I feel sorry for Windows 10. While you can't trust half the blather on Business Insider to be sane or accurate ever since Henry Blodget turned it from a personal blog into a content aggregator/news service of some sort, Steve Kovach, whomever he is, is right about Windows 10: it is Microsoft's greatest operating system, ever. While I formerly reserved that opinion for Windows 8.1 (the upgrade where they sort of restored the Start menu and otherwise made the OS not so ridiculously tablet-focused and unusable), Windows 10 for the desktop makes strides and improvements even upon 8.1 that finally make using a computer sort of fun and carefree - something we've all wanted since XP came out and gave us the wild hope hope that using a computer could finally bring us into an age of intelligent, hassle-free and enriching communication along with nearly effortless productivity.
Windows 10 is that almost flawless computing experience we've all dreamed of - if you're someone like me. The problem is, chances are you're not.
Microsoft is betting - quite publicly - that Windows 10 will see widespread adaption merely because it's their best operating system ever. They're placing that bet on the backs of people like me - Windows Insiders - by claiming that because over 5 million of us have given it a more or less unabashed thumbs-up, that adaption by the general public will be seamless, a guaranteed success. Bugger. I'll tell you the reasons why that's untrue. And if Microsoft is smart, they'll take notes on what I'm about to say.
People who use Windows 7 will not use Windows 10
Windows 7 users are mostly comprised of embittered Windows Vista users who finally got the chance to upgrade to a decent operating system that still offers more than XP does by installing Windows 7, on the one hand, and embittered Windows 8 users who didn't bother sticking around for Windows 8.1 before downgrading to a decent operating system that still offers more than XP does by installing Windows 7, on the other. The happiness of these people - to have dodged not one but two bullets simply by upgrading or downgrading to Windows 7 - cannot be overstated, nor can their near-certain stubborn refusal to try Windows 10 after what they've been through with Windows Vista and/or Windows 8. You will snatch Windows 7 from their cold, dead hands before they allow any upgrade to Windows 10 to happen.
Microsoft will have to do something to change the hearts and minds of Windows 7 users to make them not so afraid to try the latest and greatest operating system, and frankly, I have no idea what that is.
People who like - or who feel like they need to - use XP will not stop using XP
Try 250 million users, and I consider that an extremely conservative estimate considering China uses almost nothing except XP. In my own admittedly informal, just-knocking-around-the-house tests, Windows 8 and Windows 10 won't run as well on older hardware that's designed to work better with Windows XP. You'd think that with Microsoft's famed desire for interoperability and backward-compatibility that Windows 10 would run fast and flawlessly on almost any hardware, but that isn't the case. Users who upgrade only to realize they cannot install essential legacy drivers and that the systems they're running Windows 10 on will take noticeable performance hits will warn others in every way possible - face-to-face, in online forums, on social media, in tech shops - not to bother upgrading, which will be considered the final word on the matter, soon enough.
People who know their hardware runs fast and flawlessly on XP won't throw away their hardware simply to run Windows 10 when there are not enough compelling differences between the operating systems to make such a hardware upgrade worthwhile.
You can't compel people to buy new hardware for a voice-recognition system like Cortana that most everyday folks have no real use for. You can't sell them on backward-compatibility when even legacy video drivers won't work. People might not understand the benefits of upgrading to Windows 10, but they will quickly grasp the drawbacks: operating system slowdowns, bottlenecks and bugs, driver installs that bluescreen the computer (even I have this problem on a laptop that's designed to run Windows 7 - while running Build 10240, at least; the video driver I need bluescreens the laptop causing an eternal restart loop, so I'm using a fallback Microsoft video driver that delivers such shitty video that my screen turns white in places, especially text boxes I'm typing in, as to be unusable - ETA, 8-2-15: AMD has since come out with a new driver specific to Windows 10 which has resolved this issue for me).
People don't want forced updates, thank you.
This is the worst thing Microsoft did to people who don't happen to be Windows 10 Pro users: everyone else cannot turn updates off, which means that that video driver you've heard will completely bork your computer when it comes through on Windows Update? Will, merely because you cannot stop it from downloading and installing (as of this writing, there are ways to block or rollback select updates, but despite riotous blowback, there's been no lifting of the forced-updates requirement). I've heard forcing updates down every Windows 10 user's throat is to make our ecosystem more like Apple's, where something like 70-80% of Apple users run exactly the same OS in exactly the same update status. Well, *twirls finger* good for Apple users. Windows users are not on a closed, completely proprietary hardware/software system, and we're certainly not all running the same hardware, so forcing us to download and install the same software - driver updates, especially - will be the kiss of Windows Vista/Windows 8 Death, forcing many users back to the last version of Windows they had installed (chances are, Windows 7) sooner than Microsoft thinks. This might be the worst mistake Microsoft has made yet.