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Windows 8 and its much needed apology

Windows 8 logo

An apology, at the very least – that’s what I expect from Microsoft. Because that’s what it owes its customers for the misery that was Windows 8, which will be remembered as a failure ever more.

Windows 8 revealed a company struggling to keep up with these touchscreen times. Clearly, heads have rolled at Microsoft HQ, and the newly unveiled Windows 10 is its effort to win back the trust of its customers.

Windows 10, though, not 9? Perhaps the marketing gurus are putting some distance between the new effort, which will be released next year, and the woefully received Windows 8. But as for an apology – perhaps even this isn’t enough.

Free upgrade to Windows 10

If Microsoft wants to truly earn the love of its customers, it could do a lot worse than to make Windows 10 a free upgrade for anyone who suffered through 8. Not discounted. Free. This is something that Apple has managed to do with all of its recent OS X updates, for example.

Let Microsoft pay the cost for its mistakes with Windows 8 – customers shouldn’t have to

What was you experience with Windows 8? Were you happy with Microsoft’s OS or has it pushed you away to other operating systems?

Should Microsoft give Windows 8 owners a free upgrade to Windows 10?

Yes (92%, 1,831 Votes)

At least a discount (6%, 125 Votes)

Don't know (1%, 23 Votes)

No (1%, 21 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,000

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I thought that Microsoft should have given users of Windows Vista an apology and a free copy of Windows 7. At least Windows 8 is not painfully slow, like Vista. Rather than making major changes, Microsoft should realise that it is better to make small improvements in Windows, and make sure they are improvements.

I am surprised that Linux has not taken over from Windows for professional use.

Yes, Windows Vista was a disaster. I still have an old laptop on which Vista “runs”. Crawls.
However the upside was that I moved to a Mac – it’s over four years old now. I switch it on and it works, exactly as it did on the day I bought it. End of story.

I know. I’ve been using Macs since the days of DOS. 🙂

My comment about Windows Vista was because of experience with a computer at work. I ditched Vista, switched to XP and then installed Windows 7 when I read favourable reports. If I had had to pay to change the OS twice it would have been expensive.

Apple lets you install the latest OS free-of-charge nowadays, but there is no provision to go back if you don’t like it or (more likely) you find that some software or hardware is incompatible with the new version. Microsoft could do one better and allow users to install whichever version of Windows suits them, paid for by the original licence.

Apple and Android get free updates. I think that Microsoft may have to join the bandwagon with free updates, but I fear that we may then only get a basic OS without all the standard feature we take for granted such as File Explorer, WMP (media player), etc. Personally, I like an all-singing, all dancing, single install and not have to find ‘good’ apps to make it do what I want and need.

This is getting off topic, but my wife has just had a bad experience with iOS 8 on an iPad2 and as you say, there is no going back. For the same reason, I am not proposing to install Yosemite. I am happy with Mavericks until I see fewer bad news stories about problems after upgrading. From what I’ve read, it gobbles up a huge amount of RAM.
Planned obsolescence in both cases perhaps?

If you have your mac backed up you can resored it to the old softeware, i did this when i had problems updating.

I have Windows 8.1 on a PC and it opens up in Desktop automatically without any add-ons.
Toggling between Desktop and new Metro interface is only a matter of pressing “Windows” key.
I moved directly from Win XP an can not see what all the fuss is about. I never use the tile based Metro interface.

norfolkdumpling says:
29 November 2014

Totally agree with Rarrar – loved XP and was wary of transferring to Windows 8 with my new computer – but no worries. My computer tech set it up for me so I have the old Desktop and, like Rarrar, can easily pop between that and the new interface if I want. I very quickly got to grips with the Windows 8 layout for Word and Excel 2013 as well and have no problems with new set up. I’m not a young(ish) computer user either (in my 60s) but welcome change if it is needed.

I have windows 8.1 on my laptop, yes at the start it was hell, but i learned to live with it, changed the settings so much and now it’s just about ok.

At the start i hated it so so much, but i’m the same with any update, Twitter/Facebook update, Firefox update, anything new & it gets me angry lol.

An add-on called “Classic Shell” makes it slightly less useless, but the urge is still to throw it out the window.

Apparently the wholesale rejection of Windows 8 by the business community helped M$ come to its senses. Microsoft is currently trying to put the screws on busisnesses by charging Windows 7 Professional an extra £100 – it is still available if loaded on new “business” laptops and PC’s.

I don’t have the heart to go back to the days of its introduction when Which? itself appeared to have fallen for the tile concept. Looks great on a tablet or smartphone but highly unpleasant on monitors.

Overall though I think there still exists a shock that M$ could get it so so wrong. Perhaps surveys and focus groups are not infalliable!?? I am assuming they did some market research …..?

GeoffT44 says:
24 November 2014

I had a Windows 7 PC and moved to Windows 8 on its release. I had a struggle at first – totally alien – but quickly learned to bypass the Tiles and go to the Desktop.
I use the PC pretty much as I used to use it with Windows 7 so can’t understand the furore around Windows 8 – use it or don’t use it.

So is it essentially a Win 7 in use but offering no great advantages over it other than a funky front end? For me I am so glad 10 is on the horizon.

And yes it should be a free upgrade for Win 8 users.

KDRURY says:
25 November 2014

Exactly my practice. 8.1 is no problem to use at all – almost identical in use to 7. Occasionally I flip to the tiles desktop to get to Settings, etc., but otherwise identical desktop and operation to 7. I have 1 desktop PC running 7 and another 8.1 They network perfectly and automatically with each other and with my NAS, and I didn’t need to set any of this up – just connected and it happened 🙂

Startup time for 8.1 with the same set of software which runs from startup is just a fraction less than for 7 – perhaps 5 seconds in 120.

There’s no Windows 9 because too many programs look for the “Windows 9*” to detect a user running one of the many variants of Windows 95 or Windows 98.

When installed on Windows 9, many programs would immediately tell the owner their OS was too old to run the software.

No Windows 9? I’ve been waiting years for it and now it’s not coming?
I’ve really been looking forward to pretending I’m up to date by typing a misplaced period.

Yeah, I’m still running W9.8 – sorry, W98.

Ah well.

I hated Windows 8 when I tried the beta version. I waited until Windows 8.1 came out and then bought a new laptop. I’m overall very pleased with it. The main problem is that apps take up the full screen and hide the taskbar, which makes it difficult to switch to other apps and conventional Windows applications.

Most programs test which Operating System is being used on the host computer in order to see whether the minimum specification has been exceeded or not.

Many programmers have taken a short cut in their testing and their programs assume that any response starting “Windows 9” means that Windows 95 or one of the many versions of Windows 98 is being used. In these cases, the program returns an error message to say that the Operating System is too old and out of date.

This is one of the reasons that Windows 9 has been skipped.

Oh come on ‘Dave’. What about Windows 98?

Besides, I would imagine they use the built in version number. Far easier to check. I do.

Am hating 8.1. It is a nightmare – I’m reasonably computer savvy, but don’t have much spare time – and getting to grips which such a hugely different release is just a huge pain in the backside. Simple things seem massively complicated, anything but intuitive and requite a Masters in Windows psychology to unravel. If 10 is easier, please give me a free copy NOW!

Microsoft o/s has been a 2nd rate operating system ever since dos was written for single user, stand alone use and deteriorated further with the addition of American secret services back doors when it moved to Windows versions.

W8 is W7 with additional desktop features and it needs no more apology than W7. I am obliged to use Wxx occasionally for specialist programmes written for Wxx and keep one of my virtual machines up to date in the lastest fixes but never use it for anything sensitive.

Having said that I should be happy to accept a free upgrade rather than fiddle with my beta W10.

I tried 8 once, hated it. Especially the “app store” I’m using a windows PC guys, stop taking me to the Xbox section as default.

So I’m back to using windows 7.

For a moment there I forgot 8 and 8.1 even has an App Store William. I agree, there is no need for it at all.

When my laptop turns on it goes right onto my normal desktop, there really is no need for a app store as i bet most of us don’t even use it!

Windows tried, and failed, hopefully 10 will be back to normal again.

Lee, I agree with you to a large extent that apps are much less necessary on a PC than on a smartphone or tablet. However, I have found some useful examples of good apps. Viber offers a Windows app, which syncs conversations with Viber on one’s smartphone. One advantage of apps is that they are location-aware and self-update. How often have you found yourself with a very old installation of Windows software because you were unaware of updates?

“How often have you found yourself with a very old installation of Windows software because you were unaware of updates?”

I’m not sure what it’s called, but I have something on my avast that updates any windows software I have downloaded.

But truth be told I don’t really have much. Open Office, Firefox, Spotify, Skype, VLC player. Most of that stuff I use everyday so when an update is due it lets me know.

NormanJ says:
26 November 2014

Windows 10 is available now as a Technical Preview from Microsoft, it is fully functional (and free!) but bears the caveat that it is a product under development and new builds will be issued from time to time. First impressions – Windows 7 users will be happy to see their familiar GUI desktop and start menu with the option to use the ‘start screen’ for touchscreen users.
To be fair behind the screen Windows 8/8.1 is fast and efficient and the ‘doers’ at MS have done a good job in making it so but IMHO their hard work has been ruined by the bosses insistance on the much reviled ‘start screen’ interface.
Windows 10 Technical Preview encourages feedback from users which hopefully MS will take on board, if you have a spare PC sitting idle, give it a try.

OAP, Nantwich says:
29 November 2014

I’m on Windows 8.1 and it’s awful. I installed Classic Shell, which has made it much more user friendly and I bought a copy of Windows 8 for Dummies!. The only problem with an upgrade to a new Windows 10 would be if there are compatibility issues with Microsoft Office, Photoshop etc., which I had to upgrade when I bought my new laptop.

Chris_S says:
29 November 2014

Bought a new laptop with Win 8 when our old one died. It was so bad we put it in a cupboard and bought a Mac!

Might dig out the laptop to try Win 10 if they give a free upgrade

Someone I know had exactly the same experience. Hated Windows 8 so much that he bought a Mac!

Zebedee says:
29 November 2014

Windows 8 is just very annoying, getting multiple windows to open is difficult and awkward, any many functions which I liked on XP have vanished. Compatibility with Bullgaurd anti-virus failed and has cost me financial loss, also my camera picture downloads have lost functionality. It took such a long time to get used to this awful system. Also never found out how to download my email address book, very annoying!!!!

I strongly believe that Microsoft should give Windows 8 owners a free update to Windows 10. Windows 8 is a disgrace. My mother went to a course at her library to learn how to use a computer and of course learnt using Windows: but 7, not 8. When we went to buy a PC it was impossible to buy one without Windows 8 included. She was very nearly put off using a computer altogether once she encountered Windows 8, and even now only uses it in its most basic way using the work-arounds we have developed and written down. This infuriates me because it could be such a resource for her, and she has been open-minded enough to try.

I had used Microsoft for years at work and so expected to be able to just sit down and use it with her, as I had always been able to do with previous Microsoft updates. It was impossible. Completely un-intuitive and ridiculously complicated. We had to buy “Dummies” books to be able to get anywhere.

Apple gives free upgrades, when most of the time there is nothing to fix but just new features. Windows 8 needs fixing badly. If 10 is the fix, it should be free for those of us who bought 8 and have had to suffer with it.

I hated Win 8 too, but Win 8.1 is better and just about usable. That Metro interface should never have been set free for a desktop PC. It’s a tablet/phone interface. I love my Win 8.1 mobile: it really is good, but it does need more third party app support.

On my desktop, I find the Win 8 apps truly dreadful. The Email app is big and blocky as though it is designed for nursery school children. Likewise the Facebook App is ghastly.

I’ve installed Google Chrome browser and use Facebook from the browser because the Windows 8 Apps are so horrible. I installed Windows Live Mail 2012 because it is infinitely better than kids’ mail app.

I’ve been trialling Windows 10 and it does seem that Microsoft is listening. It’s a huge step back to Windows 7 type interface but with some promising new features and improvements, especially under the bonnet.

Lesley Milne says:
29 November 2014

What about the fact that having been more or less forced to upgrade to Windows 8.1 when he was totally unable to get into his PC, my husband was initially unable to work out how to get back to his Yahoo account because MS is making it incredibly difficult not to use a Microsoft account? And if you do use another account, you don’t get all the facilities offered with 8.1. At least with Apple you know what you’re signing up for…..
Next time I’m going for a Mac, too….

Go for the Mac – you won’t regret it.

And if you still need Windows (for the things it does very well), you can install your copy on your Mac and switch between OSX and Windows.

maxwild says:
30 November 2014

I am beginning to wonder if I have been favoured with an enhanced version of Windows 8. I think that I did understand why there were complaints – although I found the vehemence rather pathetic – about the first version but W8.1 upgrade is absolutely fine.
All this whining about moving to Apple or Linux is completely beyond my ken. Nothing is perfect which is why there will eventually be a Windows 20 never mind 10. But the latest version 8.1 is more than adequate particularly when used on PC, Surface tablet and Lumia phone or any combination.
There are absolutely no grounds to expect W10 to be a free upgrade from W8.

Hello ‘maxwild’. I was wondering where you were.

As a Win 8.x Champion, it clearly suits you so I doubt you will be upgrading to Windows 10, but it DOES NOT suit the vast majority of users who are eagerly awaiting the next instalment of this saga.

Most people think that Win 8.x barely works on a PC, as testified by the posts here and elsewhere, but I do agree with you about the lack of free upgrade from MS though, but not because Win 8.x does not deserve one.

Hang on, maybe we have got this all wrong. It’s all a giant MS plot to make Windows 10 the bestselling product in the history of civilisation. Oh how the scales have fallen from my eyes …….

Imagine you bought a car in which the manufacturer had forgotten to install a starter switch, and you had to hot-wire it every time you wanted to start it. And then imagine that in response to customer complaints it offered a retrofitted starter switch – in the boot!

Well this was Windows 8 where you had to go through a menu system to shut down – requiring two mouse clicks. Then they upgraded to 8.1 and installed a start button with which to shut it down – requiring THREE mouse clicks!

So yes, I do deserve a free upgrade to Windows 10!

justkeith says:
5 December 2014

Windows XP, Vista and 7 also required 3 mouse clicks to shut down unless the options for them were modified.
Yes 8 was a pain to get to the shut down options, but 8.1 can be shut down with two clicks (one right click and one left click) if you do some research into the several methods available.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Press the WinKey, right-arrow key and enter to shut down: that’s no clicks at all! 🙂

I dislike having to learn a new system every time the geeks change things. I still have not got to grips with Windows 8 and find it difficult and a complete waste of my time.
If governments can put a price on time wasted in traffic chaos during extreme weather, they should also be able to put a figure on the time it takes to learn all the new technology forced on us by big companies who don’t seem to care about their users.

‘Jen’, it may surprise you to learn that most ‘Geeks’ don’t like radical change. They like tweaking what’s already there and don’t like things not working.

I very much doubt the ‘Geeks’ had anything to do with the design of Windows 8.x.

Trying to get it to work, yes, but not the concept.