Why Windows 8 is going to be rubbish: Lowry’s Law.

WA screenshot of Windows 8 Metroindows 8 is going to fail. It’s going to be widely criticised, and it’ll frustrate and annoy people intensely, likely driving lots of consumers to Apple.

But “Why?”, I hear you cry. It’s nothing to do with the software itself, but due to Lowry’s law, an immutable law of Windows releases.

In with the new

Before I carry on, a little explanation for those of you not addicted to tech blogs. Windows 8 is the latest release of the Windows operating system. Microsoft have just released the “Consumer Preview” version, which is a free to download, draft version of the software.

The result of this is that millions of people have had a chance to play around with Windows 8.

There have been lots of changes under the hood in Windows 8, but by far the most noticeable to users is the change to two competing interfaces. Most of you will be very familiar with the normal Windows desktop – icons on a background, with the Start Menu, and a taskbar along the bottom. The Start Menu has now been killed off, and replaced with “Metro” – the colourful boxes you can see above on the right.

To hate or not to hate

Reactions have been mixed, with pretty negative reviews from a lot of high profile blogs. Statements such as “It’s going to be an utter nightmare“, “a failure to learn from mistakes of Vista” and “like two very different operating systems trying to be one” lead to some concerns. A former Microsoft employee has created a website called FixingWindows8.com, a site that’s been so popular I’ve not yet been able to load it, due to the traffic crashing the server.

Perhaps the worst indictment is that of tech guru Chris Pirillo’s non tech-savvy father. Here is a video of him totally failing to work out how to use Windows 8:

[iframe src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/v4boTbv9_nU” width=”100%” height=”427″]

Personally, I installed the Consumer Preview, and used it for around an hour. I found the two interfaces completely contradictatory, and time wasting. I found nothing of value in Metro, and the loss of the Start Menu a devastating hit to the efficiency of my workflow. I couldn’t cope with trying it any longer than that, and immediately uninstalled it.

Lowry’s Law

However, my opinions, the opinions of consumers and tech professionals matter not: Windows 8 is going to be awful due to the (newly named) Lowry’s Law

Lowry’s Law: Every other serious consumer Windows release is rubbish.

Let’s look at the evidence. (Windows didn’t really take off until 3 came out, so Windows 1 & 2  aren’t classed as serious releases).

Windows 3 – sold 10 million copies in 3 years. Led to Windows becoming the dominant operating system worldwide. Introduced mouse pointers, copy and paste, and countless other features we take as standard today. Good

Windows 95 – an innovative change, that set the tone for future versions of Windows for the next 15 years – however, pretty buggy, and still reliant on an MS DOS framework, causing driver issues galore. Famous for its prolific BSODs. Rubbish.

Windows 98 – basically 95 v2.0 – cleaned up the bugs, ditched DOS and added the internet. Good.

Windows ME – released in a hurry because XP wasn’t ready yet. Disgustingly buggy, with no real new features over 98. Known as the “Mistake Edition”, along with other less polite terms. Rubbish.

Windows XP – probably the most successful operating system ever. Slick, friendly, crash-free and resource efficient – it’s 11 years old, and still 40% of internet users are running it. That’s a definite “Good”.

Windows Vista – came installed on millions of cheap laptops, at a time when cheap hardware wasn’t quite enough to run Vista comfortable. Coupled with over zealous security pop ups, and lots of driver issues, I think its been the biggest driver of consumers to Apple in the last 5 years. Rubbish.

Windows 7 – basically Vista v2.0 – cleaned up the bugs and dialed down the security pop ups. Time had passed and drivers had been created for Vista and 7, and cheap laptops had the spec to run it well. Good.

Windows 8 – It’s not looking good.



So that’s it. 20 years of evidence support Lowry’s Law, meaning there’s an undeniable truth that Windows 8 is going to be rubbish. However, things are looking great for Windows 9…

15 thoughts on “Why Windows 8 is going to be rubbish: Lowry’s Law.

  1. Tried 8, didn’t like the interface, much to used to a PC that does what I want it to do, looks how I arrange it and works the way I want, I found I could not change it to suit my needs let alone do what I wanted it to do, I have no doubt there would have been ways to change it to what i wanted, I just didn’t have the next year to find them

    1. Exactly. My Win 7 installs take a little customising until I’m happy, but in Win 8 I would basically be aiming to totally get rid of all the new “functionality”. Life’s too short.

  2. I installed 8 on my testing laptop- a dual-core w/3gb ram. Runs ok, nothing super-fast nor glitchy.

    Getting the metro interface back (hovering lower-left of desktop) or getting the settings box back (hovering upper-right) has a delay. I despise how you can basically only have two metro apps going onscreen at once…also, why not make 8 customizable- allow users to drop metro altogether if they wish? The missing start/shutdown is ridiculous (5-6 clicks/steps just to shutdown?)…omg- just so annoying!!!

    I’m happy to be a tech, happy MS makes everything so difficult for the average joe, since it’ll be me doing the fixing/helping.

    Typed on & sent from my Linux Mint machine- 😉

    1. Lol, loving the Linux Mint. That has become my goto install since the Unity disaster – a similar move to Metro I suppose, although Unity is at least partially useable…

  3. I downloaded win 8 for three days,it was a nightmare I couldn’t do anything with it.I Finally found the the answer—DELETE– delete- delete.Is there anybody over 70 years old working for Microsoft;there should be? I would like to thank your Dad for showing it isn’t only me that is confused with Win 8.

  4. Chris,

    It does seem that your hypothesis is correct! I love Windows 7, but Vista and Windows 8 are bad. I had the unfortunate luck to have purchased a new computer a few months after Windows Vista came out. It was amazingly buggy for a “fully fledged” operating system. Microsoft eventually got rid of the bugs, but I ended up reimaging the system many times and had to start over.

    Fortunately, the computer died and I bought a fast machine that could handle Windows 7. It seems that Windows 8 will probably be much more stable that Vista, but I just can’t stand the interface. It slows me down too much. If all you ever want to do with your computer is play, it would probably be fine.

    Thanks for writing. May God bless you and your family.


  5. Installed it on 7 systems in a work enviroment all tech savy people big mistkae the loss of hours just to to the basuic stuff no thanks ad the shut down procedure are these guys kidding, one month later we are all back on Windows 7 there are not enough years and too little functionality to suit our needs to want it anyone know when windows 9 is out ?

    1. But presumeably there must have been some people that loved it? How can they have got this far, and recieved this much hatred?

  6. Windows 95 wasn’t rubbish. It was actually well-designed, well received, and a lot more intuitive than the Ribbon or Windows 8. If Windows 95 had flopped they wouldn’t be in business right now. I am skeptical Microsoft has that much on the line with Windows 8, but I see Windows 8 as another (major) peg on the “End of Microsoft” timeline.

    Microsoft is the new Rome.

    1. Yeh, Windows 95 had a lot going for it. So did Vista. However, for the majority of users, it wasn’t until 98 and Win7 were released, respectively, that they found themselves with a stable, useable product. Vista didn’t flop either, in fact it outsold XP on a like-for-like comparison of the first month of launch. Lowry’s law states that every other release is rubbish, not necessarily a financial failure.

      I see Microsoft around a long time, but I must say, I think Win8 could be a serious mistake.

  7. I tried Windows 8 Consumer Previw on an old laptop. Although it was not really a suitable device to really test the new OS I conncluded that it was rubbish and un-installed after an hour. I didn’t like the desktop or the charms, and the method of shutting down took 4 steps. I have 4 computers at home; two with Windows 7 Pro and two with Ubuntu 12.04. The best, in my opinion is Ubuntu.

  8. Microsoft has only ever produced 3 decent OS’s during its entire existence.

    1. MSDOS – a bought-in CP/M clone that stole the limelight from Digital Research due to Gate’s clever licensing deal with IBM. They worked on it over the years – by version 7 it was good.

    2. Windows 3x – the cheap Mac clone GUI “stolen” from under Steve Jobs nose when MS cozied up to Apple to err..well… reverse engineer a GUI because they didn’t have one of their own. An affordable GUI for the Taiwanese IBM clone PCs which broke the Apple hardware stranglehold and brought affordable computing to the masses – sort of … eventually.

    3. Windows XP – the logical development of the GUI – a fast robust OS combining just the right amount of eye candy with enormous capability.

    Each edition of these OS’s has featured one common theme – the removal of more and more control from the user. For example in XP it is no longer possible to directly program the PC hardware. With the coming of Win 7 MS partners were forbidden to produce drivers for XP. The net effect of this has been to reinforce the MS industry cartel, prevent anyone else from developing a decent gui and thrown in booby traps to frustrate Indie software developers. The MS policy of hugely overpricing its mediocre software is a deliberate business model aimed at killing the Indie software industry. It goes like this … The big corporates will pay the silly prices for MS software because they fear being left out of MS near monopoly position. In return MS gives them preferential support. Lots of other law abiding people with money to burn or a desire to indebt themselves, follow suit. MS makes money. Meanwhile poorer people pirate MS products when possible. This is OK with MS because poor people don’t have the money anyway and MS has already made plenty. MS pretends to wring its hands and brings in pathetic security measures to prevent piracy. Meanwhile people start to believe that stealing software is the norm. MS is ok because they have the corporate market but any other fledgling Indie software producer simply cannot survive the levels of piracy that exist so they give up and go under. Net result MS makes more money from mediocre software due to lack of choice and market saturation.

    MS continues to churn out substandard OS’s that contain more and more eye candy and less and less functionality. Each new version features ludicrous increases in hardware demand in order to boost the new PC market and the coffers of MS and its cartel cronies. MS tries to introduce restrictive practices to kill off previous releases of its own OS’s eg. won’t allow IE 9 to run on XP, denying XP drivers for new hardware etc. When MS does produce a half decent OS it then destroys its integrity by splitting it up into a multitudinous versions of commercial and consumer releases based by removing functionality and charging a premium to get it back. Meanwhile people are getting weary of this and the Linux community keeps going and starts to produce some decent and relatively usable freeware for even the average consumer. Suddenly Apple looks attractive again as well. Then smart phones come along and Apple surprises the market with new innovations such as the IPad. Now MS is looking old fashioned and jaded like Dad at a teen party. But still they don’t get it.

    Win 7 is a pile of crap – it looks good yes – because it copies the Aero interface from Vista oh er … I mean Apple. Win 7 is basically Vista SP 3 which MS somehow duped people into paying for again(you gotta hand it to them on marketing). This is an OS where the search function has been rendered useless, the logical tree filing system has been usurped by incredibly complicated illogical layering into non-folders and it cannot run more than 3 user applications (including a web browser) simultaneously without siezing up. This is progress? Windows 8 (which I have tried) compounds all of this by adding a stupid touch phone interface onto a PC desktop. Complete nonsense.

    I run XP 64 (yes a 64 bit OS) that MS killed because it was too good and interfered with the MS plans to foist “new” OS crap on us. I get by because Vista and Win 7 are based on it and if you know what you are doing you can force these drivers in OK most of the time without a problem. It is lightening fast, has no memory limit like XP 32 and runs 32 bit applications in compatibility mode seamlessly. It is great.

    What Microsoft should have done with XP – the worlds most popular OS – is to change their outdated business model (while they still had the market penetration) by switching to annual upgrade licensing. Giving the OS away dirt cheap or free and then getting people to subscribe to updates and improvements of the well-loved platform was a no brainer. This would have allowed MS to produce decent software to run on it and secured its future. Then another new, coherently evolved OS would have been a natural and widely supported progression in another 10 years or so. Now alas it’s all too late.

    My prediction is that Windows 8 is going to be the biggest flop of all time. It will either be a bug ridden monstrosity or contain nothing of any significance to justify an upgrade. It’s too little, too badly thought out and too late. If I want a phone thats going to be a computer I’ll buy a phone. If I want a larger net device like a tablet – I’ll use one. Otherwise I want a PC/ Laptop that I can use for just that. Interconnectedness-shmenectidness I can already connect stuff up thanks.

    MS is going to die in is present form. Bring it on I say – it should have been broken up years ago because it has never had an original idea since its inception. It’s very existence is an damper upon technological progress, an affront to business ethics and it is completely inimical to interests of consumers. When it happens I for one will dance for joy if only in just repayment for those wasted years of my life watching progress bars and waiting for MS software “preparing” to do something it should have done years ago.
    R.I.P. Microsoft.

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