I often wonder where people come up with their decisions. Do you ever wonder why people make the decisions that you must live with? I mean, isn’t there a pretty solid motto “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” It not only occurs in the computing world, Microsoft specifically, but also in many other aspects of our lives. One of my favorite cars of all time is the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. I mean if I were a car, I would want to look just like this amazing automobile. Then, for some crazy reason, Chevy decided that the one car that most people can relate to and love should change looks! In 1982 Chevy changed the Camaro so much that it did not even look anything like the 1967 version. The result of this devastating change took some time to catch up to Chevy, but the result was that the Chevy Camaro was not even manufactured from 2002-2009! I think Microsoft, with their changes to Windows Server (and the client), are on the same path. I love Microsoft and understand their operating system (for the most part), but the changes that are being made make me take a step back and wonder… WHY?!
I am all for additional features in an operating system, as well as in my car. I mean, what would we do today without a GPS, digital radio tuner, heated seats, and automatic transitions in our cars? I feel the same about computers. What would our world look like if we did not have friendly GUIs, APIPA, plug and play, dynamic DNS, and UAC? These are all fantastic features that have been added to a Windows environment and operating system over the past years.
Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2, and 2012 also come with some great new features.
- Fine-grained Password Policies
- Recycle Bin GUI
- Windows Firewall with Advanced Security
There are of course more features with these operating systems, but you get the drift. However, I don’t see one reason to move GUI options, move tools within the OS, change the name of existing features, etc due to these changes.
I can’t sit here and write about all the bad stuff, without also mentioning the good stuff. Without changes that are not as efficient as they could be or changes that make tasks easier, we would never progress. Some of the best changes that Chevy made with the Camaro include:
- Traction control
- Power seats
- Digital radio, including hifi stereo
- CD changer
- Fuel injection
Microsoft has also made some great changes to features that we all need to give them credit for and be glad we have them.
- Automatic configuration of DMA, IRQ, etc (plug and play)
- DNS GUI
- Dynamic DNS
- Automatic Updates
- Device Manager
- Active Directory
- Active Directory Users and Computers
- Group Policy Management Console
- User Account Control
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
I am sure that you have your own favorite automobile feature, as well as your own favorite Windows feature that makes your life/job easier. I just list a few here to get the ball rolling and give Microsoft their pat on the back.
Of course, we as humans often focus on the bad and not the good, because it is the bad that causes us grief or discomfort. For example, I do a lot of presentations and when people come up and give me compliments, it feels good, but I also think that is my job to make people happy. However, if I receive 50 compliments and only one negative complaint, it is the negative complaint that I focus on. We all are built this way and when it comes to cars and our operating systems, we behave the same way.
When Chevy made the Camaro in 1967, there was no question that it was a hit. It had power, comfort, and looks. Chevy continued with this common look and feel for a few years, then made a few minor tweaks. Figure 1 is a 1967 Camaro, where Figure 2 is a 2nd Generation Camaro from 1970.
Figure 1: 1967 Camaro
Figure 2: 1970 Camaro
You can see the slight changes to the car, but you can tell it is the same vehicle model. Then, for some odd reason, in 1982 Chevy made radical changes to the Camaro and the result is Figure 3.
Figure 3: 1982 Camaro
Not only did the Camaro look and feel change, but the quality went to heck. The body was weak, the power was not there, and the car spent a ton of time in the shop. The changes were so horrific, that in 2003 Chevy stopped making the classic Camaro and you could not get a new one. Chevy enthusiasts complained and asked for the original Camaro to be built. That was not 100% possible, but in 2008 Chevy recreated the Camaro, making it look very similar to the 1967 version, which can be seen in Figure 4.
Figure 4: 2008 Camaro
Microsoft has done similar mistakes with Windows and the features that are available in them. We are in that 1982 era of Camaro with our Windows operating system and features. There have been many changes that are just not welcome, desired, understood, or wanted. For example:
- “Add Remove Programs” is now “Programs and Features”
- For Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, logging off or shutting down no longer confirms the task, causing an immediate shut down if the option is errantly clicked
- For Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, the Start bar and Start button is no longer available
- For Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, it is nearly impossible to find the location to shut down the computer
- For Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, the “Metro” view for a desktop just does not make sense
I know that auto and operating system makers claim that they do studies to discover what needs to be changed and how to change them. However, I find that very hard to believe. I don’t know anyone that likes the 1982 look of the Camaro over the 1967 look. I don’t know anyone that prefers the “Metro” view of icons over a Start bar (that we have had since 1995! The Rolling Stones introduced us to the Windows 95 Start bar with their hit “Start me up”.
As you get more involved with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, you will find that it is harder to do your job, since things are no longer the same. I am not against change, I am against change for no reason. When studies are done asking older generation users, with no computing experience to try to perform tasks on a Windows 8 computer and they can’t do it, that is a huge issue. When a seasoned, computer generation computing expert is asked to do simple tasks on a Windows 8 computer and it takes hours to figure out how to do it, that is not a good thing. I truly feel that Microsoft is getting further away from benefiting the user experience and closer to the demise of Windows, like Chevy did with the Camaro! I beg that Microsoft stop making changes that don’t make sense.