People dislike Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8 so much that over 1 million users signed up to beta test an early version of its replacement Windows 10 operating system in the first two weeks it was available -- despite the company encouraging them not to do so.
The Windows Insider Program offers open enrollment and does not check credentials before letting users install the early test version of Windows 10. The company does, however, make clear on the program's Web page that the current iteration of the software is not for everyone, stating, "If you're a PC expert or an IT pro, come on a journey with us and be part of creating the best Windows yet."
Unexpected PC crashes could damage or even delete your files, so you should back up everything. Some printers and other hardware might not work, and some software might not install or work correctly, including antivirus or security programs. You might also have trouble connecting to home or corporate networks.
What does this mean for Microsoft?
A second poorly received OS could have driven Microsoft's core business customers elsewhere. That might have eroded or devastated a business that has brought in over $18 billion in revenue for each of the last three years.
One million downloads of a very early version of the new OS shows that while it might not be as hip as Apple or Google, Microsoft still has a huge user base invested in its products. It might be too soon to dub Windows 10 a success, but there was no point in the Windows 8 life cycle in which it generated so much optimism.
Microsoft took a risk in making Windows 10 available so early: If initial feedback had been poor or few people were interested in the product, momentum for the new OS could have stalled. Now, Microsoft has an in-demand, much-improved OS on its hands. There's still a long way to go before it reaches the market, but the early results suggest it could be the hit Microsoft needs.
Daniel Kline owns shares of Apple and Microsoft. He actually liked Windows 8 on a touch screen. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google (A shares), Google (C shares), and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.