Windows 8.1 August update

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Various news sites are reporting that, according to “Microsoft sources,” Windows 8.1 Update will receive a minor update in August.

Michael PietroforteMVP By Michael Pietroforte - Mon, August 4, 2014 - 3 comments google+ icon

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in system administration.

Some sites are referring to the August Update. It is interesting to note those unnamed Microsoft sources didn’t tell their public media voices what changes this update will bring. Most sites are talking about “minor UI changes.”

Well, maybe the Start Menu button will get a new design that resembles the one in Windows XP. That way, users who consider changing their OS every 15 years or so won’t be so afraid of this huge Start Menu that we now call the Start Screen. Of course, this is mere speculation. I can’t proudly refer of any Microsoft sources.

I find it quite amazing that the market share of Windows 7 is growing faster than that of Windows 8.x. This doesn’t make any sense from a rational point of view. Windows 7 is a nice OS, but it’s no match for Windows 8.x. And no, I won’t explain now why Windows 8.1 is better than Windows 7. Technically, they are worlds apart.

I wouldn’t convince anybody who has already decided to switch to Windows 7, anyway. Those people simply want as little change as possible. For them, the most important feature of Windows 7 is that it resembles Windows XP. They want to stick with what they know and want to avoid any kind of progress as long as possible.

I think this is Microsoft’s biggest challenge for the years to come. On the one hand, Microsoft has to compete with Google and Apple, whose customers are hungry for innovations; on the other hand, Microsoft can’t scare off those longstanding customers who see computers only as a necessary evil.

In my view, we won’t see any major UI changes until Windows 9. And, no matter what those unnamed sources bloggers are saying, at this time nobody really knows when the next Windows version will be available. My guess is that an intense discussion is going on in Redmond about how to master this balancing act between its progressive and regressive customer base. A tiny Start Screen (Start Menu), or a huge Start Screen? This existential question has yet to be answered.

If you are wondering when is the best time to upgrade the Windows machines in your network, you are better off with always updating when a new Windows version is available. The longer you wait, the bigger the changes are for your users, and the more trouble the naysayers among them will make. Frequent and smooth transitions are always better than infrequent, disruptive ones. You are conditioning your users to accept necessary changes that improve productivity in your organization without rocking their world with several huge changes at once.

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3 Comments- Leave a Reply

  1. Melvin Backus says:

    I think your confusion about why Windows 7 is growing faster than Windows 8.x is easily explained if you look at it from a corporate deployment perspective. Many companies have been working toward a migration from XP for years. One of our clients in particular has been working on moving off of XP for at least 5 years. It started as a migration to Vista, then that was scrapped and it became a move to 7. Given the scope of this sort of undertaking, with the recertification of all their in-house software, etc., they have to just go ahead and make a move to something, even if it isn’t the optimum choice, simply so they can actually move forward. As I learned during my time in software QA, “Better is the enemy of Good.” Sometimes you just can’t wait any longer.

  2. Melvin, I am not confused but amazed about the popularity of Windows 7. Whereas your explanation is certainly correct, it doesn’t justify to deploy Windows 7 at this time. If a company has been “working toward a migration from XP for years” it is quite obvious that this company is doing IT wrong. Most likely is that they just don’t invest enough in IT personal which is the reason why a process that is supposed to take a few months for a very large network takes years. This company has risked a lot by running an inherently insecure operating system and it significantly reduced the productivity of its employees. So if we look at it from a corporate perspective, we can say that many top managers still don’t understand the importance of IT which is why their companies work with hopelessly outdated technologies.

  3. Roger J says:

    Initially, I was reluctant to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 8 having become conditioned to the old OS for more than 9 years. Then I decided that my old Dell Dimension 5000 that had served me so well over the years, and had become very familiar and easy to maintain was not capable of supporting any newer Windows OS. I toyed with Linux but eventually I bit the bullet and bought a new Chillblast PC that came with Windows 8 pre-installed, upgraded immediately to Windows 8.1 and installed an SSD in place of the HDD. The result is that I now have a PC that fires-up in seconds. Also, I’m coming round to the opinion that Widows 8.1 is far more innovative and user-friendly than many of the vociferous critics would have us believe. I certainly wouldn’t go back to a modern reincarnation of XP!

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