Ménage à trois .. Which side are you on?

Published on: Author: Mike Hall Leave a comment

Linux and Mac supporters can stand down. It’s not that you don’t count, even if you actually don’t, so don’t take offence. Windows is now pitching against Windows.


In one corner is Windows XP, stable and fast but not slick and not secure either. It is still a hot favourite with many users, and considered the standard by which all others shall be judged for ever more.


In another corner is Windows 7, slick, stable and secure. It is the apex of the classic Windows operating system. Without being picky, it is instantly recognisable as Windows and is the ideal desktop and laptop operating system


On one of the other  sides is Windows 8, slick, stable and secure. The look of the interface has roots in the Microsoft XBox interface, and it is ready for touch.


So what is it about Windows XP?


  1. It will run almost any software, going back as far as Windows 95.
  2. Virtually every peripheral device made since Windows 98 is supported.
  3. It has a very capable, if slightly unstable, email client.
  4. It is fast and furious.

This is a hard act to follow. Vista couldn’t do it..


And Windows 7?


  1. It will run way more aging software than we have a right to expect.
  2. It is arguably as fast as XP.
  3. Security is better than it has ever been.
  4. Features like System Restore are finally reliable.

Part of Windows 7 security comes from the exclusion of anything 16-bit. The exclusion of 16-bit cuts out a lot of software from the Windows 95 era. It also has no email client, not even Windows Mail, successor to Outlook Express, and Outlook Express will not run in Windows 7. Apart from these points, Windows 7 is arguably the best desktop OS ever to come out of Redmond, and may hold that title for many years to come.. 


Finally, Windows 8..


  1. It is the first to fully encompass ‘Touch’ computing.
  2. It attempts to unify the traditional PC with smartphones and tablets by introducing the concept of small ‘apps’.
  3. Custom System Refresh is something that ALL Windows versions should have had.
  4. It is fast, especially booting to the modern UI and coming out of hibernation.

Trouble is that ‘out of the box’ is a real shock and little of it is what you might call intuitive. It has a desktop side which, with the addition of a third party Start Menu , gives it the usability of Windows 7. Bad press is never good, as Vista can attest, and Windows 8 is getting a fair bit.


There are some who believe that Windows 8 should be used entirely from the new menu. They can believe whatever floats their boats.


Were it not for the fact that I support Windows in the the Microsoft Community Forum, I would probably have stayed with Windows 7. I don’t need the overhead of ‘Touch’, many of the apps are restrictive and of little use to me, and I have lost one or two features which were important to how I work. Stardock’s Start8 has made my life way easier than Microsoft were prepared to do, and Windows 8 and I are co-existing well for the most part.


I guess that I am for Windows 8 DESKTOP now. There is still enough of the classic Windows present, Quick Launch plus Start8, for me to see it as just another OS which melds the hardware together into a usable form. I even upgraded my PC prior to 8’s release, such that I could at least handle Windows 9 and maybe even Windows 10 when the time comes.


My vote: Windows 8 with the addition of a 3rd party start menu.


And yours is? …………………….

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