Dear Mr. Ballmer, please recall Windows 8

Recently I purchased a laptop for my son. He needed a computer for school and the one he had was so old and slow that he was resigned to using my wife’s four year old netbook instead, which was also a little past its prime. He needed something portable for use around the home but wasn’t prohibitive in cost. Fortunately, there are laptops available that don’t cost an arm and a leg but are powerful enough for general use. So, I went shopping for laptops.

Most of the notebook computers we looked at were quite adequate for its intended use, and several were priced within my budget. There was just one problem. They were running Windows 8.

Now, I’ve been a Windows user since the days of Windows 3.1, and before that I worked in DOS. I wouldn’t call myself a Microsoft fanboy by any stretch of the imagination and if you’ve been listening to The Force Field Podcast for any length of time you already know it. I’ve used other operating systems including Linux and I own an iPad, which I really like and have come to rely on for a number of applications. However, I am most comfortable on a Windows machine and am particularly fond of Windows XP and Windows 7. This is what makes what I am about to say all the more painful.

I don’t like Windows 8. I don’t like it at all. I won’t go into all the reasons here, because they have already been expressed by a multitude of other Windows users who are of like mind and for all of those reasons collectively. I am just one more Windows user who has made it official: Windows 8 is a terrible operating system. It’s even worse than Windows Vista, which was previously considered the worst operating system since Windows Millenium, or Windows ME.

About five years ago I attended a Microsoft Partner event held at their Charlotte, NC campus. At the time, Vista had recently been released to market, and the Microsoft execs were eager (or should I say, somewhat desperate) to generate some real support for it from partners, because for the most part, there wasn’t any. They even gave away a copy or two in a drawing during the event, and somehow I wound up winning a full retail copy of Windows Vista For Business. Where is it now? Still sitting on the shelf behind me, still sealed in its original package, gathering dust. I disliked working with Vista so much on my customers’ computers that I never installed it on my own PC. I never even cracked open the plastic case.

Since then I have had an opportunity to check out Windows 8. It didn’t take long for me to form a new opinion of Vista: It is now only the second worst OS. In my humble opinion, Windows 8 is the worst operating system ever.

My son is no stranger to Windows. He has been around computers since he was old enough to walk. He spent his pre-school years in my computer store all day, often sitting at one of the demo PCs at the front of the shop. Customers would walk in while he played his games and watch him operate one of my branded, custom-built computers while marveling at the idea that such a young child could figure out how to operate a device that they themselves struggled with. Needless to say, my son helped me sell a few computers.

Since the new laptop was intended for my son, I thought it was only fair to let him decide which operating system he wanted to use. So, when shopping around, I took him along and asked him to try it out on the demo units in the stores. It didn’t take him long to conclude that he didn’t want one with Windows 8.

I had to hunt around for a laptop with Windows 7. Unfortunately, that was a difficult order to fulfill, thanks to Microsoft, who demanded PC makers pre-install all their new computers with Windows 8 and refused to allow customers to downgrade to 7. Essentially, Microsoft is forcing customers to buy Windows 8 instead of giving them a choice, something I resent. After searching around, I considered purchasing a Chrome based tablet for my son instead, but I realized that if I did so, most of the Windows-based software he already had would be useless.

He did get his laptop. When we drove down to Orlando at the end of the year, I found a Windows 7 notebook in stock at CompUSA (TigerDirect) and snapped it up right away. Now he’s happy, I’m happy and all is well. No thanks to Microsoft.

Now I need to upgrade my production PC. I need to be able to just build it, turn it on and start working on it. I have neither the time nor the patience to re-learn the operating system. I know Windows, and I like Windows 7. There is no learning curve and no lost productivity due to re-training. The operating system shouldn’t be the focus of my attention while at the computer. I should be focused solely on my work, because that is why I am sitting in front of the computer.

My attention should be on what I am creating on the computer, not on the operating system. The purpose of the OS is supposed to be the platform from which I can work, not the work itself. It is supposed to be somewhat transparent in that sense. Windows is not, and should not be, the reason I own a computer.

The Windows team at Microsoft, and Steve Ballmer himself, seem to be trying to make Windows the centerpiece of the computer instead of what it should be, just the platform from which to operate it. They seem to have completely lost touch with the original purpose of the operating system and all the reasons why Windows has been most popular OS in the world for over twenty years.

Windows 8 is a mistake, and everyone seems to realize this except Microsoft. The CEO is telling the world that users “get” and “like” this convoluted code while blogs are bashing it, Twitterers are tearing it down and the company’s stock is taking a dive. Windows 8 is a huge fail and Ballmer should acknowledge that obvious fact. He should admit it and back it up by doing the right thing: Either allow users to downgrade their new PCs to Windows 7 or simply recall Windows 8. Based on what has come from Redmond already, it is doubtful Ballmer and company will ever rescind their previous mandate demanding users have this horrible piece of junk shoved down their throats (for a premium price, I might add), so the only other choice is to issue a recall. Since they have yet to do it on their own, I formally demand one now.

Dear Steve Ballmer,

 

I find Windows 8 to be the worst operating system ever, and I formally request you recall it immediately. If you do not do so, and if I am not offered a choice to purchase a new computer with Windows 7 by this spring, my next computer may be running OS X.

 

Sincerely, A former Microsoft Partner.

9 Responses to “Dear Mr. Ballmer, please recall Windows 8”

  • Mia:

    The Force Field
    Hello! I’ve been following your site for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you
    a shout out from New Caney Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the excellent work!

  • Jacqueline:

    Dear Mr. Ballmer, please recall Windows 8
    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed
    browsing your blog posts.

  • ÿ:

    People Complain About Anything
    People are mad because change is not easy for older generations. They don’t want to learn anything new. They want everything to stay the same. So recall is too far. Its the same 7 OS with some improvements and no start button. It isn’t the end of the world either. I have had no issues switching other than learning how the system was configured and what the default settings are compared to Win7.

    [quote name=”parafe”]Why is everyone so upset about Windows 8? Don’t get me wrong, at first I did not like Modern UI at all because I relied so heavily on the start menu (classic menu option via Classic Shell on Win7). So yeah, I get the initial frustration when you’re confronted with a new UI.

    [/quote]

  • Janogo:

    RE: Dear Mr. Ballmer, please recall Windows 8
    At least one school in our area has told their students that they are not allowed to use Windows 8 laptops at their school as they are not suitable.

  • President
    Working with Windows 8 I have come to the same conclusion. It is a disaster for the desktop and in a business environment. Trying to figure it out is time consuming and all over the place. Half the time the “charms” bar won’t even show up. You have to keep hitting the right side of the monitor with the mouse and if it does show up the first time consider yourself lucky. I am now downloading the classic shell install to help my customers have the look and feel of good ole Windows 7. The best OS ever made in my opinion. I wont sell or install 8 unless the customer wants it and then I give them the “no guarantee” and “no support” with the sale.

  • parafe:

    Really?
    Why is everyone so upset about Windows 8? Don’t get me wrong, at first I did not like Modern UI at all because I relied so heavily on the start menu (classic menu option via Classic Shell on Win7). So yeah, I get the initial frustration when you’re confronted with a new UI.

    As I’d been sysprepping and customizing Win8 images I got accustomed to Modern UI and began to see its uses. After a while, I started really liking it. Now, I don’t even install Classic Shell. All I do is go to “Apps” (all apps) screen and pin the programs I want to the Start Screen, and then use the Windows button (good keyboards have 2, left and right) so all I do is click Win button and then click program with mouse, it’s so fast! Plus it’s a nice interface, much better than classic start menu. If MS had given a start button for the Start Screen, and given the option to get straight into desktop, I think people would have not complained like this. But recall? No… that is going too far. Come on now.

  • arctictech:

    RE: Dear Mr. Ballmer, please recall Windows 8
    Rick I have to agree with you on this. Like Parrish and you I have been at this game since 3.1.
    I missed out on Windows ME because I was concentrating on NT. Vista wasnt terrible but it needed improvement. Win 8 just plain sucks on a desktop or laptop. Win 8 is NOT for the enterprise environment at all. 17 years at this and I have to say I am happy to be stocking up on Win 7 keys so I can downgrade all those Win 8 people.

    In short, Microsoft you screwed the pooch with Windows 8.

    History has shown us with Window OS’s, that every other release has been a winner, so that means Windows 9 will be a success.

  • bfarmer:

    RE: Dear Mr. Ballmer, please recall Windows 8
    I agree. Recently I had the misfortune to try to downgrade a Windows 8 PC. Even though MS shows a downgrade path to Windows 7 OEM, My experience was that HP (who refuses to release drivers, even though they have drivers for the same hardware available for other models) and MS’s activation support personnel to be a complete hindrance to downgrading. Indeed, the support person at MS told me first that it wasn’t allowed until I showed him on Microsoft’s downgrade rights web site, then he said if I downgraded, the computer would crash. I assured him it would not, since I already had it running Windows 7.

    I will neither buy, sell nor support Windows 8, and will steer customers toward Mac or Linux. It should be an easy sell. I’ll just install Windows 8 on a laptop and let them try it. That should be enough to sour them on Windows forever.

    If the goal is to lose market share, you are doing a fine job, Microsoft. Wishing it were great doesn’t make it so.

  • RE: Dear Mr. Ballmer, please recall Windows 8
    I completely agree with you, Rick. Windows 8 is absolutely horrible. I’ve been a Microsoft user since DOS and have been a staunch supporter of theirs ever since. However, Windows 8 is the first Microsoft product we refuse to sell or support. Fortunately, for the time being at least, I’m still able to source Windows 7 as an OEM and all our machines are built with Windows 7. Unfortunately, since we don’t build whitebox laptops, our laptop selection is becoming very slim because all the Tier 1 OEM’s are moving (or rather being forced to move) to Windows 8. Windows 8 is so bad, in fact, we’ve used that as a marketing ploy. We advertise that we still have Windows 7 machines and can roll your Windows 8 machine back to Windows 7.

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