Should I Get Windows 10?

It popped up in my system tray a few months ago.  Not on my Macbook of course, but on my Windows 7 desktop down in the basement.  That was my only computer for years, and it’s served me well.  I finally got around to putting an SSD in it a few weeks ago, and now it’s running better than ever.  And that’s the idea.  I hardly ever use it anymore, basically just to play games (which is rare), and the thing is working perfectly.  After years of fiddling with it, I’ve finally got everything set up correctly and working smoothly.  When I first saw that little thing about Windows 10, I scoffed.  I never even use this computer, why should I risk messing it up?

Let’s back up a little bit.  Windows 10 was announced last September, and then it was announced that Windows 10 would be a free update for those running Windows 8.  That was a smart move.  Lots of people don’t like Windows 8; the whole thing about forcing a touch interface on desktops didn’t go so well.  Microsoft seems to have fixed that in a big way in Windows 10, bringing back the start menu and allowing one to run Windows apps in, well windows, on the desktop view.  Everything that made Windows 8 cool for tablets is still there, but they backpedaled a bit to make things smoother for desktops again.  Well played.

So obviously they want to get people upgrading.  (I also suspect that Microsoft wants to generate excitement about their software updates, much like Apple does with iOS.)  But then Microsoft took it a step further: Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade for Windows 7 machines as well.

I think there’s some strings attached.  You have to somehow reserve your copy by a certain date, or something like that.  But whatever it was, I must’ve done it just clicking around in the about page of that Windows 10 popup, because my computer is telling me I’m all ready to go.  So do I do it?

Again, at first I didn’t want to.  Like I said, that computer’s working great, and I don’t want to spend a bunch of time fiddling with it.  I used to love fiddling with my computer, breaking things and then fixing them again.  But as time has gone on (and my school load has increased), I’m just not interested in that as much anymore.  That’s one of the things I like about the Mac, it really does just work most of the time.  So at first I had no intention of getting it.  But…

…the last month or so I’ve started to get intrigued.  I’ve seen a lot of people, a surprising number actually, on campus who have upgraded.  Just seeing people with their laptops out taking notes during lecture, a good portion of them have Windows 10 (of course, I go to a nerd school, so I’m sure that doesn’t really represent the population as a whole).  But it’s got me interested.  But maybe I should let someone else be the guinea pig first.

Like my Dad.  Actually, he upgraded a week or two ago, but then some things didn’t work right.  Fortunately, Windows 10 has a revert feature that lets you go back to your old OS.  This is genius.  Microsoft is making sure that they don’t make anyone mad this time.  Dad ended up going back at the time, but now he’s got it installed on a separate partition. Maybe I’ll go mess around with it sometime. 

So will I get Windows 10?  Probably not.  Or if I do, I’ll get it on another partition like my dad did.  There was a time when I would recklessly upgrade the day something came out (um, so maybe I still do that for my Apple devices), but I’m not sure I still have that philosophy anymore.  At least, not on this computer.  ••

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That Rock and Hard Place Comfy, Microsoft?

Is Microsoft in trouble?  If you follow the tech world, I’m sure you have an opinion on this.  Long story short, not many people like Windows 8.  They don’t like the fact that Microsoft made huge changes to the Windows interface.  The problem is, Microsoft didn’t have a choice.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s the scoop.

The Rock…
Opponents of Windows 8 say that they liked Windows the way it was.  For the most part, this is true.  But it won’t stay that way forever.  The iPad is becoming more and more popular, and with it, touch interfaces in general.  However, when it comes to computers, people like their mice and keyboards, so why would Microsoft mess that up?

…and the Hard Place
Eventually, the way I see it, tablets will take over, and many people won’t care about traditional Windows at all anymore.  As the iPad gets more capable, Microsoft’s clock ticks closer to the end.  Microsoft had to change Windows to meet the new norm: touch.

This is the sad part.  I think Microsoft could have done better.  Microsoft had the opportunity to really blow us out of the water, truly bridging the gap between desktop and tablet, but they didn’t (or couldn’t?).  Instead, they gave us two interfaces, one new, one old, awkwardly bolted together.  (Public Service Announcement: Make Windows 8 work like Windows 7 for $5.  You’re welcome.)  What’s in store for Microsoft?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that if they want to stay around, or at least stay relevant, they’re going to have to pull together and ship something good, something that looks beautiful and really works.

Fortunately, Microsoft is good at supporting products for a long time, so as for me and my desktop, we will use Windows 7.  ••