Windows 10 could prompt upgrades of 600 million aging PCs

Hardware makers are eager to put Windows 10 on PCs to boost shipments

The familiar Start menu is back, with some improvements, including a space you can personalize with your favorite apps, programs, people, and websites.

The familiar Start menu is back, with some improvements, including a space you can personalize with your favorite apps, programs, people, and websites.

Microsoft's Windows 10 is still in testing, but hardware makers can't wait for the day the OS replaces the controversial Windows 8.

Millions of PCs are aging, and those who have resisted Windows 8 will likely upgrade to computers with Windows 10. The initial reception to a test version of Windows 10 has been positive, as it resolves many usability issues affecting Windows 8.

There are about 600 million PCs that are four years or older, and those systems are ripe for upgrades, said Renee James, president at Intel, at the Credit Suisse Technology Conference on Tuesday.

"When we see a healthy macroeconomic environment and an aging installed base we expect a new [OS] deployment. The [PCs] are fantastic and at new price points. That's kind of a perfect storm, combined with a new OS, and the OS usually pushes the upgrade cycle," James said.

James is "very enthusiastic and optimistic" about what Microsoft is doing with Windows 10.

"They're being extraordinarily responsive to customers," James said.

All major PC makers are expected to support Windows 10 when it is released early next year. Hardware makers are already customizing drivers and products for Windows 10. Advanced Micro Devices' new PC chip, code-named Carrizo, will take advantage of new features in Windows 10. The chip maker is expected to detail those features early next year.

Dell has found that Windows 10 provides a consistent user experience and solves usability issues plaguing Windows 8 users, said Neil Hand, vice president of tablets at Dell, in an earlier interview.

The upcoming OS will let users run the same programs on mobile and desktop devices. That solves a Windows 8 problem, which prevented a large number of programs from working across devices.

"The ability to create applications that are super-scalable from phone to tablet to PC is the big step in a lot of ways," Hand said.

One Windows 10 feature that has been well-received is the return of the Start button, which was abandoned in Windows 8. The feature will be welcomed in businesses, which have largely embraced PC-friendly Windows 7 and declined to upgrade to Windows 8.

Windows 8 also caused confusion with separate tablet and desktop interfaces, one of the reasons business wanted to skip the OS.

Hewlett-Packard is looking forward to Windows 10, and believes it could provide a major boost to PC shipments in enterprises.

"We're genuinely excited about it," said John Groden, director of product development for Elitebook laptops at HP.

For hardware makers, Windows 10 is a relief as it opens a pathway for upgrading hardware from Windows 7, said Bob O'Donnell, principal analyst at Technalysis Research.

A lot about Windows 10 is still unknown, especially on the tablet side, O'Donnell said, adding that details relating to version breakdown, devices and pricing of Windows 10 remain unclear.

It's too early to predict the impact of Windows 10 on PC shipments, but it won't be as big as the kind of boost Windows 7 provided to PC shipments in 2009, said Jay Chou, senior research analyst at IDC.

Windows 7 came to market after Windows Vista, which was considered a debacle. At that time, PCs were dominant, but the market has now changed, with mobile devices being used as PC alternatives.

"Vista did not have to compete with smartphones and tablets," Chou said.

PC upgrades may first take place among consumers, as businesses test the OS and wait for initial kinks to be ironed out.

Windows 10 "is more amenable to power users, which is important for commercial upgrades," Chou said.

As Technalysis Research's O'Donnell put it, "Windows 10 finally gets past Windows Vista version 2, which was what Windows 8 was."

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags inteloperating systemsDellsoftwareIDCWindowsHewlett-Packardhardware systems

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?