Part of a continuing series on the ins and outs of Microsoft's coming Windows 8 operating system.
One of the biggest problems when it comes to installing Microsoft's Windows operating system, whether on old or new PCs, is how long and invasive the setup process can be. The next iteration of the OS, Windows 8, is looking to change all of that.
It wasn't uncommon for users upgrading to Windows 7 to go through a number of steps. An MSDN blog recently posted an image detailing just how many clicks a typical user might need to go through in order upgrade their operating system. Check out the picture below:
Unreal. For less than advanced users, a common setup might involve Upgrade Advisor (this tells you how to proceed), Windows Easy Transfer (helping you to preserve your previous files and settings) and the Windows Setup itself, which has a ridiculous number of clicks all on its own.
This is a big deal, because it means that users who have been running on Windows XP or Windows Vista that wish to upgrade to Windows 7 will need to go through a minimum several dozen clicks in order to get the newer, more secure, operating system. It also means you can't simply hit install and walk away, letting the process continued unattended.
Compare that, for example, to Apple's recent offering of OS X Lion. Users were able to buy the upgrade from the OS X App Store (for just $30, but that's another story), click install, and basically walk away. Regardless of whether you love or hate Apple, or love or hate Microsoft (or are sensible and don't feel any particular affection for either company), it must be said that it is easily a superior experience.
Microsoft is taking a number of measures to ensure that the new operating system doesn't require nearly the same level of redundant interaction that Windows 7 and previous releases do. Windows 8 combines a lot of what would have been found on those different screens above into just one or two:
The setup program is also much smarter in terms of analyzing your system and telling you how you might or might not proceed with the installation. Everything on these screens is specific to the Windows Developer Preview, but that's an easily changed bit of text that can be switched out for the official Windows 8 release, which we can expect sometime next year.
Instead of confusing users with a ton of options, screens are cleanly designed with just a few bulletpoint options to go over, then the software proceeds with the installation. Unfortunately, Microsoft isn't going to let you get away without a reboot or two just yet.
After all that, the total number of screens you need in order to install Windows 8 has dramatically shrunk in comparison to its predecessor. This image is a lot nicer to look at, especially compared to the one right above, isn't it?
Microsoft posted a video of the difficulties inherent in deciding how to proceed with an operating system upgrade, and how to make things better for the end user. You can check it out right here:
More articles in DesktopReview's continuing series on the upcoming release of Microsoft's next-generation Windows 8 operating system, scheduled for release sometime late this year.
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