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Windows 7 holdouts: Why diehard users refuse to move to Windows 10

Ian Paul | July 30, 2015
Rejoice, Windows fans. Windows 10 is finally here and it's chock full of fancy new features like Cortana, Task View, windowed modern UI apps, and the return of the Start menu. But despite the excitement--and the free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8.1 users--not everyone is willing to make the jump to Microsoft's latest and greatest operating system.

Nearly 25 percent of people we talked to via email cited WMC as the biggest reason not to move to Windows 10. That likely doesn't reflect WMC's popularity on a global or even national scale, but among the enthusiast community WMC is clearly a big deal.

The PC is not a phone

Let's be honest: Full-screen modern UI apps on Windows 8 and 8.1 just never worked on keyboard-and-mouse PCs. Microsoft improves that in Windows 10 by bringing back the Start menu and allowing apps from the Windows Store to run in a regular desktop window.

Nevertheless, some users just don't want to see the modern UI at all. "Live tiles are a deal killer for me," says Mike Winkler, an author and security technology specialist. "They are not just a bad feature, they are actively harmful to my PC experience."

Winkler says his most "mission critical" piece of equipment is a Windows 7 desktop with a multi-monitor set-up, and he doesn't want the built-in distractions that live tiles offer. "Microsoft is making the terrible mistake of thinking we want to use our laptops, workstations, and tablets for the same things," he said.

"It just doesn't feel like one unified, smooth experience," Hawaii-based computer technician and DJ Grover Inks said. "Why couldn't they have just improved the stability of Windows 7 and started adding things like the app store and new features but kept it feeling like one system?"

About those updates...

Unlike previous versions of Windows that always had a "finished" gold version, Microsoft is moving to a more iterative process, where feature updates and tweaks are continually rolled out.

But that works only if as many PCs as possible stay current with the latest updates. To that end Microsoft is doing something really new by limiting the ability of home users to decide when and how they update their machines. Windows Pro users can delay updates for up to eight months, but home users are stuck with near-immediate updates.

Many people hate this idea, particularly with Microsoft's history of bad updates that bork your system--not to mention the principle of user control. "I'm not opposed to any updates to any apps/OS's but one thing I do demand is that I control when and what those products update to," Richard Foulkes, a retiree from Mesquite, Nevada told us.

"I don't want Microsoft to force things on me that I might not want," says William Dancosse, a retiree in Vernon, Connecticut. "There has to be millions of others who feel the same way."

Some users fear Microsoft's forced updates could hit them right in the pocketbook. "I have a lot of rural customers on satellite that won't upgrade unless Windows updates can be scheduled to download between midnight and 5 A.M. when their data allowance isn't hit," Florida-based John Warren, told us on Facebook. "Even with Windows 7 you have to turn off auto-updates and schedule a script to run manual checks during off-peak hours."


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