Windows 9 Needs to Reach Business Users Sooner Rather Than Later

NEWS ANALYSIS: Windows 8.1 works just fine if you have a touch screen laptop or a tablet, but for real work on a desktop or business laptop you need something with an interface meant for a real computer.

As I write this, I can see the dual progress bars crawling with seeming infinite slowness across the screen attached to the Hewlett-Packard workstation on my right.

I keep wondering how a computer that's supposed to be so fast seems to be installing Windows 7 so slowly. Yes, that's right, a computer I've had for three days now will be running Windows 7 once the installation is complete.

But you might recall that I'm the guy who kind of liked Windows 8? If so, you are correct. But a couple of years of using a touch-based interface on computers without touch screens has a corrosive effect.

After my review of Microsoft's then-new OS, I went out and bought a couple of copies, installing one on an HP P6 desktop and the other on a rather elderly HP xw4200 32-bit workstation with dual monitors. Both are solidly in the keyboard-and-mouse camp.

Once the update to Windows 8.1 came out, allowing you to boot directly into the Windows Desktop rather than the Start Screen, the computers became more usable. How usable? One machine resides in the lab and is used only for testing where it's necessary to confirm that things actually do work with Windows 8.

The other sits in the middle of my office where it's available to visitors and relatives who need a computer and the Windows 8 user interface works surprisingly well to discourage unnecessary or frivolous use.

The only other sign of Windows 8 around here is on a Surface tablet, where it works pretty well, and on other tablets that I receive for review, where it also works well. Clearly, Windows 8 is a dandy solution for working with touch-based computers.

But then there's this newly arrived dual Xeon powerhouse in the form of an HP Z620 professional workstation. This one is here because its predecessor failed so miserably at the simple task of doing things like "operating," that it was replaced under warranty.

No, it's not running Microsoft's latest operating system even though it's one of HP’s latest and fastest computers. The reason is that I use a keyboard and a mouse for my work, whether it's writing stuff for eWEEK or running Adobe PhotoShop or LightRoom. And yes, I could have asked for Windows 8 when I bought the computer, but I chose Windows 7. Productivity is very important to me and Windows 8 doesn't do anything to help productivity.

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...