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June 12, 2013

Migrating to Windows 8

Kevin E. Dayhoff

My latest experience with Microsoft has left me with the technological equivalent of post-traumatic stress disorder. In the last six-months I have migrated light years from the Microsoft Windows XP operating system to Windows 8. It was not easy.


I’m told the twitching and the nightmares will stop with the passage of time and copious amounts of coffee. When I finally pulled the plug on my old laptop for the last time, I had this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach as if I had just taken a loved-one off of life support.


That feeling was quickly replaced by the sheer terror of dealing with an improved computer system in which I could no longer easily perform so many of the functions I had executed effortlessly in the previous, now obsolete, system.


The Microsoft Windows operating systems have been a major force in the modern-era of technology and personal computing. The roots of the software system date back to 1981, although the first version, Windows 1.0 was not available for consumer use until late in 1985.


One of the most popular and widely used systems in history has been the Windows XP system, which was introduced in August 2001, and dominated the market until Windows 7 (released in 2009,) overtook it in August 2012. Windows 8 was released in October 2012.


According to multiple media accounts, “it is reported that when you play the Microsoft operating system installation CD backwards you can hear satanic voices ... but that's nothing. If you play it forward it will install Windows 8…”


It was hard enough to go from Windows XP to Windows 7 – and then on to Windows 8. At least I was smart enough to bypass Windows Vista. But to be sure to do the upgrade the hardest way possible, in addition to upgrading the operating system, I also concurrently migrated from Microsoft Office 2003 to Office 2010 and then 2013.


This additional challenge has left me with a noticeable tremor and an aversion to bright lights and abrupt loud noises.


It’s been eight years since I did a successful technology upgrade in my home office. In the last two years I slowly but surely realized that I could no longer get any additional life out of my Windows XP system, or my eight-year old laptop.


I say “successful” upgrade because when I realized in January 2011 that sticking with my old laptop was not a sustainable office management approach, I decided at a weak moment to upgrade to a MacBook Pro laptop.


I have so many family and friends that swear by Apple products. I now swear at them. The one thing that I did not take into consideration when I attempted to switch from a PC user to a Mac, is that these very same family and friends are a lot smarter than I am. I was a total and complete failure at moving to a Mac.


That said, getting adjusted to Windows 8 has been horribly difficult. I steeled myself for the task by coordinating it for a time period in which my technology consultant was available to give me some extra time – and when I would have the opportunity to spend a week with my ever-suffering and patient wife and two nephews. All are arguably technological geniuses and very kind with older family members.


Since the new Windows 8 operating system is a crossover between the PC and the mobile device, it utilizes a touch-screen functionality, not unlike that of the iPad or a smart phone.


So, my other secret weapon in the upgrade transition has been to repeatedly smash my forehead on to the computer screen and then curl-up in a fetal position on the floor and moan loudly that I want my electric typewriter back.


When shopping for a laptop or desktop PC, you have a choice of either the Mac – iOS operating system or Microsoft Windows. For mobile devices, the choices are different and more complicated because another system, the Google Android operating system, comes into play.


The Guardian noted in its Apps Blog, on June 6, in the post-PC, mobile computing era, “The iOS v Android debate is polarized and often bad-tempered…”


Over the years it anecdotally appears that Apple-Mac and Google Android upgrades have consistently been profoundly smoother and less stressful than Microsoft’s.


This is odd since much of Microsoft’s basic business model is to upgrade its software regularly and require its customers to pay a premium price for the newer product.


However, Microsoft’s software upgrades have developed a reputation for being terribly difficult to the point that the market has pushed-back aggressively and when it comes to the new frontier of mobile platforms, such as tablets or smartphones, Microsoft has fared quite (deservedly) poorly.


But for those of us who keyboard for a living, going to a tablet mobile device is simply not a valid option.


An article last Saturday in Redmond Magazine observed: “A survey of Redmond readers suggests a long road ahead for Windows 8 and the cloud – but also reveals that tablets aren't poised to replace PCs in the workplace…”


Moreover, the article said: “Perhaps nothing suggests Microsoft's missteps more than letting Apple beat it to the punch, first with the iPhone and then the iPad – which has come to define the so-called ‘post-PC world.’ Tens of millions of iPad devices have shipped since their April 2010 debut. But it took Microsoft two and a half years to deliver an alternative in the form of Windows 8 … which – six months later – has yet to light the world on fire…”


I have written in the past that if Microsoft made televisions, we’d still be listening to the radio.


. . . . .I’m just saying…


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