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Friday, May 31, 2013

The Start button returns for Windows 8.1… sort of

Posted by David Bernstein

One of the biggest complaints about Windows 8 for PC users is the missing Start button which would have taken you to the Start menu if that existed as well. Since Windows 8 is meant for PCs, smartphones and tablets, Microsoft wanted to make the operating system the same across all platforms. But if you don’t have a touchscreen the new Windows 8 Start screen can be frustrating to say the least. It seems as though Microsoft has been listening to the complaints at least somewhat and plan on bringing back the Start button in Windows 8.1 as well as adding some other useful features.

But don’t get too excited because this Start button is not going to be like the Start button you are used to. It will be called the Start Tip and clicking on it will only take you the Start Screen interface and not to a Start menu like you are used to in other versions of Windows. So it’s hard to say if there is really a point to the Start Tip (button) or if it’s just a way to try and get more Windows 7 users to “upgrade”. There may also be a feature that will allow you to boot up to the desktop rather than the Start screen which will be nice for many people.

Other features will include the ability to display two apps on your device screen at once, re-sizable tiles, improved apps, the ability to put 2 apps side by side with Snap, and a way to get to all your device settings from one place rather than multiple locations. Windows 8.1 is going to be a free upgrade for Windows 8 users so don’t worry about having to pay for Windows again just to get the new features.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Windows 8 users not using their apps

Posted by David Bernstein

 If you are familiar with Windows 8 you know it’s meant to merge the tablet, smartphone and desktop Windows OS into one that can be used for everything. But if you are a PC user that is used to a mouse and keyboard then this may not be what you are looking for.

Windows 8 has the new “Metro” interface which is better suited for devices with touch screens rather than mice and a new study is showing that PC users without touchscreens don’t seem to use the new Windows 8 apps that are installed on their computer. Research company Soluto found that of the 10,848 Windows 8 devices studied, most of the traditional desktop and laptop users didn’t use a Windows 8 app on a daily basis. This even applied to users that have a device with a touchscreen.

Even many tablet users don’t use one of the new apps daily (56% do). Tablet users open modern apps almost twice as often as desktop users, and people who have touchscreen laptops use modern apps 47% more often than non-touchscreen users. And out of the 10 most used apps, 9 of them are Microsoft apps. This may be because there are not nearly as many third party apps for Windows 8 as there are for Android and Apple. But with more touchscreen laptops hitting the market and the popularity of the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet growing this may change.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Enterprises upgrading to Windows 7 rather than Windows 8

Posted by Jim Bernstein

 For most home PC users, upgrading to the latest version of Windows is pretty straightforward and easy, assuming you can afford to! But for companies that have a large number of Windows workstations in use, upgrading your computers can be a huge (and expensive) process and therefore doesn’t happen as often as with home users.

Many companies are just now moving off of Windows XP after many years of satisfaction with the 12 year old operating system.  In fact, Windows XP will not be supported after April 8, 2014. Most companies were wise enough to stay away from Windows Vista when it came out but are now realizing its time to upgrade. Microsoft is having trouble getting home users to switch to Windows 8 and it seems the same thing is happening with corporate users.

Forrester Research released a report saying that Windows 7 is used in around 50% of all enterprise installations even though Windows 8 has been out for some time now and has a business or enterprise version of the OS. This is especially true for companies that are finally upgrading from Windows XP. Of the 273 IT professionals who are going to be upgrading from Windows XP, only 2% said they were going with Windows 8 compared to 69% who said that they were going with Windows 7 instead.

The main reasons that corporations are going with Windows 7 over Windows 8 is that Windows 7 is closer to XP and will take less getting used to an require less training on. Also, Windows 7 has been around since 2009 and has proven itself to be a stable operating system. And for companies who do in house development, Windows 7 works better when it comes to compatibility.