When Microsoft releases a new version of Windows, it often turns on the overdone machine and lets it rip. Think of Windows 95, when Microsoft paid the Rolling Stones $ 3 million to use “Start Me Up!” As the main theme of the operating system, it placed a 300-foot Windows banner atop Toronto’s CN Tower and illuminated the Empire State Building in red, yellow and green, the company’s colors.
Recent launches have been more sedate. But even when Microsoft speaks in a lower voice, it generally still has a good understanding of the basic facts about its new operating system and clearly describes what it thinks are the benefits of moving to it.
At least, until Windows 11 came, of course. Microsoft’s big reveal for the new operating system on June 24 wasn’t that big and revealed very little. And what it did reveal was often completely wrong or misleading. It may well have been the most failed product announcement in Microsoft’s long history.
Let’s start with the very basics of the basics – what kind of hardware do you need to run the operating system. If the company could do something right, I would expect it to start with that.
But no, that’s not what happened.
For the announcement, Microsoft put together a variety of materials detailing what hardware is required to run Windows 11. The company Windows system requirements page formally spelled out what is needed. And it is Windows 11 documentation support, written by the company’s engineering team for Microsoft partners, also outlined the hardware requirements of the new operating system.
But there was a problem. The two documents disagreed with each other on an extremely important hardware specification: the Trusted Platform Module (TPM). TPM is an international standard that in the words of David Weston, director of enterprise security and operating system at Microsoft, is used “to protect encryption keys, user credentials and other confidential data behind a hardware barrier so that malware and attackers cannot access or manipulate that data.”
The Windows System Requirements page says TPM version 2.0 is required to run Windows 11, while the Compatibility documentation for Windows 11 says only version 1.2 is required.
That is no small thing. Many millions of older PCs have version 1.2 of the TPM, but not version 2.0.
Things got worse from there. Microsoft released a compatibility checker that anyone could download to see if their PC could run Windows 11. When the verifier found a system that had TPM version 1.2, it reported that the PC was unable to run Windows 11, but don’t say why . That led to massive confusion among people whose hardware specs met or exceeded those in the Compatibility for Windows 11 documentation, so they assumed their PCs could run Windows 11.
Even more confusing: some PCs have TPM 2.0 built in, but the computers firmware disabled it. So the verifier reported that PCs couldn’t run Windows 11, when in fact they could if their owners took a few small steps to enable TPM 2.0 through firmware.
Furthermore, there is also some confusion about which precise chipsets will be able to run Windows 11 and which ones will not.
Since that initial bug, Microsoft has made it clear in its documentation that TPM version 2.0 is required. You still need to better detail which chipsets will run Windows 11. And the downloadable compatibility checker has gone offline. superseded by a page describing the Windows 11 hardware requirements.
The other issue with the ad was the lack of a clear reason why someone might want to upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 10, even for free. In a blog postMicrosoft’s Panos Panay, Product Manager for Windows + Devices, highlighted new features in Windows 11, such as a start menu that is centered rather than pinned at the bottom left of the screen; new ways to organize windows on the screen; widgets for things like news, weather, and stocks; and better games.
But he never explained why those new features are important enough to want Windows 11.
It was, to put it mildly, a disappointing sale. (Where are the Rolling Stones when you need them?) The post is full of marketing nonsense like: “It’s modern, fresh, clean and beautiful. From the new Start button and taskbar to every sound, font, and icon, everything was intentionally done to put you in control and give you a sense of calm and tranquility. “
Are you feeling relaxed yet? Oh sorry not yet, because for that you need to upgrade to Windows 11.
A failed product introduction, of course, does not necessarily mean that the finished product will be bad. But based on what I’ve heard and seen from Microsoft so far, I’m not very hopeful. It may well be one more example of what you see is what you get.
And so far, what we’ve seen is just blunders and mistakes.
Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.