Here’s my review of Windows 8.1.

So Windows 8.1 is here and after checking it out and reading about all the benefits it brings, it still doesn’t resonate with me.

I made the move to Windows 8 because I found a really great deal at Staples where I was able to get Windows 8 Pro for $59.99. My PC was pretty quick but after using Windows 8 on a test laptop for so long, I wanted to see what it would be like to move my production PC to the new Operating System.

The result was mixed to be charitable and I’ll tell you why.

Start Screen

The new start screen in Windows 8.1 is less disruptive than it was in Windows 8 but the same issues remain. It’s simply not relevant to the way I work. I use a desktop and do not use ANY of the new functions on the Start Screen.

None. Not. Even. One.

I got Start8 and that’s gone now.

Start Button

Not to re-litigate this issue or kick this dead horse but I still want my Start Button. I live in a world where I like to be able to type out “cmd” really quickly and keep my productivity going. Once again, Start8 solves this problem.

Performance

My PC is not faster with this new OS. There are some functions that are quicker like file copy but I find that opening and closing apps and documents is EXACTLY the same experience I had in Windows 7.

Even startup times from sleep aren’t significantly faster for me than Windows 7. Sure Windows 8.1 gets me to the login screen faster but it still takes a while to log back in from a dead sleep – at least for me and my PC ( an HP, 3GHZ, 64Bit AMD PC with 8gigs of RAM).

Scrolling

Microsoft have refined the scrolling motion so that a mouse scroll takes you from left to right across the screen. That’s cool when you’re in the start screen or Metro apps but I fundamentally disagree with the entire concept of the horizontal scroll.

We read websites vertically all day so the concept of scrolling across makes no sense to me. It’s particularly silly in cases like the Windows Store when you are scrolling from left to right trying to:

  1. Find information
  2. Avoid scrolling too fast
  3. Keep track of what you’re scrolling past

I find that to be a less than ideal experience.

Software

I can’t name one Metro app that I NEED. Nuff said.

Bottom Line

I may not be a typical use case but I feel like Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 simply were not made for me.

SkyDrive integration is cool but I simply don’t need it, I already have other cloud options of my own. The fact that the Metro interface is not a place where I plan to spend any time eliminates a lot of the user benefits that Microsoft have crafted for people like me.

Bing integration and searches are very cool but once again, I use Google and am in the desktop most of the time.

The new IE? Looks great I guess but I have so many bookmarks in Chrome that I am a Chrome user for life. I’m also one of those people who think that IE has had way too many chances to get web browsing right and Chrome came in and did what Microsoft should have done a long time ago – made the browsing experience quick, fun and useful.

The Windows Snap etc and other functions are also cool but… you know the rest.

I have been studying Windows 8 for 4 years now and it seems to me like the features are cool but will lose a lot of people.

Have you ever been to a really beautifully designed home where everything looks immaculate BUT you didn’t feel comfortable in it – like you could just hang out and kick up your feet?

That’s the way I feel. Microsoft have built a really beautiful house with a lot of beautiful stuff that I really don’t need and want. I think that some people will like this but a lot of people will upgrade because Apple and Linux aren’t viable desktop Operating Systems yet.

I continue to think that Microsoft made a mistake merging Operating Systems and think that two separate Operating Systems would have been the way to go.

Maybe I’m old but that is HONESTLY the way I feel.

I don’t have a track record of blowing smoke up your asses or being diplomatic about this issue and this is true here as well. In many ways I am a tech dinosaur and I just like the way my PC runs.

I run a couple of different businesses on my desktop and I need to keep things running smoothly. Now to their credit, the upgrade process was smooth and I haven’t had support problems reinstalling any of my apps.

That is great.

However, I used a lot of desktop apps before (on Windows 7) and the majority of my time will be spent in the desktop going forward. It simply isn’t a use case for me to spend any time in the Metro environment every day.

Let me know how this Operating System feels to you – use the comments below…

About the Author

Onuora Amobi is the Founder and VP of Digital Marketing at Learn About The Web Inc. Onuora has more than a decade of information security, project management and management consulting experience. He has specialized in the management and deployment of large scale ERP client/server systems.

In addition to being a former Microsoft MVP and the founder and editor of EyeOnWindows.com, he is the CEO of a Pasadena based online marketing education startup - Learn About The Web Inc. (www.learnabouttheweb.com) and The Redmond Cloud (https://www.theredmondcloud.com).

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85 Comments
  1. test

  2. I totally agree.

    Its like a museum dude.

  3. Bitto Bounch Wayne / October 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    i think that windows 8 is windows 7 with the full compatibility for the mobile devices, like tablet. If you need the old style “desktop”, you have it. If you want the “touch experience”, you have it. If you want to use “cmd” like on the win7, you can do it, the difference is you don’t have to look at the start button, just move the mouse on the left bottom corner (like old style), press and type. Where is the big difference? The Metro style it’s made for tablet, fat boy with fat fingers can press the big buttons. I think win8 is a complete and useful O.S.. I like it.

    • Awesome!

    • John Haris Nizomi / October 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      thumbs up ,, I mostly work with the desktop and when I wanted a short break I returned to the metro just read the news or listen to music/video thru “justafan” or doing something fun. I wonder why people continue to complain

    • Awesome! I’m glad you like it!

      • i have windows 7 windows 8 and windows 8.1
        and windows 8 and 8.1 are working as it suppose to be
        can t refer to as its piece of crap.and i still have evaluation copy
        i think runs bit faster bit smoother than windows 8.and windows 8 is on a HP mini 2010 at used products and its working bit slow
        from previous windows to 8 and 8.1 most windows 8 is what am gonna do
        most mi dad
        what i wish they should have done .you want start menu back can download from windows 8.want to boot in to the desktop go to appearance click here
        make it a option
        now T ford can pick any color as long its black
        but BUT
        windows 8 and 8.1 are working as it should be

    • Ha, I hadn’t realised just clicking the bottom left and typing put it straight in the search bar. Cheers. Anyway, I’m in agreement with you. I’m finding it a pleasant experience.Only got one Win 7 machine left in the house and for some reason it seems a bit dated and sterile now.

  4. it freezes on down load for me given up trying now will stick with 8

  5. I already liked Windows 8. I love 8.1. It’s a big improvement. They’ve refined an already good O/S. 8.1 has its differences but once you’re used to them I think it’s great.

  6. I really lie windows 8/8.1 overall. I like to be able to just start typing on the metro screen and have it search my computer, the store, other apps and the web for my answer and then build me a list of options. My PC’s, and I run 4 with windows 8, all seem snappier. I do find most of my time is spend on the desktop and not the Metro screen but I do use it and like the apps I have installed for that purpose. I am not saying it is a HUGE difference over 7 but what I use, I like and it works well. That is of course my .02.

    is an overall winner for me

  7. I have been struggling with Win 8 since the 64-bit PC I bought last autumn came with Win 8 and did not provide a Win 7 option, even at extra cost. Start8 solved some of the problems, but not all.
    Microsoft is advertising Win 8.1 as providing the masses with a “Common Experience” for all our devices. I don’t use my desktop PC as a telephone and I don’t want my PC to act like a cell phone.
    Seems like every cell phone ad lately shows how much fun it is to zip your finger across the screen to see all your “tiles” slide by. I don’t see how that is useful to me.
    I’ll probably pay for Windows 7 and reinstall all my useful apps.

  8. Different strokes for different folks. I love 8 and 8.1 both on a tablet and desktop. For those who really really can’t get into it, Win 7 will be around for quite awhile yet so stick with Win 7.

  9. Unfortunately or fortunately, ALL the Windows 8.1 “Review Experts” are ALREADY COMPUTER EXPERTS AND HAVE BEEN FOR A VERY LONG TIME. Like old dogs, they would rather not learn new tricks, and therefore shun anything new. They just don’t have the perspective of novices, and 99.9% of them haven’t conducted novice surveys like Microsoft has.

    • Great point. I’m a dinosaur and I’m not afraid to admit it!

      🙂

    • that may be partly true, but the “dinosaur” IT guys are usually the directors and lead IT support for many companies and the presidents/ceos/managers look to their advice for software upkeep and maintenance going forward … “don’t give me the details, just get it done” … so if the experienced IT guy doesn’t really like it, they will put off upgrading until absolutely necessary and then only when forced by outside influences … Microsoft loses in short term income because upgrade sales still are not coming out, maybe have to discount to get more sales, and shareholders are not seeing profits with the new OS version still … Microsoft needs some filling cake beneath the icing to keep the Customer satisfied … sweet is ok once and a while, but you need some food to keep you going … need long standing happy Customers, not short term fan boys running back to Apple at the drop of the ball … IMHO.

      • You’re right about that. Dinosaurs usually have the checkbooks!

        🙂

      • That’s any tech. Many time the experienced guys, the guys in leadership, you assume they know A LOT about current tech, but a lot of the new tech, new strategies, or new techniques, they know nothing about. They’ll constantly ask the people under them about various things. That’s why you have to have someone in leadership with the mindset, “if it’s new and it’s out there, we need to at least be playing around with or testing it.”

        • That’s basically how I started looking at Windows 8. If I was looking at this purely from the perspective of what I currently need – I could easily survive on Windows XP. But the new tools are here and I need to look forward and explore new ways of doing the same things. You can bet my customers will be – so, to be of service, I need to get there first.

    • Kiran Kishore / October 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      Define OLD!!! Well, if they are from DOS days, why did they not complaint of windows!!!

      I have been using ‘windows’ since OS/2; probably not as old as some of you! But still, I believe that windows has come of age! It has taken the right and proper step!

      What is the whole problem! If someone does not like metro, let them not use it!!! Just switch to the desktop mode…

    • I agree. But it’s not just Windows 8 or experts. Have you seen the reviews of most products on websites? The majority don’t tell you if the product works as advertised. They’ll complain about some personal preference or UPS shipping problems, or how some other product is just like it. Most of them have nothing to do with how the product works and if it functions as advertised.
      That being said, most people who review Windows 8.x base it on I’m not able to do stuff exactly the way I used to. Heck I knew people who still complain that Windows 7 is different from Windows XP. There are people who come on this very site and complain about Windows 8 who say they wish they could go back to Windows XP as well. Most people aren’t really giving it a true test or even being remotely honest about how much they did or didn’t use the start menu.

    • Sorry, just not true. My mother is 80 years old and has never owned a computer in her life. IN fact I had to darn near drag her to the store for me to purchase a Kindle for her and now she absolutely loves it. Same for the windows 8.1. Purchased her a laptop and got it set up with internet and showed her how to use it. Took a grand total of maybe 15 min and she was surfing the web like a pro and sending out emails and downloading stuff from betty crocker dotcom. IN fact she has picked up on this extremely fast. Now if an 80 year old woman can do this, you have to wonder why younger people are having such a self claimed problem with this OS? It just does not make any sense.

  10. Although I have an MSDN subscription, I decided to allow the Windows Store upgrade to proceed on machines as a test of how well it works. The machines are a Dell XPS with a LOT of third party software loaded, an old Pentium and a Dell Vostro i5 used by my son. The XPS has media centre installed.
    EVERYTHING went without any hassles at all. All data and applications were preserved and are running fine. The ONLY issue I ran into was that iTunes crashes on the Vostro when logging into the Apple Store. None of the fixes that refer to Previews and Release Candidates solved the problem. That is the only issue outstanding.

    Oh yes, I installed Visual Studio 2013 while I was at it, with all options selected. Also, no problems, and the first product is migrated.
    I love Windows 8.1 (have been using the betas etc., so am familiar with it) and am also really excited about what is happening with the rest of the stack, including devices at the user end and the server stack at the back end.
    I don’t know why some people think Microsoft is marking time or going backwards!
    Overall, Steve Ballmer leaves on a good note in my book.

  11. I been using Windows 8.1 since August, I belong to MS Technet group. I like the features, but still it’s Windows 8 not 7. Each version of Windows has had its problems with the end user, the best versions has been 2000, XP, and Win7. I find Windows 8 is very stable — not one blue screen of death over 2 years using Windows 8. {Now I got myself jinx — tomorrow I will have blue screen of death.} There is nothing on App side I use, the desktop version does more and/or more features. As for speed Windows 8 is about same as Windows 7.

    • Thanks Little John. Enjoy the blue screen tomorrow!

      🙂

      • I jinx myself, but I wrong about the date. I got my first blue screen of death two days after I posted the above comments. I had five open programs, two open metro apps running and reading a magazine using pdf reader when this blue screen hit me. Sometime it’s fun to crash a system.

  12. 8.1 works fine for me

    (from 8.0)
    I used “Start8” from the beginning, (about 2 years) anyhow.
    For some reason, it took me close to two hours to get the update to download from the store around 9PM on 10/17.
    As others have said, the apps are not used by me, or at least rarely.
    I wouldn’t have paid for 8.1, though.

  13. Kiran Kishore / October 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Guys, stop cribbing!!!

    Windows 8 was the start… Windows 8.1 is really the way to do it… Of course there are things that need to be sorted further, but still this is the future guys!

    Windows 8.1 (3,1GB Update!!!) came as a surprise! But I am happy with the finity of the update. Can also see some performance gain as well! But a little early to comment on that now as I updated only couple of hours before!

    Do not get stuck with what you are used to, look forward; CHANGE!!! Or else might be left behind :-p

    PS: Start8 for starting 8!!!

  14. I really dont understand it..
    I’ve been happy with Windows 8 from the first day.
    I Work with it daily, as my Work in support and developer.
    I like Windows 8.1 – For the first time it makes “real” since to be in metro, suddently i can open my Windows apps and run my desktop on the same time.
    I got 3 screens: 1: Facebook App, 2: Working, 3: Browser/music etc.

    And if you miss the cmd?
    What about the “Windows button + R” then you got the run window, how much more easy can it be? 🙂
    True, that the first weeks with Windows 8 was hard, but hey, learn the shortcuts, and you dont really need the start menu at all.
    Want to search for a program/app? Enter Windows button and start typing.
    I Work in desktop mode almost all the time, but i like the metro, i like the sync between my Surface RT aswell.
    I dont miss the Start menu, i really dont miss Windows 7, as others is saying, here you just got the full package.
    Learn the shortcuts, and then Windows 8 become alot faster to navigate in the end.
    // Matias

    • Thats just the point. I dont want to learn shortcuts!

      There’s a school of thought that says if you need a lot of shortcuts, you probably didnt design this right…

      • But they’re the same shortcuts that have been there since before XP. And the only reason they’re there is to accommodate different work styles. It sounds like what you’re saying is “I don’t want anything to be different.” If that were the case, there would be no point in having a new product. If you really don’t want to learn – stick with the old product – then you won’t have to.

      • Hi,
        We use shortcuts in one form or another outside of computing, it’s just a way of quickening up. In computing they can save a lot of time. But whether you use them or not is a personal choice. Anyway we can agree, I think, that Win 8.1 provides a huge leap forward – very stable, great Homegroup and Network and peripheral linkages etc. I love it and look forward to Microsoft continuing to provide us with new and exciting advances in this fantastic technology that encompasses the whole world and links us together. I am a Kiwi living in New Zealand.

  15. I just updated from win8 to win8.1 Upon reboot and logging in the screen now goes black with a mouse pointer displayed. In order to bring up my desktop, I must open “{task manager” (ctrl-alt-delete} type explorer.exe, ck and run with administrator. privileges. The desk top then displays..In this mode I am unable run any apps! I have not resolved the issue yet!!

  16. I like the “seemless” connection between my two computers and my windows phone. The changes in 8.1 were beneficial but 8 was good for me. I like it. I do like the switching back and forth to the desktop feature in 8.1. (it is easier now). Since it took me some weeks to figure out the search keys I really like it more. I think Microsoft is head in the right direction with this OS.

  17. Hi Onuora Amobi, try to run Windows 8.1 from any computer having SSD, or try to put one in your personal computer, I know it’s to much expensive but believe me once you run one you never return to conventional HDD, it’s was my best decision I have made this year. I was installed one in my notebook and one in my desktop.

  18. I liked windows 8 very much Windows 8.1 too have nice improvement.Skydrive sync usefull for me.Start up & performance faster than 7.

    those who upgrade from windows 7 to windows 8- 8.1 for first time
    Dont use it for 2 -3 days use for month u will never go back to windows 7.

    • LOL I dont want to go back to Windows 7. My main point is just that a lot of what is built, I dont need.

      • Hey Onoura, I read it that way too. Perhaps I misunderstood, but it sure seemed like you didn’t want to use 8. On re-reading it, that’s not really what you’re saying. Even so, I think you may find use-cases for many of the modern apps if you allow yourself to be less married to your current work style.

  19. Windows key, type cmd, enter. Doesn’t get much easier than that.

  20. Start button full functionality is back. All you need to do is right click on it and Voila there it is. Don’t know why you need to side load any other program for it. I read it on other blogs that start button only let’s you switch between desktop and home screen. Not the case at all. Just right click on the start button

  21. The upgrade from Win 8 to 8.1 took some 3 hours, but I cant figure out whether Miracast is enabled or not

  22. Ben Symington / October 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Hi Onuora,

    I have to comment here, my opinion is so vastly different to
    yours, I will try be to the point. PS: I do not work for Microsoft and live in South
    Africa.

    Start Button: I found that that this works the same? I hit
    windows logo, type cmd, hit enter. All this without looking at the start screen
    and assuming the command I typed was correct. Its fast, as fast?

    Performance: my laptop *(Corei7,8GB,250SSD)* had an
    incredible boost on start-up/sleep start-up when I originally installed Win8Pro,
    overtime it slowed somewhat: initial was 3.5Seconds cold boot, over a year has slowed
    to 5.6Seconds Cold boot. Sleep start-up (estimate figures) was about 0,3ms on
    new install slowed to 1 second. With 8.1 I have my old super speed back, this
    aside though, its definitely faster than 7 ever was.

    Scrolling: not sure I agree but ok.

    Software: you are obviously not using this as a metro
    optimized touch desktop right? Your using it purely in desktop mode right? I can
    understand why you would not need any apps on desktop mode, perhaps a bit too
    harsh here on the opinion.

    Bottom Line: Ok so its not for you, and perhaps you are
    indeed not the typical case on the corporate side though I can now see a flurry
    of reasons why to add this OS into my networks. As a home user I love it, it is
    faster, sleeker, leaner and better *(of course in my Opinion)*. Skydrive is
    awesome, I use it much more than any of the other main stream cloud offerings,
    love what it does, how it does it and its reliability.

    I switched to Bing a while ago and can definitely say this
    new integration is awesome, the new way search works is fantastic, the new
    changes to Bing itself are, for me, exciting to use.

    IE: I solely use this and Firefox as a backup, I do not like
    Chrome and threw that out of my list of liked Browsers. IE gives me the speed
    and security I need *(beginning to sound like I work for MS now)*

    I do like the integration for Metro and Desktop and can see
    its potential benefit, for myself, above said, I do not personally use the
    Metro too much as a main part of my work, but I can see its benefit when touch
    really does take over more so than today. A good example would be something
    similar to the MS Surface with Keyb or HP Envy 2.

    All that said, I absolutely love all the new bits and
    pieces, security, look, ease of use etc and cannot wait (now that there is a
    start button (albeit not what users are expecting) but will be a familiar site
    for users) and the new desktop start-up.

    I do enjoy your point of view/take on things although
    sometimes frustrating to read but that’s what makes it a good read.

    Ben

    • Hey Ben, as a Nigerian – shout out to South Africa!

      Yeah man I hear you and I acknowledge that I may be different but I respect everyone’s point of view.

      I know that I may be the grumpy old man of the site but that makes it more fun eh?

      Thanks for the comment and thanks for reading!

  23. I have been a computer guy since DOS 5.0 and I would consider myself a tech dinasour as well, after all I still think Windows 2000 is one of the best OS’s ever, I didn’t upgrade to XP till 2003 haha. I really love Windows 7, I thought, finally Microsoft has got it right, how could it get any better. Turns out it did. At first I totally hated Windows 8, but the more I played with it, the more it grew on me. Sure the start menu is not that big of deal, but seriously how hard would it have been for Microsoft to have it turned off by default but have a way to turn it on, they could even have buried the setting a bit where only techs could turn it on or made it to where it could only be turned on in the registry. Obviously not that hard considering the code was still there in the preview releases. But I am fine with it, I have learned the shortcuts, tweaked some menus and don’t need it anymore anyways and can do what I have to do without ever going to the metro interface even without third party software and that is awesome if you ask me. Ironically I hated Windows 8 initially because of the metro interface mainly, but the 8.1 update actually solved several issues for me and I definitely like it more. With that being said, I want to see more from the metro interface. I want to see it work flawlessly on multiple monitors, multitasking, and be able to control the splitting of the apps more. Most people that hate Windows 8 have not found all the little stuff yet and that is what really makes Windows 8 shine. I am technology enthusiast and have really went through the OS from front to back. I have found I can navigate and do things blazingly fast and hardly ever touch my mouse. You have to give it time, get online look up windows 8 tips, look up shortcuts for windows 8, put a little work into it before you go bashing it. Trust me I never thought in a million years I would ever say I really love it, but I do indeed love Windows 8.

    • This has been my experience as well. There’s a lot of stuff there if you look beyond the Start menu.

    • Hi, Wilk, great comments agree wholeheartedly. at 72, my computing experiences are similar to yours and I love the current Windows platform and the huge leaps we are seeing throughout the computing spectrum – I sit back and wonder just what new innovations etc. we are going to encounter and be able to use before checking out?

  24. I builded a new desktop last winter only for win 8 pro, and I was so happy with the way it worked, and I didn´t miss the startbutton. Why dos everybody have to complain all the time when their daily window is changed. It runs on IE5, 8 gb Ram , 256 Gb SSD and an old 1TB HD on an micro MSI motherboard, and it is ready in 10 sec.. I am 65 and my first OS was Dos 5 on a Toshiba Sattelite in 1988. Every new system except fucking Vista has been an improvement. Yesterday I upgraded to 8.1 with no problems and wth a few new things and which you just easily can move around with, as you please. I dont´t understand all the fuss. Sorry for my language, but I am from Denmark 🙂

    • Hi, Saren Bo, Don’t worry about your language there is nothing wrong with your item.
      My great Grandmother came from Denmark, somewhere near, Horring. Marianne Simonsen. However, At 72 I have been a Microsoft fan since whenever, The new 8.1 platform is fantastic and for us as we get older it provides a very user friendly hassle free computing environment, and long may it continue. Greetings to you from the land of the Kiwi, New Zealand.

  25. I use the Start Menu the same way I used the desktop in Win7: for shortcuts. Now my desktop is clean (except a shortcut to a browser and some temp directorys) and the shorcuts are much easier to find in the Start menu.
    I also like that win8.1 is much smaller then win8. I have a very small SSD so I check regularly the used space. After the instralation of win8.1 the space which the Windows folder used was halved. Now 1 have some 10GB more space to install programs i want really fast! I like windows 8.1.

  26. I had a hard time getting anything from the review. He says it’s not for a user like him, but never details what he does. Going to the start menu to type command? You have to do better than that. Also, you don’t need Metro apps, but what desktop applications are you using? This review is not saying much for people who might be users like you because you’re not going enough into detail. I can type CMD just as fast in the start screen as I could in the start menu, and right-clicking and choosing run doesn’t take but an extra second. When 95 first came out probably still til this day, there were things I could do faster from command prompt than from Windows, but I’m not going to command prompt to perform these actions. Of that is just an example. That has nothing to do with his cmd from start menu comment. Now the one drawback I can see with Windows 8.x for a person who is used to the desktop is that the desktop is always behind you. Using start screen is no different than using desktop or taskbar, but at least the desktop is always there if you’re not full screen, and the taskbar is always there. Having to go back to start screen or use the left side bar is probably annoying for some people, but I guess that’s not much different than people who don’t keep the taskbar on top.

  27. Christopher Steggles / October 19, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Onuoro is not only wrong is his statement that Apple and Linux do not provide a full desktop environment (OS X would be a good example for Apple), but misses the point that under Linux you can change your desktop manager when you login. If you do not like KDE, use Gnome. If you do not like Ubuntu’s Unity, load the Gnome Desktop Environment. If Microsoft had got it right and divorced the Kernel from the Desktop Manager (just like Linux) the argument about the merits or demerits of Metro would not exist.
    The accusations of people being dinosaurs is spurious. Some will love Metro – some people love Unity on Ubuntu. Others prefer the Win 7 approach – some the KDE environment on Linux.
    Lets have some serious discussion without the ‘you are old-fashioned and out of date if you hate Metro’ attitude. Lets encourage |Microsoft to split the desktop off from the kernel, and give us all some real choice..

  28. Mike Greenway / October 19, 2013 at 8:53 am

    I’m glad you don’t post many articles on this site, as I feel that your personal bias leaves you unable to do the job objectively. “I can’t name one “- POST -” that I NEED. Nuff said.” (really that kind of talk is hurtful, isn’t it?)

  29. I find this truly unfortunate – not that you have a particular way that you like to do things (so do I) – but that, for you, that translates into a reason not to use the new OS; that you would rather eschew the myriad improvements that Windows 8.1 brings to the table and stick with what you know rather than embrace the change. That’s not a condemnation, just an observation. There are PLENTY of folks that feel the same way. It’s just, as I said, unfortunate.

    The personal computing world is changing. That’s not just a platitude. One only needs to look at the recent numbers on tablet sales vs. traditional PC sales for confirmation. That’s not to say that the traditional desktop doesn’t have its niche. There will always be those who find the desktop metaphor more appropriate to their work style. (In some cases, that’s true for me as well.) The key point is that it’s quickly becoming a “niche” use case in much the same way as the command line (which used to be the predominant interface) is now a niche use case. The desktop isn’t going away, but it IS fading into the background.

    With Windows 8 and 8.1, Microsoft – who is so frequently accused of not innovating – has innovated like crazy. It has responded to this ‘sea-change’ (God, that’s an overused term) in computing by creating an OS that tries really hard to build a bridge from the old to the new. They’ve done this because, contrary to popular belief, they’re not stupid. They too know that the old style of computing is quickly becoming relegated to niche, but they have a HUGE install base that isn’t quite there yet. They see the benefit of both styles, but need to cater to the new because that’s where the market (and the world) is going – and it’s not coming back.

    Unfortunately, in many ways, Microsoft is a victim of its own success. They have worked very hard throughout their history to be backward compatible rather than burning thier bridges and that’s what users have come to expect. With Windows 8.x, they have done the same thing. They are INCREDIBLY backward-compatible. Almost everything that works on Windows 7 (and even many earlier versions) works unchanged on Windows 8.x. The modern interface and everything that comes with it is an ADDITION. Faster boot cycle, better power management, improved file copying and many other things also come along for the ride. And yet with all of that, the one thing that people focus on is the change from a start menu to a start screen. That’s it, really. No other real critique. It really all just comes down to “We don’t like the modern interface. We don’t want that Start screen and we want our menu back.”

    With iOS and Android, this was never an issue because they were brand new. There wasn’t an existing set of users to clamor about a change. No one had pre-existing expectations. But Microsoft has a different situation. They tried to add value by creating an OS where the same device could be used in multiple ways rather than having distinct devices with distinct operating systems. Unfortunately, they have to battle a user base where a very vocal subset of those users lacks the vision to appreciate the value of that change and, consequently, doesn’t want it. They are in the unenviable position of trying to give their users what they know they need instead of what they think they want – and those users are kicking and screaming all the way.

    I personally have found that the new OS creates new use cases for me. I have a desktop machine and a Surface RT both running Windows 8.1. I also have Surface Pro for work running Windows 8 Enterprise. Because all of the machines are linked to my Microsoft account, apps that I buy for one are installable on any of them. I use the Weather Channel app every day – easier than loading up the website. I use Discourse every day – my Windows substitute for Flipboard – and I love it. I use the mail app to stay on top of my personal email, Kindle to do my reading, Netflix to check out movies on the run, Facebook, Twitter and Skype for all of the typical reasons, OneNote to take my notes. (I even use the pen on my Surface Pro). Docs are saved on SkyDrive and available on any of my devices. Then, when I’m at my desk, I plug the pro into its docking station and I use it to work in Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and Visual Studio to write code – all in the desktop.

    The point here is that, there is a LOT of utility in Windows 8.x – on both the modern and desktop sides, if you’re willing to accept it. If you’re not finding it, you’re not really looking. That’s not a fault of the OS. You just have to be willing to try new experiences. If you’re not, then it’s your loss.

    You can lead a horse to water…

  30. It reminds me of when you want to get a new car or Electronics and their various remotes, you learn n time. You never get something you want without getting another option(s) you don’t want. You get more bells n whistles you don’t need. LOL We get use to the nuances n time and make do. At first I did not like the scroll, but that takes into account the growth of the horizontal screen size. I still have my Win7, XP, 2k and (DOS well, that is left to the power up. LOL) machines as well as half doz of different mac OSX machines. What ever cpu one has you make it happen to your needs. With windows I like the 8.1 desktop its not touch so toggle to Metro as the icon titles area are bigger by far and also have my work apps there. I do not use some of it’s apps but just never know? LOL The little improvements add an eye-candy flow of continuity. I’m not an 100% mouse pointer user as sometimes the mouse is not an option as was in the past so you do what you have to learn. I generally like it and have grown to maneuver well in the landscapes, the work apps are ditto on my Win7 thou most of my work is on Win7. We are becoming chameleons….LOL

  31. Typing cmd on your keyboard from the tiled New UI start screen works. And up/down scrolling works on all my mice – if I’m on the tiled New UI start screen and scroll, I go left/right and in EI I go up/down.

  32. We use a proverb for this update 8.1 “The elephant has given birth to a mouse”
    Again a start button !? Let me laugh !!

  33. Prakash Narayana / October 20, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Hell i have migrated from Windows XP to 8 so no complaints.

  34. disqus_UsZgdi8hEK / October 20, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Twice I have tried to download WIN 8.1 Pro and from the Windows Store and twice it got so far and everything just hung (GBs of download later)! Two days later, it was still applying changes! – with nothing happening! WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? Is there a CD availabel?

    john b

  35. Start button is not just for flicking between home screen and desktop but by right clicking on the start button (bottom left corner) all the windows 7 start button functions pop up. No need to install any start button programs. Best part is that you don’t have to be in desktop mode to use these features you can be running any program or even from Metro home screen. Just right click

  36. Ditto Onuora. I like my desktop. I’m just not an app kinda guy. Windows 8 and 8.1 haven’t given me any real issues though and from my understanding it’s a smaller footprint. That and it’s important to me to keep up with technology. I’m going to keep it. What I did was create my own start menu using the toolbar feature. It’s not ideal but it sure has helped me avoid the apps and stick to the desktop. I do venture to the app side only to type and search. That aided me tremendously when creating my own start menu.

  37. I am a 72 year old Kiwi pensioner, used MS products since whenever – a bit shaken up by Win 8 but once I set up Classic Start and then progressed to 8.1 and took time to play around and learn about the new layout out etc – I am really won over. I now have 8.1 with Classic Start, no Password logon, Start screen on opening, and Tiles set up in groups and sizes I like.
    Notebook and Desktop are mouse controlled so no touch screen to play with. The windows platform is providing more stability and is more user friendly than in the past. Homegroup, Networking, Printer and other peripherals are easier to set up being automatic for the most part and to the Microsoft team – a big thank you – in past days I remember spending hours pouring over manuals and websites to resolve various issues – no longer. I no longer have doubts that my days computing is going to end up with crashes or seeing the infamous “blue screen”, wonderful and trouble free and I look forward to turning it on every morning and catching up on News, emails etc. I look forward, hopefully, to many more years – thank you Microsoft I am a very happy member of your family.

  38. My first mistake was buying a netbook and paying extra to upgrade to Windows 8. I didn´t know (and the salesman didn´t tell me) that 8 is ideally suited to touchscreen but a nightmare to operate with keyboard/mouse. After alot of messing about I managed to make it usable by installing Classic Shell and disabling the Charms. So when 8.1 came along claiming to put right all the problems I jumped at it. That has proved to be another mistake. I have still had to install Classic Shell and I now have strange brown flags that appear from nowhere and invite me to move the mouse into the corner to change Apps but nothing happens and the brown flags wont go away whatever I do. I have to reboot to clear the screen. Suggestions anyone?

  39. Rodney Longoria / October 22, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    @Onuora,

    START SCREEN
    Put a photo of your newborn as the desktop wallpaper and set the Modern Start screen the same as your wallpaper and there you have it: relevancy for the Start Screen. It’ll constantly remind you of what you’re working for.

    START BUTTON
    Windows key+R, then type “cmd”. Look again at the wallpaper of that spanking new baby and remember how “productive” you truly are where it counts.

    PERFORMANCE
    You are using a HP machine. The rest of us aren’t. ‘Nuff said!

    SCROLLING
    Since China is the largest new market for just about everyone in the tech industry, scrolling makes sense. In fact, you can set it to scroll left to right, like the Chinese read.

    SOFTWARE
    Not even one Metro app needed? You need to lossen up and live a little. Seriously!

    BOTTOM LINE
    I used to be tied into the Chrome (Google) ecosytem once upon a time too, then I wised up and so can you. Dinosaurs are todays fuel and the largest energy source we have. Keep it up and we’ll be using you to get to the next best thing while you’ll be left behind as exhaust fumes.

    LOL!

  40. Totally disagree with your review! I too have been using Windows 8 for some time and are in no way inconvenienced with the new minimal Start menu nor with switching from Metro screen back to the Desktop. What was so great about the old Start menu when you can place regularly used apps on the Taskbar. There are many useful apps available too!

  41. Start button blues?
    Use the Windows button! It acts as a toggle.
    Hit it once, and if you are at the start screen you are taken to the Desktop, and vice versa.
    O the fuss people make about the missing start button!

  42. Were can I find the dutch languagege download for W8.1 ?
    It was works fine in duch on windows 8 !

  43. John Campbell / April 11, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Glad you are a little more happy with Windows 8.1 Update. I have been a fan of it ever since the Preview came out and I like the additional features. Having said there is a serious glitch with Windows 8.1 Update that has impacted on my three computers running it. It concerns the Recovery Options. This is a summary of the problems I have found.

    The “Refresh” option worked fine under Windows
    8.0.
    It doesn’t under Windows 8.1 Update.
    Microsoft Support tried to sort it out. No go!
    Their advice try “Advanced start-up”.
    This did not work as my original Windows 8.0 CD was rejected (” Insert media – some files are missing.your Windows installation or recovery media will provide these files”.

    Ironically all Recovery options work on my Surface RT tablet!

    What a bummer!

  44. Jamie Martin / May 2, 2014 at 9:48 am

    i use a Surface pro and find that even when using the desktop side (with a mouse and key board) windows 8 and 8.1 is ten times faster. it might just be the power of the Surface that makes the difference but I find that windows 8 is almost exactly what i need. I spend half my time on metro apps coding stuff and the other half running adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Premier Pro.

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