered with other devices. I still keep it around "just in case"...I have it at my work right now, it's come in handy for programming remotes and other things that require Windows...but I don't use it on a regular basis.

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I think I've heard that the PC is dead and buried about 5 times in the last 15yr.

Less important yes, but not doomed.

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Five years

Five years ago PC sales had never declined before. Not even for Vista or ME. They have not increased since. Five straight years of declines.

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Does anybody remember

Sorry, but when was the last truly great release of anything, on the PC has there really, for the normal user been anything since XP, that's really been worth the money?

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Re: Does anybody remember

I'm not sure even XP was worth it. I bought w2k and it was pretty good, but then the only noticeable feature it added compared to NT 4 was support for USB stuff, and I turned off the Fischer-Price menus and went with 'classic' which made it more or less the same.

Most folk who need Windows and have an interest are using Win7, which is basically Vista fixed, and only a few with 8.x even though there are underlying OS improvements. But as you say, its boring and nothing an OS does is exciting, more what it doesn't let other do to you that matters...

So most Windows sales will be down to replacing failed/obsolete hardware, and these days its either broken in a year or so due to a fault or works for 5+ years as a decent enough machine (gaming, etc, excepted).

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Windows

Re: Does anybody remember

Windows 2000 (NT version 5.0) was a complete rewrite of Windows NT (from version 4.0) and brought improved stability and a new driver model. Furthermore it was a lot slower and needed more memory (barely ran in 64 MB of RAM). The most notable feature it brought was Active Directory and support for 64-bit processors (DEC Alpha, Intel Itanic and eventually AMD x86_64). The Terminal Server functions were now standard. I forget when they added IPv6 support. There was an HA edition. Windows XP added a couple of screw-ups like the licence activation feature.

Windows Longhorn was the ultimate OS with WinFS and Palladium security and the Aero Macalike GUI. The latter appeared in Vista, along with UAC (whatever that is) and support for MAC in the ACLs (and SMB2 and standardised IPV6 and a different driver model). The main selling point would be HyperV, but the HPC edition went nowhere.

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Re: Does anybody remember

Win2000 was a complete rewrite only to win98 users. For NT users it was just a (much needed) update. It was obvious there was no complete rewrite at all, since it was stable from the first release and Dave Cutler's team was no more involved in the project. The "total rewrite" concept was only coined after the (discussable) decision to change the product name from "NT5" to "W2k" in order to reflect the shock that win98 users would suffer when discovering NT for the first time.

NT4 added the macintosh-style desktop, and NT5 added the device manager and drivers (and also DirectX).

The 64bits Alpha release belonged to NT4. When NT5 was finally released, there was no more 64 bits Alpha version (although it was distributed up to the last NT5 beta).

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Re: Does anybody remember

The real problem is for most applications is once you get beyond a certain core functionality and a few nice extras the rest is basically bloat. The problem for MS is they have hit this wall for Windows and Office awhile ago. Users are seeing the need for an upgrade just because there is a new version available.

What is happening is that PCs are becoming a mature market where most sales are mostly for the replacement of worn-out kit. Also, refurbished used kit may be quite suitable for many which cuts into the new kit sales.

Personally, I doubt MS will get their billion sales.

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Re: Does anybody remember

They will get their billion sales eventually, but as you point out it is a maturing market. No one wants big changes except those who profit from change. MS need to focus on "better" rather than "different." I'm not sure a mature market suits the pricing MS wants for a non-mission critical business OS.

It will be interesting to see if the move to network apps/containers/cloud generates the dev environment which can unseat MS' on the desktop and in small biz servers.

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1 billion devices, not sales

The 1 billion figure Microsoft gives does not require a huge increase in sales as it includes devices that will be upgraded from earlier versions (free for consumers). Taking this into account many think this figure is actually not at all ambitious.

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"After the disaster of Windows 8, Windows 10 should be accepted with more open arms”

Yep Microsoft have spent 3 years and two versions polishing that turd.

As far as PCs and laptops go it is still a turd and no one cares about it on phones and fondleslabs.

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Lack of trust

The problem is, MS has failed so much to deliver, after XP, Win7 being just Vista working, not really giving anything more than XP, and Win8 being the turd we know, that no-one, except the most fanatic fanboys, will bother before they see extended press reports on how much it's freaking great.

That's not gonna happen, so sales forecasts, as far as I'm concerned, are gonna be on-par with the ones of Win8 ....

Too little, too late.

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Re: Lack of trust

It's not lack of trust, its that operating systems (in general) used to be cack, and so we all waited anxiously for the next one that might not be cack. Since W7, there is little to no need to upgrade for any reason other than planned obsolescence by the OS manufacturer, eg artificially limiting what features of D3D are available for a given OS.

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Re: Lack of trust

Windows 7 will be going the way of the dodo when manufacturers stop selling hard disk drives with 512-byte sector emulation. 4k sectors are now the standard, and Windows 7 won't ever support them.

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Re: Lack of trust

I doubt they'll stop selling them. It's only firmware, after all. What they will probably do is start charging extra for the Win7-compatible model and also not test it so thoroughly. (After all, it won't be going into a server, so it probably doesn't matter if there are a few bugs.)

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Re: Lack of trust: re 4K sectors

Such drives will even work on XP, that's not the issue.

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Re: Lack of trust

They will stop selling them, because Microsoft will lean on them to stop selling them, just as they have leaned on Intel to make it extremely difficult to find drivers for XP x64 and Windows Server 2003 x64 for Ivy Bridge kit, which *is* officially supported on that platform.

What's the commercial advantage for Intel to reduce demand for its kit?

The drivers *are* out there, on Intel's site, but you won't find the latest ones with a simple search. Using the search will get you drivers from 2008, which certainly won't support Ivy Bridge. Yet it one knows the version number to look for, Google finds the requisite page quite easily - even if Intel has done a slap-up job of trying to hide it.

If it's being done to XP x64 and Server 2003 x64 now, it's not too much of a leap of the imagination to figure that it'll also be done to Windows 7, when the time comes.

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Re: Lack of trust: re 4K sectors

4K native drives won't work on XP, period, unless you run them through a RAID controller that presents the raw disk blocks as 512-byte blocks.

512E (4K emulation) drives will work on XP (but are not supported officially), and they will work even better if you use Diskpart to align the first partition to a 64K+ boundary before installing the operating system (however, that requires extra buggerment factor, because you need to boot with a Windows OPK to prep the system before you boot with the CD media to install the operating system itself.) But it does work very well.

Windows 7 does take the aforementioned buggerment factor out of the equation by automatically aligning the first partition to a 1MB boundary. However, like XP, Windows 7 does not support 4K native drives - so, as far as 4K native drives are concerned, Windows 7 users are in the same boat at XP users.

See this page:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2510009

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Angel

They can hit the target

No real reason not to upgrade. The key thing is not even (perhaps) the extra stuff windows 10 offers it is the fact that they are switching to a rolling upgrade cycle after that so no windows 12 in two years. Therefore if you get windows 10 you will have your pc supported until Microsoft dies whereas if you keep on XP or whatever then at some close point your pc will no longer be supported.

Now I know the haters will all shout how common users should just switch to some weird non-ms operating system but it wont happen so there is a good chance that the ecosystem Microsoft proposes will happen.

As an aside Windows 10 seems a good improvement to me and I am enjoying playing around with it. MS have taken great steps to try and improve useability and bloat which is a pleasant change from the Windows 8 'you will use tablet mode'.

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Thing is, Windows 10 is not only for PCs. The device market has flourished and therefore PC sales are diluted, stands to reason. I'm looking forward to Xbox and PC sharing an OS, would love a Surface and am quite tempted to get a Windows phone. So there's four potential 'sales'.

Whether my fridge will ever join that collection is at the moment a mystery, but a router with Windows 10 IoT might be quite interesting.

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