Suggestions for Microsoft for Windows 8 RTM
I have been evaluating Windows 8 for over a year now and just downloaded the RTM version from TechNet. Like most people, I have mixed opinions about Windows 8.
I will divide my comments into sections that I will call: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Fewer versions = less confusion: Microsoft is combining the Professional and Ultimate versions and calling it Windows 8 Pro. There will be other versions (RT for tablets and Enterprise for large organization) but for most people, it will come down to Windows 8 (consumers), and Windows 8 Pro (businesses). Apple has selling ONE version for years. They don’t bother stripping out features and creating different versions. They even go one step more and have ONE version that includes code for 32 and 64 bit versions. (note: Apple’s latest version, Mountain Lion, is 64 bit only)
Cheap upgrade price: while all the details are not out yet, Microsoft has stated they will offer Windows 8 Pro upgrades for $40. That will be a time limited offer and there are no firm details on how this will work.
Cheap upgrade for new computer purchases: to prevent people from delaying hardware purchases, Microsoft is promising customers who purchase new computers a Windows 8 Pro upgrade for just $15. Again, this is time limited with no firm details.
Changed DNT (do not track): now enabled by default. In the beta, the recommended setting were off
Parental controls now appear local, ie don’t require a net connection. In Vista, one could use Parental Control to restrict children’s web access. In Windows 7, this feature was removed. I complained during the Windows 7 beta but Microsoft insisted they know better and told me to sign up for a Live Account and use their new Windows Family Safety. While I still need to test it, it looks like parents can restrict sites without a Live account.
Improved options in Windows Explorer. This is one of the programs I use the most and it is now much simpler to find options for things like ‘show hidden files’ and ‘show file extensions’ etc. Until Windows 8, these options were buried deep inside dialog boxes and few users bothered to change them. Now it is simple to find.
Microsoft changed several things from the Beta to RTM and actually made things worse.
Microsoft blocks Windows 8 Start button, boot-to-desktop hacks1. Many people don’t like to boot directly into Metro (now changed to ‘The New Interface” because of legal action. Don’t you love those marketing guys and their brilliant names?). Users came up with a ‘work around’ to do have Windows do what the users preferred. Now Microsoft comes along and says, “NO!, you must do it OUR way!!” What is wrong with giving people a choice? It is definitely wrong to prevent users from changing the way the interface works, especially once it was working in the beta.
Added the XD bit requirement. My three year old laptop worked perfectly with the beta. Now with the RTM, it won’t even load. This will prevent about 300 million PC from upgrading. Why change the beta and kill off many potential customers?
No progress indication on initial installation. Where is the rolling donut symbol? What about a progress bar? When you boot from DVD, all you get in the blue Window symbol and NOTHING else. After almost two minutes, THEN there is a sign that your computer is not hung up or frozen on something.
Bring back the 30 day trial – the 90 day Enterprise version is not the answer. That one wipes your drive first and you have to reinstall everything. Why not allow an upgrade of your existing system? Then to add more insult, there is no way to buy it after the trial. You must wipe the drive and start again. Are they joking?
Allow boot to desktop - if not, it will alienate many people
Microsoft’s default (recommended) settings are scary. One must always use the “Customized” (advanced) settings. Unfortunately, the vast majority of users will do the classic: Next, Next, Next, Finished and never read. They will get what they deserve.
Change installation defaults as they invade privacy. The express settings do mention the DNT (do not track), but ignore other option that are good for Microsoft as they all user profiling but bad for privacy.
“Let apps give your personalized content based on your PC’s location, name and account picture”
These are some of the Windows 8 defaults I change
- Turn on Windows Smart Screen (default ON -> change to OFF)
- Turn on IE Smart Screen Filter to check URL and downloads with Microsoft (default ON -> change to OFF)
- Let apps use my name and account picture (default ON -> change to OFF)
- Turn on Windows Location Platform so apps can ask users for their location (default ON -> change to OFF)
Windows Update Settings: until Windows 8, there was an option for “Notify me but don’t automatically download or install them” This was ALWAYS the setting I used. Many people don’t like Internet Explore (especially version 9) and leaving the defaults would download and install IE 10.
- Now, you only get three options:
o Auto install important and recommended
o Auto install important
o Do not install (not recommended)
You can’t block Facebook using Windows 8′s hosts file: this one is unbelievable, so much so that I had to check with many sources to confirm it. Check this out yourself here…
Two of the sites that you can’t block using the hosts file are facebook.com and ad.doubleclick.net, the former the most popular social networking site, the second a popular ad serving domain.
Many say Windows 8 will make or break Microsoft. I think (hope?) they will quickly release SP1 (or Windows 9, or Windows 2013 or whatever their marketing geniuses come up with).
At our study group, Jean-Marc made an interesting observation about Microsoft and their versions of operating systems. Looking back at history, he is absolutely right. Most have heard about Moore Law’s (hardware performance doubling every two years). Maybe we can call this “Jean-Marc’s Law” -> “Microsoft screws up every other operating system”.
Think about it….Microsoft has a history of alternating OS from good to bad to good to bad… Need proof?
95 (bad – froze several times / day), 98 (good), ME (bad), XP (good), Vista (bad), Win7 (good), now Windows 8 … bad??
Apple will make big gains in the SMB market, they cut ML server to $19. MacMini (core i7, dual HD raid, no CALS) for sub $1000. We are evaluating this seriously
Microsoft’s tablet (called Surface) won’t meet expectations. The ‘ARM’ processor models running Win8 RT (‘lite’ version) will be priced close to the iPad. I doubt many will choose that over the proven iPad. The ‘deluxe’ Surface will be priced in the $1000 range and for that money, I would buy a 13.3” UltraBook with no limitation and way more flexibility.
iPhone 5 will be HUGE and Android will get bigger too. The ones suffering will be BlackBerry and Microsoft.
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