When it comes to Windows, with the old, with the… what?
My Computerworld colleague Steven Vaughan-Nichols said last month that Windows 11 would be the end of the old-school Windows desktop and argued that Windows 11 was an unnecessary upgrade. While I agree that Windows 11 leaves me wondering exactly why I need to upgrade, I’m not sure that marks the end of desktops. (It could, however, play a part in the interest in the tablets – more on that below.)
In fact, we may already see Windows 10 like the last of the old school desktop operating systems.
Like almost every other business, big and small, I’m struggling with the high cost of upgrading to Windows 11. (I’m not talking about the software; it’s the hardware mandate of the TPM chip and processor that going to be my biggest obstacle to upgrading as I have to buy new hardware if I want most of my office to be upgraded.) Even at home I only have one machine – the Microsoft’s recent Surface Pro 7 – who can handle the upgrade. My other computers – another laptop and a home-made desktop – can’t make the jump, nor do I want to use workarounds to circumvent the security requirements.
Since software companies are always dragging their feet in offering updates for Windows 11 – for example, the Sage Accounting software does not seem to officially supports Windows 11 – it’s no surprise that after six months there’s still no huge push to migrate to 11.
Side note: When using Windows 11, the newly centered menu is not a major issue. I purposely left it in the center to see how it affects my routines, from changes to the taskbar to the menu system. I’ve found that after years of clicking on the left side of the screen to start a menu option or shut down the computer, it will clearly take a while for my brain to be retrained if I plan to keep it that way . For those for whom this is a major issue, there are a number of third-party tools and workarounds to relocate this menu and make Windows 11 a bit friendlier for longtime Windows users:
- Start11 – If you already have Start8 or Start10, you can upgrade to Start11.
- Github tool to make the taskbar match the behavior of Windows 10.
- explorer correctorAnother way to make Windows 11 taskbar work like Windows 10.
- OpenShell for Windows 11, which gives you the Classic menu.
On the Askwoody Forums, I’m starting to see more and more people asking which laptop they should buy to replace their trusted old hardware. Often, when they have an older desktop PC that works great with Windows 7, 8, or 10, they want a laptop on the go. But after being asked about specific needs, their responses point to some kind of tablet, not a laptop, as a perfect device for researching and reading news and responding to emails while mobile. There are really only two platforms: iPads or various Android tablets. As a former owner of several Surface devices (and as a current owner of a Surface Pro 7), I can say that these are wonderful portable units for IT admins. they allow me to work effectively remotely and connect to other workstations, servers, cloud platforms, etc. But if I’m waiting in the doctor’s office, I’m more likely to surf on my iPhone than pack a laptop.
When the pandemic hit two years ago and we had to make sure people could work from home, I quickly found that some people in the office didn’t have any computers or laptops at all – they were using a tablet to surf the Internet and check their e-mails. Recently, I loaned a Chromebook to a friend who still uses a flip phone. (She needed a device for Zoom meetings with her doctor.) She found that she didn’t need a Windows laptop at all; the Chromebook provided her with a supported browser and a webcam and that’s all she needed.
So if you need a portable device and in the past you went to the store and bought a laptop, reconsider your needs. Ask yourself: what do I really want to do with this device? Do I want something easy to put in my purse or take with me? Do I want to be able to entertain myself in waiting rooms and doctor’s surgeries? Do I plan to travel more now and don’t want to have to remember so many power cords and converters? If you’ve ever traveled and realized you forgot your laptop’s charging cable, you’ll quickly find that each manufacturer uses unique power supplies that make it almost impossible to find a matching cable in the laptop’s gift shop. hotel or nearby tech store. However, traveling with a tablet makes it much easier to find a suitable USB cable.
Ultimately, if the tech “thing” you love the most needs replacing, stop and think about your tech “need” instead. Replacing it with a newer version of what you have now might not be what you need in the future.
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