Windows arise! 4 hopes for Microsoft's survival

To help Redmond find an answer to the Windows 8 problem, Cringely cites four Microsoft products worth resurrecting

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So much for that experiment in modern UI design. Personally, I didn't have a problem with Metro or whatever it's called. It took me all of two minutes to suss out that I had to tap or click a tile to get to the Desktop. But while not-Metro might be a fine interface for a touchscreen device, it's a stupid to way to run a desktop, as I've pointed out before.

Don't know what you got till it's gone

Still, I think Microsoft is onto something here. Tapping into Windows nostalgia could prove to be just the thing to bring the OS back from the grave and prove SJVN wrong. Here are some other items Microsoft should also bring back:

  1. Clippy. Be honest -- don't you miss him? Those quizzical eyebrows, that wiry frame? And he was always so helpful.
  2. Windows Genuine Advantage. Because every user should be forced to pull over to the side of their desktops and show their user license as often as Microsoft deems necessary, even when their copies are perfectly legit.
  3. User Account Control. I for one love it when an operating system second-guesses my intentions -- then forces me to reconfirm those -- over and over and over. It just makes me feel so secure.
  4. RSODs. Why stick with blue screens of death when you can choose from a rainbow of attractive colors? Yes, I know BSOD jokes have been done to death, but I for one can't get enough of them, and they really do tweak the Microsoft fanboys.

You want to know the real reason why PC sales are plummeting and Windows 8 is an even bigger flop than Vista? It isn't the Metro-ish interface. It isn't the explosion of tablets and smartphones (well, not entirely). It's primarily because PCs are much better than they used to be in virtually every way.

Storage and memory are cheap and plentiful enough so that people get more than they need when they buy a new system; they're not forced to pinch pennies to meet Microsoft's suggested hardware requirements, and thus they no longer feel compelled to buy a new PC every two or three years. Part of that may well be Microsoft's doing, having learned from the Vista debacle and turned Windows 7 into an impressively stable and reliable OS.

Microsoft created its vast fortune thanks in large part to built-in obsolescence. That's not so true any more. But I'm sure it'll figure some way to bring that back, too.

What old Windows features do you miss? Share your Winstalgia below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "Windows arise! 4 hopes for Microsoft's survival," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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