a note on windows 10

It’s too easy to say “Windows 10 is what Windows 8 should have been.” I mean sure, it dispenses with the touch-first fundamentalism that was the core of 8, and which drove away millions. (Not me.) But once you “fix” the extreme reaction 8 was to a world that seemed to be veering headlong toward nothing but tablets – it wasn’t, by the way – what are you left with?

Well, the plumbing’s better than 7, I’m told, though I’m not qualified to judge. 10 is responsive the way 8/8.1 is – that’s good. And it’s more generally “modern,” though Microsoft is still very much sorting out what that means, as you now have applications like “settings,” which is supposed to replace the old control panel but is a very different animal in look and feel and, it appears, capabilities.

The problem is, pretty much everything everybody needs still runs on Windows 7. And since 7 is not obviously insufficient, I’m not sure where the incentive to change is. Microsoft will probably soon turn Apple-like and list the hundreds of improvements in 10, some of which actually benefit users day-in and day-out. Making the upgrade free won’t hurt, though I still don’t see large companies being in a hurry to switch.

To be clear; I like and use 10. But then, I like and use 8/8.1. I’m a large exception to Microsoft’s user base, which is more like someone I know who clings to XP and buys third party anti-virus protection just to keep the system somewhat protected. If Windows 8 taught us anything, it’s that people don’t like change.

I think Microsoft is a more interesting company now than it’s ever been; I love Windows Phone, though I wish it were more popular so that a few more of the apps I like were available; I’m eager to see the next generation of small tablets, which supposedly will have a more phone-like interface. That’s all good. And to the degree that 10 makes it easier for a Windows program to be everywhere, so much the better. But Windows is still mostly about the desktop. That’s not a bad thing, but it does mean the bar for 10 is high, maybe higher than anyone thinks.

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