Is this really the end of the road for Windows?

By | September 21, 2015
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Sometimes I feel a bit like I go around behind the newspapers and sweep up the confusion they cause with some of their technology articles… and there are two things I’ve seen recently that could have been misleading…

Is this the last ever version of Windows?
You might have seen headlines sayings this new version, Windows 10, is the last one Microsoft plan to release.

And that’s true.  Well, more or less true.

But does it mean it’s the end of the line for Windows? No.  Not at all.

You see, what’s really happening is Microsoft are changing how they go about updating Windows.

In the past, every few years they’ve brought out a new version.  You can carry on with the old one or upgrade to the new one.  And after a while, when you buy a new PC, it’ll have the new version on it.

That’s what’s happened this time – and this time the upgrade to Windows 10 is free, if you have a more or less recent version of Windows already.  (In the past all upgrades have been ones you have to pay for).

But from now on, they aren’t planning on doing that.

Instead, any changes they feel are needed will happen as smaller updates instead.  They won’t sit down and create a completely new Windows, they’ll tweak the one we’ve got, fix bugs and add features and so on.  And they’ll download to your PC through automatic updates, which already downloaded some updates before – it’ll just be a bit busier now!
It sounds like a very different way of working and I suppose it is, but it’s more like the way Apple work with the system iPads run and like Google work with Android, the system lots of other tablets run.

Of course, it’s always possible that Microsoft will change their mind at some point in the future and do a completely new version, but I doubt it’ll happen any time at all soon. This seems to be the way it’s going generally, so I doubt they’ll go back to the old way.

So this really is the last completely new version of Windows – but they’ll still be fixing bugs, tweaking and tinkering under the covers, like they’ve done with all the previous versions.

Is your fridge hacking your PC?
I saw an article the other day about how you need to be careful because a new fridge could hack your PC.  I double checked to see if I was reading an old newspaper dated April 1st, but no… so I read the article.

Is it true, well, I suppose so.  Is it something to worry about? Almost certainly not.

You see, the issue is that some companies are now developing fridges that can let you know when the milk is low and you need to buy some more – by sending you an email.  And there are cookers you can put the food in when you leave in the morning and then turn on across the internet so your roast is just right when you get home.

And theoretically, if the manufacturer didn’t design the way they use the internet very carefully, they could be used as a sort of “back door” into your wifi network and then into your PC.

Of course, the manufacturers are trying to be careful so that it can’t happen.

But it’s a moot point anyway – how many people do you know with a fridge that has the capability to email you?  Or cookers where you type in your wifi password so you can control it over the internet?

Chances are your answer is the same as mine – none.

So even if it’s theoretically possible if you had one of these fridges or cookers, it’s a bit irrelevant if you don’t have one… and you almost certainly don’t!

So if you see a similar article, don’t let it worry you – treat it as an interesting “What might happen in five or ten years time” article.

Windows 10 books – midday
I mentioned last time that I’ve been hard at work eating biscuits and drinking tea… er, sorry, no, that wasn’t what I mean to admit to… I mean, I’ve been hard at work completely updating Computers One Step at a Time and The Internet One Step at a Time to cover Windows 10 (the tea and biscuits are essential fuel for doing the work, honest).

And now, they’re finished (the books, that is, rather than the biscuits).

It was quite a big job as Windows 10 is quite a big change from Windows 8.

Anyway, as of midday today, you’ll be able to pre-order a copy.  I say pre-order because they won’t be in stock until later this week – but if you pre-order, then we’ll get them in the post to you straight away when they arrive, so you get yours as quickly as possible.

As I say, you can’t do it until midday – watch this space.

7 thoughts on “Is this really the end of the road for Windows?

  1. Colin Smith

    Are you monitoring problems with Windows 1? I ordered it early on, and it was offered to me weeks ago. It seems to load Time and time again), but refuses to install. (80070490?). I am now almost resolved to stick to 7 unless some plain and simple advice becomes available.

    Reply
  2. Sheila Leathley

    Regarding Windows 10 I have just been told that although the upgrade at present is free, after a year you will be charged a yearly subscription fee. Also, if after upgrading you change your mind and want to return to your previous edition of Windows you only have one months grace, thereafter you are committed to Windows 10. I would be very interested to have your comments.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Hello
      no, there’s no subscription fee, though lots of people have thought there might be – it’s because Microsoft weren’t very clear in their wording. More detail here: http://helpfulbooks.co.uk/emailnewsletter/?p=717
      About the one month, Microsoft make it much easier to go back to your older version for one month, after that the extra files are deleted to save clogging up your PC. But if you have the original disks that came with your PC, you can still go back if you want to (though it’s a bit more work).
      Tim

      Reply
  3. DEREK RANDALL

    Tim, I’ve just had the unpleasant experience of installing Windows 10 to my Windows 7 computer and on completion ( over 2 hours) the desktop and task bar continually flash on and off every few seconds, plus the icons do not connect with the appropriate programmes . Spending a good time trying to rectify via ‘forums’ etc. gave up as a bad job and reconnected back to Windows 7 ,thank goodness. As a matter of interest have you experienced a similar problem from other users ?

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Not one I’ve come across, I’m afraid – going back to Windows 7 (at least for a good while until any problems are fixed) sounds like the best plan!
      Tim

      Reply
  4. David Wild

    Regarding your article ‘Is your fridge hacking your PC’. I can control my central heating and hot water system remotely via the internet (using my phone or laptop/PC). I also get messages from the server informing me that the temperature in my house is too hot. The system is becoming quite common in the UK, so do you think there is any chance that my PC, laptop and WiFi are at risk. The remote operating system is installed by British Gas and is called ‘HIVE’.

    Reply
    1. Tim Post author

      Hello
      theoretically, it could be IF the system hasn’t been designed correctly. But I haven’t heard any cases of any hacker actually managing to use one of these sorts of systems to hack into someone’s PC, so in practice I think it’s likely to be safe.
      I suspect it’s a bit like cars with fancy alarms – yes a crook could get past one, but it’s easier to steal a car that doesn’t have one – lots of people use poor passwords and it’s easiest to hack via a poorly chosen password or a system (you’d be suprised how many people use the word password, for example) that doesn’t have a password at all.
      Tim

      Reply

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