How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: Are You an Early Adopter?

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Are you the first in line to try out a new OS or major upgrade? Do you hang back and let the fools rush in to work out the beta-level bugs? This week we want to hear about your early adoptions (or lack there of).

The online community is a twitter (literally and figuratively) with the release of the preview release of Windows 8–you can check out our screenshot tour of it here. The release raises the old questions about the risks and benefits of early adoption, which in turn made us quite curious to hear what your take on leaping to new systems and undertaking major upgrades is.

Are you first in line to try out a new desktop OS or slam your smartphone with an upgrade? Do you let others suffer the bugs, crashes, and data loss before wading in? How long was the current version of your operating system out before you made the leap? If you are an early adopter, what precautions do you take? Sound off in the comments with your upgrade adoption schemes.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/14/11

Comments (54)

  1. nt0xik8ed

    for some odd reason i don’t have any interest in windows8, blu-ray, firefox updates, etc…

  2. craig

    Yup, if it’s free, I’m on it. I’m not a money maker by any means so when it comes to the newest hardware I have to hang back. But new OS’s, major updates, social media platforms and whatever else, I’m all over it.

    Posted using Chrome 15.0.874.12 dev-m

  3. John

    since it was free, I wanted to download and try it. I didnt want to duel boot so I tried to do it in VirtualBox but when installing it, VB crashed. Oh Well.

  4. Niko

    For those that wait on the fools to rush-in and work out all the bugs… you are welcome :)

    Upgrade adoption schemes? What schemes? I just jump in with reckless abandon and hope for the best. I’ll simply have a full backup ready in case something goes wrong.

    Although, the developer preview for Windows 8 I installed on a virtual machine. That is my preferred method for new OS testing.

  5. MJ

    I don’t have much interest on Windows 8, but as with the Windows 7 Beta, I like to be the first to use the new OS.

  6. ka6j

    I already tried the developer preview and it is a whole lot difference than normal Windows OS but it has some potentials for PC such as easy Kinect integration due to Metro interface. However ribbon tab like in Office kind of bloating the windows and confusing eventhough full of useful stuffs.

  7. Robert Waller

    Windows 8 is still in Developement mode NOT Beta so I wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole, when it goes public beta then I might give it a go [i did when Win 7 came to public beta but only because I hated Vista]

  8. Bad_Attitude

    Even though I’ve been using W7 for almost 2 years now and was an early fan of the os, I don’t see anything about W8 that makes me want to use it. A faster boot would be nice but I can live with 50-55 seconds. Besides, 99% of the time I’m bringing it out of sleep. Right now my biggest problem is the ui, I don’t like the tiles in Windows Phone 7 and I don’t like them in W8. I hated Vista when it came out and stayed with XP Pro but went to W7 in 2009, soooo, a year or two from now who knows? Right now, no thanks.

  9. rlocone

    I have it installed in VirtualBox v4.0.12. Win 8 build v8102. It’s slow and laggy. You need to allocate at least 4GB of ram in VM. I can’t say I like the Metro UI too much. Something to get used even though there is the desktop icon in the Metro UI.

  10. Megagamerx1

    I’m more of a Linux person, and I often like to jump on the dev release bandwagon, only to find myself regretting it a couple days later… :P

  11. StarsLikeDust

    On most things I do not consider myself an early adopter, this is particularly true of what I would consider core systems such as my phone hardware/OS, and computer hardware/OS. That said I will occasionally give free things a go in beta stages, usually this means VM’s for OSes or portable builds of software. The result being that usually I try software early and then revert to the current stable version, while very occasionally installing a beta after trying it out (I did run the Win 7 Beta as my main OS for a couple months before release).

  12. ANDY

    I am real happy with Win7 and will not adopt to Win8 for a very long time.

  13. aarcain

    I let the fools rush in. After all Windows 7 was the Vista of before. We all know the problems with Vista.

  14. Road Dog777

    Just learning my way around 7, (a 2 y/o OS) spent a packet on new hard & software, now 8 is all 64-bit, so trash more kit and buy more, 4-get useful 32-bit progs/hardware that work/compat for W-7 and start over again & wait for 64-bit only everything to become the norm by then W-9 will be hype! Honestly fed up & sticking with 7 until it dies of old age. 1 in 6 U.S. citizens live below poverty line, so they get their news from a TV or newspaper, Gate$ is moving himself out of the market where only folks who can spend thousand$ every few years to keep up even get to play. My next OS won’t be Windows.

    R D

  15. Steve-O-Rama

    It depends on the timing. If I have a pretty much new machine that’s made to take advantage of whatever a new OS or software offers, then of course I’ll at least try it. I don’t build my own machines merely because I’m a cheap bastard; I want decent performance for a decent price, and the OS is almost always an integral part of the machine. Let’s not forget cost though: a free OS is free, but only benefits me if it doesn’t cost me time. That said, I don’t have time for notoriously-buggy operating systems, nor ones with very-specific faults, e.g. will not work with certain software packages, programs, compilers, CAD systems, whatever I’m doing at that moment.

    Contrariwise, let’s look at the machine I’m using right now: a $300 Acer Aspire One netbook from 2009, powered by an Intel Atom CPU, running Win7 on an Intel SSD (originally WinXP on a WD Scorpion [Blue?]). I think I’ve pushed this machine ‘upward’ as far as rationally possible. Its performance is exceptional for such an inexpensive item, and I’m happy with it. However, if it’s found that Win8 can really make an Atom netbook fly faster and/or prolong battery life, I *may* give it a spin.

    I’m due to build a new PC in the next 8-12 months, and it will be a Socket R (aka LGA 2011). NOT likely an X79, as that’s going to be the first generation (read: overpriced and only an appetizer), plus it’s already shaping up to be a feature-crippled, lackluster remix. Most likely, I’ll wait for Ivy Bridge. By that point, the only logical option (besides Linux, yes, shut up) for a Windows PC will be to use Win8, almost no matter how “finished” a product Microsoft has at that time.

  16. Dan

    For applications, I always try to update at the soonest. But for Windows, I upgrade after SP1 is released. I don’t want to be an unpaid beta-tester. :-)

  17. Dale

    Can’t claim I was always an early adopter. I did get a copy of Win7 Ultimate for hosting a launch party. BUT, I did download the Developer’s Preview of Win8 last night & have it running on an old laptop of mine.

  18. Amir

    i am an early adapter. running Windows 8 since yesterday.

  19. Rob

    I have a Windows 7 slate that was basically useless, Win 7 is not so good on touch devices. I had no problem installing the Win 8 Dev preview on it instead and am really enjoying it so far. What have you got to lose by being an early adaptor in this case. Be sensible and don’t replace your main OS but run this in VirualBox, a separate partition or do what I did if you’ve got a spare piece of kit hanging around.
    It’s fun to play with, go for it.

  20. Béranger

    @John: If VirtualBox crashed while installing Windows 8, it’s VirtualBox’s fault, right? Besides, any OS is only truly tested on true hardware, not virtualized. You can still try a dual-boot.

  21. AbbaDabba

    I’m normally the first one to get new toys. However, there are some technologies that just don’t warrant an upgrade or change and I pass on them. One will probably be Windows 8. I already have Android on my portable devices and am happy with that. I have Windows 7 on my desktop and am happy with that. I just see this upgrade as a way for Microsoft to try to get back in the mobile game. They’ve shown for 20 years they just don’t have what it takes to be a player in that market. They should stick to what they do best.

    The other upgrade I made and ditched the technology is Blu-Ray. I did EVERYTHING they wanted me to do… proper cables, authenticated video cards, licensed projector, upgraded software. But with all the copy protection in that morass of video discouragement, it just wouldn’t work correctly. And, with all the components involved in the decision whether to let me watch the video I had payed for, it was like living with 8 wives… none could agree, none could work together and the final product was a choppy, crappy picture with no sound. So, I bought a program that removes their stupid copy protection and VOILA! All my problems were resolved. Nice picture, nice sound and no more hassle with their stupid copy protection that ONLY severs to hinder legally purchased copies. Plus, I’m still mad the way Blu-Ray destroyed the competition and how the US Government just let that happen. They just rolled over for Sony so Sony would not have another Betamax. The quality for Blu-Ray is just not that much better than an upconverted DVD. And now that NetFlix has started charging more for both Blu-Ray and for mailed DVD’s, I’d rather stream content that use their bloated, ineffective system.

  22. KB Prez

    I’m not an early adopter. I’d rather wait a bit and let others find the bugs. The only exception is when I upgraded my OS early to Win7. My experience with VISTA was an absolute nightmare and I couldn’t wait to get rid of it!

  23. Hisa

    With virtual machines, how could not want to jump on the bandwagon?! I love it! You get to try something new, learn something new, and when it is all said and done, you are the expert that people will go to for help. I love to freelance my services by knowing what some people consider to be the unknowable :)

  24. Liz

    Let the fools rush in I say, If I could I’d still be using win 2000 I would. It worked it was stable, you hardly had to fix anything. A lot of programs and updates etc actually just screw up your machine, simple is better, I can’t handle these users that willy nilly load crap that I have to fix afterwards.

  25. jkglad

    Yes, I am one of the 500,000 that downloaded the Win8 pre-beta yesterday. Didn’t get it up and running, though.

  26. Lloyd Kuhnle

    I will be pre-ordering 3 copies the very moment the MICROSOFT store offers it!

  27. EmirX

    I’m not rushing to tryout that Win8 especially while its still in beta form…
    But I’m sure going to make it my new computers OS.

  28. APseudonym

    I’m still so far in the past (and in the dark!) that I’m trying to install DOS on my Trash 80…

  29. jerone

    I’m always trying the latest stuff. If it’s beta, alfa or dev. Most of the time I try it on an old laptop, but I’m testing more and more on a virtual environment first. Also Windows 8, I have tried on VirtualBox (VMWare won’t work). If it’s just for wanting to try the latest stuff or showing off to co-workers and friends, I don’t know.

  30. crab

    If it’s a free download I’ll try it out, but if I have to pay or to upgrade my main OS I’ll wait until the bugs are worked out.

    I used to be keen about new Linux updates, but since Ubuntu 7.10 I’ve just come to wonder what they broke this time, or what feature I like has been deprecated to dumb it down some more, so I’m not so keen to upgrade anymore.

  31. vgamesx1

    well all I have to say is, do they have to make it that hard just to turn of the computer…
    I mean really! I spent about 10mins just looking for a way to turn it off and noticed Ctrl+Alt+Del had a button.

  32. vgamesx1

    If it stays the way it is in beta or store version I know I anit gona buy it.
    they should have kept the “start menu”.

    *MS.. making things for dumbies, so we can make everyone elses life harder.*

  33. mebby

    I am an early official-release adopter. I installed Vista and 7 as soon as they were out. (I had almost zero issues with Vista. In fact it was so much better on my ‘puters than XP I did cartwheels of joy!)

    But I am not a alpha or beta tester/user. I may try Windows 8 earlier since I am looking forward to it more than any new OS I have encountered in the past.

  34. mnzrmlky

    Used windows 7 since the public beta. Windows 8 is in dual boot now.

    When it comes to software, if I can use both old and new, I do, if that is not an option, I hold out for a little while. I shall probably jump ship to windows 8 completely around the RC.

  35. kimberly

    Definitely an early adopter. I love new shiny things.

  36. Skeirgon

    I always like to wait awhile before getting the newest Microsoft OS at least until SP1 comes out. I like others to do the beta testing for Microsoft and not me.

  37. N Troutman

    I won’t upgrade to Windows 8 until my favorite Geek says it is stable and safe. I find reliablility more exciting that the lastest techy tool. When Howtogeek says all the bugs are out, I will just buy a new computer with Windows 8 on it.

  38. Roi

    Always and forever.

  39. astral_cyborg

    It depends on the software. If it is an OS, then I wait for about a few months to a year or something. I also use final and stable versions of web browsers, most of the media converters and generally stuff that are at the risk of crashing or show various incompatibilities.

    I may use beta or earlier versions of games, the rest of multimedia applications (graphics, video, audio) and the rest of the kinds.

  40. TerryRay

    Win 7 works great and it’s not even old so why change. I tried to install Win 8 on VirtualBox, and VM Ware and it crashed and others have experienced this same problem. Sure Win 8 isn’t finished yet but this doesn’t make me too excited about it.

  41. Whitney

    I’m definately a wait and see – I think Vista taught a lot of us to be more cautious. Like many others though I think Win7 is great – first great OS I’ve seen out of microsoft to be honest…and it’s because they took the time in development…win8 I’m not too excited about.

  42. Ryan

    I’m always one of the first people to jump on a new technological train and see how it rides (especially if its free).

    If things just don’t work on with beta/alpha programs and OS’s that’s what dual booting and uninstall is for. :)

  43. JeR

    I have Windows 8 running on my laptop using 64x version. I can see the tiles being useful to my non-computer users. They just click on the tile to open the software package. One thing is missing is power off or restart buttons. Thanks to you I created my own. You can get to desktop if you wish and do things somewhat like Windows 7. I have ran about very version of Windows starting at 1 to 8.
    But Windows 8 is fast to load and installing as stand alone is easy. I have been the type to try any new software including betas version. I been using 7 since the first beta release over 2 years ago.

  44. Ryan Mitchell

    Hell Yeah! I’ve already completely phased-out Windows 7 on every unit I own. I’m sick of everyone complaining about the power buttons, Windows Key+I, And click power, It’s not that hard. people!

  45. Steve A

    This time yes. It is a real change, the first family pack is what I will wait for. If power use and speed live up to expectations this will be worth it.

  46. XXX

    No, I’m not an early adapter. Windows XP is probably the best and will remain so. Windows Vista was horrible and Windows 7 is pretty much a service pack of Vista. I’d Expect Windows 8 to be a hybrid Windows Phone/ Xbox360 Hybrid system.

    Just cause something is suppose to come with a lot of features, doesn’t mean your going to use them and just cause something is popular and new doesn’t mean it’s the best.

  47. Rick S

    AFTER VISTA ?????
    Not a chance in hell of me ever trusting them guys again !!
    If it’s tried and proven then I’ll install it.

    Windows XP and Linux are doing the the job for me and I’m pleased with both of them.

  48. sensi277

    When there is a beta ANYTHING, i’m on top of it. I’m downloading dev’s release of windows 8 right now and I’m going to run it on virtualbox right now. Thanks to the guide you’ve provided, I’m going to run it on my mac. Anyways, I use beta chrome, I was an early adopter of Mac OS X Lion in the Developer’s mist. When that happened I ditched Snow Leopard and I didn’t care about the bugs. So, in conclusion I am one of the early adopters of pretty much anything I can get my hand on.

  49. Bob-El

    Hell, I haven’t even tamed Windows 7 yet. I haven’t had it for a year yet so the though of changing again nauseates me. I figure MS shouldn’t release a new OS for at least 5 years so we have time to save up the money to pay for the damn thing. What a money grab! Anyway, I don’t like the look of the new OS. I switched to OpenOffice and later LibreOffice after MS introduced that ridiculous ribbon system. What a nightmare! I heard you can toss the new interface in Windows 8 for the older, saner one. Every time I upgrade to a new version of Windows I have to go through a learning curve. It takes a while because I don’t devote my entire life to it. At least Windows 7 looks similar to XP. All I need is a completely different interface to drive me crazy. So, will I be jumping on it when it’s released? No on your life.

  50. Beverly

    I am sticking with WXP. Hate the thought that eventually it will be obsolete. I still have some of Office 97 on my machine.

  51. Lovro

    Regarding computers and software I like to try everything very early (win8, SSD, Sandy bridge..), but on smartphones I am not so eager – sticking with iPhone 3G for the time being!

  52. Martin

    Im already into programming apps for win 8 so having a test machine running it is important.

  53. Eric

    As it happens, I am commenting in Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8.

  54. Rey

    Microsoft is trying to catch up with Linux destros i guess with its rapid releases …………. but they forgot about the price tag…. :P
    what is the use of early adaptation for doing the same job ……….

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