Microsoft Hopes Customers Forget the Past by Skipping to Windows 10

NEWS ANALYSIS: Microsoft makes the technical preview of Windows 10 available to anyone who dares to use it. But to borrow a concept from the Mythbusters cable show, don't try this at home. This is for experts.

Windows 10 Thoughts

NEW YORK—The advent of Windows 10 took the press room at the Interop trade show here by storm. Partly because the show had reached an all-time level of boring, and partly because the news out of Microsoft was actually pretty important. But of course serious discussions didn’t start until we had our way with Microsoft.

“Windows 10,” one wag said thoughtfully. “If it was Apple it would be ‘Windows X’ wouldn’t it?” He thought for a minute. “Say, we should call it Wind – X!” he said, chuckling to himself.

I thought about the comparison between Microsoft’s major new announcement and a bottle of blue window cleaner. “It cleans Windows,” I said quietly, hoping no one would notice. Then more loudly, “I notice they skipped Windows 9.”

Microsoft likely made a smart move in taking an extra-large leap to Windows 10. At least it won’t seem like a natural follow-on. There’ll be some space to help customers forget about what a dismal a failure Windows 8 was.

Windows 10 (or should we call it Wind–X?) may be Microsoft’s most important Windows update at least since Windows 7. The company suffered a significant black eye when enterprise users found that Windows 8 was such a huge productivity sink that most of them simply refused to buy it.

It got so bad that major enterprise computer vendors continued to offer Windows 7 long after the time Microsoft originally wanted to stop selling it, harking back to the days when PC makers keep shipping their products with the venerable Windows XP long after the disappointing Windows Vista arrived on the market.

In fact, I was able to order Windows 7 instead of Windows 8 when I bought an HP Professional Workstation just a few months ago. It should have been obvious to Microsoft that enterprise users weren’t going to suddenly change their installed base of computers to touch-screen devices just for the sake of doing what Microsoft thought was the next big thing.

But now at least you can get a look at Windows 10. It’ll be a preliminary, very early beta version, but you can see what Microsoft has in mind. It’s important to be aware that this is very much a work in progress. Microsoft can change its corporate mind about what it wants Windows 10 to be any time it wishes.

eWEEK’s Pedro Hernandez gives you an early look at what Microsoft is letting out the door now, but to actually get your hands on the code to try it out, you first have to join the Windows Insider Program to get started.

But before you rush headlong into installing Windows 10, take a few minutes to read the FAQ that Microsoft has produced. You’ll notice that this is the part where the Windows team should have brought out Adam and Jamie from Mythbusters to tell you about only doing this with experts. Yes, Microsoft wants you to be an expert before you try Windows 10.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...