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I took the statement about re-learning the OS to imply that every Windows release has had a massive change in interaction, similar to Windows 8. Based on run4yourlives's later reply, my interpretation seems correct.

I agree that it is dangerous to overestimate the general user's ability to adapt to changes. Microsoft does a lot of focus groups for this very reason. I don't think that Microsoft can cripple itself by never changing the interface, though. Maintaining an identical interface might work for a while, but eventually competitors who weren't afraid to innovate on the UI would win.

I agree about the control panel as well. Search fixes a lot of the issues. I'm glad Windows 8 has kept search working (and arguably improved it).

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