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If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I'm talking to you, Microsoft - 2012-10-31

Windows 8 was launched on Friday with great fanfare, hullaballoo and frenzied excitementfrom Microsoft. The computing public received the new operating system with a resounding… “Huh?”

If you’ve had a chance to see what it looks like (if you haven’t, you will soon – Microsoft is planning on spending  1.5 BILLION dollars in advertising)  you are probably one of those consumers scratching their heads. The new “live tile” system looks like something you might find on a smart phone. And while that works for a smart phone, it is creating chaos and confusion amongst desktop users. One of the biggest complaints seems to be that no one can figure out an easy way to shut it down. Gone is the easy to use and completely intuitive “start” menu that we all know leads to the shutdown option. In fact, the shutdown can only be accessed in Windows 8 from the settings menu.

While each new version of software from Microsoft has had “improvements” (though users of Vista and ME might not agree) certain expected attributes remained the same. The start button that gets you to pretty much anywhere you want to go on your computer has stayed relatively the same from the very beginning. That builds a level of expectation amongst users – we know where the button is, what it does, and it becomes second nature to click the bottom left of the screen to accomplish things like opening programs and accessing the control panel.

We employ the same principle when building websites for our clients – certain features and functionality are expected on a website (for example, the general layout with a menu or navigation bar that shows all the categories you can select to get more info). If we changed the expected functionality on a site, users would be confused and probably think the site is broken. You just don’t mess with what works. 

And that’s why Microsoft gets a C grade for its new Windows 8. They threw out the tried and true format that has worked since day one, and tried to jump on the mobile vision of the future. While tapping on “tiles” or buttons works on our smartphones, it would take a lot of retraining my muscle memory to be able to navigate around Windows 8 as mindlessly as I do Windows 7. We expect many corporations to stick with Windows 7 until Microsoft ends support for it, or until they come up with an operating system that looks and behaves like an operating system should. I’m not saying I’m an old dog, but I really don’t want to have to learn any new tricks. We have ordered a Microsoft Surface Tablet with Windows 8 installed, so we can spend some time monkeying around with it, and we will let you know how that research goes. Maybe there will be some redeeming features that bring the grade up a notch or two… we’ll give you an update in a future newsletter.

If you have any questions about this article, or want to share your opinion, our cheery Helpdesk folks would love to hear from you. Please call 1(877)247-1664 or email us at