back to article Windows 8 'sales' barely half as good as Microsoft claims

Microsoft claimed last week that it's made '100 million' Windows 8 sales and the claim has been widely repeated. But channel feedback and the experience on the ground point to a very different picture. The Guardian's Charles Arthur has made a stab at estimating the true figure, and suggests it's much less, at between 57 …


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  1. AndyC

    I agree...

    I've got a non-touch Windows 8 laptop (high spec cos I perform Monte carlo calcs on it) and I wish I had bought W7 instead.

    I really miss the Start menu. It was my single port of call for all my programs. I listed them all. Now I have to open a search box and type in the name (if I remember what it was) to get to my program (especially the former built in ones, like calc or paint!)

    Viewing photographs is also a pain. I open the photo, and get the metro application opening. I minimise it, and it's gone! Nothing in the task bar, so I have to go to Explorer and open the photo again.

    Sometimes, and I don't know whether this is the computer itself, or Windows, but I am using the trackpad and I suddenly get the widget/gadget/whatever thing appearing at the side of the screen. WTF? All I did was move teh mouse pointer to another part of the screen (and not the corner either!).

    All in all, I find Windows 8 to be very frustrating. I can't find anything and the reliance on a Microsoft account is also annoying.

    Not impressed.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: I agree...

      I really miss the Start menu. It was my single port of call for all my programs. I listed them all. Now I have to open a search box and type in the name (if I remember what it was) to get to my program (especially the former built in ones, like calc or paint!)

      That's a common problem. Or at least it used to be. Then someone brought GUIs to PCs and the problem went away.


    2. Shadow Systems

      Re: I agree...

      At least You can *See* the UI to try & figure out WTF is going on.

      Close your eyes, and attempt to navigate that bastard child of an MC Escher & Rube Goldberg nightmare entirely by the Audio Cues it gives you.

      Now you've got the barest inkling of an idea of what it's like as a Blind/VI Windows 8 user.

      Not much fun, is it?


    3. jacobbe

      Re: I agree...

      problem solved with one easy download from....

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: I agree...

        Hit the windows key and you see a huge start menu listing all your applications... you don't have to type anything beyond hitting the windows key

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: I agree...

          That's the problem - it lists ALL your applications.

          Install visual studio and that spy tool (to check for COM messages in MFC apps running in console mode ) appears before the IDE

          1. Mark Allread

            Re: I agree...

            "That's the problem - it lists ALL your applications"

            No it doesn't, it lists all the ones that are pinned to your start menu.. You can then arrange them, group them, add and remove them as you see fit.

            1. Keith 72

              Re: I agree...

              You could create a new Toolbar on your taskbar, select the folder C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu and it'll give you most of you need, just not as easily/conveniently as a Start Menu!

            2. Tim Bates

              Re: I agree...

              "You can then arrange them, group them, add and remove them as you see fit."

              No crap. Or you could have them grouped by the publisher into little "folders" so that all the pieces of one "app" are grouped together... Oh wait. That wouldn't be "modern", would it?

              Also, you could arrange, group, add and delete Start Menu entries a long time ago (Win95+IE4?). Strange thing is that most people didn't arrange them, and it just turned into a mess of entries based on the order they were installed. Which is why they dropped that again in Vista.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I agree...

        Problem not solved. That is humouring them.

        They should instead be sacked instead of given leeway to pretend that they were a success, because other people pay money to force themselves to waste time finding workarounds to the shit they've just bought.

        1. lightknight

          Re: I agree...

          I think they were rolling with the 'fake it until you make it' style of thinking. If they just put out enough good chatter about Windows 8, and maintained it long enough, it would, in time, demolish the 'hump' of old biases, and everyone would embrace the new interface, praising it as the new way of doing things. Very marketing, very psychological, very wrong. They made the same mistake that venture capitalists complain about when interviewing potential candidates -> you need to be profitable from day one, or, in this case, the interface needs to sell itself from the get go. Techs need to pickup a copy of the new Windows 8 interface, and find that it scratches an itch they didn't even knew they had....something like buying a new car, pressing a button, and finding a drinks dispenser / ice chest.

          And the techs have been telling MS, since day one, that Windows 8 not only did not do that for them, but that it went in the other direction. The computer industry would have been happy with Windows 8 being Windows 7 SP3, and paid for the privilege of running it. See, this is how bad MS messed this up...they took something that worked, made it worse, then publicly denounced everyone that said so, right up until the larger players started weighing in, then MS started backing off....long after antagonizing everyone in the industry.

    4. David Simpson 1

      Re: I agree...

      use Classic Shell - Easy!

    5. Anonymous Coward

      Re: I agree... In all honesty BUT...

      The truth is that Microsoft's "innovation" stopped at XP and Office 2003.

      There are sort of fundamental things, like hammers and nails.. that once they reach a certain degree of technical proficiency, any improvements from then on, are generally cosmetic.

      And really, Office 2007 and the IDIOT non removable ribbon, was just window dressing on a shit product.

      Docxs ? was just a way to force all the people without the newest version of MS Office, to go and upgrade to the latest version.

      Windows 8? In looking at XP, how many REAL technical improvements, were genuinely needed to move the product with the times and advances in technology, security and functionality?

      Without getting too hair splitty - underneath all the hype and bullshit, it's probably about the same as giving your car a full service, with a grease and oil change, new plugs, filters and a clean up.

      In other words, not a lot.

      From XP and Office 2003 onwards, 95% of these "improvements" have been made solely to keep people on the upgrade tread mill.

      The Microsoft Operating System, and MS Office, kind of reached their technical epoch, just like the Hammer and the nails did, a long time ago.

  2. Jess

    I only know one person using windows 8

    But then I can't think of anyone else who has bought a new computer recently, that hasn't been a Mac.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I only know one person using windows 8

      Looking at OS stats on Steam, Windows 8 64-bit in third place (behind Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit), so I think there are more people using it than you realise.

      1. Daniel B.

        Steam OS stats

        "Looking at OS stats on Steam, Windows 8 64-bit in third place (behind Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit), so I think there are more people using it than you realise."

        Windows 7 64-bit 54.18%

        Windows 7 13.39%

        Windows 8 64-bit 10.86%

        Windows XP 32-bit 8.25%

        Windows Vista 64-bit 4.45%


        Win8 might have a third place, but the two places above Win8 take 67.57% of the cake, vs. 11.65% for Win8. (I'm adding the measly 0.74% for Windows 8 32-bit.)

    2. Number6

      Re: I only know one person using windows 8

      My brother-in-law recently bought a new computer. He opted for a store-brand one that shipped with Win7 rather than Win8, and the guy in the shop noted that there is still a clear preference for Win7 which is why it's standard on their own-brand PCs.

    3. Simon Barker

      Re: I only know one person using windows 8

      @ Jess

      They bought Macs? No doubt they'll be on here shortly complaining about the lack of a Start button too.

      1. Daniel B.

        @Simon Barker

        The difference is, of course, that on OSX you're changing the UI paradigm to the one that MS originally ripped off anyway. Instead of a Start menu, you get Spotlight (search for apps), the Apple menu (for system-wide stuff) and the Dock.

        Oh, and if you have to use Office, even with the latest 2011 version you still have MENUS. You know, the ones that MS excised in the Windows version. Yes, 2011 has the Ribbon, but it is less annoying as it doesn't take that much space as in Windows and you can bypass it mostly thanks to the menus.

        Thanks to Windows 8, jumping to OS X is now less painful than jumping into the Fabulous Fred toy OS...

    4. Anonymous Coward


      Same here, only a few use it and everyone I know who does immediately installed a 'start menu replacement'. Most of the people around me who were still on XP bought Windows 7 instead (a few of them because of me; I warned them that if they waited too long they couldn't buy Win7 anymore even if they wanted to).

      I'm much more curious how much Windows 7 has sold in the past months. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the 'sale spike' Microsoft was hoping to get with Windows 8 actually happened with Windows 7.

    5. Daniel von Asmuth

      Re: I only know one person using windows 8

      And how many people do you suppose run both Windows and Mac OS or Linux or something occasionally?

      1. James O'Shea

        Re: I only know one person using windows 8

        "And how many people do you suppose run both Windows and Mac OS or Linux or something occasionally?" Quite a few. including myself.

        i don't do Win 8, though.

  3. Anonymous Custard


    I used to think you could convert a lot of things [to an all-in-one smartphone] but I'm older and wiser, I think. You end up with a 'spork' - a combination of a spoon and a fork. It's no good as a spoon and no good as a fork.

    They do actually exist (an example being the Splayd, and ironically they're actually quite good for the job.

    As for the software, one has to wonder why there isn't any kind of industry-standard way to judge this. Or would that be too simple and straightforward rather than allowing all the trickery and marketing wordplay that now goes on?

    1. Fat Northerner

      Re: Splayd

      I thought it was the viners splade.

      1. Philip Lewis

        Re: Splayd

        Indeed, I remember the adverts as a child.

        I personally think that it is correctly a "runcible spoon"

  4. hplasm


    There's nothing wrong with sporks- they do a good job as a spoon, and a reasonable fork impression.

    Win 8 on the other hand...

    1. Bill the Sys Admin

      Re: Spork!

      Yes the spork takes a decent stab at being both......see what i did there ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Spork!

        Did you just invent the sporkife?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Didn't we all know this.

    As quite clearly when Microsoft claimed 100m Windows 8 systems, that should have rung alarm bells, considering no businesses are using, and consumers are desperate to downgrade.

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Didn't we all know this.

      As quite clearly when Microsoft claimed 100m Windows 8 systems

      What they mean is they ordered their OEMs to purchase 100M W8 licenses. The OEMs have no choice, when M$ say jump they don't stop to think about whether they'll be allowed to land.

    2. Anonymous Сoward

      Re: Didn't we all know this.

      and consumers are desperate to downgrade.

      Which customers are these? last time I checked, only nerds could reinstall an older operating system anyway, unless they're taking their PCs in to be downgraded.

      The vast majority probably wouldn't even notice if Windows 3.1 was installed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Didn't we all know this.

        The vast majority probably wouldn't even notice if Windows 3.1 was installed.

        Okay, who is the MS tard who keeps downvoting anything against their redmond friend?

        The aforementioned quote is the truth, doesn't matter how downvotes it gets from MS sales droids.

        If you actually worked in the PC repair business, I'm sure you'd understand.

  6. Richard Jones 1

    Have MS Created the Spife?

    The Spife is a combination of the spoon and the knife.

    Unlike the spork the spoon part works, but its sharply ground knife edges cut everything that they contact.

    This makes it hard to use for eating as the food slips out of the now lacerated mouth; additionally when you drop it in pain, it cuts everything else, especially wildly optimistic estimates of its popularity. If dropped in the wrong way it may also decimate future population forecasts!

    1. Albert Hall

      Paris calling

      Surely what they have brought forth is the Fune. "Will you 'and me ze Fune, please?"

  7. Shagbag
    Thumb Up


    This is a good one that'll out the MSFT astroturfer/apologists on El Reg.

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: Astrobait

      JDX already bit the bait, now just waiting for mmeier and the "AC" army to appear.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Astrobait

      @Shagbag: Have you stopped beating your wife?

      (ie: you suggest that everyone who has anything positive to say about MS is an astroturfer. That said, do you think that an astroturfer would comment anonymously?)

  8. Schultz

    But they'll fix it...

    by not offering Office for Android or iPads.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: But they'll fix it...

      Then more and more people will realise that MS Office is not really vital to what they are doing.

      If I worked for MS in their Office division, I'd be trying to put it on more and more platforms. That would be the only way to keep the revenue stream up if the volumes of windows sales was declining. Sadly and after a few chairs had been thrown the politics of MS would prevail and the head honcho of the Office division starts to think seriously about giving it all up and growing garlic for a living (Garlic to ward off the MS Ghouls)

  9. gerryg

    spork spork spork

    Possibly Windows 8 was cooked up in this kitchen:

  10. Mystic Megabyte


    I bought this HP laptop as a bargain downgrade from Vista to XP pro.

    XP now lives in a VM and is rarely used. I do not plan to buy any more MS products.

  11. Kevin Johnston

    Good observation

    I think the 'spork' comment is the best parallel here. There will be people for whom the Windows 8 experience goes well but they will be people with a fairly light requirement who would probably have been equally happy with almost any offering (Apple/Linux/Generic tablet etc).

    The problem comes with people who put some serious mileage on their PC through a variety of paths be it spreadsheets or large documents or even just gaming. These people will not be happy with the Windows 8 experience and mostly because it does things differently for no significant gain. It may well be that the hardware requirement is lower, it may even be that it boots faster or makes perfect toast but the effort to either relearn how to get to everything or to remap all the functions to where you expect them to be is just too great.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Good observation

      I use my PC about 12 hours a day for software development and I don't have a problem with W8... granted I don't use much of the Metro stuff but neither does it get in my way.

      1. David Hicks
        Thumb Down

        Re: Good observation

        Anecdata is not evidence....

        My non-techy father hates it, possibly more than he hated vista. Of course to him it's the computer that's evil rather than the interface, so the Vista laptop was horrible, the Win 7 all-in one was perfectly pleasant and "this stupid new machine doesn't seem to do anything properly". I must admit it took me ages to do anything on it either, and I had to resort to poking around in the program files directories to try to figure out what was installed on the damn thing. I had a better time with Unity and that's saying something.

        I have a techie friend who's been evaluating it under the MSDN license too. His got stuck in an update loop. Update, fail, reboot, revert, update, fail...

        So there you go, two or three counterpoints to "it works well for me".

        1. Mark Allread

          Re: Good observation

          "So there you go, two or three counterpoints to "it works well for me"."

          Well it works great for me, on a number of PCs. People who have trouble with it are generally idiots of people resistant to change.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Good observation

            I've used every version from MS-Dos up, even a bit of Millenium edition. I've always got on with them. (And CP/M before that, and BBC Micro before that and currently Linux MINT )

            But Win 8 on a desktop is a right royal pain and I hate it.

            And I'm not an idiot, Unlike the d***head who throws that kind of comment out

        2. Daniel B.

          And for the actual, corporate data

          Our clients skidded all purchasing orders to a halt when Windows 8 came out. This is in spite of an XP to Windows 7 migration project going on corporate-wide in at least one of our clients. And I'd like to note, the project is still Windows XP to Windows 7 migration. Windows 8 is banned from corporate premises. Only one exception was made for a consultant who was hoodwinked into buying Win8. Said consultant has since switched back to Win7 because Win8 blows.

          For the clients I'm talking about, this would be a "sample size" of at least 2500 users. Not one of them wants Windows 8. The real idiots are Sinofsky and whoever thought the Metro/Modern UI was a good idea to force upon Windows users.

          On my side, I congratulate Microsoft, as they ended up making me switch to Mac, even though I hate Apple's wall garden policies and Jobs dick moves and control freakery that seem to still haunt the company, even 2 years after his death. At least Apple seems to be better at testing the waters on UI changes.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Good observation

      Put simply, anything that gets in the way of my (very computer literate) kid getting her A level work done efficiently, for the reasons well comented upon already, is a big FAIL as far as I'm concerned.

  12. Terry 6 Silver badge


    "the desktop, non-touch version of Windows is much more cumbersome than it needs to be".

    Just wasn't thought through.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes sense

    I have seen literally nobody using a Windows 8 machine. I have seen countless advertisements for it, however, as well as a lot of ipads and a smaller number of Android tabs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Makes sense

      I don't travel by train very often, but the other day I did and I saw a chap using Win8 on his laptop. Not only are the coloured tiles very distinctive, they are so big that when he opened his contacts list, I could read the names from half-way down the carriage.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surface RT

    Saw my first one yesterday, in Curry's. Wonder why it took so long for it to appear?

    It looked nice but for some reason they didn't think to switch it on and show off Windows 8. The salesman seemed more interested in blocking access to it and yacking to another waste of space.

    So if you wanted to see Windows 8 in action you were pretty much restricted to non-touch laptops, which of course show off the pointlessness of the UI without touch. And the fact that the store is a ghost-town these days tends to suggest I'm not alone in that opinion.

    I think the 'Fail' icon would be redundant.

  15. Sil
    Thumb Down

    OOMA number

    Yet another Out of My A.. Number (C) (R) which totally ignores the many paid upgrades and licenses sold directly by Microsoft at an unheard-before low price. Almost as ridiculous as the $100 million poor Musk lost with a single negative review.

    StatCounter & Netmarketshare are interesting but they have a way too small samples of sites and extrapolate too much, in the same way Nielsen should strongly increase its sample size, there really is no excuse in this age of Big Data.

    In addition MS is talking about sold licenses not licenses actively used. In the same way many companies are communicating on number of downloads, not number of active use.

  16. jubtastic1

    Competing with themselves

    Do they give win7 away for free or does selling a win8 licence with downgrade rights actually make MS more money than if win8 was popular?

    Because if its the latter then I can totally understand why every other release sucks balls.

    1. Cpt Blue Bear

      Re: Competing with themselves

      Neither. Pro version licenses come with "downgrade" rights. Have done since XP(?). You have to sort out media and drivers and (possibly, I've never had to myself) call MS for a working license key. Fortunately, vendors who want to sell their kit into a business environment generally ship it with a suitable disc image to load.

      So, MS make the same regardless of what OS you install and you can relax.

      I'd be interested to see what proportion of those licenses "sold" have downgrade rights. My experience is that a large propportion of those are exercised.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Commentard-sourced shelfware

    As posters on another thread noted, many may have Windows 8 licenses that have been purchased but not used. Maybe the reg should run a poll through which it would be possible to collect info on how many licenses have been purchased/installed/downgraded. e.g. in our case there are 2 licenses sitting on the shelf / 0 installed / 0 downgrade installs.

    Posted from a Vista-licensed machine running an XP downgrade...

  18. Danny 5

    If Windows 8 is a spork

    Why are people that are actually using it so happy about it? I've not used it myself, so i'm not the right person to judge, but the vast majority of people i know who use windows 8 are more then happy to use it and claim it's superior to windows 7.

    I'm not entirely sure that all the bad press is due to it being a spork, i think it's due to all those people who haven't used it, but think they need to judge based on what they read.

    I'm going to go with the only reliable source there is, the users and they seem to be perfectly happy with it.

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: If Windows 8 is a spork

      The people I know of who are happy with W8 have installed third party stuff on it to make it look like W7.

      1. Philip Lewis

        Re: If Windows 8 is a spork

        I just installed Classic Start Menu on a WinServer2012 machine. Now I can find stuff.

        TIFKAM is pointless on a server at best. I did not install the OS on this machine, but the default pale blue colour scheme (like the new Windows logo) I seem to have is offensive to my sensibilities and in fact functionally useless.

        Try viewing the new whizz-bang Task Manager. Look at the CPU monitor and set it to show kernel times (hint, not on the menu any more, so right click the moving graph).

        Compare and contrast with the WinSer2008R2 version.

        Tell me, in all honesty. This is an improvement?

    2. Mr Spock

      @Danny 5

      Why are North Koreans so happy about Kim Jong-Un? Must be because he's better than Kim Jong-Il?

      Logic FAIL (pending Eadon)

      1. Danny 5
        Thumb Down

        Re: @Danny 5

        Ah yes, that's a completely valid comparison.....


        Kim Jong Un is Windows 8, you have to love him/it, or you'll be sent to prison camp.

        No really, i can totally see the relation there.

    3. regorama

      Re: If Windows 8 is a spork

      Well... You have 2 groups of people: The ones who like 8, and the ones who don't.

      Those who like, use it, and well... like it. You consider these as acceptable data.

      Those who don't like it... guess what? They don't use it. But because they don't use it, they do not count as a reliable source for you.

      Do you notice any problems with that line of reasoning?

      1. Danny 5

        Re: If Windows 8 is a spork

        And how, pray tell, is someone NOT using windows 8 a valid source? I've not used it and refrain from commenting on it, because i simply know too little about the OS. People who know too little about the OS, because they didn't use it, are not a reliable source.

        Why doesn't that make sense to you? if you don't drink coffee and never have, would you be a good person to judge on how good certain coffee beans are? If you've been driving a Volkswagen your whole life and never driven a BMW, would you consider yourself a reliable source for information on BMW's?

        1. regorama

          Re: If Windows 8 is a spork

          Uhh... let me be more direct... Obviously it is necessary.

          First, that hypothetical someone may have tried and hated it, and duly returned to another os. Not using it (in the present tense) does not disqualify one from passing judgement.

          Secondly, I did not ever drive a trabant either, and I mostly had fiat or renault derivatives, but I can guess what a junk a trabant is when I see one, and how superior a mercedes is compared to the ones I drive.

          Your reference sample of people actively using win8 is biased. For once, it may (I don't say "does") contain mostly ignorant people who can't discern a good os from a bad one. Or they may be inherently happy types, and when you give them junk, they may pull a Pollyanna with it.

          Therefore, we have to fix the bias of the sample. Disqualifying people who do not use the OS is not the way to go.

        2. Paul Shirley

          Re: @Danny 5 - "how is someone NOT using windows 8 a valid source"

          Win8 fanbois started pushing this line long before Win8 launched. There's not a single thread anywhere about Win8 where complaints aren't casually dismissed 'because you haven't used it enough/at all'. Even now, 6 months after launch it's only slowed down, there's still always a trickle of denial.

          Here's a clue: after using it since the launch day my opinion has changed very little and is *more negative*

          Everything I expected to dislike before using it, I do indeed dislike, only tolerable because most of the worst offences can be avoided or patched around.

          Summed, the performance and feature improvements are roughly balanced by the things they broke in the desktop mode. Some breakage sucking away most of the speed improvement.

          My USB devices work better (or more accurately don't bring Win8 to a grinding halt like under XP) but less of my hardware works at all. Win8 driver support is fscking appalling, with a download service stocked with obsolete and/or broken drivers.

          As time passes I continue to find more bugs and annoyances, Win8 suffers the usual gradual Windows slowdown and my opinion continues to slowly worsen. If I didn't want more than 4Gb RAM and plugging my phone in didn't crash XP, I'd switch back. (Being able to use more than 4Gb RAM means the one compelling Win8 feature of better use of RAM doesn't matter!)

        3. Mr Spock

          Re: If Windows 8 is a spork

          I've never used heroin, therefore according to that 'logic' I'm not entitled to have an opinion on it.

          And before you start squealing 'oh hur hur, of course Windows and heroin is a valid comparison', have a little think about the similarities on how customers are acquired and then retained.

          1. Danny 5

            Re: If Windows 8 is a spork

            Acording to my logic, that disqualifies you as a source for the quality of heroin. Are you telling me you disagree with that?

            Come on people, i'm not even saying that windows 8 is the best OS ever, obviously it has flaws and removing the start button wasn't a smart move. All i'm saying is that i have a hard time believing it's as bad as a lot of people, people who either haven't used, or hardly used, are trying to make us believe. The analogies i made are irrefutable, yet people feel my logic is flawed?

            The people dwelling el Reg are mostly techies and i hold many in high regard, but the responses i'm getting here are starting to become outright silly.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: If Windows 8 is a spork

              @Danny 5 - I tend to agree with you, I currently use Linux, AIX, RHEL, Win7, Win8 and all versions of Win Server from 2003 and Mac OS-X. I just don't have a problem with Win8, but I do notice that there is a strong willingness amongst people commenting here (and over at /.) for it to be rubbish, a willingness which results in people making some pretty embarrassing mistakes. The constant refrain that there is no desktop, being top of the list. A more telling comment the other day, someone produced a two line command they said was required to switch on the "Computer" icon on the desktop, despite the option to switch it on being in the same place since Win Vista.

              The general mindset seems to be "It's shit, I can't instantly work out how to do x,y or z" and giving up, rather than bothering to actually work out how it works.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If Windows 8 is a spork

            @Mr Spock - I used to work with some addiction councillors let me assure you that you can have an opinion about Heroin, but if you haven't used it or been addicted to it, your opinion doesn't really count for much. You can observe a few things about it, but unless you know about it first hand, your opinion doesn't count for that much.

    4. Simon Barker

      Re: If Windows 8 is a spork

      @ Danny 5

      Well el Reg is relentlessly anti Microsoft and opinions do differ but in all fairness I think there are some glaring mistakes in Windows 8 despite being on the pro side of the argument.

      Where Microsoft failed was in not providing a full desktop and metro experience, the loss of the start button is unimportant but thrusting into a halfway house where some stuff opens in desktop and some stuff opens in Metro makes for an unpleasant and slightly confusing user experience.

      Take the poster at the top talking about opening photos and being stuck with the Metro app which doesn't really fit into the desktop, easily fixed by associating the extension with the desktop app but why should they have to? Microsoft could have easily just given us the choice of how we like to use Windows and provide us with apps for both sides but they went a lazy/sloppy route instead. To further the problem some of their biggest software is coming out only in Metro mode (like Skype) and I could understand that if the Metro side of things was fully featured but even after all these months we're still waiting on a number of the biggest apps to make it to Windows.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not as bad as all that

    I have it on a mobile workstation from HP, and an old Dell D630. Considering the variety of hardware it's running on, I have to say, it's not half bad. Of course, it will always be Windows, and therefore will always be a bag of hurt (you do get the impression that no-one at Microsoft cares about quality).

    It's faster than 7 on old hardware. Once you have StartisBack, then you can pretty much get Metro out of your face, frankly, it takes a bit longer to set the system to your preferences, but frankly, didn't we always do that with a new computer? It takes me a day to get all the settings right, so this adds maybe a couple of more minutes.

    Frankly, if anything, Microsoft haven't done enough to keep up with the times.

  20. nuked

    Used it. It's shite.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Use it quite often. It's not.

      1. 1Rafayal

        I will chime in here as well, I use it everyday on my personal laptop. It works OK, it isn't shite.

      2. James O'Shea

        It is

        My current laptop, an Asus A53, shipped with a 750 GB drive partitioned into two (three if you count the recovery partition). It shipped with Win 7. (I made very sure to get it _before_ Win 8 shipped.). I installed Win 8 on the other partition. I tried to use it for 10 days. I removed Win 8 by reformatting the partition. Win 8 was damn near unusable, on the same hardware, and NOT in a VM, while Win 7 Just Worked.

        Win 8 is, in my opinion, the worst OS out of Microsoft since Win ME. And this comes from someone who had kind words, right here in El Reg's fora, about Vista. Vista and even ME had good points. Win 8 has no redeeming features whatsoever. Or at least none that I could find in 10 days of trying. It's a damn good thing that I got it for free (off Dreamspark) or I'd be Very Annoyed.

  21. WylieCoyoteUK

    Same here

    We have 6 Lenovo Windows 7 laptops that shipped with Win8 recovery DVDs that remain unused.

    Cost about £20 more than a win8 version.

    We also have 9 unused licenses as part of our MS partner sub.

    Only one license is actually in use.

    As for tablets and phones, no windows here.

    1. Roger Greenwood

      Re: Same here

      Ditto on a new Lenovo - came running win7 with a win8 disc, which will not be getting used. So that's a win8 sale then?

  22. Lee D Silver badge

    Sorry, but MS knows EXACTLY how many PC's are running Windows 8. You have to activate it, or it shuts down after 30 days. The activation requires Microsoft's intervention, the Windows product keys and/or AD integration (which talks back to MS servers).

    They know PRECISELY, down to the single digit, how many genuine, activated, Windows 8 machines there are out there. So "sales" means nothing. As usual, let's lie to make things look better than they are. If you want to convince us that everyone is using Windows 8, you'd tell us exactly how many activated computers there are out there, checking in with MS servers. The fact that you don't means that you'd rather lie about it to make your numbers look better. Which tells everyone everything they need to know.

    And, yes, I have Windows 8 machines deployed on my networks. Alongside Windows XP predecessors. They're not atrocious but they need a few bits of tweaking to get them there. Next year we intend to go all-Windows-8. Everyone else I know is on Windows 7, or even still on XP.

    Windows 8 really wasn't that much of a turkey (shockingly). But MS messed up with the whole "we know better" attitude on the start menu, the app-store and other minor tweaks, and that's hit a brick wall, and thus given the OS a bad reputation and people are steering clear. If they had just provided OPTIONS, simple clear options that let people use their machines as THEY want, options currently only provided by open-source utilities with a handful of lines of code, then it would have been a very different story and Windows 8 would have been hailed as "7.5" and everyone would be on it. They've (hopefully) learned their lesson and 8.1 will be what 8 should have been, but now we're all waiting to see.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sorry, but MS knows EXACTLY how many PC's are running Windows 8. You have to activate it, or it shuts down after 30 days. The activation requires Microsoft's intervention, the Windows product keys and/or AD integration (which talks back to MS servers).

      Sure about that? I thought the top tier OEM versions were activated via the BIOS (i.e. Dell/HP/Lenovo/etc mboards return an id from their BIOS which enables windows to detect that its a PC that has an OEM license (*)). In this case is there any contact with the MS servers - and if not then the only figure MS would have is the number of licenses reported by the manufacturers which is probably the number of units shipped.

      (*) seem to recall a couple of years ago when I was thinking about getting one of the Asus "nettop" PCs that I read of people buying the cheaper Linux version, flashing with a BIOS "upgrade" using the BIOS extracted from one of the windows 7 models and then being able to install win7 from downloaded ISO with no need of any validation number etc because win7 looked and the BIOS and decided it was seeing the more expensive nettop that had win7 included

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Does this activation remember to increment the counter by -1 when the Windows 7 installer deletes what used to be Windows 8 partitions and reformats them?

      That's what happened to the one and only Windows 8 laptop I ever came in contact with. We needed a high-end gaming laptop for 3D visualisation demonstrations, and this one came loaded with Windows 8 Standard. We needed the professional version to join our domain, and so opted for Windows 7 instead (OEM version, so none of the manufacturer cruft).

      We fired up Windows 8, had a poke around, played with a few things, then it was "Ta ta Window 8"... and I spent the next hour figuring out how to coerce the UEFI BIOS to boot Windows 7 (had to enable CSM and disable Secure Boot) and tracking down drivers for the bleeding edge Atheros Ethernet and WIFI chipset.

      So yes, Windows 8 did get booted up, and we did use it for a bit... but then it got unceremoneously dumped, and without the recovery media too. I'll bet that's not reflected in the stats. :-)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The one thing I hate more than Windows 8 is people abusing statistics

    The guy comes up with figures ranging from 53.5m to 71.1m - the two final figures use different numbers for the total installed user base. Its clear that the guy doesn't have any real clue what he is doing, he's just throwing numbers around until he gets a figures that he likes.

  24. Winkypop Silver badge

    Do the Windows Shuffle!

    Use Win95;

    then skip 98/ME;

    use Win XP;

    then skip Vista;

    use Win7; and

    then skip Win8,


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do the Windows Shuffle!

      I agree apart from Use Win95.

      SKIP! Win95 was/is absolute @#$%

    2. bob, mon!

      Re: Do the Windows Shuffle!

      Just like Star Trek movies... Every Other One Isn't Crap. But my skip list looks more like

      Win 3.11

      - skip Win95


      - skip Win2K, Win98/ME


      - skip Vista


      - skip Win8


      (Posted from a Vista-licensed machine running Kubuntu with XP in a VM and Win7 networked.)

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Do the Windows Shuffle!


      DR Dos, (Servers Cromix, BSD UNIX, DR Multidos)

      Win 3.11 WFWG 3.11 (Server NT 3.5, then Server NT 3.51)

      NT 4.0 (Workstation and Enterprise Server). [Keep a PC with DOS and Win98 for specialist tools using Serial and/or parallel port]

      (1999 test Linux Servers & Workstations start)

      XP (2002)

      (2006 Linux on one Laptop for ARM development)

      ( 2007 Update Server to 2K Advanced)

      ( 2011 Update Windows Server to Debian)


      2014 Maybe Linux for main Workstation, keep one XP for legacy apps?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do the Windows Shuffle!

      I agree, even tho I believe Linux may finally be a good viable alternative very soon.


      Note to the dumbtard who keeps thumbing everyone down. get a clue.

      1. Chika

        Re: Do the Windows Shuffle!

        That's probably Eadon, ya know!

  25. Shadow Systems

    Microsoft lies about sales figures? *GASP* Say it ain't so!

    If your Sarcasm-O-Meter didn't just die laughing, it needs to be replaced immediately.

    "Never believe everything you read on the internet" is as True now as it was when first muttered by the famous P.T.Barnum so many millions of years ago.


    Seriously, MS claimed 100M Win8 machines in use, or that many Win8 Licenses having been vomited forth upon the populace, and somehow we're supposed to believe them?

    Just because they issue 100K Win8's to HP, that doesn't mean HP will *ship* that many Win8 computers.

    And then there are the "DownGrades" that get used to put something *other* than Win8 on a Win8 machine, further lowering the number of copies of Win8 in the wild from HP.

    (Repeat this across Dell, Lenovo, et alia, and you'll soon realize that the numbers Just Don't Add Up.)

    So MS issues 10M Win8's to $GovernmentEntity, but does that mean that $GovernmentEntity will actually ever get around to *installing* any of them?

    Given the Testing Cycle that any IT Department worth it's salt will put an new Operating System through before *ever* letting it anywhere *near* the Live Production or Customer Interfacing machines, it may be another few YEARS before Win8 ever sees any "serious" deployment numbers...

    And that's assuming MS doesn't pull the rug out from under itself *AGAIN* like it did with Win7, by announcing that they'll no longer be supporting the O/S in favor of their Latest & Greatest.

    (How many potential Win7 deployments did they torpedo with that announcement? What IT Department is going to waste even one more FemtoSecond of Testing on an O/S that won't be supported before it gets Approved, much less afterwards?)

    As a Totally Blind Geek, I know that I myself, and most of the other Blind/Visually Impaired Geeks I know, have little or *no* interest in Win8.

    Go read some of the forums WRT using Win8 in conjunction with a Screen Reader Environment (SRE), and you'll find them overflowing with people asking essentially the same two questions, over & over & over again:

    "How the F$#* do I do $Action? They've hidden everything again, and nothing makes sense anymore!"


    "How the F$@*# do I uninstall this pile of S$#&@ to put something else ((usually XP, but in some cases Win7)) back on?"

    And those are just those Geeks whom take the time to ask for help.

    Imagine the millions of them (~10M Blind/VI in the USA, ~300M World Wide) whom simply throw up their hands in frustration & disgust, hand the computer to a Geek friend, & say "Nuke that F$#@er & put XP back on it. I don't care, that Windows 8 thing is absolute *CRAP*."

    Personally, I can't see (HA! A pun!) the point of a Touch Screen UI being foisted on a Non Touch Screen workspace, so why in the hell would I want to use Win8?

    Even my Sighted friends, family, & coworkers find the thing distastefull, and the few that *have* resisted the urge to reformat the machines, have only done so by the grace of Classic Shell's reintroduction of the Start Menu ala Win7.

    The sentiment seems to be a uniform "Win8 sucks schweaty meaty monkey bung", and nobody can use it with sufficient dexterity to be Productive.

    Which is a Deal Breaker when the main use of your computer is your livelihood, and not being able to get stuff done is Not An Option.

    So MS claims 100M Win8 machines in use, or at least Win8 Licenses having been issued.

    I'm surprised that the "actual figures" reflect a ~60M potential In Use level, as I'd have thought the "give up in frustration" & "Downgrade" users would be a MUCH higher quotient than a mere ~40%.

    But even so, think about that: Nearly Forty Percent of the Windows 8 licenses that Microsoft claims to have issued, Are Not Being Used.

    What's that say about a product when nearly *40%* of your claimed user base, *isn't*?

    Now, if you'll pardon me, I've got to order another gross of Sarcasm-O-Meters.

    I hear there's another Microsoft Press Confference being announced...


    1. Christian Berger

      Re: Microsoft lies about sales figures? *GASP* Say it ain't so!

      Even when HP ships 100k Win8 machines, it doesn't mean they will continue running it at the customer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Microsoft lies about sales figures? *GASP* Say it ain't so!

        "Even when HP ships 100k Win8 machines, it doesn't mean they will continue running it at the customer."

        But HP will carry on advertising Win8 in various places, presumably because their Windows contract means they lose significant benefits if they don't.

        Still, all's fair in love and war. Or something like that.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "As sure as day follows night, as sure as eggs is eggs and as sure as every even-numbered windows release is shit..."

  27. primeshredder

    Windows 8 laptops running Linux

    I know of several laptops bought with Windows 8 that is reinstalled with Linux. You can find great Linux laptopns, but they usually come pre-installed with Windows 8, so you have to wipe it and re-install.

    Since there is no way of getting a Windows refund, these will end up as Win 8 sales for MS.

    I haven't heard anything good about Win 8, and what I have seen of it it is currently lightyears behind both Linux and Mac OS X.

  28. Patrick Finch

    Error in Guardian article

    There's an error in the source:

    "If you go by NetMarketShare, you get 3.82% for April. The difference is between the way that they measure "users"; StatCounter tries to adjust for internet population in different countries to give a figure reflecting the broader population, while NetMarketShare simply counts hits."

    It's actually the reverse, NetMarketShare is weighted (but with bases from 2009, quite out of date for emerging markets especially in SE Asia) while StatCounter is one raw population, (per their FAQs - they also publish the de-factor weightings, the absolute sizes of their sample by country). That means that the difference between 57.3M and 59.25M is more readily accounted for: it's reasonable to assume that recency of purchase has some correlation with propensity to use the Web. A figure of 58M devices in market seems reasonable.

  29. janimal

    Bottom Line

    I'm sure that the 100m sales figure in no way reflects the number of w8 installs in use. I also think it is a total dogs dinner of an OS designed by marketers @ the finance department.

    However, from MS's point of view money has been exchanged for those licenses. What counts for them is that investors see sales & profits. Of course how those sales were achieved and the consumer perception of the product may eventually hurt their bottom line.

    The real messages MS are trying to convey here are...

    To the investors: We can release a total pile of crap to market & we still get 100m sales!

    To the consumers: How can windows 8 be shit when we have managed 100m sales?

  30. roselan

    mandatory xkcd

    'nough said

  31. vonRat

    By arrogantly forcing people to use a new GUI, Microsoft have managed to completely eclipse any benefits Win 8 had over 7 and forever taint it as 'crap'. Win 8 has none of the technical problems Vista had, yet my customers are buying Lenovo kit with Win 7 because they have the justifiable perception that their staff will whinge about Win 8. Roll on 8.1, but I still think people will want to avoid it by association, the damage is done.

  32. Chika

    Sporking hell

    Actually, the biggest mistake that M$ made here wasn't so much that they insisted that TIFKAM would be the primary interface on show and no exclusions.

    If they had put it in there, left the Start button in place and put the switch in to allow you to use one or the other, just as they did in early betas (yeah, I call them betas even if M$ don't like it - call a spade a shovel, why don't you?) then chances are that we wouldn't be arguing the toss. We could all switch to what we liked and everyone would be happy.

    Or am I thinking too logically here?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sporking hell

      There was indeed a better approach, and you can have it for free, Steve:

      When the W8 install discerns it is about to install on non-touch capable hardware (I'm sure a large proportion of the legacy installed base hardware is still non-touch) Setup could propose something like:

      "Since your device cannot use Windows 8 touch features, would you like to install the non-touch version instead ? You know, the one with a Start menu? Just like what you were used to on Windows 7/XP/Vista/95/ME...bleh? You will continue to enjoy all Windows 8 performance improvements and benefits but without the rather gnarly and (in your case, anyway) completely unneeded touch interface.

      Of course, a choice like that would have meant a fair bit of forked development and engineering. I still can't understand why it wasn't done though.

      Perhaps it was just judged politically incorrect to give users too much choice. Or maybe MS has driven away all of its free-thinkers and development heretics. Whatever the reason, that (non-) decision certainly did not help PC, Winphone or Surface sales. In fact, it may have sent many a loyal user running to the nearest Ipad and/or android tablet. Damn shame really.

      Forcing unfamiliar interfaces on loyal users is never a good idea.

      It smacks of arrogance, unbridled evangelism and a complete disdain for your paying customer base.

      And it leaves a bad taste in the mouth, just like the one I get whenever I try to upgrade an app on my Iphone 3S (sorry mate, there isn't an app for that).

      One of the many strengths (and occasional weakness) of FOSS is that everyone can choose the sort of OS they want. And if they don't like what's available (and know what they are doing) they can just fork off and make their own version of the OS, GUI or whatever.. I mean how cool is that?

      Vociferous user community criticism and debate of bad design decisions are also heartily welcomed by FOSS developers (instead of being ignored). The best inputs are frequently integrated into upgrades and bug fixes.

      Of course, If MonolithSoft had tried the more collaborative approach, there could have been SO MUCH LESS W8 user bitching as well as higher adoption rates, more voluntary installations, less downgrades and much higher customer satisfaction as they waited patiently for that first Service Pack.

      Sure, I know I''ve only been managing. supporting, and using MS products since the late 1980's and my opinion counts for very little, but the above scenario sounds like a real win-win-win-win to me. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

      Clearly (not naming any names now) some W8 product / development managers just drank too much of their own Kool-aid and decided the hard way was the right way. I sincerely hope they can fix it, pronto. Until they do, its Win7 and/or Debian/Mint/Ubuntu in this household.

      1. Pookietoo

        Re: I still can't understand why it wasn't done though.

        Windows 8 on the PC is all about getting those tiles in front of users, so that when they come to buy a tablet or phone it's an easy choice to stay with MSFT.

      2. qwarty

        Re: Sporking hell

        Metro isn't just about touch so two versions would be a recipe for FAIL. An option to go to directly desktop or corporate start setup at logon would make sense, arrogant they removed this option. Having said that, I would choose to logon to Metro start screen, as I suspect would many people outside locked down corporate systems.

      3. Philip Lewis

        Win7 UI + Win8 OS stack.

        During the year of Win8 is coming hype, I tried to find details of the OS changes that were to be included. They were pretty much absent in any detail from the press coverage and from MS themselves.

        The UI is not the OS. It is merely one mechanism for interacting with the OS.

        I would be perfectly happy with Win8 sporting the Win7 UI. While the Win7 UI is not perfect, it is perfectly usable for anyone familiar with other windowing interfaces for computing.

        Developing aggressively demented Win8 *only* versions of programs which form part of the Windows package is the sort of brain dead idea I have come to expect from American management school morons, who for unfathomable reasons seem to think that the "burn all bridges" approach to anything is a viable strategic model.

        This will now all come back to haunt MS as they apparently do not even have the option of providing a clean Win7 interface to the the 6.2 OS stack.

        This is a shame as it appears at first flush, that Win8 is more efficient & less resource hungry than its predecessor. Win8 is handicapped only by TIFKAM which IMHO should be expunged from the earth's surface at the earliest possible moment.

    2. Maty

      Re: Sporking hell

      Um ... there's a reason you shouldn't call a spade a shovel. A spade is for digging stuff, a shovel is for moving it.

      Care to re-think your analogy?

      1. Chika

        Re: Sporking hell

        Not really. Consider that Microsoft wanted to stop referring to trial releases using names such as beta or release candidate, names that everyone knows and understands. A "consumer preview"? A "developer's preview"? Hence my comment. :)

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sporked is good...

    I likened it to Cars and Bikes, by trying to combine both, instead of a Ducati or Ferrari you end up with a Reliant Robin.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    I am waiting for Win9.....

    Which I suspect will be Win7 in a frock.

    Only joking, I am still sticking with XP.

  35. Sporkinum

    My experience

    I updated two Vista machines to 8. I hated it until I installed Classic Shell. It's pretty good now, though I can guarantee a blue screen by plugging in an old camera. Also, my son that had a pirated win 7 went somewhat legit by installing a licensed win 8. All windows 8 licenses were acquired by buying the upgrades with the $15 loophole. At that price it was a good deal. The one windows 7 machine in the house really isn't. It is an HP that came with 7, but had Kubuntu installed immediately. My wife has been using that for years, and really didn't like 7 at all. It's dual boot, but she only uses 7 maybe twice a year for something she wants to run that won't run in linux. Strangely enough , she tried android on her touchpad, didn't like it, and went back to web-os.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Naughty Microsoft

    The haven't made a good product since Dos 5.3. Their software is full of stuff to make it easy to use, which is nonsense. Of course I have the horn for Linux and Apple.

    Seriously, I visit customers every day to fix their PCs and :

    95 % are Windows

    4.9% are Apple and of those about 95% don't know what they are doing. Yes truly no idea, but they bought a Mac because a) they have money and b) it's "supposed to be good"

    0.1% are Linux and they haven't got a clue either but got it because they were GIVEN it.

    1. Chika

      Re: Naughty Microsoft

      95 % are Windows

      Windows 95, still alive and kicking! Yay!

      0.1% are Linux and they haven't got a clue either but got it because they were GIVEN it.

      Probably because the ones that have it that you don't see do their own work, or it just doesn't go wrong that often (yeah, the last one is a bit far fetched as most users that expect something to go wrong will usually find something, regardless of the OS).

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Panic from within Microsoft.

    They bet the company on Windows 8 and Windows Phone, and both have totally and utterly failed.

    I know a couple of people in Microsoft in the UK, in key roles in these teams, and they are in disaster prevention mode. Each time I talk to them, it's the same message from above. Both products are fine, everyone loves them, we have some great user engagement blah blah blah.. It's as if they are both independently reading off a script..

    Ironically one of these persons mentioned left just before April last year to be eligible for the bonus off the back of Windows 8. There was no bonus, he is now looking to come back. LOL.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Panic from within Microsoft.

      I'm in contact with the husband of a Microsoft employee... and apparently, even in certain Microsoft offics, you find Windows 8 haters.

      Sorry Steve, but when you claim that all Microsoft employees are behind Windows 8, either you're naïve, delusional, or a bullshit artist. Maybe all three.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Charles Arthur says sun will rise in west, world gets up early to check. The man's a bit of a twit, an outrageous Apple lover and an indifferent writer with a very sketchy knowledge of consumer tech (he once asked on Twitter if Android comes with built-in satnav!).

    That aside, of course MS is quoting licences sold, it's the higher number. I'm not for a moment surprised the W8 is not being taken up as fast as W7 - Vista was shit and XP a relic of a bygone age so there was a pent up desire for something much better. W8 doesn't have the same sort of edge over W7. That said I upgraded my two PCs to W8 from Vista and W7 and don't regret the £50 it cost me.

  39. Roland6 Silver badge

    Microsoft competing against Microsoft?

    Just been trying to get hold of a couple of new Win7 laptops and I note that the majors (Dell, HP, Lenovo) have made Win8 their first choice OS on new business class machines and you need to hunt around to find the variants that come with Win7 pre-installed. So perhaps MS are 'encouraging' the OEMs to stop shipping Win7 as the default installed OS - as it's hitting the Win8 sales numbers.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Usual Microsoft marketing

    They fooled with world with Kinect presales numbers that included a massively stuffed retail chain, and several big container ships full of them on a slow boat from Doumen. You only had to look at the next two quarter numbers (which fell off a cliff) to see it was total bullshit. However it was enough to fool even Guinness Book of Records retards, who clearly take the word of a press release and a big pile of cash as for of certification.

    This is no different. Playing a numbers game. We all know the real number is less than half the reported number. What's strange is Microsoft's shareholders don't seem to care that all Microsoft's products are tanking badly....

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