I’ve been a Windows user for many years, as I suspect many of you have also been, and I’m going to share my thoughts regarding Windows operating systems leading up to Windows 10. I decided to not go back any further than Windows XP as, in my opinion, XP marked the beginning of the modern operating system era. As well as for the sake of brevity. You may find my views are contrary to the general consensus, but that’s fine. These are purely my own opinions and experiences, so please feel free to disagree:
Windows XP: 2001 – 2014
Sure, eventually XP matured into a very good operating system. However, it took three service packs and almost a decade to reach that exalted position. No other operating system in Windows’ history has enjoyed the luxury of that extended period of support or been through so many service pack bug fixes. So, you’d expect XP to be pretty good in the end, would you not? I reckon XP was a lot like homesickness; users quickly forgetting all the bad times and only remembering the good times. My rating for XP: 2.5/5
Windows Vista: 2007 – 2017
I was fortunate at the time because I had recently upgraded my main machine just before Vista was released and while the specs of that machine were still nowhere near as advanced as today’s PCs, they were nonetheless a vast improvement over my previous machine. I consequently had no problems running Vista. From my experience dual-booting between XP and Vista, Vista was far more aesthetically pleasing and made XP look somewhat dated which, of course, it was. XP started out as number 1 in my dual boot system but was quite quickly relegated to number 2.
I might add that Vista would easily run on today’s machines with their advanced specs. As I said, to a certain extent, a victim of unfortunate timing… just a tad ahead of its time. My rating for Vista: 3/5
Windows 7: 2009 – 2020
Windows 7 also shipped with updated versions of several stock applications, including Windows Media Center (which should never have been dropped). Ah yes, I have very fond memories of Windows 7… nuff said. My rating for Windows 7: 4.5/5
Windows 8: 2012 – 2016
I guessed at the time that Microsoft had purposely delivered a virtually blank desktop so users could then customize to their own requirements. If that was indeed Microsoft’s intention, it was a patently stupid concept and one, which among other silly innovations — such as the missing Start Menu button — led to Windows 8’s universal unpopularity and its comparatively quick and merciful demise. My rating for Windows 8: 1.5/5
Windows 8.1: 2013 – 2023
As is the case with most tech writers I believe that, once the user outcry over the full-screen Start Menu started to gain momentum, they quickly jumped on the bandwagon. Telling readers what they want to hear always makes for good copy, plus a little controversy never hurts either. One-click on the Start Menu button to open, and one-click on the Desktop tile to go back. Too easy.
What amazed me about Windows 8.1 the most was its vastly improved hardware recognition and compatibility. At the time, I had a machine running Windows 8.1 where the motherboard up and died. So, I transferred the HDD over to a different but working machine, with completely different hardware specs, and pressed the Go button, more in hope than expectation. To my amazement, after several messages during boot that Windows was re-configuring hardware (or words to that effect), Windows 8.1 finished booting and worked perfectly. Now, all you XP diehards, try that with XP and see what happens. My rating for Windows 8.1: 4/5
Windows 10: 2015 –
Do we hear continual grumblings from Apple iOS users or from Google Android users regarding both these platform’s excessive data collection? For Windows 10 desktop users, most of the telemetry can easily be turned off, there are a hundred and one articles explaining how this can be done and in the end, telemetry will be minimal.
Personally, I subscribe to the theory that once you decide to go ”online” your privacy is basically out the window anyway. So please stop fretting and just enjoy the experience. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again– users should be more concerned over security than telemetry. I’ve never heard of, nor read of, anyone who has ever suffered serious repercussions as a result of telemetry.
Okay, rant over. Yes, I do like Windows 10, a lot. I do not like the forced automatic updates though. However, I can appreciate Microsoft’s position in wanting to get every user on the same platform. The dollar savings over maintaining support infrastructure for multiple platforms must be enormous. My rating for Windows 10: 4.5/5
It never ceases to amaze me how people react negatively to change, even when that change might be for the better. I guess familiarity is a difficult thing to overcome. In the history of Windows, the Windows 7 operating system is the only one I can remember which didn’t attract an avalanche of criticism post-release. Oh, and possibly XP… I really can’t remember clearly that far back. I am old, after all.