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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Early Adoption or Waiting for Service Packs: Where the Consumer Stands on Microsoft Windows Adoption

When it comes to adoption of Windows, people and organizations/businesses have different times frames when it come to getting that next version of Microsoft Windows that comes out. Obviously, the early adopters get the next version of Windows as soon as they can, pending any needed hardware upgrades to support their experience on the next version of Windows. Businesses and organizations tend to value stability. Because of this, businesses and organizations often stay with their current infrastructure and wait until Microsoft comes out with the first Windows service pack before considering adoption of that next version of Windows in their organization or business. Consumers are a special bunch because they are the ones who really drive adoption (of that new version).

Consumers are made up of people from the business/organization crowd, the early adopter crowd, and everything in between. Most of the time, consumers don't build their own computers and are dependent on what the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) they buy their computer from offers. For example, if the OEM moves from installing Windows XP on computers they build to installing Windows Vista on computers they build, consumers mostly put up with the upgrade, but they do expect their existing hardware peripherals (like printers and mice) to work with the new operating system. Unless there is some groundbreaking change to Windows (like adding the Metro UI to Windows 8), people generally learn to live with the new operating system and all that it offers, regardless of stability, as long as everything "works".

Usually, when a new version of Windows is released, people have had to upgrade their computer hardware in order to run the new version of Windows. For most, this comes in the form of a new computer. However, Windows 8 is different. Unlike past versions of Windows, you won't have to upgrade your hardware just to run the new version of Windows and you can use your existing hardware. This presents a dilemma to consumers: should I wait and just get a new computer with Windows 8 already installed or do I want to forget about the cost of buying new hardware and just buy the upgrade to upgrade my existing installation of Windows?

For this dilemma, I offer some advice. First, what are your needs now? If what you have currently works for you, why change it? Second, what are you future computing needs going to look like? I will say that Windows 8 is more touch-friendly than previous version of Windows. The current trend in the computer world is that tablet computers (with or without stylus) are replacing laptops and desktops as primary computing devices. For some people like artists, this is a welcome change because you could use a tablet pc for your drawings instead of drawing on paper and then scanning it. For other people, like gamers or video editors, a tablet doesn't have the computing power (or good enough cooling) you need for the designated purpose. Third, how much money are you willing to invest in new hardware or software? Only buy what you need when you need it. Last, how much do you value stability? When a new version of Windows comes out, Microsoft tries to make sure it has taken care of most (if not all) of the bugs which plagued the new version during testing. For most consumers, the RTM build of Windows (in other words, the build version of Windows that is released to OEMs and retail stores) is stable enough to do your daily work. If your are uber conscious of stability, you can do the same as businesses and organizations do and wait for that first Windows service pack to be released.

Since consumers are (mostly) the ones with the money that pays for new technology, consumers drive the sales of new versions of Windows. If the consumers like something and are buying it, the company is more willing to invest more money to improve its products.

I will close by saying that if you do move to the new version of Windows, before you do ANYTHING to install it, BACKUP ANY EXISTING DATA THAT IS IMPORTANT in some way, shape, or form (!). It is a terrible scenario for someone to not backup data that a person considered important, install the new version of Windows, and then realize that important data was somehow lost when that person installed the new version of Windows. Also, no matter what, please do your homework first before buying something. If you need to, consult with a more knowledgeable person first.

If you don't want to wait and want to try out Windows 8 now (for Free), the latest preview version out, the Release Preview, is the last version before the gold release (in other words, the next build of Windows 8 will be the official released version). If you have a spare partition on your hard drive, go ahead and try it out. A reminder to always backup anything important on your hard drive before doing something major like this. Also, if you are a developer, try out the new version of Visual Studio, now with Javascript debugging capabilities as well. For those of you looking at Windows Azure development, please see

Do you agree or disagree with my position? Either way, please comment on this via the comment box below, or e-mail me at You can also comment on twitter (twitter username is @rctechgeek). Feel free to subscribe to my rss feed as well. If you like this post, please share it with your family and friends.

While you're thinking about Windows 8 or the next version of Windows that happens to come along, try some Mystic Monk Coffee (use this link or click on the picture below to access the store and purchase). Trust me, it's good coffee (in most instances, better than Starbucks coffee) and you won't regret buying some (just keep it away from your computer keyboard or laptop/tablet). For the summer, they are also offering Iced Coffee as well. If you like tea more than coffee, they also offer tea. Using the link (or picture below) to buy the coffee (or tea) helps the monks out and helps me with college expenses as well.

Feel free to try out my apps for Windows Phone: Mobile Media Manager, a media player app I made which has some features which (I feel) are missing from the system Zune player, and BSA Eagle Tracker, an app that boy scouts can use to track their progress to Eagle Scout (when the scout handbook isn't always handy). New versions of the media player with new features/bug fixes is coming within a week (most likely sooner than this, but definitely within 2 weeks) of passing Microsoft Apphub certification. The free, ad-supported version of Mobile Media Manager is now in Apphub certification, with the paid version to to be in Apphub certification by the end of this week. BSA Eagle Tracker is also getting a bug fix for an obscure bug I noticed recently.

BSA Eagle Tracker download:
Mobile Media Manager (paid, ad-free version) download:
Mobile Media Manager (free, ad-supported version) download:

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