Small business computer performance is about the changing of the guard
A small business computer is not like a car. Some people keep their cars for ten years or more. Their function of getting people from point A to point B havent changed appreciably. Cars are safer and technologically more advanced, but an older car can keep up with traffic just as well as a new one.
Thats not true with small business computers. They dont age well. They tend to slow with time even when well maintained. They become more vulnerable to new security risks because they werent designed to handle current threats. As software advances, the older operating systems and hardware fall behind the performance curve. Newer computers advance the hardware capabilities to catch up to the software advances.
Millions of PCs still run Windows XP, a twelve year old Microsoft operating system. On April 8th, 2014, Microsoft support for XP will cease (along with Office 2003). That means Microsoft will no longer provide security fixes and updates.
Microsoft released three operating systems since XP:
- Windows Vista
- Windows 7
- Windows 8- Windows 8.1, a major upgrade that is numbered as a minor upgrade, is available on October 18th, 2013 as a free upgrade for Windows 8.0 PCs.
Windows 8.0 was slow to be accepted
The economy is one reason. Many small businesses were challenged with the economy and resources to upgrade or replace older computers were scarce. Cost cutting spurred layoffs, resulting in surplus PCs which can be used to replace failing units.
The move to mobile devices is a second reason because users of these devices feel they are adequate for routine web browsing, email, and social media. But the slow learning curve and abrupt interface changes is a third reason Windows 8 has generated resistance. Windows 8 introduced a touch centric interface aimed at mobile devices and newer computers with touch screens. It is awkward to use on non-touch conventional PCs. In many ways, Microsoft seemed to abandon their existing customer base.
I believe Microsoft should have kept the Windows 7 interface for non-touch PCs. The many practical improvements in Windows 8 have been buried under the avalanche of bad press. For example, I experienced a 15% increase in performance when I rebuilt my laptop with Windows 8. Stability is also very good. Backups are easier to do and work well in the background. I work mostly from the Desktop so the Start screen rarely gets in my way. I havent encountered any compatibility problems, and neither have my clients, although some software upgrades were necessary.