OPINION: Do you look forward to a new operating system with anticipation or dread?
Both Windows and Mac users have new operating systems on the horizon, with a raft of new features and improvements.
There was a time when I'd get excited about such things, but these days I think I'm more worried about what they'll break.
Like many people, my computer is my primary business tool rather than simply some toy for playing games and checking Facebook. I expect the more reliant people are on their computers for getting things done, the more reluctant they'd be to rush out and upgrade their operating systems on day one.
Your approach to OS upgrades probably depends on whether you've been burned in the past. I switched my primary work machine from Windows to Mac back when Leopard was released.
I was relatively happy with Windows XP but I wasn't interested in fighting with Vista. The transition to Vista was a painful one for many people and I know a few other tech journalists who also made the leap to Leopard to avoid it. At the time the Mac old guard were complaining about the things which had changed from Tiger, but as new Mac convert I couldn't see what they were whinging about because I was so impressed with Leopard.
All that changed when it was time to make the move from Leopard to Snow Leopard. Now I found myself on the other side of the fence, complaining about the things that had been changed or simply broken rather than getting excited about the new features. The move to Lion was even worse and I still look back on Leopard fondly.
In recent years I'd say Windows XP and Leopard were the most trouble-free offerings from each camp, which is why people have stuck with them for so long. Snow Leopard and Lion have never run quite as smoothly on my Macs as Leopard did.
My general rule of thumb for non-tech savvy people has always been not to upgrade Windows but rather wait until they buy a new computer with the new version of Windows pre-installed.
This especially applies to notebooks, as you're less likely to find the new drivers you need. After the last few years I'd have to say I now apply the same rule to Mac. Don't be in a rush to upgrade, unless you like to tinker with technology and don't mind struggling with change.
In my home I've got a four-year old MacBook still running Leopard, along with a seven-year old ThinkPad still running Windows XP.
They've been handed down to various family members and are still running smoothly, after struggling with later operating systems and then rolling back. Unfortunately these computers are missing out on a lot of security improvements and some third-party vendors are also ending support.
So it's time to make some tough decisions - do I want to take the risk of running a very old operating systems, do I want to cripple them with an upgrade or do I retire two perfectly fine computers and buy new ones?
Considering that they're mostly used to run a browser, I might just bite the bullet and upgrade.
How do you approach operating system upgrades? Are they a blessing or a curse?