There he was just standing at the booth, waiting. I’ve seen this before and I knew exactly who he was the moment I saw him. He was Windows XP guy. For some reason I seem to attract these guys as if I had some direct line of communication to Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer. Anytime there is a guy waiting at your Microsoft booth before the expo has opened and nobody is around, my experience has shown that it’s probably the guy that I’m sure everyone has met at one time in their life; XP Guy.
I run into XP guy at Church, at my kid’s school events and even in the grocery store. I apologize if after reading this you realize that you are probably “that” guy, but maybe this will help you move forward.
He wasn’t even an attendee at the conference but rather part of the hotel kitchen staff and he was ready to start hitting me with the standard “XP Guy” questions. First, “Why is Microsoft doing away with Windows XP? It’s the best operating system ever and I see no reason to ever upgrade. I’ve heard Windows 8 is just terrible and very difficult to learn. I mean who uses touch screens these days?” He explained that his 2002 computer was still working just fine and that the dial-up modem was having issues but he didn’t see any reason to move to a new computer. He said he had tried Windows 8 in the store but just couldn’t figure out how to get to his “AOL” email. At that point I got lucky, he received a phone call, pulled out his Motorola Razr flip phone and had to step away.
I had to question “Maybe Windows 8 isn’t for everyone?” Maybe Windows 8 was “Too Fly for Windows XP Guy!”. But then I realized that with the Windows XP End of Support taking place in a few months (April 2014) and the release of the new Windows 8.1 update, this could work out magically.
You see Microsoft did something that not all suppliers do these days –they listened to their customers. Many of which had the same feelings that XP guy has which is that XP is great and even Windows 7 is awesome but to change drastically away from those successful products will most certainly cause too much of a learning curve. So Microsoft has made some fantastic changes to Windows 8 with the release of Windows 8.1 which is a free update for those that currently own Windows 8. If you own XP or Windows 7 it by far is the product you’ve been waiting on and should not put off upgrading any further.
I took a quick look back at some of the news articles from 2012 that pointed out the top complaints for Windows 8 and decided to see if Windows 8.1 addresses the concerns.
1) Metro Style Tile based Start Screen – intended for touch screens and to complete a cohesive standard interface for all Microsoft products – Desktops, Tablets, Phones, Xbox. It was simply too different and terrified XP and Windows 7 users.
8.1 Feature> Can bypass and not use at all. Microsoft also added smaller tiles similar to current icons to help users adjust.
2) Bad Flow when switching from Desktop to Metro Start Screen – originally intended to keep a standard look for the Start screen but people didn’t like the drastic jarring affect it gives you when you toggle between the desktop and the Start screens.
8.1 Feature> Can make your Desktop Wallpaper the background for the Start screen which now makes for a very nice transition between screens.
3) How do you shut it down? – Originally intended for tablet devices that you wouldn’t shutdown very often, it required four actions to shut Windows 8 down and most people could not even locate the power icon.
8.1 Feature> Can now right click on start button and click shutdown shortening the process to two clicks. You can also place a tile or shortcut to the Power Button.
4) I’m Lost – where do I click? – There really was no tutorial at all with Windows 8. For some OEM’s they did have a short tutorial for their Out of Box Experience but most folks were left to learn on their own.
8.1 Feature> User tutorials are now included and go live when a new user account is added. You can also launch it from the Help+Tips Tile for some quick lessons.
5) Very few Windows 8 Apps Available – Pretty typical of a new Operating system launch as the Windows 8 Store didn’t have that many top shelf apps available.
8.1 Feature> What a year can do for your App store – thousands more applications available including great games and certainly more top shelf apps.
6) Multitasking seemed limited to split screen and is difficult to switch between apps – Original launch did have limitations on split screen multi-tasking with a 75/25 split and users did get lost.
8.1 Feature> Added the ability to now snap three or more apps simultaneously depending on your screen resolution with the added ability to size them to your liking.
7) Microsoft apps seemed like a last minute throw-in - So much focus on the O/S itself with Windows 8 left the regular apps like SkyDrive and Skype as after thoughts.
8.1 Feature> All the top guys are now there – front and center. The apps feel as though they are now officially part of windows. Skydrive, Skype, Bing Search, IE 11.0 and the Store are all upgraded and clearly now flow with the Windows 8 styling.
If you find yourself as one of those people that didn’t like Windows 8 or you happen to be “XP Guy”, you really should give Windows 8.1 a chance. Microsoft has certainly listened to the customers and now has a product that nothing in the market can touch. We are officially in a touch screen world and Microsoft has an Operating System that is designed for this world while still allowing the “XP Guys” of the world to attempt a transition.
Don’t forget that the extended support for XP will turn off this April 2014 as I wrote in my blog last year titled “Windows XP: A Legend Operating System Finally Comes to an End”. Also if you are an OEM of a dedicated device, remember there are flavors of XP still available that you can use via the Embedded program. Lastly, if you are still using the Motorola Razr and a dial-up internet connection, then it is true- Windows 8 “IS” too fly for you.
Windows 8.1’s best new features in pictures – PCWorld http://www.pcworld.com/article/2054385/windows-8-1s-best-new-features.html
Windows 8: The 10 biggest programs so far – IT World
Ken Marlin – Microsoft Champion and Technical Consultant located in Phoenix, AZ, has over 30 years of Microsoft experience supporting all Microsoft products and programs with his specialty being Microsoft OEM System Builder, OEM Embedded and Open Volume programs. If you need assistance in understanding the Microsoft products and programs, Ken can walk you through how to get started.