In 2009, Microsoft released Windows 7, the replacement OS for the vastly popular but increasingly outdated Windows XP. It was expected that the user base would quickly switch to the new OS, but the change was somewhat slow, despite the assurance that Win 7 would run nearly any app that worked on customer’s old XP systems and the fact that people who purchased new systems equipped with Windows 7 were by and large happy with their out of the box OS.
It’s not that Win 7 wasn’t any better than XP. There were, in fact, a number of improvements in performance, user interface, hardware and software support and overall security over the old XP workhorse. Still, the market remained stuck on XP.
The Vista Syndrome:
One explanation for the failure to jump on the new and improved is that they had been offered new and improved before, and it didn’t work out well.
In the past, other Windows versions, most notably Vista and Windows ME, were launched with laud fanfare and many promises which ultimately fell far short of the hype that preceded their arrival.
To be fair, some of the hatred spewed towards Vista was due to the public’s reluctance to change, as well as a negative reaction to what would turn out to be a beneficial upgrade. The Windows User Account Control (UAC) ‘Feature’ was listed at or near the top of many complaint lists by people who just wanted to turn on their PC and get to work (or play) without a lot of fuss. What they did not realize at the time was that their old reliable XP machine was becoming a magnet for Malware, something that the UAC was designed to combat. It would take some time before this message would make it through to the XP user base, and for many, it was never well received.
Among the more valid and documented complaints for Vista revolved around performance, with users citations including:
- Memory Usage: Windows Vista was a notable memory hog, a big problem with resource hungry gaming and video applications growing in popularity. No one wants an OS that fights them for memory all day.
- Hard Disc Access: The changes to the file management systems in Vista caused nearly constant hard disc access which was also a big drain on system resources.
- Driver Issues: The drivers available for Vista in the early days were buggy when they were available.
- XP was Still a Pretty Good OS: This problem remains as many XP users are happy with an OS that works well with their current hardware.
It took a global halt for support of XP to make people make the change to Windows 7, and by that time Windows 8 was on the market, but that’s a topic for a different blog.
If it Ain’t Broke, don’t Fix It
Despite XP support being dropped more than a year ago, thousands upon thousands of XP users are holding their ground and nursing their antique iron along, reluctant to make a change from something that seems fine them.
But XP is ‘broke’. Not that it’s a bad OS, but it is losing ground. It can no longer address the security and hardware issues that are a part of the modern Computing environment. Advances in hardware, anti-virus support and other issues will not work properly in XP anymore. The people developing new hardware and aps are not willing to maintain XP support even if it is possible to do so. The market just isn’t there.
Better 7 than 8:
For most XP users, making the switch from XP to Windows 8 was traumatic and unsatisfactory. Most found Windows 7 to have a more familiar interface and thus were better able to make the jump when push finally came to shove.
Moving on up to Windows 10:
Windows 7 has gained a fan base which, while not as extensive as the XP brigade, has generated equal levels of loyalty, and while Windows 10 has not produced the same levels of bad press as Vista or ME, the urge to resist upgrading remains.