An open letter to Microsoft

Dear Microsoft

In the past I have been reluctant to use your operating systems, well this is a half truth to be honest. The first one I used was Windows 3.11 and at that time there was not much of a choice, Machintosh was something I had never heard of at that time. And Linux was something that was, well quite complex for a boy of 12 years (not that I did not try.)

As time passed by I tried Windows 95, Windows 98 and also briefly Windows ME. The latter one I think we all can agree was something of a mistake. Then I tried Windows 2000 and the best feature there (for me at least) was that you could finally change your IP address without rebooting.

Then came Mac OS X, and I became an Apple user; I say user because describing oneself as an Apple fan conjures images of fanatical Apple fan boys. I was not then, and am not now one of those. What I am a fan of is this; Simple interfaces, things that just work without having to fiddle to much with them. I did that enough in my youth by building computers and having to fix and repair friends and relatives’ computers.

Don’t get me wrong I still tinker with my own computer when I feel like it, but it should not be a necessity to do so in order for me to use it.

Which brings me to the not so distant past, After using Vista (both home premium and Ultimate) for some time I upgraded my computer (more like replaced but that is another story) And with it came Windows 7 (Ultimate) Which was much the same as Vista with a few tweaks as far as user experience was concerned.

TWO days ago I upgraded to Windows 8

The first night I set it up, installed applications and was ready to use it, first impressions where quite good. The start screen is refreshing. And it native Windows 8 applications that go full screen in that same style take away the clutter and distractions from what you currently are doing, which is very nice.

Then I powered down my computer, took very needed nap and tried to boot it up from its slumber (not sleep mode, just to be clear.). It would not boot, black screen with a flickering cursor was all I got. To no avail I tried to get booted into safe mode, without any success. The only course of action I had left to me was a reinstall.

This should be simple, it was not. I used my trusted old standby computer which still runs Windows XP, and clicked the download link in the e-mail I received from you. Started the download, whilst it did that I was left to ponder if it downloaded the 32bit version (which I think it did) or the 64bit (which is the one I needed) But even so I let it complete. When the download agent/Installation Helper had done what it needed to do, I got the option to install now or later, no option to make a bootable medium (USB/DVD.)

So back to my recently defunct computer. I installed Windows 7 then had to use my laptop (Macbook) to download the NIC drivers (Intel) because Windows 7 did not have default drivers for it. When all that was done I started the download of Windows 8 again. And when complete it, to my astonishment, gave me the option to make a bootable medium, I selected USB and from there made a clean install. And the rest they say is history, but not quite.

Here is what followed, and prompted me to write this letter;

After posting to twitter describing my Windows 8 troubles to @Windows someone from your tech. support staff (I presume) @WindowsSupport replied, apologised for my troubles and asked if there was anything they could help me with.

And there was, nothing major.. but none the less help was offered in quick fashion. Three hours from my initial complaint and then thereafter an average of 10–15 minutes for each reply in the conversation. And just now at the time of writing I got a reply that this was something I should call tech support for. Which is quite understandable since a somewhat complex troubleshooting does not lend itself well to twitter and it’s 140 character limit per reply.

But my final points are these, with the quick offer of help and the professional and friendly way it was offered has made my Windows 8 experience that much better, and in time I might just forget about that whole Windows ME mess.

A (semi)final note; to whomever is behind the ^JVO signature on twitter for @WindowsSupport thank you for your help. Although the issue was not resolved, you where prompt friendly and professional. Not always an easy combination. I know this since I have had quite a few tech support jobs myself.

In conclusion; You, Microsoft, have with Windows 8, and those representing it, made a product that I finally feel is comfortable to use and enjoy using. And for an operating system there is nothing more, or should be nothing more rather, to aim for. There are a few quirks to work on, but there always is regardless of what operating system one chooses.

Best regards

Sindre Sandvik

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