Microsoft revealed a new version of Windows this week, with the stink from Windows 8 so pervasive and deadly that it decided to skip Windows 9 altogether and call its next desktop OS Windows 10.
Windows 8 was a tech disaster. There’s an exclusion zone still in place around the number.
The good news is that Windows 10 looks and works more like the old versions of Windows on a PC. So now we can spend less time on the phone to parents, grandparents, aunts and anyone else for whom we operate as free 24/7 IT support, telling them why everything’s suddenly different and why there’s a whole new screen of different apps. Because it won’t be different any more.
And that’s great, because Windows needs to be the same. It’s the bricks and mortar of the computer world. It’s something to fill the space on the screen behind the internet. All it needs to be is a wallpaper and a list of your stuff.
A small group of angry people may care what the start menu looks like, but for most users the good news is Windows is going to continue being made and will have icons to make things open so they won’t have to access iPlayer via command prompts.
So dad can print forms
Like that U2 album Apple was happy about buying and giving away to everyone, these changes are aimed at the dad market we are not part of; the confused group of people who like to know they have one of the new things, but don’t want to put in the effort of learning how to use the stuff that’s actually new.
The average user of Windows 10 probably won’t even realise there wasn’t a Windows 9, they’ll just assume there was and they didn’t notice. Or assume they were using it all along.
There are plenty of people still nursing a copy of Windows XP on a struggling old machine with less RAM than a smartwatch. The fact that Windows 10 is going to be more like the old ones is the dream of anyone who’s delayed upgrading because they heard getting Windows 8 is worse for productivity than losing your mouse hand in an office paper shredding accident.
For most people, a new Windows is what comes with a new PC, not some sort of expressive lifestyle choice. You get what you’re given and learn to put up with it in Windows world; a metaphor for life itself.
After all, what other choice is there in desktop space for the cost-conscious buyer once you’ve eliminated the costly Macs from the equation?
Don’t say Linux. You really don’t want to have to troubleshoot your dad’s self-install of Debian over the phone or on Christmas Eve.
The more things change….
Imagine how much of a pain it’d be if Windows changed its looks and layouts as often as Android. We’d forever be telling grandma how to find her carefully curated Cliff Richard bootleg playlists in the new layout and music app design.
Windows users ought to be glad there’s at least some level of consistency to what they get. Most of the stuff is always roughly where it used to be and still works with a mouse.
Microsoft may be pandering to the Luddites by reverting to the way things used to be done in the new-ish Windows 10, but look what happens when it tries to change things. People go berserk and start burning perfectly valid license agreements in the street.
- Is the new OS any good? Read our hands on Windows 10 review to find out