Even Windows 8 early adopters prefer Windows 7 by two to one

A survey finds that even hard-core Windows 8 fans prefer Windows 7 by a two to one margin.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor


Even Windows 8 fans prefer Windows 7 by a two-to-one margin.

Forumswindows8.com, the self-proclaimed largest Windows 8 help and support forum on the Internet, is filled with posts on such subjects as how to try to terminate a process in the Windows 8 task manager when access is denied and the state of Winodws 8 HP printer drivers. These hard-core Windows 8 early adopters group recently polled their users. And, 50,000 votes later, they found that their memberships' favorite Windows operating system was overwhemling Windows 7.

The breakdown for favorite version of Windows, from top to bottom, was Windows 7: 53%; Windows 8: 25%, XP: 20% and Other: 2%. Research house Gartner wouldn't argue. In a Webinar, Gartner analysts Steve Kleynhans and Michael Silver argue that if your company is still using XP you want to upgrade to Windows 7 and not be distracted by Windows 8.

Kleynhans said, "Get Windows 7 done, and then you can start to experiment and dabble with Windows 8, but don't let Windows 8 derail your Windows 7 upgrade project." He continued, “"We really don't think Windows 8 will get significant traction as a PC OS in a corporate environment." Gartner's clients are certainly following that course. Those who plan on upgrading are are moving to Windows 7 and plan to skip Windows 8 for PCs entirely.

According to Kleynhans, “Windows 8 will get 20% to 25% of the corporate user base, at most, before it's replaced with whatever comes next.” In short Windows 8 adoption "will look more like Vista, [and] it won't have the installed base that we've seen with Windows 7 or XP." Why? Because Windows 8 is a “plumbing" upgrade. This is an upgrade that drastically changes the technology without adding significant improvements. In particular, he thinks most users and IT departments will find the interface formerly known as Metro to be too different to find favor and Windows 8's use of two different interfaces to be too confusing for most users.

That's not what the Windows 8 forum survey found though. Their list of weaknesses in Windows 8 started with price: 35% followed by system requirements: 26%; incompatibility 25%; Windows freezes 20%; and only then does the interface show up with 18%.. A close reading of the forum's messages find that their members really do feel that Windows 8 will be over-priced and they're finding lots of hardware driver and software incompatibility problems.

These results aren't surprising. These are users who've already committed to Windows 8. From the start, they've accepted that Metro is not going to be anything like the Windows 7 Aero interface. Gartner's users have no such commitment.

That said, the Windows 8 fans don't love the Metro user interface either. In their ranking of favorite Windows 8 features, Metro came in the lower-end of the pack. In order, their top favorite features were: Fast boot and shutdown, 55%; Easy installation, 50%; Internet Explorer 10, 35%; Restart/Restore capabilities, 28%; Built-in application integration, 26%; Windows Explorer, 25%; App Store, 23%; and then Metro at 22%.

Forumswindows8.com also asked their membership which mobile operating system they'd rather buy. The winner? Android with 42%, followed by Windows Phone 8, 29% and iPhone, 22%. This does not bode well for Microsoft making any progress in the smartphone market.

On the other hand, Microsoft did at least have the support of this Windows 8 fan group when it came to tablets. 35% of them would rather have a Microsoft Surface than an Android tablet, 33%, or the hated Apple rival iPad with 26%.

Windows 8 will arrive for the general public on October 25th. As I predicted before, and I'll predict again, Windows 8 is going to be dead on arrival. Leave aside Gartner's predictions, if even people who are passionate about Windows 8 prefer Windows 7 by two to one, well, what more need be said?

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