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Long time MSFN users, what was it like every new Windows version release up to 10?


Tonny52
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So I know that this forum existed from around when XP was the latest. It still exists obviously. But for those who have used it for a while (6+ years) what was it like when each version was released? How were the reactions on this forum? Did people have any hate towards the latest (example, 7) back then same as the 10 hate? I haven't been around long enough to know, plus my memory goes back as far as 2014. Any farther and its just a blur.

What was it like anyways when XP, Vista, 7, 8, or 10 was the latest?

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I cannot say from this forum experience but reaction/experience on boards plus personal experience.

Windows 3.1 when came out had mixed feeling. Biggest issue many was mix of real mode dos drivers and windows drivers and out of memory for that reason

Windows 95 when came out corrected driver issues. Many peoples here had 486 and 8mb ram which supposed to be plenty for it (minium requiments were 386sx and 4mb of ram). Many run out to buy 16mb or 24mb of memory which made user experience way better.  I have used windows 95 on 8mb ram and it is slow as snail. Also windows 95 original RTM was very unstable. 95a corrected many of issues also microsoft released update to windows 95 rtm to fix issue. And 95b got stuff like usb support, fat32 and made it more stable but it was OEM only

Then Windows 98 came out. It was very buggy and slow mostly for one reason. Internet explorer 4 and web integration which meant windows explorer (file manager) was internet explorer window. To have usable windows 98 experience you need atleast 32mb or ram and Pentium 133 and many still had pentium 90 with 16 or 24mb ram and experience was quite bad. Most of windows 98 issues were either ie4 or new driver architecture. Most even I did remove ie4 from it using one utility

 

Year later Windows 98 Second edition came out. That fixed lot of issues from windows 98 and got way better reception. Some did not like it since still had web integration and you had to pay to upgrade it from windows 98. But overall 98SE was faster and way more stable than windows 98 and many used it for quite long and still do.

 

Then windows 2000 and ME came out. It caused confusion and annyoance since Microsoft had promised Windows 98 is last windows 9x based os. Windows ME was very unstable on my experience. I had lot of issues with it compared windows 98. One magazine here advised skip it and wait for Windows Whistler. Windows 2000 in the other hand was very good os and reliable. More of it after sp3 was installed. It had nt4 stability with windows 9x features like usb, plug and play, direct x. Mostly peoples avoided windows 2000 since had no dos support and many older games did not work out of box and needed appcompat tool to run proper.

 

Next Windows Whistler aka XP came out. It had very mixed repection. Before SP2 Windows XP was buggy and had lot of security holes. Also many did not want use XP since needed online activation. When sp2 came out it had merged many good features from server 2003. It was near perfect and I started properly use xp with sp2 and still do. SP3 had nothing so special.

 

Then was Windows Vista turn. When it came out it was rushed. It introduced new WDDM (Windows Display driver model) to gpu and vendors were not ready for it. Nvidia and ATI drivers caused many display driver failed recover bluescreens. Second was windows vista required lot beefier hw than XP to run and Microsoft underestimated requiments in windows vista capacable badge. Any pc with 800mhz cpu, 512mb ram and any type of display adapter got that badge. I have seen one vista pc capacable OEM pc that had s3 trio64 pci. That video card was used back in windows 3.1 and 95 era. Second critic was overtightened DRM that broke many bought music temporary due experied certificate. Then there was Windows Genuine advantage that caused many vista users who had legal licence get "Your windows is not genuine" error due Microsoft server crash. After sp2 though and when drivers matured Windows vista was very stable but those two came out too late for new Boxed windows/New system buyers since Windows 7 was just around corner

When Windows 7 was coming out many were speaking from windows 7e version that supposed to remove internet explorer (like windows N edition removed media player) due opera lawsuit. Ie would have been standalone browser like firefox or chrome not OS component. It would have had rolled out in europe. Many peoples were waiting for it since could mean end to MS monopoly with IE but on last moment ms cancelled plans and made browser ballot update which was basically ad for other browsers and was annyoing. Windows 7 was way more stable than Windows vista at beginning mostly due matured driving architecture and it had many useful management/other features to power users.

 

Windows 8 hype started almost right after Windows 7. When Windows 8 came out it was mostly advertised to tablets not desktop pc. UI was meant to touchscreen and having mix of classic windows app, metro apps, ribbon apps, web apps made quite mess. For me Metro felt like Windows 1.0 or 2.0. Also almost all features needed microsoft account. Want add note to calendar? Need ms account. Also it had no visible start button, it Open with dialog pushed Microsoft store and did hide other apps. Windows 8.1 fixed some things bug only was get update was create account to microsoft store and download from there. Also windows 8.1 broke many windows 8 apps since Kernel version number change

 

When Windows 10 came out it caused confusion first since was offered free. It had bad features of Windows 8 and more. What really annyoyed me was Microsoft forced update that automatically forced Windows 10 even if you dismissed update. I had to deal many systems that did that and broke lot of stuff including my own even after I reverted it windows 7 again. Any of windows versions before forced itself to my pc without me inserting install media and installing it manually. Second issue was mix of control panels and browsers. Windows 10 had and still do have two web browsers, two control panels. Also windows 10 got ads and many unremovable features. Windows 10 keep changing all the time breaking many apps and drivers on new versions. If you bought windows 10 pc in 2015 you may lose driver support to it someday. Some Atom based systems did. I have been able use every older version of windows with same drivers trough every service pack/updates. And for Admin on corporate environment constant feature updates will cause headache. I do not want beta test product on my main pc or on production network.

 

What I found over time is many peoples defend latest windows no matter what bad features it got and says no excuse keep older version. It goes like "Windows <latest version here> is way better than <older version here> and got there is no excuse not to use <latest version here>. You are just scared of new things and not thinking with common sense" That same sectence been used as argument to every new Windows version since windows 98 came out

 

 

 

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MSFN was awesome (it still is) but more active then probably because Windows was less dumbed down and Windows 2000/XP were such a huge step up from 9x (although 9x itself was pretty amazing for its time). Update/service pack slipstreaming was fun, automating various pre and post-install things, tweaking things was exciting.

And given Microsoft's commitment to backward compatibility of Windows features, people (I feel) were a lot more interested in investing their time and effort in finetuning and automating Windows because they were sure that feature would be there for years to come. There were no advanced smartphones like of today's era so PCs is where all the magic was.

I started with Pentium with MMX (Pentium I) on Windows 95 RTM, a motherboard that supported USB 1.0 expansion for future upgrade, Cirrus Logic 2 MB PCI Graphics, ISA ESS 1868 AudioDrive sound card with amazing FM synthesizer, 16 MB EDO RAM, 1 GB Quantum Fireball HDD, Samsung Samtron CRT monitor, Packard Bell keyboard with a 5-pin DIN connector, and a Logitech mouse. A 56 Kbps modem and Realtek Ethernet/LAN card was added later to it.

Future upgrades came to my PC with Pentium III, SiS 6326, then NVIDIA GeForce2 MX 200, 32/64 MB RAM, Samsung SyncMaster monitor, Creative SoundBlaster, Seagate 8GB and Samsung 40 GB drives (UltraDMA and all that goodness), Microsoft IntelliMouse etc. 

Microsoft was at their best in that era - in the sense that decisions taken to improve Windows were always in the best interest of USERS, they weren't evil corporate decisions by evil management to maximize their business growth.

I didn't even know Windows could be upgraded back then but once I became aware, I gradually moved up with time to Windows 95a, OSR2 (b), then c with IE4/Windows Desktop Update and then Windows 98, 98 SE, Windows 2000 Professional and Windows Me. IE4/WDU really made my first Windows 95 PC hardware crawl. In my opinion, all the releases of Windows up to XP were simply outstanding for their time, even Windows Me although the trouble with it was it came out after people had had a taste of what Windows 2000 Professional was.

When XP came out, I remember I had the ISO after RTM but before it was officially launched in October 2001. It was the most amazing OS for its time and blew me away with the visuals and sounds, besides all the extra options and the superb user eXPerience. Yes even RTM, pre the "Service Pack 2 with Advanced Security Technologies". :P

If you really want to know in detail about each OS's features, go and read:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_3.0
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_3.1x
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_95
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_NT_4.0
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_98
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_2000
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Me
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_XP
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_Vista
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_7
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_8

Vista was a nasty upsetting shock but much more tolerable with SP1, SP2 especially on my laptop. Windows 7 - I liked but not as much as XP. Then Ivo Beltchev developed Classic Shell to fix the 7 menu+7 Explorer (I tested it with Ivo and gave lots of feedback on resurrecting how old features should be reinstated etc). Vista was the last OS I ran on desktop PC, after which I moved to mobile workstations and gaming laptops and ultrabooks.

Windows 8 was the most mean-spirited and depressive release for me, (even though I got a detachable tablet with Windows 8 to really give it a try with an open mind and not be biased or dismissive). But it was fixable with Classic Shell or StartIsBack and I quickly moved to it from Windows 7 realizing as a platform, it was improved in some nice ways over 7.

Windows 10 was another bad shock due to the forced updates and forced version upgrades and massive bandwidth the OS takes and downloads huge amounts of data without even telling you how big the size is. Today I run a Lenovo Legion Y740 17 inch laptop and a 15-inch 11th gen Tiger Lake ThinkPad, and on it Windows 10 is tolerable, not likeable, but liveable with tons of third party apps of course to "fix" it - StartIsBack++, OldNewExplorer, StExBar, Everything, 7+Taskbar Tweaker, MPC-BE, Open Shell, VistaSwitcher, Winaero Tweaker and so on.

As for the processor platforms that I owned, these are the ones marked with a red underline which I owned (not that many, I was "poor" back then and upgraded very less often). :D:)

image.thumb.png.f01410e02df71f1e3602704ddc0673c9.png

For me, the real golden era of Windows ended with XP. XP was the last time Microsoft did changes that were mostly ALL FAVORABLE. Starting with Vista/7, it was a mixed bag of really nasty changes that couldn't be fixed or circumvented easily vs some many welcome changes. Although with massive effort from third party apps, it is possible to fix these OSes. The same is true of Windows 8/8.1/10. And yes I know how much of a big change Vista/NT6 was and the Longhorn fiasco, nor would I run XP only today given some must-have and fundamental improvements in modern Windows. I contributed to some of these massive Windows feature articles myself on Wikipedia so I know just how major or minor a release is, how much and what was added or removed but still given the user experience out-of-the-box without third party apps required in a big way to fix and patch things up, I can't give any system after Vista, the XP level of approval (that's why I am xpclient) :D

Edited by xpclient
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The farthest back that I can remember is December 25, 2012. I was really young and I remember when we got our first family PC. Custom parts on the table and a Rosewill case, with a fresh copy of Windows 7 Ultimate. We were upgrading from our old Sony Vaio desktop which had a Pentium 4, 2GB of RAM and a 250GB HDD, running Windows XP Home. The new PC was a AMD Phenom 1055T, 8GB of ram, and a 500GB WD Blue which is now in my NAS. My first laptop was a Dell Inspiron from 2007 which came with Vista, but eventually made its way onto Lubuntu 12.04 LTS. 

I then had a HP Pavilion G7. AMD A8-4500M and 6GB of ram running Windows 8. I didn't mind it, but it worked fine.

in 2017 I upgraded my CPU to an FX 8350 and my laptop then moved to a Toshiba Satellite R945, i5 3210M and 8GB of ram, running Windows 7. At this time I was on 10 for the most part.

2019 my PC broke and then I upgraded to an i5 8400, 16GB of ram and Windows 10 1809, plus a 250GB NVME SSD. Later last year I upgraded to an i7 9700K.

 

The dumbing down of computers, software and hardware is not JUST Microsoft. It's a trend that I don't understand. It removes unique parts of things and everything just looks the same. Back in the mid to late 2000s, you had console menu music like the PS2, Gamecube, Wii and even the original Xbox. You had the Wii shop music, the DS alarm feature. It got even better in the early 2010s with the 3DS eShop and the PS4 which had menu music. The Xbox One though was our first look at the decline of technology. 

Techology was at its peak in the late 2000s. Windows Vista and 7 made huge changes to Windows. But then in 2015 Windows 10 came around and that was our look at oversimplification. Logos started going flat, design started losing its transparency. macOS went flat, Ubuntu went flat. We lost startup sounds and in 2017, we lost the Nintendo charm. The switch had no eshop music, no menu music, no fun text or easter eggs. 

I wish technology was like how it was back then, when it had charm and everything was unique. Now everything just feels the same. W10 1803 vs W10 2004, no difference in the UI. Just some icons are different and some defaults have changed. 

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2 hours ago, Tonny52 said:

The dumbing down of computers, software and hardware is not JUST Microsoft. It's a trend that I don't understand. It removes unique parts of things and everything just looks the same. Back in the mid to late 2000s, you had console menu music like the PS2, Gamecube, Wii and even the original Xbox. You had the Wii shop music, the DS alarm feature. It got even better in the early 2010s with the 3DS eShop and the PS4 which had menu music. The Xbox One though was our first look at the decline of technology.

When hardware allowed they did all type of cool things with it like 3d, animations etc. Later they dumped it all out to flat design. I remember my phone having animated menu items when highlighted.

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Just now, Mr.Scienceman2000 said:

When hardware allowed they did all type of cool things with it like 3d, animations etc. Later they dumped it all out to flat design. I remember my phone having animated menu items when highlighted.

I remember back when iOS jailbreaking allowed people to do cool swiping animations. I remember when android also had the futuristic tron style UI too. Same with cool animations on Windows 7. But, companies now say that oversimplifying makes it "better for the eyes" which is actually them just making the logos remember simpler so people remember them faster. It isn't for protecting eyes or reducing resources. Its so they can yell over every other company.

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