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The weighing of the positives and negatives


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Win 10 is upon us.  It's released, and it's actually proving to be quite compatible with the realm of desktop applications.


No one has built a "must have" Metro/Modern App that I have a use for yet, and I'm weighing the potential value of a desktop-only Win 10 configuration, which I already have on my workstation currently based on Win 8.1.  Here are the attributes:


  • Oriented to business / software engineering
  • Desktop-only (for now at least)
  • Tweaked with Aero Glass / Classic Shell (and a host of other things) for usability
  • Optimized for performance and responsiveness
  • Large amount of applications and data
  • Exclusive use of Local Account
  • UAC (and thus all Modern toys) Disabled
  • Telemetry and data gathering blocked


At this point on a test virtual machine I've achieved technically all the same tweaks I have done for the host system desktop, so now I am trying to refine my analysis to determine whether Win 10 will give me sufficient value over Win 8.1 to offset the risks.  I'm presently comparing the following positives and negatives:



  • It's current and will be kept up to date by Microsoft.  The big question:  How much is this worth given that Microsoft's goals to be ever more consumer-oriented and mine to be work-oriented seem to be drifting apart?  It's not like it's more stable than Win 8.1, nor am I really seeing any bugs solved.  So what is the value of a continued partnership with Microsoft now?  It's harder than ever to quantify.
  • 3rd parties (e.g., display driver writers, high-end application writers), will no doubt start putting the most effort into writing and testing their products for Windows 10 - especially if it gets a decent adoption rate.  Most folks believe a large percentage of Win 8.1 users will migrate to Win 10.  That will matter if I expand my system, or get a new one.
  • I've got a fully set up and tweaked system in a big VM, and I can run it as an immersive environment across all my monitors, so I have already proven Win 10 will support all my development tools.  I actually enjoy using it (hardly surprising, it's an almost perfect workalike to my main system's desktop).  I also have a pretty good idea how difficult it will be to set everything up, as I have already done it.  I would make a new system setup a fresh, clean install, of course. 



  • Given the promise of "continuous updates", there is no assurance that just because I can make Win 10 work today to my expectations that it will be acceptable in the future.  But...  How much less acceptable will an older OS be in 6 months?  2 years?  Chances are very few folks are going to stay on Win 8.1, specifically, so I'll probably be hanging out in the breeze pretty soon.  On the other hand, Microsoft can't be completely insensitive to the needs and desires of enterprise.  Such users do pay good money and keep the lights on in Redmond.
  • A few minor, non-show-stopping challenges...  I still haven't got a full theme replacement that returns visual styles to all the common controls (personally, I find skeuomorphism makes a system a lot easier to use), but there are already such themes out there that are good, if not polished.  I'll either polish one up or find an acceptable one at some point.  And flat, square buttons aren't completely unusable.
  • (short term) A few applications aren't *quite* ready yet.  An example of an important application I use is VMware Workstation.  Reports still seem mixed so far about how well it runs under Windows 10 as a host.  I'll also want to wait until Big Muscle releases a production version for Aero Glass for Win 10, and Ivo Beltchev releases Classic Shell as well.


It's a difficult decision, perhaps even less clearly delineated for me than ever before.  There really aren't yet things about Windows 10 that differentiate it much from Win 8.1 yet.  It's really what we'd have expected from a Win 8.2 package, and for that reason it's not terribly compelling to me - yet - but on the flip side is also a pretty easy migration.


Up to now I've done well by running the latest Windows systems - with a few notable exceptions (I waited until Vista matured with a Service Pack, and I skipped Windows 8.0).  So I feel there IS a good bit of value in keeping current.


Just writing this stuff down has already helped me to see things more clearly...  Right now, considering the things I've jotted down above, it boils down to trying to quantify one thing: 


How much value is there really going to be in a continued partnership with Microsoft?



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To me, as a currently contented Windows 7 user, it boils down to why bother to go through the effort and trouble to change my OS, ... yet?  It seems to me that all of your own personal performance, usability, and stability comparisons of a clean install of Windows 8.x or 10 vs Windows 7, and other performance comparisons of those OS that have been posted on this forum, on the same hardware with all appropriate updates and current tweaks equally applied to a system that meets all the system attributes you list above, show that Windows 7 either beats the other two or is close enough so that the difference is essentially insignificant, especially since you are only comparing desktop use and you are ignoring all Modern apps, (I also have not heard of any that are enticing enough for me to need or want to use).  And the time, effort, and amount of tweaks to achieve this are also less on Windows 7.
Yes, Windows 10 is "current", as Windows 8.1 also is at the moment, but no matter how much this fact is emphasized, I have yet to see what value this is to me as a user, especially on my existing hardware, which unfortunately is not as current as I would like.  And even if or when I upgrade any aspect of my hardware, I am not aware of any piece of hardware or software that would not be equally usable on Windows 7 versus a newer OS.  Usually I hear the opposite as manufacturers and software providers are trying to get drivers, utilities, etc working correctly with the newer OS as you yourself point out above.
Besides the minor doubts you state above about the value of staying current, I'll add that as least as long as Windows 7 remains the dominant OS in use, I believe that manufacturers and 3rd party software providers will continue to test their products on Windows 7.  I have to believe they would be foolish not to do so.  How much longer they also continue to test with Windows 8.x is another question.  It might end up with a similar fate as Vista.  Not that hardware and software won't or can't be made to work with it, but testing for it might not be emphasized.  Just my opinion.
Since you are comparing the setup of Windows 10 to match your existing Windows 8.1 setup, in performance and ability to work with your existing hardware and software development tools, again, as a user I see no compelling reason to need to change from an OS that meets my needs.  The look and feel is what I want and all my applications are ready and work now.  Plenty of theme options are available if I want to change the look.
The promise of "continuous updates", the problems such "forced" updates have already caused some folks regardless of the recent tools to combat them, and the recent privacy concerns that have risen from MS's desire to monitor my computer use to "better serve my needs", that are all happening now, are all much more troubling than the possible future problems that might occur due to me not being "current".  I'm sure that I'll have to address the privacy issues even on Windows 7 as updates are issued, but forums such as this will help and I'm sure the efforts involved will likely be easier on Window 7 since MS will probably be emphasizing Windows 10 more themselves.  I'm sure telemetry gathering by other software providers, whether it be from Google, Adobe, Mozilla, or whomever, will also have to be addressed, but the effort to do so will probably be roughly equal for any of the NT6+ OS versions.

Microsoft can't be completely insensitive to the needs and desires of enterprise..

And what about their actions in the last few years have lead you to that conclusion, especially with their continued goals to be ever more consumer oriented, regardless of their failures with things like Windows phone? :)
For a software developer such as yourself, I agree that it boils down to both "How much value is there really going to be in a continued partnership with Microsoft?" and "How much cost in time, effort, and lost productivity will there be to achieve a fully functional and stable Windows 10 system that is better than a system that I already have?"  I am just not convinced that the answer to either of those questions favors Windows 10 over Windows 7, even if the "upgrade" is "free", and regardless of your groundbreaking guidance on how to manage the migration.
For a user, in addition to those factors, a "must have" Modern app, (they still remind me of "gadgets" that have come and gone over the years), or an advancement in DX11+ for game use that cannot be back-ported to a previous OS, might be a factor for some small subset of users, but neither of those apply to me at this time.  So, for me, I just don't see any reason whatsoever to change OS, or to recommend Windows 10 over Windows 7 to other users.


As to pros and cons, besides the "current" argument, or unless you prefer the newer Windows 10 look, or the Modern app or DX11+ factors applies to you, I don't think I've seen a single "con" mentioned regarding staying with Windows 7.
Please don't get me wrong.  If or when the time ever comes that I need or want or am forced to move to Windows 10, I will be the first in line to grovel at your feet and kiss them profusely to express my undying gratitude for the vast amount of hard work and extraordinarily thorough testing you and others have done and reported that will make it easier for those that follow to make the transition.  I really, really appreciate your continued efforts to tame it.


Windows 10 has been released and is upon us, I just don't see any reason to have to deal with it, ... yet.


Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt
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Windows 10 has been released and is upon us, I just don't see any reason to have to deal with it, ... yet.



I Second that motion!, I am perfectly happy with my present dual boot setup with Windows 7 and 8.1 and see absolutely

no need to jump ship for now just for the sake of having the newest OS.


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Well, I suppose that things like this, if the advance specs come to pass and enough push-back from users does not force changes or additional capabilities are not added by the motherboard manufacturers, will make it more difficult for those users who like to use the absolutely latest hardware to continue to install Windows 7, but it still won't be impossible, and once installed there is no indication that performance will suffer in any way.  It will depend on exactly what functions the motherboard manufacturers end up providing.  I admit it might be the first single small nail in Windows 7 coffin, but I'm still not ready to switch. :)  [OK, I'm stubborn.  So sue me.]


Cheers and Regards

Edited by bphlpt
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Thanks for the high level discussion, guys.


Don't get me wrong, I'm in full agreement with the "...yet" part.  I prefer to plan before acting.  :)


I'm thinking ahead to the time when all the lights are green. Trying to define when that will be.  Based on what I see right now, I don't think it's going to be terribly long - possibly a matter of months.  Just today, for example, Classic Shell is released for Win 10.


I went into my Win 8.1 from 7 upgrade a couple of years ago with exactly the same thoughts, and I did skip Windows 8.0 entirely precisely because it degraded my working environment by a small amount that I never could recover.  By the time Win 8.1 came out I already had resolved all the usability issues (through the use of reconfiguration and augmentation with 3rd party software that had become available), and so it was a convenient time to re-evaluate. 


Ultimately I did go with Win 8.1 and looking back I'm happy that I did, as it has been the most trouble-free, productive experience I've had to date with any Windows system.  And that's saying a lot, because my Windows 7 experience was also very good.


My drive to keep on the "bleeding edge" is in large part because I've had good experiences so far riding that wave.  There is no better way to know how the latest things work (and keep the mind pliable) than to immerse oneself in them.


But, as they say, "past experience is no guarantee of future results", so I also remain prudently cautious.  If it's a decision that's more than just "what system am I going to play games with?" it's a necessary prudence.


  • Is this a time where it's still best to wait?  Certainly for a short while at least.  A month?  Three?  Not sure.
  • Is Microsoft going to do nefarious things after getting a whole bunch of people to migrate from Win 7?  Their recent track record isn't that good.  Windows 7 Backup is back, for now.  It will go away again, almost certainly, as Microsoft continues their Grand Plan.  I'm sure they just feel Windows 8.1 was ahead of its time.
  • When considering "staying current", does Microsoft have my best interests as a "content and program producer" in mind?  Their recent antics suggest otherwise.  On the other hand, one could find oneself producing things no one wants if one holds back too long.
  • There's still no direct path for a "less than enterprise-sized" small business to get into using Windows 10 Enterprise for a reasonable price.  The idea has always been to use "Pro" for that sort of thing, but what happens if they differentiate the variants further?  That being said, Visual Studio 2015 Community is actually fully-featured, so that represents a big expense I won't need to have and it does say that Microsoft is interested in supporting producers.
  • The mention of the Skylake architecture preferring to support Win 10 is not unexpected.  This goes to the point I mentioned where product development will look more forward than back - i.e., primarily at the current system and less at "legacy" systems.  It will happen more and more, since like it or not Windows IS becoming something else.  We don't yet know what an attractive computer system in 2020 is going to look like, exactly, but we can be pretty sure it will be more connected than ever.  I'm getting an upgrade to 100 megabit service here in a week or two, for no extra cost.  I believe we can expect ever more reliance on the net.  Does that mean I plan to share everything with Microsoft or whomever runs a cloud server?  Hardly.
  • Chances are pretty good that Microsoft will, now that they've achieved "release", start to optimize Windows 10 a bit, so we may see some performance improvements over time.  As mentioned above, it's not really worse per se, just not better as many want us to believe.  While everyone likes better performance, I use good enough hardware that "not better" is okay.


I think it will certainly be prudent, upon the choice to "throw the switch", to buy a separate USB drive strictly for the purpose of long-term system image archival (in addition to the multi-level ongoing backups I do), so that I could resurrect my activated Win 8.1 system to a formatted partition should there suddenly be a "can't get there from here any longer" situation with the new system.  That being said, I've never had such a situation arise in the past.


It crossed my mind that this could be a good time to buy a whole new workstation just to be able to keep a whole older system intact.  Trouble is, what I have is not outdated and I really don't have an ongoing use for another system (I already have a separate small business server).  Having upwards of $10K in workstation hardware just sitting in the closet as a hedge, and growing obsolete, isn't really a viable plan...


Decisions, decisions...



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