So Windows 8 was released today. I won’t be moving to it anytime soon.
There are some people who make a habit of waiting for Service Pack 1 to be released before upgrading to a new version of Windows. The trouble is, I can think of one instance, Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 1, that was much more problematic than its predecessor. And in more recent years, service packs have become more arbitrary. Knowing that practice exists, Microsoft releases Service Pack 1 based more on uptake than on actual need.
So I have a different rule I follow.
I wait a year. Sometimes longer, but a year tends to work fairly well. I waited more than a year for Windows 3.1–partly because when Windows 3.1 was released, I didn’t own a PC capable of running it–and then I waited a little more than a year for Windows 95. I waited about a year for Windows 98. I made an exception for Windows 2000 because Windows 9x was so bad. And Windows 2000 was so good, I didn’t actually buy my first copy of Windows XP until much later, perhaps 2007. I skipped Vista entirely, and waited about a year for Windows 7.
Along the way, I missed a lot of headaches. Windows 95 had a lot of growing pains, especially if you didn’t buy it pre-installed. Early on, Windows 98 was generally more problematic than Windows 95 OSR2. Windows 98SE was much better. So much better, there’s a small contingent of people still running it, even though it’s nearly old enough to drive and hasn’t been officially supported in a decade.
And although Windows XP is extremely good, it didn’t start out that way. Early on, it was Windows 2000 plus better gaming support and a few bugs thrown in. It wasn’t until Service Pack 2 that Windows XP came into its own.
I missed Vista at home, but not at work. I didn’t miss much, at home. At work? Suffice it to say I’m glad they were paying me to use Vista.
Even waiting a year didn’t completely allow me to dodge problems with Windows 7. It mostly worked–I did avoid a couple of problematic patches–but I had issues with video and with printing. It works well enough now, so I’m not the least bit eager to change until I have to, especially since it’s not at all clear what I’d gain by switching in October when it hits the shops.