It is hard to believe that Windows users are still going through all of this.
After all of these years….
Windows 8 is far from the disaster Vista was. But unless you have a very recent personal computer with a touch-screen, there are few benefits – and some significant drawbacks in terms of learning curve and usability – to upgrading from Windows 7.
I began the upgrade at 9:45 a.m. and finished it an hour and 37 minutes later, not counting another 15 minutes or so spent solving a couple of lingering issues. The process wasn’t entirely smooth.
According to Jaroslovsky, Microsoft is trying to make the upgrade process attractive by allowing buyers of Windows 7 PCs between June 2, 2012, and Jan. 31, 2013 to upgrade for $15, while owners of older computers can download a copy from Microsoft’s online store for $40. Jaroslovsky bought the traditional boxed DVD of Windows 8 Pro at the neighborhood Staples for $70 and installed on a 3-year-old Hewlett-Packard Pavilion desktop purchased at Costco.
Most of the time was spent staring at the screen, which was populated by various all-but-indistinguishable status updates: “getting devices ready,” “getting ready,” “while we’re getting things ready,” and finally, more than an hour into the process, “we’re getting your PC ready.” Wait, what have you been doing up to now?
The final message was accompanied by “this will take a few minutes.” No kidding.
Theoretically, I could have just started the process and walked away. But as it turned out, that would have been a mistake.
Shortly after I began, the installer mysteriously quit and returned me to the Windows 7 desktop with no explanation. I restarted the process, which at least picked up where it had left off.
Then, more than an hour into the effort, the Pavilion’s hardware-diagnostic program prevented a required restart of Windows until I manually intervened. Had I not been sitting in front of the screen monitoring developments, it would have taken even longer before I was up and running.
Finally, upgrade complete, I rebooted into the new Windows 8 Start screen. I was greeted with its colorful tiles – and an error message. When I tried to summon Microsoft’s online help service for a solution, I discovered my PC no longer had Internet access, thanks to an incompatibility with the version of Symantec’s Norton Firewall software I was using.
You can read for yourself all of the horrors encountered by Jaroslovsky during and after his “upgrade.” As I recently explained to a computer professional I met at a party last week, I believe that, these days, there are only THREE kinds of people who use Windows:
1) Those who are FORCED to. (I have not been a member of this group for over FIVE years! There are advantages to not working for idiots.)
2) Those who don’t know any better. (Those folks are usually the ones FORCING the folks in Group #1! ) and
3) Those who live in “third world countries” where they won’t let you IMPORT anything better.
But these are just my humble opinions… Jaroslovsky says it THIS way:
Further, there’s no option to boot directly into the desktop environment, or restore the Start menu. And, adding to the sense of confusion, Windows 8 has two separate versions of the Internet Explorer web browser, one written in the new style, the other a more traditional one that shows up when you’re working on the desktop.
For buyers of new computers, Windows 8 will be inescapable, and may make sense for the new generation of hardware it’s spawning. But if you don’t already have something close to the latest and greatest PC and you’re reasonably happy with Windows 7, my guidance is simple:
(Note added November 12, 2012: CNET News said today that: “Steven Sinofsky, the Microsoft executive who turned its Windows franchise around and just led the effort to release Windows 8, is leaving the company, effective immediately.”)
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