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Windows 8 was released a mere 17 months ago. An update, codenamed "Windows Blue," and officially sanctioned as Windows 8.1, started rolling out four months ago.
And here we are, already desperate for Windows 9.
Is this a bad time to remind you that, if you are using Windows XP, that you'll soon be forced to upgrade?
Windows 8, much like Windows Vista, was a miserable failure for more reasons than we can recall. People bemoaned the looks, the missing start menu, the tablet-like interface on desktop computers that was barely usable with a keyboard and mouse, and the multiple personality disorder that manifested itself in the form of dueling interfaces: classic desktop mode for older apps, and the "Metro" tile-based full-screen UI for Windows 8 apps.
To top it all off, the company was so sure of its new interface, that they didn't even include a tutorial to introduce the new features.
The release of Windows 8.1, barely more than a year later, was a half-hearted mea culpa that restored a half-baked start menu and made a handful of other improvements.
Still, adoption has been slow. According to Ars Technica, Windows 8.1's market share (3.6 percent) barely beats Vista. Even combined with Windows 8 users (who apparently haven't taken advantage of the free upgrade), we're talking 10.49 percent of the desktop market share. As a reflection of users' reticence to upgrade, Windows 7 (47.52 percent) leads the pack, with ancient Windows XP in second (28.98 percent).
As you'll see in a minute, that last figure is troubling.
Microsoft's BUILD conference is in April. At that time, according to Ars Technica and Paul Thurrott, a Windows enthusiast, the company will announce Windows 9, with the release date set for a year thereafter.
Per Thurrott, the codename (Microsoft loves codenames) is Threshold, and it will, hopefully, end the dual Metro/Desktop UI debacle with a unified interface, as well as bring back our beloved real Start menu. Ars disputes the latter point, and says that its sources say that the new Start menu will be something entirely new (but hopefully more functional than the current 8.1 version).
If Microsoft can fix its snafus in the next release, it could go a long way towards getting users to upgrade. The dual UI is a nightmare for keyboard and mouse users, and even though 8.1 brought the ability to boot to the classic desktop, where serious business-based apps live, neither Windows 8 iteration is ideal for businesses.
As we reported before, Microsoft Windows XP's end of life is scheduled for April 8, 2014.
What does that mean for 28.98 percent of desktop computer users? No more security updates or support from Microsoft. For anyone with vital information on their computers (that's everyone, but especially you, Ms. Esquire, with your client files), sticking with XP puts you at risk from hackers and malware.
Speaking of malware, if you are a Microsoft Security Essentials user (the company's free and excellent virus scanner), support and virus definition updates end on that date as well, reports PC Magazine. Seriously. It's time to upgrade. (To Windows 7, if you can find a copy.)
Hilariously enough, according to ZDnet, one thing that will remain is the Windows Activation requirement, in case you decide to reinstall XP. That's right. No freebies, even a whopping twelve years after XP's release.
Can't wait for Windows 9? Loving 8.1? Switched to Mac? Tweet us about it @FindLawLP.
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