Windows ME and Windows Vista are arguably the two most forgettable versions of Windows ever to be released. That's not just public opinion, at least as it pertains to the latter, which happens to be Steve Ballmer's biggest regret during his time served as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft. Now that he's announced his impending retirement, he can talk a bit more candidly about his track record.
Given its subjective nature, satisfaction isn’t something that readily lends itself to quantification, but that hasn’t stopped the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) from measuring the satisfaction of U.S. customers for more than 19 years now. The latest ACSI update is of particular interest to us because it sheds some light on Windows 8’s impact on Microsoft’s customer satisfaction rating.
Despite the hype, Windows 8's adoption rate is slower than of Vista's when it debuted five years ago.
If you listen to Microsoft, Windows 8 is not only the greatest operating system ever designed, it's also selling really well. Microsoft in November claimed it sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses in the first month, an impressive figure, even after you factor in all the OEM systems that come pre-loaded with Windows. But is Windows 8 truly off to a fast start? There's evidence to suggest that might not be the case.
Yesterday was no ordinary Tuesday. It was Microsoft’s eleventh Patch Tuesday of 2011. In keeping with Microsoft’s practice of releasing a lower volume of patches during odd-numbered months as compared to even ones, this month’s Patch Tuesday only contains four security bulletins, which is half of what the company shipped in October.
It apparently doesn't matter how good Windows 7 is -- and it's really frakking good -- XP users are reluctant to part with the OS that helped them make it through the Vista era unscathed. The usage numbers vary, but the conclusion's the same: most Windows users are still rocking out with XP.
According to new market share data by Net Applications, XP's market share sits at 60.03 percent, down slightly from 60.89 percent one month prior. Vista, meanwhile, fell from 14 percent to 13.35 percent, while Windows 7 moved upwards from 15.85 percent to 17.10 percent.
Going by Net Applications' figures, Windows 7 has only posted a net gain in market share in three months since it was released in October 2009, and actually lost nearly 1.5 percentage points in the past 11 months. During that same time frame, Windows XP dropped around 10.5 percentage points.
StatCounter's data shows a slightly more even playing field with Windows XP claiming 54 percent of the Windows market, Windows 7 at 22 percent, and Vista at just over 16.5 percent.
IT admins who find themselves in a tug-of-war with the bean counters over whether or not to deploy Windows 7 in place of XP have a bit more ammunition today to plead their case. In a new Security Incident Report released this week, Microsoft unsurprisingly lays out some compelling reasons to upgrade.
The Key Findings Summary is of particularly interest. It's here that Redmond's research team points out several benefits, including the fact that in Windows XP, Microsoft vulnerabilities accounted for 55.3 percent of all attacks in the studied same (comparing targets of browser-based exploits). In Windows Vista and Windows 7, however, the proportion of Microsoft vulnerabilities is a lot smaller and accounted for just 24.6 percent of attacks in the studied sample.
Microsoft's report also points out that the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows Vista SP2 had lower infection rates than any other OS in the second half of 2009, while the 32-bit versions both had infection rates that were less than half of Windows XP with SP3, the most up-to-date service pack currently available.
Installing a password onto your default user account in Windows 7 is one of the best--and easiest--ways to keep average folk from messing around with your system. However, if you don't often have said "folk" around to bother with your PC, you might be tempted to relax your own security settings for convenience's sake.
After all, locking down your Windows account means that you'll never be able to just hit your power button and brew a coffee while your system boots. To get into the real meat of your operating system's boot process, you'll have to hover around your system and enter your password to continue onward. That's not the most frustrating of situations, however, it does become a pain if you're ever running a huge batch of downloads that's set to restart your system when it's done--or updates, for that matter. Or, worse, if your system just takes forever to boot.
Simply put, you'll never be able to just one-shot it to your desktop. Your own security settings prevent that... until now!
We're not sure why anyone would choose to kick it with Vista, but if you absolutely refuse to step up to Windows 7, you're going to want to make sure you've installed one of the available Service Packs. As of yesterday, Microsoft cut off support for unpatched copies of Vista, putting the original OS out to pasture.
"Under the former service pack support policy, when a service pack reached the end of support, customers were no longer eligible to receive troubleshooting help from Microsoft Customer Service and Support, including assisted telephone support, security updates, or non-security hotfixes," Microsoft said in a blog post.
In the same blog post, Microsoft also announced that it has updated its Service Pack Support policy to provide customers with limited troubleshooting on unsupported service pack versions. This "limited troubleshooting" includes:
Break/fix support incidents will be provided through Microsoft Customer Service and Support; and through Microsoft’s managed support offerings (such as Premier Support).
There will be no option to engage Microsoft’s product development resources, and technical workarounds may be limited or not available.
If the support incident requires escalation to development for further guidance, requires a hotfix, or requires a security update, customers will be asked to upgrade to a supported service pack.
On a side note, Microsoft isn't pulling the plug for support on Windows XP SP2 or all versions of Windows 2000 until July.
There's a ton of great freeware and open-source software in the online world today. That statement should be a no-brainer, especially if you're been reading these application roundups over the past year and a half or thereabouts.
However, that's not to say that every single application that you install on your PC--including your operating system itself--is immediately minted in gold just because it passed your personal, "do I need this?" test. That's no fault of your own; In fact, it's half the point of the open-source movement to begin with. Industrious users think of new ways to use a piece of software or, rather, new add-ons that they can build into a particular application. This transforms the common application into a forked project, which itself can become the source of inspiration for future spin-offs from an even wider range of users.
Seriously, it's open-source 101.
However, you don‘t have to be a coder, or even a visionary, to reap the benefits of new transformations that run on top of the applications you use day-in and day-out. That's why I'm profiling add-ons in this week's Freeware Files: By now, you should have a pretty healthy laundry-list of common apps that you're always fiddling around in. I'm going to show you how to make them just that much better.
It was an innocuous question, part of a grander lunchtime chat about life, the Internet, and The Future Way of Things. My coworker was curious about the benefits of open-source--specifically those advantages with a dollar sign preceding them--and naturally thought that the upstart Google operating system could someday attract a huge portion of Microsoft Windows's market share.
Why wouldn't enterprise businesses love the Google solution? The amount of money they would be able to save from the reduced desktop licensing requirements would be large enough to transform a CFO's eyes into saucers, Roger Rabbit-style. Similarly, entities that rely on a variety of customized programs and applications to conduct business could weave these elements into the open-source architecture of Chrome OS.
So let's roll out the red carpet and prep the TV hosts for the big unveiling of Chrome OS in big busin... or not. There's one reason, and one reason only, why an open-source desktop isn't going to succeed in the consumer or enterprise markets: Microsoft was there first.