Conflicting experiences with Windows 8 in business environments

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Core, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. Core

    Core coffee & gigabytes Moderator

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    I've been reached out to by a fourth small business to do a small job for them. They want their Windows 8 machines' operating systems replaced with Windows 7. These guys keep trickling in through word of mouth. They come to me with their machines and a retail Windows 7 copy, and I back up the data, wipe the HDD, and install 7, software, drivers, old data.

    They just want to get rid of the Modern UI, and they're willing to pay. In one case, a Windows 8 update had corrupted the BIOS and once the OEM replaced the BIOS chip they brought the machine to me to get rid of 8 because they "didn't trust it" anymore. I got two calls just last week asking if it's still possible to buy workstations with Windows 7 pre-installed instead of 8.

    I'll be honest with you: I don't care what they use. If they want to pay me to help them spend even more money on their IT, I'm fine with it. However, I do find this trend disturbing. I'd like to see Microsoft continue to succeed in the small business sector because it's healthy for IT in general, and because their business solutions have traditionally been strong. Although I am personally moving my own devices to iOS and OSX, I use Office 365 because I find it to be an unparalleled service.

    But I have to agree that there is something exceptionally jarring about the Modern UI. I know it is a cliché now to even speak ill of it. I also know there are third party tools that can be used to make the desktop experience smoother. But I'm not a fan of these MacGyver solutions in a business environment. I don't want to be the guy who installs this crap on their systems out of the goodness of his heart and then gets a phone call anytime there's a problem with it.

    I don't know how much of the issue with these businesses lies in the Modern UI truly being less accommodating to use, and how much of it is related to the lack of dedicated IT personnel (which means the end users or managers provide themselves with IT support, resulting in more confusion).

    My brother owns four stores, each with a front and back office, and with VPN connections. The sales workstations typically run 2 or 3 persistent applications on-screen with their windows resized, launching additional applications and batch files as needed from the Start menu. A lot of documents are saved on the desktop which is accessed through the Show Desktop feature. The workflow goes to hell with the introduction of the Modern UI. The applications vanish from view when you need to launch a new application or run a batch; one minute you see all your data, the next you're in Tileworld. There is no Show Desktop. Furthermore, when you use a VNC client, the server's Modern UI-based interface is a complete bitch to navigate, trying to hit those screen corners just right, especially in a client window that is considerably smaller than the server's resolution.

    This is a business that isn't going to have touchscreen monitors. They sell automotive parts, and the oil stained keyboards tell me exactly how well touchscreen monitors would work for their desktops. There are no ways in which their productivity is enhanced through the new UI in Windows 8. I think most problems could be worked through by changing how they work, but why should they have to? I don't understand why Microsoft is force-feeding this UI for the business environment at this point.
     
    Core, Oct 24, 2013
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  2. Core

    themarting

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    Have you considered upgrading something to 8.1 and tweaking some of those setting? Supposedly, the issues with the "charms", desktop and start menu have been addressed, and it is much easier to use (again supposedly). Maybe you should run 8.1 for a bit and if you fell its a good fit you can start recommending it to your customers.
     
    themarting, Oct 24, 2013
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  3. Core

    Core coffee & gigabytes Moderator

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    8.1 doesn't fix the issue in this case, because it still features the Start Screen. This isn't so much a case of something not working as it is a case of things not working the same as before. Workflows that operated exactly the same way regardless of whether you ran XP, Vista, or 7 don't operate the same anymore (to paint the issue in one broad stroke).

    It's not a matter of the Windows 8 UI "sucking", it's just that what works great and is enticing for consumer desktops isn't necessarily best for business end users. The people that come to me with these issues don't want live tiles, because those things are distractions and interruptions to their workflows. What I don't understand is simply why Microsoft seem to be overlooking the business spectrum of their customer base by trying to force-feed them a consumer desktop experience.
     
    Core, Oct 24, 2013
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  4. Core

    davehc

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    I promised myself, and posted, into an earlier thread, that I would not enter threads on this subject. They have become boring and repetitious.
    I cannot, however hard I try, understand the stress over the Modern screen and start button. Microsoft are not "forcing" users into anything. They have produced a two hatted system, which can comfortably be used on the legacy desktop, and/or a touchpad/tablet.
    They were anxious to move forward into the more lucrative portable market and, so, rather unfortunately gave the touchscreen the priority, on boot up.
    I was fortunate to be one of the early testers of windows 8. I installed it , without advice. On initial boot, I wss presented with the Modern screen. In my case, I instinctively looked around it, clicked a couple of things, and could hardly help seeing a large icon labelled "DESKTOP". That looked good. I went in that direction and installed all of my previous Windows 7 software. By browsing, I found several ways to circumvent, and even bypass, the Modern screen. This left me in a situation where I never say the Modern screen, in my daily work.
    Eventually I succumbed to temptation and employed the Modern as my start menu, having by then learned how to sort the items out. Windows 8.1 has improved on that aspect, by giving an option to bypass the Modern, and remove the active corners, automatically.
    FWIW. I cannot see how an update could have corrupted the bios to the extent that the chip needed changing. MBR possibly. Bu even there, perhaps the user had, himself, baulked an attempt to alter the uefi.

    At this moment I am on the desktop, as are a couple of my grandchildren.They are aged 7 and 12. None of us are having difficulty staying with the legacy desktop. We all, as a preference, prefer to use desktop software, as our experience to date (or mine, rather) is that many of the Apps are glitchy.
    Life has been made simpler by the use of Modern mix, so that, even when using the occasional App, we are still able to have them automatically on the desktop and sized to our preference.
     
    davehc, Oct 25, 2013
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    Trouble likes this.
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