If Microsoft is Going to Listen, then it Needs to Listen

I need what I need, and not a token bone thrown at me. I’m just sayin’…

The interwebs have been agog lately with a number of different rumors and “confirmations” that Microsoft has heard the wailing and cries of its people. It’s said that the release of Windows 8.1 – or Windows Blue as its been code named – will bring back the Start button to the Windows 8 interface.  Unfortunately, a new undercurrent has been heard recently as well: The Start Button is going to do what it did in the Windows 8 Developer Preview – Bring up the Windows 8 Start Screen and not a Windows 7 Styled Start Menu.

My friend Preston Gralla sites a story from The Verge in his analysis.  He says that it its “true, it would be a [major] misstep for Microsoft.”

I agree, but it wouldn’t be the first time that MS thought it knew better than its customers.

startbuttonGralla says that, “Microsoft [appears] to have a death wish” when it comes to Windows 8. Users have been asking for a return of the Windows 7 Start Menu. No one is asking for a Start Button that gets users to the Windows 8 Start Screen. Users that want a quick way to get to the Start Screen can swipe in from the right edge of the screen, hit the Windows Key on a Windows compatible keyboard or hover the mouse over the lower left corner until a thumbnail of the Start Screen appears and then click on it.  Putting the Start Button back just to get the user to the Start Screen is silly.  We don’t want the Start screen.

We want the Windows 7 Start Menu.

The Windows 7 Start menu was simple. It was easy to use.  More importantly, its search results were much more accurate than its Windows 8 counterpart; at least that’s the current perception from most users.  Windows 8 Start Screen search results display data differently than displayed on the Windows 7 Start Menu; and the results sort and display is also confusing users.

Unfortunately, especially on a non-touch enabled PC, the Start Screen isn’t what users want. Windows 8.1 will likely give users the ability to boot directly to their Desktop instead of the Start Screen, which is something that users DO want.  However, giving users a Start Button that doesn’t do what users want it to do is confusing and, well, rude. If Microsoft is going to listen to its Windows 8 critics and change the way the OS works, then it needs to listen.

If The Verge’s report is accurate, Microsoft’s solution seems half-backed and empty.  Windows XP and its Start menu have been around since 2000. It’s over 13 years old. Changing that type of use behavior in the enterprise is NOT reasonable; and I honestly think Microsoft is going to miss the boat again if it doesn’t open both ears and listen to what users want from it.

 

 

 

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Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 will be pushed through Windows Update

Windows_update_iconFor the ones that still use Windows 7 on their PC’s, Microsoft decided is time to update their version of operating system with Service Pack 1. You may already have noticed that this pack has been released back in 9 February 2011, but this time Microsoft wants to automatically push the update for all users of Windows 7 through the Windows Update platform. While in the past the update was optional and had to be downloaded manually, from now on the system will automatically download and install it.

As bad as it may sound, actually this decision from Microsoft is a good one. That’s because SP1 contains a collection of security updates for your computer. In case you haven’t installed it yet, now you have to, in order to make your PC much safer than before.

Starting today, the installation will be available for all users that have the Automatic Update enabled. The update will be released gradually over the coming weeks to all customers except the ones from IT services. Any PC managed by Systems Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) or WSUS Server will not receive the update automatically. It has to be rolled out manually.

This move started by Microsoft, is a predicted one, as from April 9, Windows 7 without SP1 will not be supported anymore. In conclusion this step forward is imminent for the home and business users. It is an effort to get everybody on the right path and create a much more secure environment.

download Windows 7 with SP1

download only SP1

 

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Internet Explorer 10 Release Preview available for Windows 7

A week ago Microsoft released Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 users. While still not in its final version, the browser is served as a Release Preview in 32 bit and 64 bit form.

Initially Microsoft released Internet Explorer 10 only for Windows 8 as part of it. Being directly integrated into the system, many users have questioned Microsoft’s decision not to make the 10th version of the browser also available for Windows 7 a year ago. As a consequence to this, it was imminent the Windows 7 version to be available in this period of the year.

At a first look, the Release Preview of Internet Explorer 10 is nearly identical to the version of the browser integrated into the Windows 8. The only core difference is that Adobe Flash is not integrated into the Windows 7 / Windows Server 2012 version like it is in the Windows 8 version. The reason of having a built-in version of Adobe Flash into Windows 8 version of IE 10 is that the browser does not support browser plugins.

In case you want to try out the browser in Windows 7, you should know that the installation of Internet Explorer 10 Preview will replace the current version of the browser on the system. A restart will be required to complete the installation. If you are not satisfied with its functionality, you can uninstall it from the Updates panel of your operating system.

download Internet Explorer 10 Release Preview

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One year of Windows 7 Service Pack 1

It’s a long established practice that Microsoft have continued – releasing critical updates, security add-ons and new features to their operating systems through a series of additional ‘packs’. The latest operating system is no exception, with Windows 7 Service Pack 1 being released in February 2011.

Twelve months since the launch, Service Pack 1 (SP1) has met with mixed reception. The pack includes the standard security coding patches and improvements, which affect very little of the user end experience – in contrast to, say, the Windows XP Service Pack 2, which introduced a series of new facilities and functions that dramatically changed how you interacted with your computer.

While most users found that there were no issues installing this latest SP1, some running ‘mature’ copies of the system found initial difficulties with compatibility of third-party software. This is nothing new and tends to affect all service pack roll-outs. As a result, many experienced users decided to sit tight and hold off, allowing other PC consumers to be the guinea pigs.

The biggest criticism to be leveled at SP1 is that it does little to improve the experience of using your PC. Yes, there may be a host of back-end coding adaptations that further bolster the security of your machine, but these aren’t particularly exciting for day-to-day users.

read full review | download Windows 7 SP1

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