Microsoft Windows: Freaking you out since 1985

In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft will be releasing Windows 8 soon.  In fact, it’s being launched at the end of this very week.

And people are going out of their little minds about how it will be the worst thing ever.

The interface is buggy, the Start Menu is weird, they don’t like the aesthetics, they’re confused how programs will run on it, the pricing is different, there’s too many versions.  And the list goes on and on and one.

If this sounds familiar, that’s because it should; it’s the same as every other Windows release EVER!

In the days of Windows 3.11, the idea of a Start button was insane!  The idea that all your applications could live under one single menu was utterly preposterous.  When Windows 95 launched there was much hullabaloo over what had happened to everyone’s precious Program Manager, which was replaced by Windows Explorer.  In case you don’t know exactly what either of those programs are, they are known as “shells”.  How your computer looks, more or less.

Program Manager shell for Windows 3.x

By comparison, that looks laughably archaic!  But people were so scared of a new way of doing things that they simply freaked out instead.  Windows 95 was to be the end of Windows.  No businesses were going to move to it!  It was Windows 3.x forever!

Right up until everyone realized how well it worked to have a Start button!  You could install programs right inside of Windows (instead of having to exit to DOS first).  You could do all sorts of things you couldn’t do before!  It was as if Microsoft had harnessed this uncanny ability to foresee how technology would advance and pre-emptively made an operating system to work with it.

Until Windows XP.

Fresh off the failure that was Windows ME (which I believe is still said in hushed tones around the Redmond campus), Microsoft launched Windows XP to a slew of hate from consumers.  No businesses were going to go to it!  The Start menu was ridiculous!  People called the interface “Fisher-Price My First GUI” because of it’s horrid looks!  Windows XP was going to fail miserably and drive people into the waiting arms of Linux!

Except it didn’t.  We know now that XP became the most supported operating system in history across any platform.  It spanned a time far longer than it was expected to and, in fact, will finally run its course until 2014 when Microsoft has scheduled to end support for it.  Businesses bought it up in droves once it had been on the market a couple years and helped make it the most popular OS ever.

Vista was next, but thanks to a lackluster launch from Microsoft and an incredibly effective ad campaign against it, no one ever really wanted to give it a chance.

Granted, many of the ads were as funny as they were technically inaccurate.

Then came the mysterious Windows 7.  I say mysterious because in my experience most people didn’t know there even was another version of Windows and would argue with me that I actually meant Vista.  Once Windows 7 took off, the criticisms started coming down the pipe; businesses will never adopt it, it looks too much like Vista, it probably isn’t stable, I want to stick with Windows XP.

If you haven’t started to see the pattern here, you haven’t been reading closely enough.  Sure enough, Windows 7 became a huge hit and I personally consider it to be the strongest OS out there for more reasons than I care to list here.

But now Windows 8 is coming out.  This version is going to be a huge departure from how Windows has worked in the past (much like Windows 95 was) and is proving to be pretty frightening to people.  And not just to the people who “are bad with computers”, but to actual IT staff as well.  Can you guess what their complaints are?  Yeah, you got it; businesses are never going to accept it, the aesthetic is dumb, I don’t like the Start menu, I just want to stay on Windows7/XP.

Have we really learned nothing??  Let’s address some of these fears head on, shall we?!

  1. Businesses won’t immediately adopt it.  Yeah, no joke.  In fact, the business sector has never immediately adopted any version of Windows.  There’s a reason for that and it has nothing to do with because you said so.  Businesses need to test an OS to make sure it will work across all their stated needs (be they a reliance on specific software, or security).  Give it a year or two, and you will find businesses starting to adopt it.  Just like every other time.
  2. They took away the Start Menu.  This one makes the least amount of sense to me, as when I press “Start” . . . a menu appears.  By definition, that’s a “Start Menu”.  Windows 8 has a new interface for the Start command that actually is more of a screen than a menu.  Technically speaking, it’s actually a whole other side to the core OS kernel which runs in its own memory space and . . . see?  You’re already half-asleep!  No one actually cares!
  3. I’m sick of M$ always shoving these unwanted updates on me!  I laugh so hard at this one (and yes, I have seen it spelled this way a lot).  Considering that Microsoft actually ISN’T forcing anyone to update, this argument holds no water.  Also, since the people who usually use a “$” to write out Microsoft have typically stolen their copy of Windows and paid for every version of their $300-500 smartphone for the last 3-4 years . . . maybe they should be turning that angst against someone else.
  4. I’m a professional IT person and Windows 8 can’t be supported in a pro environment.  Microsoft actually doesn’t make it’s primary income from copies of Windows.  It makes it from Office, Exchange, and Server.  Since they wouldn’t put out an OS that didn’t play nice with their bread and butter, if you can’t support it in such a setup then it’s because you’re a sucky IT person.  Just saying.
  5. There aren’t any apps for it anyway, so you can’t actually DO anything in this version of Windows.  This one has been perpetrated by everyone from people who know nothing about computers, to people who support them for a living, to actual game developers who know better.  How do you install something in Windows now?  You double click the installer file.  How do you think you install something in Windows 8?  Yeah, same thing.  This is Windows people, you know this!  In all fairness, most people are legitimately confused about installing a desktop application vs a “Metro” application.  And in that regard they are partially correct; the Windows marketplace is woefully lacking right now in terms of “Metro” apps.  That will change, and anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know what they’re talking about .  Do you really see a developer digging their heels in and saying “No, I don’t want to have my application certified for Xbox, Windows Phone, tablets, laptops, desktops, or servers!  I made this program to make a statement!  Not to make money!”?  Really?

So remember, if you start hearing people run at the mouth about how the newest version of Windows (be it this week or 5 years from now) is going to be the ruin of Microsoft, just remember; they’ve been playing that exact same song and dance now for 17 years and they sky hasn’t fallen yet.

About The Author

Co-founder of Stolendroids.com and Executive Producer for Stolendroids Podcast. Also resident 'tech-head' and de-facto leader of the group.

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