back to article Windows what? PC makers have bigger things on their minds

With minds fixed on PC shortages and the next looming round of price hikes, there was nary a mention of Microsoft's freshly laid OS by the biggest vendors and resellers at this year's Canalys Forums EMEA 2021 gabfest. Windows 11 was unleashed on the world this week to a mixed reaction, with internal improvement overshadowed by …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Hardly a good time to push out a new version that interests no-one

    I'm beginning to think Borkzilla is becoming the specialist in pushing new product at the wrong time.

    Independantly from the fact that nobody was expecting a new version of Windows, Windows 11 is about as welcome as was Windows 8, coming out barely two years after Vista.

    Okay, Windows 8 at least had somewhat of an excuse since Vista was such a booger, but still, Borkzilla is really pushing it this time around.

    Oh well, time will teach Borkzilla that it does not foist new versions on its customers at its own whim, the customers have to be needing it.

    1. DubyaG
      Facepalm

      Re: Hardly a good time to push out a new version that interests no-one

      And nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition either.

      Anyway, I have seen nothing compelling in W11 since rounded corners are meh.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Hardly a good time to push out a new version that interests no-one

      time will teach Borkzilla

      assuming that the marketeers and overlords at Micros~1 can actually LEARN something...

      1. Chris G

        Re: Hardly a good time to push out a new version that interests no-one

        I think the last twenty years has shown clearly that Micro~1 marketeers and overlords have no interest in learning anything.

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Hardly a good time to push out a new version that interests no-one

      but don't worry...

      PC World (yes they still exist) are pushing laptops with W11 (on an i3 for heaven's sake) via TV ads.

      On the Snog, Marry and Avoid scale this is most certainly an 'Avoid at all costs' for at least 6 months and then only put your toe in the W11 water. If you can avoid it totally then do so.

    4. General Purpose Silver badge

      Re: Hardly a good time to push out a new version that interests no-one

      It's a cunning plan. M$ have learnt that alternate versions are rubbish (Windows 8, Vista, Me ... ) so they're getting this one out when it doesn't matter much. The makers don't need the extra demand and can carry on with W10 "optional" on the boxes they do ship.

      Then in 2023/2024, when supply's back to normal and W10's approaching end of life, they'll give us back the utility we want, hang onto the rounded corners and ta-da! Windows 12!

      Manufacturers are happy, users are relieved and appreciate that M$ responded to criticism, a noble tradition is maintained, and all is well in the best of all possible worlds.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Remember those days when OSes were the be-all and end-all?"

    I must be from a different universe. All I remember is new OSes being a huge pain in the ass, almost every time. Although I will say Win98SE was an actual improvement over the original Win98. And Netware 6.5 was pretty good. But the rest? Meh...

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Go

      If I could freeze time, it would be when we got to use Win2000, it was solid, I only remember a bsod happening when shonky low budget sound card was added. Gotta love those service packs too!

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "However, we believe the vast majority of PC demand is non-perishable"

    As soon as supply catches up with demand I think built-in obsolescence will be deployed to make PCs perishable again.

    1. Trigun Silver badge

      Agreed about 98SE. Windows 7 was also a major improvement and was quite welcome. The main issues are that 1) you never know if they are going to produce a lemon, 2) driver/software compatibility.

      What makes me worried about windows 11 in particular is the TPM requirement. Besides the fact that many people may have to update their h/w to install windows 11, I think they are trying to push something to make software specific to motherboard even more so than they have previously. That's not great windows-wise as a concept and one can arguement we're already their anyway with the OS, but this could be used by many other companies to do the same.

      At which point 1 faulty motherboard could wipe out half your software library and so push people to buy software as a service, a model I abhor.

      I could be wrong, but my trust in companies has worsened more and more over the years. But that might just be my inbuilt cynicism...

      1. trindflo Bronze badge
        Unhappy

        driver/software compatibility

        What makes me worried about windows *10* is driver signing. I think what TPM has done is limited operating systems to a small number of players (Windows and Linux) that TPM signs off on. The required signatures in Windows 10 drivers lead back to Microsoft, which I'm concerned has give Redmond a kill switch.

  4. Giles C Silver badge

    The problem with the pc manufacturers is that the machines on sale now are massively over powered for the workload they are doing.

    A typical pc which is used for writing documents, email and web browsing could be any machine made in the last 5 years (at least). If you are a gamer or involved in massive processing loads then you need the higher spec machines, but otherwise those £300 laptops will last users for years.

    So there is no incentive to upgrade and hence no sales.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      ...writing documents, email and web browsing could be any machine made in the last 5 years... actually at least the last 30 years, sure even older machines would need new applications written but writing a program to do this sort of thing was easy when the machines were simpler and better documented.

      The latest Windows "upgrade" means we are going to need a system with a dual core, 64-bit processor running at a gigahertz with 4Gb of ram to comment on El Reg.

      1. FIA Silver badge

        The latest Windows "upgrade" means we are going to need a system with a dual core, 64-bit processor running at a gigahertz with 4Gb of ram to comment on El Reg.

        Why are you bringing a water pistol to a gun fight?

    2. jason_derp

      "A typical pc which is used for writing documents, email and web browsing could be any machine made in the last 5 years (at least)."

      I strongly beg to disagree. Running a single YouTube tab while having ~5 documents and spreadsheets open, doing database entries, working with some online applications, etc. can seriously bog a computer down. It's worse in Windows than it is in Linux, but I've got a fairly good ~5yo CPU and 32GB of RAM, and I can chew through it all like nobodies' business. I can watch all of my cores ramp up to 100% and stay there doing complex calculations in LibreOffice Calc.

      1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
        Pirate

        It's the freaking browsers. Always. Palemoon, Chrome, IE/Edge, they all think memory grows on trees and they can gobble gigabytes of it and the user won't notice. And with so much stuff having "web" components now, it's not going to get better. The only thing that comes close to my browser's memory gorging, is the ridiculous and pointless waste of memory that the Teams client engages in. All while doing NOTHING but having an icon in the systray. Why the hell does Teams need 1.5 GB of RAM just to keep an icon in the systray? Does Electron really suck that badly?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The worse culprit on my box is the WIndows 10 "YourPhone" link to my Samsung A51. That beast *dwarfs* every other app on my 64GB box... (Ok, so my VMs are bigger, but those don't count. They're *work*, not *waste.*)

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      A car engine is usually massively overpowered for the work it does. And yet that extra horsepower comes in handy whenever you want it to. [similar with PCs for people who occasionally compile programs from source, or crunch numbers]

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Speak for yourself. I'm a developer running roughshod over several million lines of Java code for my client.

      There is no limit to my power hunger. Even the 12-core top-of-the-line AMD processor I have now isn't sufficient; I want one of the data center jobs.

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "A typical pc which is used for writing documents, email and web browsing could be any machine made in the last 5 years (at least)."

      Agreed. My 10 or more year old primary workhorse is an AMD Phenom II 6 core. It's more than adequate for most of what I need it for/ About the only time I feel the slowness is when transcoding videos. Other people will have other high powered needs, of course, but as you say, for most people, and old PC is still adequate. But based on personal experience, I'd say a decent PC of 10 years vintage would still do.

      Having said that, The last time it had Windows running on it, it was XP. I think Win 7 may have been out by the time a recovered the wasted HDD space and stopped dual booting with Windows and went FreeBSD only :-)

  5. terry 1

    Windows 10 with a few GUI tweaks is not going to sell computers when the current Windows 10 does the same job.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "[...] when the current Windows 10 does the same job."

      when the current Windows 7 does the same job.

      FTFY

      YMMV

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        and if you sat a running Windows 7 machine next to a running Windows 10 machine on a store shelf, all other things being equal, GUESS WHICH ONE WOULD SELL FASTER???

        (this is why you generally cannot buy the older version of windows, even when people want it)

  6. DJSpuddyLizard

    Looked at 11, but my processors are just one generation too old.

    Can't imaging my corporate overlords wanting to buy 20,000 new PCs either.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      If you are working from home you may have to buy it yourself.

    2. Scotthva5

      That was my first thought when I saw the hardware requirements for Win11: this is going to be an impossible sell for many companies that invested untold millions to update to Win10. I worked for many years at a big-box home improvement company that took ages to upgrade and update hardware so the worker bees could enjoy the 'luxury and splendor' of 10 over 7. To the best of my knowledge that roll-out was completed only two years ago so I highly doubt they will be looking to update any time soon.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        re I highly doubt...

        until Ms makes W11 subscription only and EOL's W10.

        They will push Windows as a Service (hosted on Azure naturally) until the cows come home.

        It is clear to me that they are licking their lips at the thought of billions per month in subscription revenue.

        I decided in 2016 that I was done with the motley crew from Redmond/India. Not going back ever.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        " I highly doubt they will be looking to update any time soon."

        I absolutely agree. I deal with a number of medium to large corporate clients who only upgraded from Win7 because Win7 was rapidly approaching EOL. They'll not even be considering Will for at least the next three years, and then they'll start planning for the Win10 EOL 2 years after that. Many have just spent a lot of money over the last 18 months switching large proportions of the PC fleet from desktops to laptops. In some cases, buying almost anything they could get their hands on and may not necessarily be Win11 compatible. They'll be wanting a 5 year minimum lifespan from that kit.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes replacing a large fleet is a problem but where I worked 5 year life for desktops, 3 years for portables was considered the norm. There were exceptions but when most users didn't need high-end devices, spending £1000 every 5 years per desktop worker is chicken-feed, less than free-vend coffee per worker for 5 years.

      Win11 as it is right now isn't a compelling reason to upgrade and in 4 years time most 5 or 6 year old PCs will have a Win11 capable hardware spec. New features will be added and by 2025 Win11 will be a lot more compelling offer.

      The difficulty for those with large fleets could be that they prefer to have a standard OS platform not a mix of Win10 and Win11 and in 2022 they may have no choice as new purchases will ship with Win11.

      Maybe it's a good thing to even out the peaks and troughs in PC replacement time-cycles, reducing supply-chain issues and end-user prices.

      I'll be deferring hardware upgrade for 1-2 years because events over the past couple of years have slowed the rate at which PC prices fall or specs increase. For our 3 home PCs I'll wait till manufacturers have caught up with demand, component prices have fallen and probably replace one a year starting 2Q2023 expecting those to be much cheaper and/or higher spec. than buying today.

      1. David Pearce

        A lot of people are not on Western salaries

        £1000 is a lot when a graduate earns £5000 a year.

        Add to that cost that Autocad etc are bound to have found a reason to sell you a new version for Windows 11.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "The difficulty for those with large fleets could be that they prefer to have a standard OS platform not a mix of Win10 and Win11 and in 2022 they may have no choice as new purchases will ship with Win11."

        Those with large fleets don't care what OS comes on the box. They'll be putting the standard corporate image on it anyway. That's just an administrative licencing issue.

  7. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Remember those days

    "Remember those days when OSes were the be-all and end-all?"

    Nope, I switched to slackware back just before windows 95 came out, and both slackware and ubuntu (that I switched to later) don't make OS updates a jarring change. I sure remember *others* getting all excited about "windows current version + 1" coming out, but ubuntu upgrades? About as undramatic as you can get, not terribly exciting.

    1. Saint

      Re: Remember those days

      You seem to have forgotten some of the Ubuntu desktop "highlights" that toppled it from top spot

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remember those days

      Except for when Ubuntu changed their desktop manager every couple of releases and decided everyone would want to use their in house one made for touch interfaces.

  8. Wolfclaw

    Now have W11 on a totally unsupported laptop and all it took was 3 registry entries for an in place upgrade and working perfectly fine, proof that this is a deliberate ploy by Microsoft and the OEM's to scam customers in to hardware refresh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Complaint made to UK's Competition and Markets authority. Others should do the same.

      Agree, if you have an older machine (as far back as Core2Duo - 12 years+) running Windows 10, bypassing the "artificial constraints" allows an in-place upgrade where everything 'just works'. Seems a pretty clear-cut case of a company using their market dominance to manipulate the market/competition to their advantage, on the back of faux security concerns.

      TPM 2.0 does nothing to prevent signed 'crap bug ridden code' being released by MS. I repeat - nothing.

      Even the requirement to sign-in using a Microsoft Account on Windows 11 (not Pro) can be easily bypassed during the W11 install. There is zero requirement for this. Users being forced to provide personal user information to use a product that is not required/relevant, just like forcing users to provide a mobile number after successfully registering an Outlook account, then flagging 'suspicious activity' when there is none.

      One issue people should be aware of is the Downloads folder has been separated out by Microsoft from excluded folders and given default access to Apps/Antivirus software, even when this folder has previously been excluded from access to the OS/Apps under Windows 10. Microsoft are again, changing the privacy settings during the in-place upgrade process, failing to carry over user previous preferences and MS have so much previous form on this, it really can't be seen as just another 'mistake'.

      Microsoft really need to get their developers to understand that the Downloads folder is 'user personal data' not part of the OS system data, and stop treading their toes into it. They previously included the Downloads folder in the system clean-up tool, then removed it again after a backlash. People often run this tool by using 'select all' and suddenly with no prior notice, the Downloads directory had been included.

      Any other company would notify you of such a major change in the tool's use, but not Microsoft, they know best obviously /s.

      I'm currently documenting the evidence and passing my findings to the Competition and Markets authority here in the UK but pretty sure the EU will be interested in this too.

      Others should do the same.

  9. Robert Grant Silver badge

    > give a boost in the stimulus

    Words are hard?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm fortunate to have built my PC roughly a year ago, just before the *worst* of the parts shortages hit. I'm also fortunate that it was a top-of-the-line box, built with borrowed money to specs beyond my wildest dreams (save for video card fantasies, but you can't justify that as a business expense, so my GTX 1690S will have to do for the foreseeable future. I have yet to find a title I *can't* play with it, so mission accomplished.)

    I'd like to build a pure Ubuntu/VMWare box one of these days, so they're right - the demand won't go away. But I don't have the funds now, I have other priorities, and prices are far from enticing right now. Someday I'll invest inn a bigger badder newer box, but for now and the foreseeable future I'm good.

    And Windows 11 can take a flying leap off a very short pier. Remember when they said that Windows 10 was the end of it and we'd just see evolution of that release forever and ever?

    Funny how that stopped as soon as the cash flow dropped. Can't let go of that cash cow teat, eh whoever-the-talking-head-in-charge-is, eh?

    1. Saint

      Windows 10 upgrades

      "Remember when they said that Windows 10 was the end of it and we'd just see evolution of that release forever and ever?"

      Yes, and its utter bull*** !

      I recently reinstalled Windows 10 from an oldish iso and found that it can no longer be updated due to missing previous updates, which are no longer available. The message "Click here to install service pack XYZ by going to this Microshaft page" leads to "Click here to buy Windows 11". "Click here to use our helper tool" (forgotten the name), takes you to the same upgrade page

      Getting a newer iso works, but at that point it not the same thing any more is it ?

      1. Boothy

        Re: Windows 10 upgrades

        Are what you want not in the MS Update Catalogue?

        There's all the new stuff, but also old patches going back years, even things like XP SP3, updates for Windows 2000 etc.

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