PC support expert: Windows 8 upgrades for businesses won't be so bad

Earlier this month, the RTM build of Windows 8 Enterprise became available from Microsoft's Software Assurance service. Microsoft also released a number of free migration tools to help IT workers with installing Windows 8 Enterprise for large companies.

Some people in the PC industry have predicted that migrating to Windows 8 will be hard, thanks in part to its "Modern" user interface. As a result, some believe that the current Windows OS, Windows 7, will continue to be used by a large number of businesses for years to come.

However, Computerworld.com has talked with an executive of a PC support company that doesn't have that same opinion. Joe Puckett, the director of training for PC Helps, states, "It will be very difficult to adjust to, no doubt of that. But there are a lot of things that can be done to minimize the disruption."

PC Helps is currently working to upgrade the PCs of an unidentified company which has 7,000 employees to Windows 8. Puckett says that a company that concentrates on upgrading its mobile devices to Windows 8 will have less of an issue, since so many people are already used to touch screen interfaces for other products.

Puckett does admit that updating a company's desktop PC network to Windows 8 will take more time, saying, "Windows 8 is disruptive the second you turn it on." He also says that companies should start training their employees on how to use Windows 8 before they launch a major migration to the OS on their desktops.

However, he believes that the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 8 won't be as disruptive as the move from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. Puckett also believes that ultimately, Microsoft's move to have one interface on multiple types of hardware (desktop, notebooks, tablets and mobile phones) will work, saying "Down the road, that cuts down the learning curve."

Source: Computerworld.com
Migration image via Shutterstock

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31 Comments

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"Modern user interface?" That is certainly a very subjective matter of opinion. Maybe for toys, casual and/or mobile users. Hardly for PC users with serious data entry/content creation needs and requirements.

I've done *some work for companies but I'm sure my expience means little
compared to a a fortune 500 company with 1,000's of machines.
What i'm saying is even if two large companies both have 5,000 clients
I bet they both do things some what differently so the feedback etc
is at best subjective i think and for most of us we're not in the trenches
and can only speculate what that job is like.. Man power / resources (time etc)
For example when i do work its on my own terms and i only work with people
that are flexible and arn't giving me deadlines.
So after rambling all that..
I'm saying my opinion regarding anything to do with issues like this are worthless lol

The training really could be as simple as pinning all the most used programs to the taskbar and "teaching" people to rely on the taskbar. I use Win 8 with 3 screens all day every day, and I NEVER see the Metro interface unless I am searching for something. So, not that hard.

Why is Metro even there? Because in the end it is a good idea to have it, than to not. Once people start using certain "go to" Metro apps on tablets, such as inventory tracking etc etc. they will appreciate the ability to go into those apps when needed. This is a transitional period for Windows, and it has to happen. Windows 7 is still there for those that just can't deal with it. And those might be the people who's jobs may eventually be replaced by the people that can deal with it.

I don't see a problem at my company if we did it (we won't since we just went to 7). I work at a 2500+, international electronics parts reseller. We image our PCs using KACE and lock down Windows settings using Group Policy. We dump all of the users' icons to the Desktop anyway, so going into the Start Menu isn't needed by anyone. Plus, with having the My Computer icon on the Desktop, users can get to their shared networks drives and local profile folder if they needed to.

Intrinsica said,
Man, I would not want to be the tech support for that company when they move...

An aspect Microsoft clearly forget in its obsession to pander to the mobile touch-screen marketplace with the Metro UI and not give installers the option to chose the traditional UI for desktops and laptops. It is "hell" enough supporting one OS within a company, and now Microsoft expects tech support people to support two OSs?

My dad works for a large UK company, they've just migrated everything from XP to 7 and have no plans to upgrade for the next five years xD

thealexweb said,
My dad works for a large UK company, they've just migrated everything from XP to 7 and have no plans to upgrade for the next five years xD

I work for a large international company who just completed the Win 7 deployment and we have no plans of upgrading in the next 5+ years either.

would it be really really bad? i really laugh when Neowin come up with these article...
people think that saying things over and over again even if its not true will make it true.

Old users are the problem. If I'm in my sixties and entrenched in my company, it's going to take a ton of dynamite for me to change to something that wasn't my idea.

The iPad featured a radically different interface and no instructions on how to use it. It was a runaway success. While some will obviously find it hard to adapt to Windows 8 it really isn't a radical departure from what people already know.

Desktop users will continue to use the desktop and will see the start screen for what it is - a replacement to the start menu.

But iOS was a new interface. You were not coming from something else to it. Big difference.

As for the start screen. Its a massive step backwards. I now have to have screens of huge icons to replace a simple menu that took up a fraction of the screen. Why? It is no faster, harder to navigate, and takes up more room. So why is it better? As for the "Desktop users will continue to use the desktop" the desktop is useless without the start menu. I have to switch between to completely different interfaces to do what I want or clutter up my desktop with shortcuts.

Again its a tablet OS. Keep it on the damned tablets.

necrosis said,
But iOS was a new interface. You were not coming from something else to it. Big difference.

Err, sure you were, every other OS you've ever used and already knew.

theyarecomingforyou said,
The iPad featured a radically different interface and no instructions on how to use it. It was a runaway success. While some will obviously find it hard to adapt to Windows 8 it really isn't a radical departure from what people already know.

I'd disagree, it is a radical departure from what people already know. My mom has had a terrible time with Windows 8.

For example, she was viewing her bank statement which opened in a PDF... she wanted to close the PDF since she was done with it and didn't want anyone else looking at it. She eventually called me asking for help since she couldn't figure it out. I thought she was talking about a separate tab in IE, and told her to right click the page to switch tabs (of course you have to right click on something that is NOT a link or an image which is retarded).

She eventually somehow discovered that right clicking the PDF opened the bottom menu, where there was an ambiguous "More" option, which then finally had close. In Windows 7, that only took one click. Windows 8? 3, and the option is completely hidden!

She also had a lot of trouble with practically everything else in Windows 8. And I honestly have trouble with simple things like trying to get to the email settings... why the heck is the email's settings under the charms settings where the computer settings are?????

Everything is extremely hidden, and it becomes very frustrating. Switching tabs in IE is absolutely painful. In WP7 it only (used to) take 1 quick tap to switch tabs, yet in W8 (something on a huge +13" screen) it takes a painful right click or a slow swipe from the top of the screen. It's idiodic.

The picture viewer is also completely crap, since you can't view multiple pictures in different windows and are limited to either full screen, 1/4, or 3/4.

It's a huge step backwards. My mom has been using it for two weeks now and she would rather have Windows 7, and she's your typical casual user who only checks email and browses the web!

Plus IE is broken and doesn't display web pages due to it not fully supporting flash. YouTube doesn't even work most of the time in IE, I have to go to the desktop for that.

I love Microsoft, but Windows 8 was clearly rushed and isn't finished.

andrewbares said,

why the heck is the email's settings under the charms settings where the computer settings are?????

Why on earth did you gave your mom Windows 8 when you don't even understand the basics?

Every new UI takes a bit of practice. Why? Because it's NEW. However Windows 8's UI is a lot easier then previous versions of Windows. All it takes is reading up on the basics. It doesn't take a big computer manual, just 10 lines of text. Here are a couple for you:

- You close ANY app by draging it down from the top.

- Right click in ANY app opens up all the 'hidden' options.

- The functionality of the charms changes depending on what app is opened.

So when you're in the mail app then 'settings' are the settings for the mail app. When you press the search charm then you search for mails. Etc.

When you press search on the startscreen then you search for apps and other tiles, when you pres search in wikipedia then you search for wikipedia articles. When you can't find the article you want then you can keep the same search criteria but in the search charm press on the news or browser app and continue you search there. The app will open and imediatly search for you. Windows 8 is simply faster and better that way.

The picture does allow you to zoom in, you have MANY different zoom-in ratios, just like the original desktop app. However zooming out means creating room for more pictures. There are only 3 different sizes to show pictures in. If this isnt enough for you then download another picture app.

Windows 8 really isn't all that hard to understand, anyone can learn to use WIndows 8 in 10 minutes and end up with a better experience. But when you give your mother Windows 8 advice without actually understanding it yourself then of course things won't work out. So google a manual, learn the basics and you might end up loving the UI.

theyarecomingforyou said,
The iPad featured a radically different interface and no instructions on how to use it. It was a runaway success. While some will obviously find it hard to adapt to Windows 8 it really isn't a radical departure from what people already know.

Desktop users will continue to use the desktop and will see the start screen for what it is - a replacement to the start menu.

Strangely I've had no problem with iOS or Android. I was able to use them from start, without any instructions. Not same with Windows 8... Too much hidden things.
iOS and Android have an easy to understand interface similar to a computer with multiple desktops full with icons of the installed programs. In Windows 8 I see lot of garbage and hidden things. Not the same.

andrewbares said,

She also had a lot of trouble with practically everything else in Windows 8. And I honestly have trouble with simple things like trying to get to the email settings... why the heck is the email's settings under the charms settings where the computer settings are?????

Because that's where the settings for all apps are supposed to go, so there's a consistent place for them. I don't think it's that weird that settings go in Settings ...

theyarecomingforyou said,
The iPad featured a radically different interface and no instructions on how to use it. It was a runaway success.
Huh? since when? Last time I checked the iPad came with pretty much the same interface
all other iFruit portabele devices have used for years. A grid of icons.

Understand the basics? How else do you understand them without using it? Also nevermind that Win8 is a DRASTIC departure from the norm. None of the new ways to do things make any kind of sense. All other desktop OS's work in basically the same way. Even a novice Windows user could get around Gnome/KDE/OS X. But not this crap.

I have also used Win8 for roughly a month and your so called "Use for 10 min and have a better experience" is BS. I can not stand the thing. You have to make illogical clicks and mouse gestures to hidden locations which is the worst design decision of them all.

necrosis said,
I have also used Win8 for roughly a month and your so called "Use for 10 min and have a better experience" is BS.

No it isn't. There are only 10 or so gestures you need to understand. Once you do then you can navigate through the entire OS. The modern UI keeps the experience consistent, unlike previous versions of Windows where each application functioned differently. A good example of this is the various browsers that all had their options in different tabs with different names on different locations. Whereas Windows 8 had the 'setting' charm and all modern apps will have their settings in there.

There are only a few hidden locations and they remain the same for each app. Charms are on the right (use right corner), app specific commands are on the bottom (right click), switching between apps is on the left (use left corner) and to close and app you drag from the top. Easy.

If I were to explain each of the 5 charms to you then from this day forth you would be able to use Windows 8. For example one charm people forget is the 'start button', it does the same thing as before and was never removed from Windows. You know now where to find it. You're welcome.

necrosis said,
I have also used Win8 for roughly a month and your so called "Use for 10 min and have a better experience" is BS.

No it isn't. There are only 10 or so gestures you need to understand. Once you do then you can navigate through the entire OS. The modern UI keeps the experience consistent, unlike previous versions of Windows where each application functioned differently. A good example of this is the various browsers that all had their options in different tabs with different names on different locations. Whereas Windows 8 had the 'setting' charm and all modern apps will have their settings in there.

There are only a few hidden locations and they remain the same for each app. Charms are on the right (use right corner), app specific commands are on the bottom (right click), switching between apps is on the left (use left corner) and to close and app you drag from the top. Easy.

If I were to explain each of the 5 charms to you then from this day forth you would be able to use Windows 8. For example one charm people forget is the 'start button', it does the same thing as before and was never removed from Windows. You know now where to find it. You're welcome.

Where I work we were blasted by a few departments going from Office 2003 to 2007. Again going from WinXP to Win7 (didn't touch Vista).

There is NO WAY a move to Win8 would be as simple as this guy makes it sound. It would require SERIOUS training to bring people up to speed. We have people we deliberately left on WinXP because their computer knowledge is so low it was easier for us to support a old OS than to support, well, a old user.

"Puckett also believes that ultimately, Microsoft's move to have one interface on multiple types of hardware (desktop, notebooks, tablets and mobile phones) will work, saying "Down the road, that cuts down the learning curve.""

And this is why I really hate Win8. My desktop PC is *NOT* a damned tablet. Its a desktop. I don't have a touch screen. Stop making the damned OS act like it. Mouse navigation is just awkward at best, PITA at worst. And yes I have been using it for a while. Just moved to RTM when it hit my TechNet account. I try and find good in it but every 15 min I facepalm at design decisions.

Or possibly underestimation of the user base.

One constant I HAVE noticed in all the *doom and gloom* predictions so far - the thinking that the entirety of the user base needs a LOT of handholding. What's even more surprising, the same folks making all the D&G predictions also predicted that Windows 7 would be a failure.

PGHammer said,
Or possibly underestimation of the user base.

One constant I HAVE noticed in all the *doom and gloom* predictions so far - the thinking that the entirety of the user base needs a LOT of handholding. What's even more surprising, the same folks making all the D&G predictions also predicted that Windows 7 would be a failure.

i agree with the first point for sure but i can't on the latter..
I never predicted anything bad about 7 compared to 8.

Arceles said,
Sponsored history by MS.

Most probably. But possible, if after installing Windows 8 you install latest Clasic Shell Menu. The interface will be similar with older Windows so, more easy to use - less training.

eiffel_g said,

Most probably. But possible, if after installing Windows 8 you install latest Clasic Shell Menu. The interface will be similar with older Windows so, more easy to use - less training.

You don't even need that. I bet most businesses just image their PCs, lock down access to programs using Group Policy and probably put icons on users' desktops. Little training involved anyway.