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Microsoft Has Been Watching, and It Says You're Getting Used To Windows 8 675

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-I-learned-to-love-windows dept.
Dupple writes "Microsoft's user data shows that users are getting used to dealing with the Windows 8 user interface, reports this article at MIT Technology Review. Despite some of the more scathing reviews of Windows 8, ordinary users are getting along with it just fine, according to Julie Larson-Green, the Microsoft executive who leads Windows product development. Data collected automatically from some Windows users, she says, show they are adjusting to some of the new operating system's controversial features without problems 'So far we're seeing very encouraging things,' Larson-Green says of the large volume of data that Microsoft receives every day from people using Windows 8 who have chosen to join the company's 'customer experience improvement program.' All users are invited to enroll in that program when they first log into the new operating system. If they do so, anonymized information about how they are using the operating system is sent to Microsoft. Referring to complaints from some quarters, Larson-Green says: 'Even with the rumblings, we feel confident that it's a moment in time more than an actual problem.'"
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Microsoft Has Been Watching, and It Says You're Getting Used To Windows 8

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 17, 2012 @10:42AM (#42313667)

    I don't know a single company whose IT will implement Windows 8 on anything. I'm talking everything from tablets, phones, laptops, PC's, or servers. In fact my company said straight out "No" because of all the problems it would entail.

    Did they ever fix the lack of command line for windows 8 servers?

    • by WolfgangPG (827468) on Monday December 17, 2012 @10:45AM (#42313703)
      We have already deployed several Windows 8 Touch laptops and most of our IT staff is using Windows 8. We don't currently have plans to roll it out to the general population -- but we will be buying more surface Pros, etc...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        That's great, we're not. Rolling out Android and iPad tablets....sticking with Windows 7.
        • by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday December 17, 2012 @01:15PM (#42315119)
          And my wife's co (Fortune 500, top 100 even) is sticking with Windows XP.
      • Kinda the same here. We're running it on a few machines, and while the tablet-UI side of things is largely ignored, the rest of it works well enough. Yeah, there's some stuff that's missing (the GUI for modifying all stored wireless connections, for example), but I like the spatial nature of the new Start menu. It's kind of like being able to pin programs where you like them on your taskbar, but in two dimensions. Yes, I know you could do that with icons on the desktop, but you can't scroll the desktop, and

      • by slashmydots (2189826) on Monday December 17, 2012 @12:39PM (#42314805)
        Or, perhaps, you could not waste your money and get stable, working, long-term Thinkpads with flip screens running Windows 7 Pro (downgrade rights) and dual batteries for cheaper than a pro tablet and it comes with a DVD drive and full keyboard. Or are you one of the IT departments that buys pretty, shiny, trendy gear to impress the boss instead of actually get work done?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't know a single company whose IT will implement Windows 8 on anything. I'm talking everything from tablets, phones, laptops, PC's, or servers. In fact my company said straight out "No" because of all the problems it would entail.

      Did they ever fix the lack of command line for windows 8 servers?

      I work desktop IT for a company in fortune's top 10. We are not moving everything there (yet) but we definitely are standardizing it for the enterprise and will probably move large numbers (tens of thousands) of users there. Enterprises aren't as scared of 8 as they were of Vista. Roll-out of a new os in a large enterprise takes time and I'm sure once the projects have been worked at various companies many will be moving.

    • by JediJorgie (700217) on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:24AM (#42314103)

      I work for a University and we manage about 9,000 Windows desktops, mostly Win7 at this point. We are looking to roll out Windows 8 on all new deployments beginning in January or February. All of our early-adopters have been running Win8E for months now and the only issues we have seen have been related to IE10. Most of these issues have been dealt with by using group policy to set compatibility mode for specific sites.

      • by tibit (1762298)

        Wait a minute, you actually, as a company policy, encourage people to use IE except for legacy sites that won't work on anything else? Isn't that crazy? Then they go, do the same at home, and they end up owned. Kudos.

        • by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday December 17, 2012 @04:31PM (#42317185) Homepage Journal

          Given most corporate entities forced their users to use IE back when IE was a security and standards nightmare, why, exactly, would they change their minds now that recent versions of IE isn't significantly worse, either with security or standards compliance, than Chrome or Firefox?

          It's not exactly 1999-2006 any more. The world has moved on.

        • by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday December 17, 2012 @06:09PM (#42318645) Journal

          Wow that info is outdated.

          IE 10 != IE 6 by a longshot! It is the most caught up version of IE yet that supports HTML 5, CSS 3, and has great hardware acceleration and loads up sites as fast if not faster than Chrome. It is the only browser that is double sandboxed against hep spray attacks, as well as ASLR, and DEP.

          I am not an IE fan nor am I even using it right now (Chrome), but for using shitty ancient web apps optimized for IE 7 and IE 8 is it the only option. Also only IE is enterprise grade with .MSI and group policies and AD integration so you can manage 9,000 easily with different settings for different OUs and groups such as one for faculty, another for students etc.

          If you have a problem with this go harass Mozilla for not making Firefox enterprise friendly. Until that time comes we are staying IE only. With the later releases following standards and behaving like Chrome and Firefox it is not a big of an issue as it once was.

      • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday December 17, 2012 @01:59PM (#42315559) Journal

        Out of curiosity, what do you expect to gain from replacing Win7 with Win8?

    • by Lawrence61 (868933) on Monday December 17, 2012 @12:14PM (#42314551)
      "Getting used to dealing with it". Wow, that must be some operating system. I'm sure Microsoft is sure proud of that. In time people can get used to all sorts of things, an operating system shouldn't be one of them. It should just work, and get out of the way of the user and be intuitive. In other words, more opposite of what windows 8 is.
  • by Stickiler (2767941) on Monday December 17, 2012 @10:43AM (#42313679)
    Are already probably lenient towards Microsoft, so they will of course make themselves learn the new UI. About 80% of the people I know just automatically click no and go past it, and the other 20% make an active effort to click no and go past it. It's like polling the people at a major sporting event about how enjoyable they find that sporting event.
    • It's opt-in, not opt-out.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RivenAleem (1590553)
      Well, then why do people complain about the quality of the product when they don't participate in such a program? That's like non-voters complaining about the state of the nation. If, instead, all these people opted in and the first thing they did was buy and install Start8, then Microsoft might have more realistic results, we might even get an option on first boot to choose between MetroUI and Desktop as our default option.

      Unfortunately the people who I want most of all taking part in the improvement progr
      • by PlusFiveTroll (754249) on Monday December 17, 2012 @12:10PM (#42314507) Homepage

        Because a lot of people have an issue with..

        "This application is going to send off 'some stuff you don't understand.. bla bla tech bla' to servers somewhere you don't know." They automatically mistrust a program that sends off unknown information when presented with the choice.

        What Microsoft says. "Send anonymous usage details to Microsoft servers"

        What the user reads. "Send your porn viewing habits to god knows where and who"

      • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday December 17, 2012 @12:20PM (#42314627) Homepage
        Because this "program" isn't about making the product better, it's just about collecting some numbers - any numbers - that can be used in the sentence "Windows 8 is an astonishing success because X of our users figured out how to do Y within Z seconds."
      • by sjames (1099) on Monday December 17, 2012 @02:12PM (#42315703) Homepage

        Several potentially good reasons:

        Perhaps they don't actually care if MS produces a quality product or not. If it does, great, if not they'll just buy something else. Why do MS's homework for them?

        Perhaps they feel it would be casting pearls before swine? No matter how many times they participate, they'll get the same old crap in return.

        Perhaps they fear the data might be too invasive and they'd just rather not.

        The second option there is, BTW, a commonly cited reason for not voting. If you abstain from an election because you see no candidates you actually support, you remain perfectly entitled to complain about the state of the nation.

    • I'd also doubt it factors in the people who have upgraded to Windows 8, used it for a couple weeks, and downgraded back to Windows 7, or those who refused to upgrade int the first place.

    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Monday December 17, 2012 @12:46PM (#42314861) Homepage Journal

      In the end?

      Still tastes like chicken.

      Seriously. If this is the best language of encouragement that Ballmer can choke out of his throat, then you know there is a Vista-sized hole in Microsoft's delivery.

      I know! Why don't we all get used to Ubuntu Unity and Libre Office? "Even with the rumblings, we feel confident that it's a moment in time more than an actual problem."

    • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Monday December 17, 2012 @12:54PM (#42314943)

      To be fair, I was pretty rabidly anti-metro about 2 weeks ago, and my dislike is waning a bit. I still miss the old start menu, and every time metro comes up i hit "escape", but the new search is OK and it seems like the use of RAM as cache is better this time around.

      "Getting used to" doesnt mean that Im happy that things changed, however. One "gets used to" a chronic health ailment; that doesnt mean youre happy that you got it to begin with, it just means youre learning to deal with it.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday December 17, 2012 @10:44AM (#42313697) Homepage

    I am not saying that Windows 8 is even remotely similar to prison rape (though some might suggest there may be some similarities, I am not saying that) but the very notion that a party or group is getting used to something does not mean they like it or want it.

    I supposed I could have said "taxes" or any other thing people generally don't like, but I wanted to be a little edgy... a little dramatic.

    So yes. We acknowledge Microsoft is shoving their things [Windows 8 in this case] through our [choose an orifice] and we acknowledge that we presently don't have much choice in the matter.

  • 3 month rule (Score:5, Insightful)

    by weszz (710261) on Monday December 17, 2012 @10:45AM (#42313707)

    Anyone really surprised?

    Give any big change 3 months and it will get accepted if you don't give in as the change forcer.

    I've seen it at work too many times to count. Manglement makes a decision that upsets everyone and lots of people talk about how they are going to start looking elsewhere for employment and the sky will fall and this is terrible, but after the 3 month gripe period, everyone accepts the changes and life moves on.

    It's how things work.

    • Re:3 month rule (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:09AM (#42313947)

      That doesn't mean that they like the new situation more than the old one. And while at work there may be some good reason why you have to adapt to a management change because the primary concern is the well being of the company and not yours, pardon please if I put MY comfort ahead of that of MS.

    • by hAckz0r (989977)

      Manglement makes a decision that upsets everyone and lots of people talk about how they are going to start looking elsewhere for employment and the sky will fall and this is terrible, but after the 3 month gripe period, everyone accepts the changes and life moves on.

      True, but why exactly is that?

      Because it takes about three months on average for the vocal and confident employees to find other employment, get fired, or can be otherwise forced to leave (that option usually takes longer). One place I was at had a 43% turnover in the first two months, but I can't speak for what happened after that, because nobody I really knew was still there.

      What the management is then left with is a staff of indecisive and often inferior employees that are easily intimidated by

  • Mold-breaking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Monday December 17, 2012 @10:48AM (#42313723)
    I've found that I use the mouse less for launching apps when using Windows 8 which I didn't in Windows 7, despite the functionality being the same. Press the Windows key, start typing an app / file name, and hit Return to launch. While the Start Menu existed, I was using the mouse, because we navigate WIMP UIs with a mouse. The Start Screen took that away; It was a full-screen interface all of its own, without menus, and that broke the psychological boundary between me pointing-and-clicking and moving over fully to the keyboard for launching apps.

    So, now I've learned that behaviour instead, I've swapped back to Windows 7 with its sensible desktop UI :) Thanks again, Microsoft!
  • Warm feeling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morcego (260031) on Monday December 17, 2012 @10:48AM (#42313727)

    Data collected automatically from some Windows users

    Oh, that gives me such a warm feeling inside...

  • It's not terrible (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cuppett (706711) on Monday December 17, 2012 @10:48AM (#42313729)

    I've noticed a couple different things:

    1) It makes me a lot more selective about putting things on the taskbar and desktop.
        a) I put things I really do use out there, so things are highly geared to my workflow
        b) Things I find I'm not using get punted
    2) The windows button finally has purpose. You can hit that button, start typing an app name and then space/enter to launch. I find I'm mousing less actually.

    In addition, Windows 8 hasn't come with the alternating-release-something-new instability problems we've gotten used to. It's every bit as solid as 7 and has better integrated security features. Win, win in my book.

    • Re:It's not terrible (Score:5, Informative)

      by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:01AM (#42313857)

      The windows button finally has purpose. You can hit that button, start typing an app name and then space/enter to launch. I find I'm mousing less actually.

      This is Windows 7 functionality isn't it?

    • by pscottdv (676889) on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:11AM (#42313975)

      The windows button finally has purpose. You can hit that button, start typing an app name and then space/enter to launch

      So... It's just like DOS except you have to hit the windows key before you type the name of the program you want to launch.

      The more things change, the more they stay the same...

      • So... It's just like DOS except you have to hit the windows key before you type the name of the program you want to launch.

        It's completely unlike DOS, since DOS didn't do a full-text search on all app names. It just let you type specific command names. If you didn't know that creating a directory is "mkdir" or "md", good luck guessing.

        In Start menu/screen (not just Win8 - the feature has been there since Vista), you can type things like "resolution", and it will automatically find the control panel item that lets you adjust that.

    • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:18AM (#42314053)

      I've noticed a couple different things:

      1) It makes me a lot more selective about putting things on the taskbar and desktop.

          a) I put things I really do use out there, so things are highly geared to my workflow

          b) Things I find I'm not using get punted
      2) The windows button finally has purpose. You can hit that button, start typing an app name and then space/enter to launch. I find I'm mousing less actually.

      In addition, Windows 8 hasn't come with the alternating-release-something-new instability problems we've gotten used to. It's every bit as solid as 7 and has better integrated security features. Win, win in my book.

      LOL!!

      Type the name of an app and then hit enter. Welcome to DOS. Are we suddenly back in 1992?

  • Much Like ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Monday December 17, 2012 @10:50AM (#42313745) Journal

    Microsoft Has Been Watching, and It Says You're Getting Used To Windows 8

    Much like a kid who has broken his arm "gets used to" a cast or sling. Much like a cow who has been electrocuted many times by a fence "gets used to" staying away from it. Much like someone convicted of a DUI "gets used to" riding a bicycle.

    'Even with the rumblings, we feel confident that it's a moment in time more than an actual problem.'

    Under what circumstances, exactly, would someone who works for Microsoft ever say anything contrary to that? Anything could be going on, good or bad, and that is exactly what they would say to dismiss criticism.

    • Under what circumstances, exactly, would someone who works for Microsoft ever say anything contrary to that?

      Depends, what's Ballmer drinking these days? ;-) Though I suppose it's an open question on whether he works 'for' MS or against them...

      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:16AM (#42314023) Journal
        I'm amused how he looks a little more and more like Colonel Kurtz [blogspot.com] from Apocalypse Now [wikipedia.org] every year. I'm pretty sure that there's eventually going to be an investor meeting in a temple surrounded by spikes with iMacs and Apple computers skewered on them somewhere in Redmond. Ballmer will be sweating out [slated.org] and squeezing cool water over his bald forehead while rambling slowly in spurts to SEC reporters who are trying to make heads or tails of what he is saying. Minions will be slaughtering a cow with chairs in the background while he sputters on about Windows 8's success and how they said his methods were madness.
  • by Jerry Atrick (2461566) on Monday December 17, 2012 @10:53AM (#42313769)

    It's mind boggling, only 90% managed to use the start screen and charms on day1.

    So in that 10% are folk that failed to work out how to get the login prompt from the completely control free boot page. And people who failed to shutdown their PC making up the bulk of it - since that needs the charmless bar.

    Just to install ClassicShell or fire up the desktop to use it with needs use of both the start screen and charms. So even if you never use them again you still count as a MS success in these stats.

    Any other company would be panicking over a 10% fail rate just starting up their software, not claiming it as a success.

  • Many moons ago we got a new intern in the office. He was young, naive and hopelessly clueless about the corporate world. We took a liking to him immediately.
    Of course, this meant that we had to play pranks on him. Because that's what you do to people you like, right?

    Our best prank was what we did to his computer. We wrote a small program that ran in the background and drew a dot in the center of the screen on top of whatever was running. This dot grew bigger over time; at first it was just one pixel wide, but after a week it was over twenty.

    One morning, just over a week after we'd secretly installed it onto the intern's computer, he called me into his cubicle and asked me if I had ever heard of "dead pixels on a CRT". I said no, holding back the laughter, and politely suggested that he try reinstalling his graphics card drivers. He declined, and said that was too much effort and he would just live with it.

    The intern was fully prepared to live with this large, expanding, black dot in the center of his monitor. It was nothing but sheer annoyance, but he was willing to ignore it.
    At this point we caved and uninstalled the software.

    That experience taught me that users will put up with just about anything. As long as it doesn't outright prevent them from doing their job (eg, the network card has died), they will find some way to soldier on.

  • by iggymanz (596061) on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:00AM (#42313847)

    Most the people in my IT group at work are windows users. most of my friends and relative are windows users. No one likes windows 8, several have downgraded new gear because they hated the 8 so much. At work they say its the new Vista, useless rubbish that should be shunned, and that hopefully "9" will be a release Redmond gets a clue again and puts out something useful.

    That's pretty funny when the die-hard windoze fangals/fanbois I know can only bad-mouth the windows 8. Microsoft has failed its own customers, driven dissatisfaction upward, regressed the state of the UI art.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx.b c . ca> on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:13AM (#42313997) Journal

    You can probably "get used to" almost anything when you aren't given a choice. Heck, you can "get used to" chronic back pain too...

    But that's a far cry from meaning that a person actually prefers it

  • by Serk (17156) on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:19AM (#42314055) Homepage

    The sheer number of friends and relatives bringing their shiny new computers to me (The resident geek) begging me to upgrade them from Windows 8 to Windows 7 says otherwise...

    I suspect most of these people did not voluntary opt into Microsoft's "Track Me" program either.

  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:19AM (#42314059)

    I wanted to try it out, so I put it on my (non-touch) laptop. The Metro UI is an abomination. I wouldn't even want it on a touch tablet ("live tiles" compare very badly to Android's widget, notifications are a joke...), on a PC, it should be taken out and shot.

    Which, luckily, you can do easily with http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net], and get back the Desktop shell that the IT gods intended.

    Apart form that, the new features are:
    1- Remote Desktop server...
    2- and that's it. Not even ReadyBoost for SSD, nor some tiered storage like Apple has started doing.
    3- and after Jan 31st, you won't even get Media Server.

    MS is trying to force-feed Metro UI to their Desktop users, hoping to use that familiarity to get some traction on phones and tablets. The problem are that Metro UI 1) makes no sense on non-touch machines, and 2) lacks severely even on tablets and phones.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:32AM (#42314189) Journal

    Call me a skeptic but somehow the very fact that MS feels the need to say this, shows people are NOT picking up Windows 8. Yeah, so early adapters of the new MS vision who are so in love with the company they allow it to see everything they do, are sticking with it... and? Fans of a dog food company eat their favorite companies dog food. Doesn't mean it doesn't tastes like... well like nothing actually, animal food lacks spicing.

    If Windows 8 adoption was really good, MS would be crowing about actual sales figures. They are not. For the truth NEVER listen to what a spokesman says, listen for what he doesn't say.

    Basically, people that haven't given up on Windows 8 or refused to even start using it or didn't mind MS watching over their shoulder, haven't given up in large volumes. Damned by faint praise? If this is the best press release they could come up with, the truth is far more dire.

    Want proof? Go back in history and read MS press release on Bob, ME and Vista.

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:59AM (#42314405)
    win8, you don't sweat much for a fat guy. Overall, those are pretty terrible results and microsoft appears to be panicking even with their PR.
  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Monday December 17, 2012 @12:07PM (#42314471)

    What Larson-Green fails to take into account is that technically experienced users (1) are still running Windows 7, and (2) turn off Customer Experience Improvement Program anyway for privacy reasons.

    In addition, most corporations will turn off Customer Experience Improvement Program via group policy, for the same reasons power users do. (Even if it's not supposed to be personally identifiable, why risk sending more personal/corporate information to Microsoft than you have to?) So CEIP turns out to measure little more than the responses of technically inexperienced users who buy cheap OEM systems – a shrinking demographic.

    Microsoft needs to remember that business users and power users, not the dumbasses who buy $299 eMachines, are its real customer base.

  • by gadget junkie (618542) <gbponz@libero.it> on Monday December 17, 2012 @12:16PM (#42314573) Journal
    ... I'd like to know what percentage of users ticked "yes" to : 'do you want to enroll in the customer experience improvement program?' My hunch is that such a group suffers from two defects:

    1. It's self selecting, and selection is based practically on a positive view of Microsoft products;
    2.it might be too small to be representative of the whole, and no data on enrollment is available in the article.

    moreover, the article says:

    "[...]The data collected by Microsoft also show that people are becoming more familiar with the new features over time, says Larson-Green. She previously led a redesign of the Microsoft Office interface that, in 2007, replaced text-based menus with a more visual “ribbon interface,” an initially controversial change that is now widely accepted as an example of good design. “Two days to two weeks is what we used to say in Office, and it’s similar in Windows 8,” she says.

    So my quick summary: Microsoft wants me to believe that a group, selected according to criteria and methods that would have my statistics professor at the University screaming that I am a confounded moron, is right in believing that windows 8 does not have a usability problem, and therefore I am also a confounded moron because I use windows 7 with the XP menus. Ah, I did not mention that there's no word on how would I use touch on my installed screen base, which does not have a touch interface.

I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader

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