Web Culture Windows

How Microsoft’s Windows Could Win Its Users Back

Guy McDowell 18-03-2014

With the relatively beloved, somewhat maligned, Windows XP fading into the night, there may be up to 30% of the market looking at operating systems other than Windows. That’s how many devices are still running Windows XP, according to NetMarketShare.


With no longer supporting XP, Microsoft may free up the time and resources to face the challenges ahead. Let’s hope they take this opportunity to reflect on past successes and mistakes, get to know their customers again, and put together a new Windows from top to bottom – a Windows that works, a Windows that is lean, and a Windows that is open. That’s how Microsoft can win its users back, and probably a few that were loyal to other operating systems to begin with.

Make Windows Work

Why do people choose Apple or Chrome over Windows? Many would have us believe that it’s because of the user interface, slick marketing, cool factor, price, or some sort of inherent capability of those operating systems. Is it really any of those?

Microsoft’s interface has been the standard for many years. What they spend on marketing in one year is more than most of us will ever earn in a lifetime. Microsoft IS cool in that it’s got the majority of the market and it is capable of doing pretty much anything you’d want a computer to do. And finally, a Microsoft laptop can be had for just a few hundred dollars. So those aren’t the reasons. Perhaps, just maybe, the reason is that the Mac and Chrome OSes simply work.


If you know someone with a Mac or Chromebook, can you recall the last time they asked you about a blue screen 11 Tips to Help You Fix the Windows 10 Blue Screen Error What is a blue screen in Windows? How do you fix blue screen errors? Here are several fixes for this common Windows problem. Read More or strange error message Top 10 Websites for Error Codes & Troubleshooting Read More ? Can you recall the last time they said that they had to wait for hours for updates to be done on their computer? Probably not. That’s what is meant by simply working. If one holds their tongue in the right corner of their mouth, while simultaneously pressing control and 7, then clicking on a link with 3 words in it, they shouldn’t be able to crash the system. It should just work.



As an example, the Chromebook lets you know there is an update with a simple little icon in the system tray. If you click on it, the Chromebook restarts in about 30 seconds and you’re right back doing whatever you were doing. It is the least intrusive updating method available. By comparison, you are well aware of how much time Windows can spend updating – hours even. Then the Windows Updates can create other problems.

Microsoft, if you make Windows simply work – don’t just mask or hide problems – but really make it work, you’ll get your customers back. Be the best. You’ve got hundreds of the brightest people in the world as your employees, and access to thousands more that gladly volunteer to pitch in. You have all the resources you need to make this happen fast.

Make Windows Lean

Lean is a big buzz word in the business world as well as the general public. Simplicity, uncluttering, streamlining…all words that are cropping up more and more. Why not lean out Windows? Currently an install of Windows 8.1 needs either 16GB or 20GB of drive space. The former for 32-bit machines, the latter for 64-bit machines. An install of Mac OS X is about 7 GB, and ChromeOS is less than 4 GB.



Thin out the the operating system so it addresses the most common, basic needs of the people. Don’t sell them a house with hidden rooms and toys in the attic, when they just want something they can use for Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. If one wants additional functionality, why not make it something that can be easily added after the fact?

Follow the lead of ChromeOS, Mac OS X, even Linux. One buys the device, it does what it says on the tin, and if one wants to do more they drop a couple bucks and add it on. This is very doable and should make one’s life easier by having a simple working core OS that will be easier to maintain and improve. Just imagine if Microsoft didn’t have to worry about developing solutions for problems it created, trying to push out updates and patches, and being in a perpetual state of damage control.

Part of making it lean on top of getting rid of seldom used (or even known about 8 Hidden Tools In Windows 7 You Still Might Not Know About Windows 7 is by no means a new operating system. This why I was doubly surprised to realize that there are still some hidden tools in Windows 7 I did not know about. Even if... Read More ) applications is to add those applications that people download almost immediately after installing Windows. Fences Turn Your Windows Desktop From Cluttered To Useful For Free With Fences I'd like to start this post with a small request: Hit Win+D for me. I'll wait here. Go ahead, do it. Okay, done? What did you see? Was it a hot mess of cluttered icons... Read More by Stardock, CCleaner Optimize Your System To Run At Its Best With CCleaner Over the last two years, CCleaner has changed quite a bit in terms of version numbers...up now to version 3.10 at the time of this writing. While visually the program actually hasn't changed much (it's... Read More by Piriform for example. Suggesting a more robust antivirus might be a good idea, however by writing Windows from scratch again, there should be a lot less opportunities for vulnerabilities, along the lines of ChromeOS and Mac OSes.


Add to that the fact that Windows would run quicker and take up less space, people will take Windows seriously again. Now one can have cloud-oriented computers running Windows at a cost closer or better than a Chromebook. Imagine what that would do for Microsoft’s Skydrive cloud storage services Microsoft Skydrive Gets Big Update - 25GB Of Cloud Storage Microsoft SkyDrive has been around for a while, but was recently given a fairly significant update. We took some time to talk to Microsoft about the new features and play with it all, so here's... Read More as well!

Make Windows Open

Microsoft is embracing Open Source just like a kid embraces his great aunt with the huge hairy mole – just because he has to, not because he wants to. Open Source Software is not a repulsive thing. Nor does it mean having to give away the milk AND the cow.

There are two huge gains to be made by open sourcing your operating system – one is bolstering the trust that people have in you, the other is creating a huge marketplace for innovation of which you can be the landlord. That position is a very monetizeable one, with less effort and cost than trying to develop and hawk all your own wares. Just ask the iTunes store.



You know this can work Microsoft. You’ve seen it in some of your smaller divisions such as the open source prototyping platform, Gadgeteer. Sure, that might be a smaller market share than Arduino or Raspberry Pi, but just imagine if you took your Windows market share and added back in all those that left you out of frustration and distrust. You’d probably be able to also add most of the Asian market back in due to the desire of China to have access to the source of Windows. What business wouldn’t want to add a few billion users overnight?


The Takeaway

Microsoft Windows insinuated itself into businesses and schools decades ago and it was a revolutionary operating system. It opened computing to the masses perhaps more than any other innovation ever. Anyone who uses a computer can usually use Windows to some degree. However, being the juggernaut just isn’t enough anymore. If anything, it has become detrimental in a world where people want light and fast as they take computing with them into every facet of their life. Adapt or fail Microsoft.

There are many niggling little points that we could debate about how to make Windows the most loved OS again, however these three points are at the crux of it all: make it work, make it lean, make it open. Do that again Microsoft and we may start returning your calls again.

Image Credits: People running Via Shutterstock, Microsoft Open Technologies Shanghai via Microsoft, Globe via Pixabay, Windows Error Message and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella via Flickr, BSoD_in_Windows_8, Open Source Logo, Windows Logo with Wordmark, Windows Logo, Apple Logo and Chromium Logo via Wikimedia.

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  1. Stephanie S
    March 22, 2014 at 6:32 am

    Wow, this is great and so true! My son bought himself a Mac and has sung its praises ever since. As you mentioned, there are no "blue screens of death" or freezes, or whatever. As for the future, I see more and more consumers using hand-held devices, like tablets, smartphones, etc. Microsoft is WAY behind in that category. If you read articles about the newest and most fun, the articles are generally about some new app for a phone, a tablet or both. Personally, I love my iPad. I can do just about everything I do on my computer on it. Besides your 3 suggestions, I would add that Microsoft get into the wireless world in a bigger way. Apple and Android are light years ahead in that market.

    • Guy M
      March 22, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      If Microsoft could have their way, we would all have Windows phones. I think they got stung by being one of the first to market with a smartphone, but not quite doing it right. Now they're trying to get back in the game.

      Oddly enough, I just had another BSOD this morning. Yay me.

  2. Bud
    March 22, 2014 at 12:46 am

    Have to wonder about the days of the week the Window's OSes were produced. Many years ago, it was reported about the quality of manufactured cars being produced and the particular day of the week "playing an important role" with Mondays and Fridays being the the worst days of the week for quality production (assumptions can be made here). Reading the various posts, I wonder if the techies in Redmond have the same syndrome, too ???

    To Guy: Just a brother-in-law with a Mac , and my papa......a "Mul"............and no, my brother-in-law uses a Dell laptop. :)))

  3. Bud
    March 21, 2014 at 12:59 am

    Hahahaha........very funny, Guy!

  4. Bud
    March 20, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Thank you Guy, you gave an excellent example and articulated it very well, too !

    • Guy M
      March 20, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      I'd think that was my Mom commenting, but she doesn't like me much. ;)

    • dragonmouth
      March 21, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      A mom named Bud, a son named Guy, hmmm. Is you father's name Mac by any chance? :-)

    • Guy M
      March 22, 2014 at 12:40 am

      Well played, dragonmouth, well played. :)

  5. tom
    March 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I have been around computer since day one in my Career and retired now.

    I am age 73...You could not give me a Windows OS....They suck.

    I have several Mac's...I have a MacBook Pro that is near 5 years old not one problem with it or the OS......

    Mac's cost more...but I would rather buy one machine to use for years than ever year or so buy another piece of Windows crap and go their all their mess Home, Vista, Win 8, etc....Win XP was okay...now on April 8th the Morons at Microsoft will no longer support the best OS they have developed in years.

    Sooo it's Mac for me..

    Regardless of all the so Called Ex-Spurts of Computering.

  6. HassleMcA
    March 20, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Any OS should be free, the commercial aspect can be served by all the rubbish people want to install with it ....
    An OS should not carry the stuff that comes with it, for example, notepad, paint and so on.
    Anybody will find better for free on the internet or can go commercial.
    An OS should be basic, simple & free, just an OS, nothing more.
    I wonder what will happen, if Windows or Mac OS would be free of charge and free downloadable ...

    • dragonmouth
      March 20, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Until the 1970s, you leased/rented the hardware (mainframes) and the O/S to run it was free. Then, as hardware became standardized and cheaper to make, computer makers started to charge for the O/S. As technology advanced and the costs of producing the hardware dropped, operating systems became more complicated and more costly to create. Extrapolating the trend, pundits envisioned a day in the future when you bought the software and the hardware was a free throw in. It never came to that. First came the mini computers and then the personal computers (Altair, IMSAI, Apple I, etc.). Computer clubs formed. At first, the software for the personal computers was freely shared among the programmers and club members. The along came Bill Gates and His attitude was "I'll be damned if I write code fro free, I want to get paid." And the rest, as they say, is history. Arguably, if it wasn't for Bill Gates, personal computing would not have taken off as it has. But, arguably, if it wasn't also for Bill Gates, personal computer software would have been free, created under something like the GPL or BSD license.

  7. Marcel
    March 20, 2014 at 5:47 am

    I enjoyed your article. Many of the responses seemed rude and one-sided. Some folks should learn to use Spell-Checking others should use fact-checking.
    All operating systems have issues. Vista's issues were the reason XP was supported for so long in the first place. Microsoft is still a formidable company, but they should concentrate on their strengths. Window's phones and (IMO) tablets were reaching for markets outside their core competencies.
    Your article highlights the desire for lightweight, less resource demanding software that just does what it is supposed to do. I like that idea.
    As for open-source software, Linux Mint is very user friendly even for novices and Linux based servers are robust.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Guy M
      March 20, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      Thank you!

  8. Sugadevan
    March 20, 2014 at 5:39 am

    If someone talks about BSOD, it means that he is living in past (XP era).. i never had BSOD in last 3 or 4 years.

    MS is on perfect track now!

    • Guy M
      March 20, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      I had one on Tuesday. Technically, that is in the past I guess.

  9. Sunpreet Rathor
    March 20, 2014 at 2:55 am

    You really touched on major points, there. Each OS has it's own set of unique problems and some problems are there that may seem common. I am a coder, so my biggest complaint is that for each and every language, I have to download the stuff separately, while in Linux it comes prepacked.

    Most of Windows software is bloatware like Norton, McAfee to name a few. Linux is highly customizable but Windows can be modified to a certain extent.

    I really like the topic on making it more open.

  10. catweazle666
    March 20, 2014 at 2:11 am

    I think Windows is wonderful.

    Over the last 25 years or so, I have made a good living courtesy of M$, which is why I am able to use an iMac for my *personal* computer, and drive a Mercedes Benz, and live in one of the prettiest bits of Yorkshire.

    If everyone had Apple kit, I would have to get a proper job.

    Oh, and before all the usual suspects start accusing me of lack of knowledge of M$ tackle, I also run somewhere around 10 M4 machines for professional purposes, and while rooting in my loft recently, i unearthed my old Windows SDK. Not a Window 95, or even a 3.0, but an SDK for the original Windows.

    As a friend of mine - a serious gamer who always has the very latest in overclocked, supercooled M$ gaming kit remarks, he uses Apple for his business because - entirely unlike M$ - it just WORKS.

    These days computers are simply appliances just like toasters or electric kettles appliances, when did you meet someone who felt an urgent requirement to reprogram the user interface of their dishwasher?

    Until M$ takes that on board, they will continue to lose market share, simple as that.

    • Guy M
      March 20, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      ...when did you meet someone who felt an urgent requirement to reprogram the user interface of their dishwasher?

      You just met one! Okay, it's actually my clothes washer, but I figure that's close enough. If I want to open the lid, I damn well want to open the lid! Not wait 5 minutes for it to stop spinning COMPLETELY.

    • catweazle666
      March 21, 2014 at 1:31 am

      " If I want to open the lid, I damn well want to open the lid! Not wait 5 minutes for it to stop spinning COMPLETELY."

      Around 50 years ago, a friend of my mother's had a spin dryer that developed a fault and let you open the lid before it had stopped spinning.

      One day, she put her hand in, and it twined her arm up like a rubber band in a model aeroplane.

      Needless to say, it (her arm, that is) never worked again after that because it pulled all the pipes and wires off the inside bits.

      So I wouldn't recommend it.

  11. Bud
    March 19, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Sorry Alex, BUT as a former Windows user, and a MAC user now, I personally couldn't disagree with you more. You state you are experienced using both, yet have troubles with a Mac and that sounds to me like an oxymoron. Having had a lot if problems with various versions of Windows, I chose to buy an iMac and it runs great. My only complaint with Apple is their current version of Mavericks OS X....can't uninstall it for example, and use Mountain Lion or Snow Leopard which is a decent OS. Be that as it may, I 'm now used to it and the unnecessary updates as is prevalent with Windows. It all comes down to one's own preferences.......and you have yours, I have mine.

    My biggest and constant complaint with Microsoft, as the author of this article suggested is for the supposed "genius" programmers in Redmond, or wherever, STOP being engineers and think more of the consumer. Go into any auto repair shop for another example, and listen to their railing over the car company's engineering designs, as they try and repair vehicles.

    The old adage of "less is more," still holds true and I personally agree with this author's comments.

    • Guy M
      March 20, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      I can't really hack on engineers, but I can hack on MOST engineers! I recall looking at two identical vehicles, one being run by the German military, and the other by the another military.
      The Germans took the vehicle and complete re-tubed the hydraulic system so it was colour-coded, labelled, and easy to repair. It was a thing of beauty to look at. All the components were the same, just properly done tubing!
      The other military vehicles hydraulics looked like a stainless steel snake pit. Impossible to trace and even harder to maintain.
      Of course, all engineers used to be taught to think like that - good design saves money. Then the accountants beat that out of their heads.

  12. John S
    March 19, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    There's nothing new here. Windows has been a slow, bloated and unstable disk hog for pretty much it's entire existence. Windows 7 was about the best of breed for this mongrel -- which largely suffers for that "backwards compatibility" bucket it's been dragging along, largely for the game industry.

    In any event I think they're continuing down that familiar path of mediocrity -- thinking they can still "own it". They've put some glue and glitter on that upgrade treadmill with their Office 360 rental program -- which is where I'm sure they want to take everything.

    The only thing really saving Microsoft from a mass exodus is that change (for large business clients) constitutes significant pain, disruption and expense ...many of those aren't upgrading either.

  13. Ed
    March 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Since we are talking about how MS could win its users back, I have a question.

    People talk about being Linux users, but I usually hear these same people also talk about their second Windows machine, or how they dual boot Windows, or have Windows in a VM.

    How many of you are Windows free (and Mac free)? No desktop, laptop, dual-boot or VM with Windows or Mac.

    What do you miss about Windows, and how would MS win you back from a 100% Linux computing lifestyle?

    • Guy M
      March 19, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      @Ed I'm guessing here, but I think a lot of us that use Linux tend to have a Windows box still because we still have a foot in that world, professionally.
      Personally, I probably will never go to a 100% any OS computing lifestyle. My OS of choice for portable devices is Android. At home there's Mac OSX, iOS, Chrome OS, Windows 7, and Linux Mint...as well as whatever a Wii runs on. Plus I think some other devices have embedded Java or something like that. Beats me.

    • James V
      March 19, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      All Microsoft has to do is open source an OS, make it inherently malware resistant without antivirus software, reduce the bloat, and make it free. Simple solution: base it on Linux!

      When I capture video using a Hauppauge dongle, I boot into Win7. My cheap Logitech camera only has drivers for windows, and my wife bought a genealogy program that doesn't work on Linux. All the other machines in my office are windows and I can RDP into them to run anything I need: Office, Visio, Matlab, IE. I can see evolving into Linux only. For my laptop, I don't need Windows to run Skype, edit movies, images or websites, stream lectures (I teach on WizIQ).

    • dragonmouth
      March 20, 2014 at 11:06 am

      "How many of you are Windows free (and Mac free)?"
      I have been Apple-free since early 1990's. :-)

      The only reason I keep a Windows PC around is so I can do my taxes. Tax software companies have not seen fit to port their products to Linux. I do not dual-boot Win and Linux. I have a stand alone Win PC which gets used once a year for about a month around tax time.

      "how would MS win you back from a 100% Linux computing lifestyle?"
      Adopt Linux-like philosophy. However, since that is as likely to happen as permanent world peace and a permanent end to hunger/poverty, there is no chance M$ is getting me back.

    • dragonmouth
      March 20, 2014 at 11:14 am

      @James V:
      "Simple solution: base it on Linux!"

      There are rumors that there already is a lot of Linux code in Windows.
      The only way Bill Gates would go for that is if he can patent Linux and control all aspects of it.

  14. Guy M
    March 19, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Certainly a lot of passionate discussion here, and it's great to see everyone's point of view. (Okay, almost everyone.)
    What I have noticed is a lot of people defending Microsoft, but what I haven't seen is anyone saying that Windows is as good as it could possibly be.
    What would you recommend to make Windows not just the best available OS, but the best OS possible?

    • dragonmouth
      March 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      "what I haven’t seen is anyone saying that Windows is as good as it could possibly be."
      Not to defend Windows but NO O/S is "as good as it could possibly be." All O/Ss can be be improved and made better.

      "What would you recommend to make Windows not just the best available OS, but the best OS possible?"
      1) Change in management.
      2) Radical change in management thinking.
      3) Radical change in corporate culture.

      As long as Bill Gates is in control of Microsoft, Windows will continue to be what it was and is. From Day One, Gates has insisted on closed, proprietary code. So, to him, "Open Windows" is an oxymoron. Besides, Microsoft cannot allow Windows source code to be openly viewed because then the enire world would see how much code was illegally "borrowed" from other O/Ss. I wonder how efficiently written is Windows code and how much spaghetti code does it contain?

      To achieve a Windows O/S that you posit, one that is lean and the best O/S possible, would require it to be written from the ground up, and the first two things they should forget about are .dll files and Windows Registry. Even a radical re-write will not suffice. M$ will not do that because they feel that they already do have the best O/S in the world, as evidenced by the number of Windows users.

    • Ed
      March 19, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      These are very general comments, but here is what I would like:
      1. Better pricing for consumers. If MS can charge OEMs $50 per license, they should extend that to average consumers.
      2. A much, much leaner OS. A clean Ubuntu 14.04 install is less than 10 GB after updates. A clean Windows 7 install is close to 30GB after updates on the same system.
      3. Less hard drive access. The same system with Ubuntu has very little to no hard drive activity when idle. The same system on Win 7 always has the HD light blinking every few seconds, even if just briefly.
      4. A return to a more desktop oriented environment when mouse and keyboard are detected.
      5. More continuity between their modern/metro and desktop environments.

    • Guy M
      March 19, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      @dragonmouth You are correct in most of your reasoning about why Microsoft has not made the best OS that they really could. It's always policy, not technology, that's the true limiting factor.

      @ed Excellent points.

    • dragonmouth
      March 20, 2014 at 10:49 am

      1. Somebody has to make up for the money M$ is "losing" on OEM sales. :-)
      2. Ubuntu could be slimmed down even further if they did not install by default language packs for every language in the world and drivers for every piece of hardware since the ENIAC. Or at least allow the unnecessary one to be uninstalled, as other distros do.
      4. M$ wants to have the "one O/S to rule them all" so they can again be the king of the hill. Ubuntu wants the same thing with Unity but at least they provide other desktop environments (Gnome, Mate, Cinnamon)
      5. It is hard to reconcile touch scree and non-touch screen interfaces.

  15. Stijn J
    March 19, 2014 at 9:00 am

    @Bruce E Last time I used 2K drivers for the on-board audiocard and external card slot on a MSI M6000 laptop. I just had to run the installer in comtability mode to work.

  16. Trevor
    March 19, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Don't agree with a lot of the perspective here. Leaner, yes they need be. Updates, yeah it sucks. And after an ass kicking from the rise of mobile, they've got some repositioning to do. But let's face it, this Google empire is a long term house of cards.

    The desktop computer isn't going any where, and Microsoft will outlast this Google House-of-cards fad. One thing MS is and has always been is a provider to the Customer. They research, they invest and they've led us to where we are

    .On the other hand, Google is good for one thing - Searching. The rest of their fleet of crap is hardly user friendly, it's feature starved apps all around are lanky at best, customer support doesn't exist, fucking help files are a joke, their Flagship OS Android has more problems than anyone knows what to do with, their Chrome book is designed for pussies not computing power users, they integrate everything you do and use and then fuck it all up with updates that leave you wondering "hey, where did that feature go?", their Open Source has always been and MS invented the API concept.

    Am I pissed at MS? Sure. But, I'm by no means signing up to take a shit in my new Google toilet. For those of us who know MS..it's about quality. MS spends more on one product test cycle than Google does for 10. All MS products integrate seamlessly -hello, remember COM??

    This vein article is nothing more than the writers attempt to get everyone on a bandwagon that quite frankly is painful for many of us who love MS. But, fuck it, right? Go ahead and belittle one of the most arguably life changing corporations of all time. After all anyone could do what they did right? Fucking pussy ass Chromebook.....LOL...I'd rather go back to a 386DX2.

  17. Fritz
    March 19, 2014 at 8:13 am

    The 3rd image is incorrect (or the corresponding text is): the "less than" symbol is .

  18. KK
    March 19, 2014 at 3:14 am

    If I can grade your article, it would be -100.

    What a nonsense that only Windows will crash.

    What a nonsense Windows have to open source.

    WTF !

    • Guy M
      March 19, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      @KK You might want to re-read the article. I never said only Windows crashes.
      Typically supporting your argument makes you more believable. I'm just not seeing that here.

  19. jondoe
    March 19, 2014 at 1:24 am

    On Windows I haven't seen a blue screen in years. However, I seen many other errors in Linux and Mac OS. Like beach ball of death and random disk out of align on boot. Windows is big in size because of all the offline drivers support needed. That said, no OS is perfect.

    • dragonmouth
      March 19, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      "Windows is big in size because of all the offline drivers support needed"
      Then why doesn't it support my HP PSC-1510 All-in-One printer? Linux does, straight out of the box.

  20. Steve McNeice
    March 19, 2014 at 1:11 am

    Microsoft's 2 biggest problems with Windows 8...
    1 ... Not giving users the choice of using the "metro" or the "regular desktop".
    (think of all the money Stardock has made because of this error by Microsoft)
    Once you add a start button and use the normal desktop, Win 8 is really an approved and very similar version of Win 7. With either of these two OS's, I have never experienced the BSOD, and can run for months with no problems. Microsoft even offers a free (and included with Win 8) and very good antivirus program. The computer is not a "toaster", like a car, it needs to be maintained.
    2 ... Microsoft must still have code for all those people/companies that want to keep using their old software (some still insist on using 16bit on a 64bit machine!). Mainly this is because a lot of money is tide up in the old stuff and training can be expensive. If they were able to cut this old stuff out, then Windows would be a lot closer to the lean OS that you want. It's very difficult to please everyone.
    Have you ever dug deep into Mac's OSX? It's really just another version (although a pretty one) of Linux. Mac's do get viruses, and they do break down just as often as any other OS. I repair computers, and (proportionately by market share), there are just as many problems with Win Os's, as there are with Mac's and Linux. People tend to believe the lies and half truths that the media and advertising feds them.
    Chrome OS is really not an OS, just code a browser can run, just like Flash or Java.
    I'm not a Windows "fanboy", in fact before Win 7, I was looking for an alternative to Windows.
    I happen to like Mac's OSX, and Linux (Kubuntu), but I feel Windows is now just as good.
    I'm just sharing my experience using and repairing computers since before the "Amiga/Commodore 64" days. Remember OS/2? Now that could have given Windows a run for their money. Just too far ahead of their time.

  21. BobW
    March 18, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Well as a personal user, who learnt how to use a computer himself from a ZX Spectrum, then progressed I think that Windows 7 is the best OS from Microsoft so far, also as a retired person I like to be able to sit in front of my machine all day sometimes, so I like the Aero feel of Win7 and the ability to use the Start Button to bring up anything I need. Microsoft spoilt all that for me in Win8, horrible blocky feel and could never find anything I wanted, so if they decide on bringing out a Win9, shaved down for minimalists, then I would like the opportunity to be able to add back in things like Aero and a proper Start Button.

    • dragonmouth
      March 19, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      "I think that Windows 7 is the best OS from Microsoft so far,"
      That is not saying much. The "best of the worst" is still bad.

      And that is Guy's point - Windows is not what it COULD be, or even SHOULD be.

  22. Neb R
    March 18, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    If I may. I am not sure if you like Microsoft and Windows and you wish it would be better and Open Source in a real way, or if you actually like better MAC. You talk about Mac OS X and ChromeOS and than you said even Linux. Than someone says that they are strong supporter of the system but it is not for day to day use. Well, I have to disagree. I use computers since 1990 and I have to say that in 2004 I started with Linux (after I decided to stop torturing myself with Windows and oh, so many viruses, spyware, adware etc, blue screens etc.). It was a rough ride for a few months but every day was better than the next. I did totally switch to Linux and I am now a very happy and I also didn't spend any money on the applications that I would regularly have to if i was to stick to Windows. I not only use Linux daily for most of the day, I also do my business using Linux and all, like I said, for free. No hassle, no nagging, nothing to wait, restart etc. In most cases it takes seconds to update, upgrade or install new application through Terminal. Also, I can make my Linux look and feel any way I want. I can make it even look like Windows XP or Windows 7 but why ruin a good thing. Another point - I was working in the company that is still operational where we all were using Linux to do our jobs. The company was making custom cabinetry and millwork work. All the processing and BOM's and technical operations were done with Linux. Even Microsoft uses Linux for things that need to just work and are safe.

  23. Dmitriy T
    March 18, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Must note that suggestions in article sounds good..until one realizes that some things just don't work that way unless we bury our freedom to choose hardware or retire huge wealth of legacy software.
    For.ex. BSODs. I did get several "BSODs" even on Win7 - but MS has nothing to do with that because it was my hardware vendor's (read :Intel's) fault in netbook videodriver.
    MacOS or ChromeOs just don't even try to compete with Windows in hardware support area...and last time i've checked Linux (Ubuntu) on my desktop it was a mess from that standpoint too - it just didn't worked 'cept in unaccelerated mode ..and there were NO solution for that well known Nvidia-related problem 'cept "sorry dude, buy other videocard or build your own LFS".
    As for size...recently i've found CD-r with Win2000 era software...which installed and worked in W8 not even noticing that OS is four generations newer - all the needed libs and 'crutches' were in right places. This counts for something imo, like not paying price of redeveloping (vs upgrading) number of crucial commercial software.

    And MS did tried to launch separate 'light' Windows...it's called WinRT and i'm yet to find even single fan of it in RL.

  24. Stijn J
    March 18, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Let's not forget that Macs aways run on great hardware, it comes with the pricetag, while Windows computers are seen on all kinds of set-ups. I'm pretty sure a Windows PC with the same hardware can certainly stand the comparisson.

  25. Stijn J
    March 18, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    I do agree with @Alex on this one. There's no doubt that Mac OS is a fantastic OS, but to say that a modern Windows install can't compare...hmm, I doubt that.

    I'm running Windows 7 on several different configurations, from a Pentium M till a quadcore en I can't recall any BSOD on any of them in the last year or so. All of them are working fine and Windows even handles the older Win2K drivers for all of the hardware whereas there was no other version. Not to mention the ignarance of Mac users who think they are invurnable for malware. There's certainly more Windows malware out there, but sensible users take their security measures and Windows has a descent inhouse antimalware, but a Mac is as vulnarable to malware like every other piece of electronics.

    There are people who adore the new metro interface and i'm still impressed in it's tablet potential, but for those who don't like it like me installing a skin all over the OS to look like anything you want is a brease. That's the kind of 'easy' and 'tweakability' I like in Windows and lots of its users.

    You make a good point about the patching-desease, I do feel it's better than before but could still use a complete makeover, and I would love a Windows where I can select what I want prior to the installation (not afterwards like now).

    I have a feeling people unintentionally keep comparing a modern Mac versus a Windows XP computer because they still see that OS everywhere around. It was a good OS back in it's days, but that OS is now dead and burried after a long 15 years of service. Try comparing Windows 8.1 with Cheetah and I'm curious about those results.

    As for Linux, I'm a sprong supporter of the system, but like @ed here said; it's not for a day-to-day basis. I have a dual boot set-up, but I don't think I've used it in the last three months.

    • Guy M
      March 18, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      @Stijn J You do get that what I am saying is that Microsoft has had more than enough opportunity to have been as good as, or better, than any other OS at any point in its history?
      I'm not comparing XP to Mavericks, nor am I comparing an old version of any Mac OS to Windows 7. I'm speaking historically from the early 90s to today.

    • Bruce E
      March 18, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      @Stijn, you said "...Windows even handles the older Win2K drivers for all of the hardware...' How did you manage this? The WDM (Windows Driver Model) changed between XP/Server 2003 and Vista/Server 2008 which is why there were so many complaints about hardware not working. The new WDM carried forward into 7 and 8.x, so how did you install and use W2K drivers as they are incompatible?

      Also, tweaking the MS interfaces to suit the user frequently requires downloading and installing third-party tools to do the types of things that other DEs provide natively.

  26. Ed
    March 18, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    I have to say, the last 4 years of using Windows 7, I've never experienced a blue screen. In fact, I have never had to reinstall Windows 7 on the same machine due to the slow downs Win XP would have after just 1.5 years of use.

    Win XP was horrible for blue screens and having to reinstall every year or 2 just to keep it reasonably fast. Windows 7 has none of these issues.

    Any new hardware requiring additional drivers on first install, just works after the driver installs.

    I go through a phase every few months were I really want to love Linux and want to hate Windows. Linux is great for servers and dedicated appliances (ex. OpenElec XBMC) with very specific needs. It is just OK as a desktop replacement. I want my MFP's scanner to work in Linux on any distro, not just a few that I have to hunt for. I want my network shares to be mounted automatically without command line interference. I want my video drivers to be just as fast and easy to install as on Windows. I want Libre Office to be as compatible as MS Office (though this is not the fault of Linux). I want true portable apps.

    Linux has many positives, but not enough to replace my main OS with it. Linux has compromises as a desktop OS that Windows does not have.

    Macs have a price premium I can't justify, or else I would try a Mac even though the initial learning curve would take a hit on productivity.

    I'm tempted to move away from Windows at times, but can't bring myself to do it. MS has not won me over to Windows 8, so we'll see if they have me back for Windows 9.

    Nice article, by the way. And I do agree that MS has to do something drastic, positive, and productive to win our minds and hearts back. Something less Windows 8-like, something leaner, something more open.

    • Bruce E
      March 18, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      @Ed, I have never seen a BSOD on any of my systems since W2K (specialized software driver for a game did that one). The only time I have needed to reinstall Windows 7 was due to moves to newer hardware or hardware failure. There are other times when I would normally have had to rebuild as well, but I use VHD booting for the vast majority of the testing I do so all I need to do is replace my original copy of the VHD after the testing is done or the system on the VHD has become too unstable. Without the VHD boot option, I would be reinstalling Widows 7 just as frequently as I did for XP.

      "Any new hardware requiring additional drivers on first install, just works after the driver installs." This applies to any operating system including Mac OS X and any Linux distro. If you have the right driver installed, it will work properly.

      Most printer manufacturers do not provide Linux drivers for their MFPs like they do for Mac OS X and Windows. This isn't the fault of the Linux community. Complain to the manufacturers if you want this to change.

      Your network shares can be mounted automatically without using the command line. Some DEs will allow you to use the GUI and select an option to automatically mount shares/filesystems. Others may require you to add an entry into fstab. In either case, you don't need to interact with the command line.

      My video drivers installed easily and faster than the Windows drivers using multiple versions of Fedora, Ubuntu, Mint, and Debian 7.0.0.

      The only problems I have seen with using files (ODF) in both LibreOffice and MS Office is that MS Office will sometimes corrupt them.

      I am currently restructuring my systems and using Windows 7 as my primary OS at the moment, but once the rest of the process is complete, I will be reverting back to Linux Mint for my primary OS. Windows 7 will remain in my multi-boot configuration for reference, testing and gaming. All real work will be done in Mint again, just like it has been for the past 2 years since I can run it for months at a time without rebooting, even after updating software. (My primary system is on 24/7 and Windows just can't handle it without screwing up and/or slowing down after a week or so - primarily memory-related problems. It just does not want to release unnecessary cached data.) Then there is the monthly requirement to reboot due to Patch Tuesday.

    • dragonmouth
      March 19, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      "I want my MFP’s scanner to work in Linux on any distro, not just a few that I have to hunt for."

      That is intersting. My experience has been just the opposite. I use a lot of older hardware (monitors, printers, scanners, NICs, etc.) No matter which Linux distro I install, I rarely have to install drivers. All hardware is found and recognized during the install process. In Windows I have to hunt for and install hardware drivers frequently. Just recently I could not use a HP PSC-1510 All-in-One in Windows because the driver couldn't be found. So I did my print job on a Linux PC with no problems.

  27. Alex
    March 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    @Guy M

    I hope you realize you just attempted to discount my personal experiences and then at the same time lead credence to your own personal experiences all in the same sentence. You've got a bigger sample size, which is great and DOES lend credibility - but it in no way discounts my experiences. What a strange disconnect to make.

    Furthermore, your 15 years of dealing with this sort of thing isn't necessarily applicable being that I'm drawing comparisons between modern day PC vs modern day Mac systems - not bygone OS's and their legacy flaws. Modern OS wise; they're both extremely good. They're both extremely stable. They're both mostly intuitive and non disruptive (barring the shoe-horning in of the metro interface). To make my own opinion obvious - I enjoy and make use of both for their own respective strengths. (Design work vs Gaming)

    It's just disappointing to see technology writers perpetuating the fallacy that Windows is in some way inherently worse than Macs, whether that be in relation to stability or functionality, etc.

    It simply isn't true in this day and age. Both are practically idiot-proof. Both have occasional issues.

    • Guy M
      March 18, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      @Alex, no I don't realize that I'm discounting your personal experiences and then trying to lend credence to my personal experience. The reason being, that the experience was not a personal one - it was a large number of experiences by a large number of people that was simply observed by me. That makes it a collection of experiences.

      Since I am addressing the loss of Windows XP and versions of Windows up to, and including Windows 7, I am revealing a culture of evidence that shows a lack of Microsoft truly doing the best they could with any version of Windows.

      I'm not perpetuating a fallacy that Windows is inherently worse than Macs, or the Mac OSes. What I am perpetuating is the evidence that shows that, historically, Windows hasn't gotten it as right as they could yet. I don't think Windows is a horrible system, I just believe that their approach to developing Windows could be far more holistic and produce something far superior to anything out there, bar none. The recent trend of 'get some crap out there, then get something better out there on the heels of it' is damaging their credibility. I want to see Microsoft succeed, and these are my opinions on how they could do that.

      So how is that Windows-bashing? I want to see them use their impressive resources to build the ultimate OS. They haven't done that yet.

  28. Ken E.
    March 18, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Agreed! The days of the double-digit capacity programs should be over with. I've repurposed old laptops with Linux and they perform as well, if not better, than a Windows OS. Open source would help Windows, but because Apple is closed I don't see them being proactive in moving to this direction.

  29. Alex
    March 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Arguing that PCs experience more errors or update for hours at a time (and that Macs are somehow immune from these same issues) show a real lack of experience and/or time spent actually working on these platforms.

    A modern PC setup, running Windows 7 or 8, and being used by someone even reasonably competent (ie: not the demographic that likes to install browser searchbars and bonzai buddy) experiences as many or as few issues as it's Mac counterpart would. I should know, I routinely use both on a day to day basis. My mac's had more issues in the past year than my PC has by far. Locking up, unexplained slow-downs and program crashes.

    Acting like macs have all this solved and it "just works" simply isn't true.

    I also haven't faced lengthy or intrusive update installs with Windows 8, aside from version upgrades (8.1) - which, again, would be just as intrusive and lengthy on a Mac.

    Bias much?

    • Rajaa Chowdhury
      March 18, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      Bingo Alex, totally agree with you. Also Apple Macs after umpteen years is still a niche player in terms of both verticals and countries and not play a mass role. Chromebook is still in it's infancy and comparing it with Windows is still have miles to tread. When articles are written, please take your thought process beyond a few demography like USA, UK, etc. and think about in terms on the whole world as an entity, you'll find impact of Apple i Macs minuscule and Chromebook non-existent. Dominant by a huge majority is still windows followed by Linux a bit. And exaggeration of windows error message may please the fan-boys, but to be honest since windows 7 I seem of have forgotten what windows error messages look like. Yes I do use my computer sensibly and maintain them as Alex pointed out. Also have been having a great experience with Windows 8 too. Be rest assured, Microsoft is doing things right and evolve as per market dynamics are driven. They are not fools, be rest assured.

    • Guy M
      March 18, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      @Alex, your argument rests on your personal experience, whereas my argument rests on monitoring systems running Windows XP to 7, Macs, and various flavours of Unix/Linux over 15 years.
      I'm not pretending or acting that Apple (or any other system) has this all solved. What I am arguing is that the issues are minimized and typically as unobtrusive as can be.
      No, I don't use Windows 8 or 8.1 but that does not invalidate the argument either. I'm talking about 15 years of field experience with all of the operating systems I have mentioned. Of course Chrome OS is an exception, however I have used the Chrome OS on a daily basis for about a year now.
      If an opinion is based on a depth and breadth of experience, it is not bias. It is an informed opinion.

    • Guy M
      March 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      @Raja, the market share of an operating system is not an implicit endorsement of how good the operating system is. Yes, Windows based systems still dominate the market. McDonald's also has the major market share for fast food - would you argue that makes everything they sell the best?
      I don't think Microsoft as a company, or anyone working there, are fools. I do think that they should take this opportunity to go beyond developing or refactoring an existing platform and strive to make the best possible operating system they can. I believe that the 3 points I made are 3 worth considering when creating an entirely new operating system.
      Provide our readers with some evidence that shows that Windows has as much uptime as Linux, Mac OS, and Chrome OS and then we have a point at which debate can really begin.

    • Guy M
      March 18, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Linux distros and Apple beat Microsoft’s homepage uptime shows some stats on up time and speed of service for various OSs being used as web servers.
      In this case, only 3 Linux distros had worse up time and worse load times than Windows.

    • James E
      March 18, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Sorry Alex, I am both a Mac and Windows user. Started out on MSDOS systems. Yes Macs experience errors but nothing compare to when Windows has a big boo boo. And patching? OMG I dread patch day for Windows - it is such a pain. Macs have a patch now and again but it is nothing like Windows.

    • Bruce E
      March 18, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      @Guy, the link to the homepage uptime results is not necessarily looking at the results of the OS, but just their homepage no matter what it is running on. The OS for Microsoft shows up as Citrix Netscaler (which does make sense) and their servers are running IIS 8.0 so they are running Windows Server behind the scenes. Fedora is using RedHat/Apache and DSL is using Fedora/Apache. Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, Debian and Gentoo are using their own OS and Apache. CentOS previously used CentOS/nginx but is now showing up as a generic Linux/nginx setup along with Mepis. OpenSUSE is using SUSE (the enterprise version from Novell) and Apache. Linux Mint is using Debian (Lenny)/Apache. The remainder (including Apple) are showing just a generic Linux/Apache configuration although Mandriva has previously shown up as using Mandriva and Knoppix has previously used Debian. So the results of the survey you linked above are not showing a comparison between the operating systems themselves but a comparison of the site availability and HTML transfer times of their homepage to the end user.

    • Rajaa C
      March 19, 2014 at 1:39 am

      @ Guy M

      The three points you made

      Make Windows Work : Practically irrelevant point since Windows 7 days
      Make Windows Lean : Can be only possible if using same strategy as Apple or Google to have their OS ported in limited hardware as per their own specs. Then, the fun goes away. Rather teel Apple and Google to start supporting all the varied hardware platforms and peripherals Windows support and see what happens.
      Make Windows Open : We are hearing the rumor on Win8.1 with Bing, aren't we?

      Let's realize, nothing in the world will be perfect as then the opportunity for further progression ceases. I would also Ideally like the iPAD and the iMAC/MacBook having the same OS and Store as so Do Android Tablets and ChromeBooks. Microsoft do have that with Win8.1 Tablets and Desktop/Laptops, ain't they? But I am not complaining against Apple and Google for what they have, because it simply is working for them. :) Cheers!!!

    • Rajaa C
      March 19, 2014 at 1:46 am

      Also the picture looks decent for Apple and Google, as long as we are discussing personal work-space. If we bring Servers into the picture, ruled mostly by Windows Server and Linux (niche players other UNIX flavors), I would feel any-day more comfortable with a Windows based client than MAC or a Chromebook. Also everything becoming cloud it still maybe at-least a decade away, so Chromebook can pant till that time, as long as in-premise application will remain, very difficult to take away windows clients place. Even with HTML 5 transition, remember windows is also geared up and ready for it. :)