Windows 11 will be the new Vista (or Windows 8)

Updated: September 22, 2021

I've been using Windows 10 in production for about two years now - testing it since even before the official release. Early on, my impression was that it was comparable to Windows 7. Okay. Nothing too special, new or revolutionary. Over time, this impression has changed. With subsequent semi-annual releases, I encountered issues I've never had in Windows before, mostly various system errors and bugs that speak of low quality and bad design. Then, Windows 10 would occasionally undo some of my tweaks and options, wasting my time, and forcing me to tighten the screws ever more. All in all, my outlook isn't bright or happy. Bored and exhausted by the nonsense would be the best word.

Now, Windows 11 is coming. As I've done many times in the past, I logged into my Insiders account and started testing, to see what awaits me. Right away, I found the experience quite dejecting. My early impression of Windows 11 Dev Build was mediocre at best, and it progressively got worse with each update. Different from Windows 10, though. What happened was, I found myself reliving 2011, when I tested Windows 8 and came to pretty much the same conclusions. To wit, this is what I think will unfold.

Why is Windows 11 like its (bad) predecessors?

There's that whole good-bad-good-bad Microsoft release meme thingie? Not far from the truth. You can't fault a company for trying new things, but you sure can fault them for trying failed ideas over and over. Back in 2011, they tried the whole "ZOMG Everything is Touch" on the desktop, which turned out to be a total flop. In 2021, they are trying it again, and the chances of success are even less, because at least back then, the beautiful and magnificent Windows Phone was a thing. Now, it's not. If there was one thing Microsoft should have nourished, it's the phone operating system. That was superb. Alas. Anyway.

Here's the breakdown of Windows 11 going the same way as the bad members of the family:

AMD, TPM enabled

Checking whether your computer will survive the culling ...

Empty

So much efficiency, wowzers.

Something went wrong

Something went wrong - the insistence on having an online account is what went wrong.

There are other, fresh problems, unique to Windows 11, which only compound the problem. But my approach here isn't to create a 1:1 mapping of the new to the old and vice versa. It's to shine a light to the cyclical futility of the whole effort. It's been 10 years since the same strategy was tried with Windows 8, and now, it's happening again, as though the past lessons have not been learned. Or perhaps they haven't, because hubris is such a powerful emotion. Or perhaps they have, and have been forgotten, and it's someone else's time to try brave new (and by that I mean old) ideas.

So what will happen?

I want to jot down my predictions - in a few years, I'll go back to this article, the same way I do with all my past articles, and re-read my own words, and see how right I was. So far, I've not disappointed myself too much. I only cry once a week or so.

Now, Microsoft has already messed up with my prophesizing somewhat. Just recently, it announced that will allow Windows 11 to be installed on unsupported devices, which then may or may not get security updates. This may yet change. So now, I will give you two predictions, one based on the current status, and one with an idea scenario where anyone can reliably update to Windows 11.

Crystall ball

This image is in the public domain.

If Microsoft keeps the current plan in place:

If Microsoft changes its approach and allows a 10-like update process, there will be more adoption, but it still won't be as quick as with Windows 7. The reasons are as follows:

On top of this, Microsoft will also struggle with the pushback over their new menu and the insistence on online account for the Home edition. This won't create a vibrant ecosystem of users enjoying their apps and whatnot - this will create noise and garbage. Remember, if people want touch, they ALREADY have it on their phone. Young people don't have a NEED for laptops or desktops the way dinosaurs do. And dinosaurs will not bother with this new-age Utopia. It's a wrong business model for wrong people on a wrong form factor.

And hereby I conclude my predictions.

Conclusion

The big problem that Microsoft has is that it has created the perfect ecosystem for serious work. It's called the desktop. I'm not talking about who invented the idea and all that. The simple reality is that 90% of all productivity systems are running Windows, they are used with a keyboard and a mouse, and people do serious work there. The smartphones have been around for a while now, and still no one does any real work on them. Because efficiency. Because anatomy. Because thermodynamics. That's all there is to it.

Win32 is the desktop. The desktop is Win32. Anything else is a mistake. It cannot work. You need a different form factor. AR/VR and all that. On the desktop, with a keyboard and a screen in front of your eyes, there's only one way. The same way Homo Sapiens is the only extant member of the species, so is the desktop the only viable form of use on the classic computer. Microsoft helped create this reality. It cannot undo it, without undoing itself. Remember what happened in the 90s, cough cough?

Well, now, how do you justify future work if your existing product is complete (and good)? It's like painting over a picture. At some point, you start ruining it. Technically, Windows 7 had everything the desktop should have had. A culmination of 30+ years of development in this space. Pretty robust. So now, Windows 11 is an experiment that seems to try to upset the foundations. Sometimes, very rarely, this is how progress is made, and brilliance comes through. But most often, it's noise and damage. Windows 8 already proved that. The desktop has NOT changed since. The computing world has NOT changed since. So why would the experiment with Windows 11 be any different?

Rant over, opinion character limit exceeded. Bye bye.

Cheers.

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