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Poll: What are your plans for the Windows 8 Beta?

Over the past few months, Windows 8 has been publicly demoed and discussed in detail more than any other software program I can remember. Has all that information made you more eager to try Windows 8? Or are you starting to feel post-PC ennui? Vote in my poll, and help me focus my coverage.
Over the past few months, Windows 8 has been publicly demoed and discussed in detail more than any other software program I can remember. Has all that
Technogran's profile photoNoam Gordon's profile photoEd Bott's profile photoMark Jacobs's profile photo
Voted in the poll. So far really there isn't much I care for about W8. I do really like the drive pooling though and that might be a worthy reason for upgrading as long as it works easily.
I've got a touch-screen wide-screen HP monitor for one of my machines as a sort of curiosity. I installed the Win 8 dev preview on it and played around with it - and I've got to say that clearly the metro interface works BEST with a touch interface. But there aren't a lot of All-in-One touch screen devices out there - and there are even less people who would go the route I've gone and pay extra for a smaller monitor that adds touch for their regular desktop. Add to this that Win 8 is going to have the same basic problem that WinMo 6.5 had when they tried finger-friendly GUI shells over the traditional WinMo apps that were stylus-centric - that is, even if you're running Win 8 and Win 8 apps - legacy Windows apps are still going to be mouse and pointer oriented. I think that Win 8 is necessary - but it isn't going to be well leveraged initially. It is a touch-centric model that is trying to move innovation and a new approach to interfaces along, but it is a transitionary product and there isn't enough infrastructure or momentum to support it well. We'll see more laptops and All-in-One machines with touch-screens start to trickle in - but most people are going to be spending most of their time in the traditional desktop using a mouse and pointer and ignoring the metro interface - at least initially. Until people really adopt the idea of touch-based interfaces beyond their mobile devices and tablets - I think the major shifts in Windows 8 won't have a lot of meaningful impact for most users.
+Ed Bott Excellent topic. Insight and conversations regarding Microsoft products is the primary reason I follow you on Google+.

This is actually a subject I have been giving some thought recently. With Windows 7 I installed the beta as soon as it came out on my personal laptop and shortly thereafter on every other laptop and computer my family uses (other than the Media Center PC, which waited until the final release and the holidays before I took the plunge to upgrade). We were fully Windows 7 Beta enabled. However, with Windows 8 Beta I expect to take more of a "just try it out on the side" approach, for the following reasons:

1. Windows 7 was a very compelling release based on performance improvements and functionality vs. Windows Vista.
2. I was using my personal laptop on a regular basis. Now I tend to use an iPad for 90% of my personal computing.
3. I am toying with the idea of moving to MacBooks when our latest generation of HP laptops begins to die off.

So, in short, I have become defocused from Windows vs. where I was a few years ago. Apple has succeeded in fragmenting the PC market, at least in my case.
+Michael Baacke This is exactly NOT the kind of response a Windows-centric technology writer wants to hear, I think. But it is telling. Much of the user-base that follows Ed Bott has a horse in the race on the Microsoft vs. Apple showdown - and Windows 8 and the unified metro interface across the desktop, the tablet, the mobile device and the game console is supposed to be a challenge to MS user-base being eroded by iOS and OS X (and Android) devices. Your response begs the question is Microsoft still relevant enough to have platform lock-in to be successful with this strategy? If too many users feel the latitude to move to iOS as a "gateway drug" leading to hardcore OS X use - then the outlook is not good for Microsoft outside of the enterprise.
Ed Bott
+Donovan Colbert I disagree with your characterization. I am interested in hearing the unvarnished opinions of the people who read what I write. The only horse I have in this race is the one that serves my readers best.

There's a reason I have a Mac and a PC side by side on my desk.
+Donovan Colbert I would characterize myself more as a "best of breed" user of technology, and right now I would put Microsoft in the lead in terms of its Media Center capability, Windows Home Server, and the XBox 360, all of which are key components of my home solution. In the tablet space the iPad has a clear lead and Microsoft hasn't really shown up yet. In the phone space Microsoft has some compelling capabilities, but a lot of people -- Windows users in other respects -- are indeed "locked into" the iOS ecosystem.

The desktop for me is much more up in the air. I don't see a compelling reason to switch to a Mac based upon the OS or software, but am driven more by the quality of the hardware. PC makers seem to be stepping up to the challenge a bit more in this area. A key question for me is whether transitioning from the "Windows ecosystem" in this case would be more trouble than it's worth?
Let me see if I can help you with that, Michael. :) A few years back I picked up a Mac Mini Core Duo when that model was on close-out. I wanted to see if I could go 90 days without using Windows. At that time, I was a WinMo 6.1 phone user (HTC XV6800) who relied heavily on Outlook, Exchange and Office. During this period, I transitioned to Gmail and to Google Docs, and eventually a Droid 1. By the end of it, I had broken the lock-in of Outlook and Office and realized that it didn't really matter WHAT platform I was on. At this point, I could just as easily be using an Ubuntu box for what I do. In fact, most of the most common apps I use are ubiquitously cross-platform at this point. Twitter, Facebook, Google apps, Dropbox, Calibre, and most other of my "most critical apps" support everything. So I still consider myself a Windows guy, and my household currently has 3 Win 7 boxes and a Vista box, an Ubuntu box, and the Mac Mini, plus assorted tablets and smart-phones. I use the Mac Mini most exclusively for day-to-day tasks - but there are certain roles where I still wildly prefer a Windows environment (ripping and burning CDs, managing my MP3/iTunes collection and general file management, backup and utility processes which I do to a Windows Home Server). I also have an Xbox 360 and a couple soft-modded original Xbox systems. SMB/CFIS file/resource sharing is superior on Windows platforms, although Mac handles joining a Windows workgroup fine - much better (easier and consistently trouble-free) than *nix.

As for hardware - the Mac is a pain. I've upgraded it to a 500GB HD and 2GB of ram... and it isn't user-friendly to do - by design. Their notebooks are even less user accessible. It is a well designed little box that is really nice for average computing needs - and I got it on closeout for a price that was cheaper than a similar mini-ATX PC would have cost. Honestly, inside, the components were typical PC commodity components. In fact, the original drive was a Hitachi, a brand I associate with the "Death-star" (Deskstar) line of hard drives and wouldn't buy for my DIY boxes. I think the "innately superior Apple construction" thing is a bit of a myth. Pretty post-industrial design, sure... I'll give 'em that.

You'll probably be fine if you go Mac - but you're going to probably pay a premium and you could get potentially better build quality (but maybe more spartan aesthetics) from Lenovo or other PC vendors.

Ultimately, I've realized that in this, like so many other things, "the heart wants what the heart wants". If you want a Mac and get one, you'll find reasons to think, "I'm glad I made this choice" and reasons to ignore issues that might otherwise bother you. I'm guilty of this myself. I have an ASUS Transformer and gave my wife my iPad. Recently I sat down with the iPad and went, "amazing how much smoother and more responsive this thing is than my Transformer" - but I quickly justified that trade-off with how much more freedom I have with the ASUS to do the power-tasks I want to.

The thing is... Apple is winning a LOT of hearts.
+Ed Bott I follow you as a reader. That was my unvarnished opinion. You must be aware that among your readers, many of them consider you to have a strong Microsoft bias. I don't necessarily agree with them - but your articles do have frequent and strong emphasis on things that are important in Redmond. The horse that you have in this race is represented by writing about the solutions you think would best serve those readers, right? Your opinion frequently seems to be that Microsoft products are what would serve your readers best. I don't always agree item for item, but in general, I think you make very strong arguments for those choices. You're fair and impartial, and I did not intend to imply otherwise. No offense intended, in any case, and I hope none was taken.
Ed Bott
No offense taken, +Donovan Colbert . I was simply reacting to this statement: "This is exactly NOT the kind of response a Windows-centric technology writer wants to hear, I think." I'm perfectly willing to adapt to the way my readers work, which is why I am constantly soliciting feedback.
+Ed Bott I'll be trying it out Ed and can't wait. However, I am concerned that it seems as if Windows Live Essentials is not fact, it looks as if Windows Live is down the pan, just hope I'm wrong....
My team is testing our software with win8, and they really liked the new environment so far, actually! I am just not sure how big the market will be catched there.
I couldn't fit this in a tweet so I ask here. In a Webcast you answered a question about upgrading from XP to Win 8 that in your p̶s̶y̶c̶h̶i̶c̶ psychological assessment of that user, you recommended going to Win 7 and eventually to Win 8. Then a question or 2 later you mentioned downgrade rights. Wouldn't that possibly be a better solution for the first questioner, as that way they could skip having to pay for 2 upgrade licenses?
And BTW your Webcast in Win 8, was as clear and to the point as anything could possibly be. I'm so convinced, I'm going to install it on my netbook which I use daily, but doesn't have any mission critical data. That's all backed up on the cloud.
Ed Bott
+Mark Jacobs

Thanks for those kind words and a good question. Yes, the smartest economic move in that scenario would be to purchase a Windows 8 Professional license as soon as it is available and then use downgrade rights to set your own upgrade timeline.
I see something akin to the Y2K on the horizon. About half the computers in the world are still running XP with about 23 months of support left. I think we need a serious campaign to encourage people to migrate to Win 7 or 8 while there is still time to do it smoothly. I don't see this as an end of the world scenario, just the End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine) But seriously Ed, do you know what's being done to address this?
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