Windows 8

Windows 8.1 Update 1 will arrive just in time to woo Windows XP holdouts

Greg Shultz takes a look at some of the changes you can expect to see in Windows 8.1 Update 1. Will it bring Windows XP, mouse, and keyboard users back into the fold?

 

Windows Update 1
 Image: Ed Bott/ZDNet
 

Windows 8.1 Update 1 is primarily focused on improving usability for mouse and keyboard users and will be arriving at about the same time as support for Windows XP ceases to exist. Coincidence? I think not! 

Let's face it, Microsoft has a big problem on their hands. They introduced the touchy feely Windows 8 operating system to what they thought would be a huge market. The millions of people out there using touch interfaces on their smartphones and iPads would go crazy for a touch-based version of Windows, right?

Well, it might have worked if they had come out with two versions of Windows 8: one with the new interface for touch-based systems and one with the standard user interface keyboard and mouse-based systems. The folks who were enamored with the touch interface would have invested in touch-based Windows 8 systems, including the Surface -- and the traditional mouse and keyboard users, consumers and enterprises alike, would have upgraded from prior versions of Windows, just like they've always done. Sure, Microsoft would have caught some flak for the touch-based Windows 8, but not nearly the revolt that's occurred.

But, as we all know, Microsoft decided that everyone would want a new touch-based interface, for all systems. They removed the Start button/Start menu, replaced icons with tiles, put all these touch-based features on our desktop, and told us we would get used to it. To help us along, they gave us keyboard shortcuts and showed us how to use a mouse to emulate touch-based gestures. They even created the Touch Mouse in an effort to make things easier for desktop users.

Unfortunately, it didn't work. Windows 8 sales didn't take off like they hoped. Surface sales have also been lackluster.

Then we get to Windows XP. There are still a lot of Windows XP systems out there in homes and businesses, and that crowd has been expressing their distaste for Windows 8 every chance they get via the Internet, most notably by vehemently abstaining from upgrading to Windows 8.

Even after Microsoft had been holding XP user's feet to the fire for some time with the impending April 8, 2014 end of support deadline, the "rather fight or switch than upgrade to Windows 8" mantra is as strong now as it ever was. This fight attitude is showing up in the large numbers vowing to keep using XP even after official support has ended. The switch attitude is showing up in those touting alternatives Linux, Mac, Chrome OS, or even Windows 7.

Of course, Microsoft doesn't want XP users to fight or switch, even if it is to Windows 7. They want XP users to happily upgrade to Windows 8.

So, how are they going to make that happen? Well, if you look closely, you can see that they've already taken some steps to that end in Windows 8.1. Better yet, if Windows 8.1 Update 1 brings all the mouse and keyboard features it's purported to contain, Microsoft may be able to bring those hard-core XP, mouse and keyboard users back into the fold. Let's take a closer look.

Windows 8.1

While Microsoft primarily promoted Windows 8.1 as an update of the operating system's touch-based user interface features, the update also contained a host of features that were designed to entice traditional desktop mouse and keyboard users into thinking that Windows 8 might indeed be a good option for them.

Most notably, Windows 8.1 brought back the ability to boot directly to the desktop. To access it, you just right-click on the taskbar, select Properties, open the Navigation tab (Figure A), and then select the check box for When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start. Now, every time you turn on a Windows 8.1 system, you could almost convince yourself that the operating system was designed for mouse and keyboard users.

Figure A

 

Figure A
 

The Navigation tab contains a host of features to make Windows 8.1 behave more like a desktop operating system.

They even gave the update a more prominent Start button. While its default action is to open the modern app-filled Start screen, from the same Navigation tab, it can easily be reconfigured to show the Apps view, which can essentially be thought of as a full screen Start menu. To make this Start menu substitute even more usable, the Apps screen can be sorted by category, by name, date installed, or most used, thus making it easier to find the application that you need (Figure B).

Figure B

 

Figure B
 

You can use the Apps view like a full screen Start menu.

Then, to make shutting down, restarting, or signing out more like previous versions of Windows, Microsoft added the Shut down or Sign out menu to the Start button's Quick Link menu, which you access by right-clicking on the Start button (Figure C). A bit awkward, yes, but it's an improvement over the separate methods provided in Windows 8.

Figure C

 

Figure C
 

You can access the Shut down or Sign out menu on the Start button's Quick Link menu.

Then, to make the Start/Apps screen even more palatable, they made it transparent, thus allowing the desktop wallpaper to be visible behind the screen and improving the illusion that the desktop is still the center of the operating system.

To make the Modern UI more desktop-like, Windows 8.1 introduced the Snap View feature, which allows you to better use multiple apps at the same time. Depending on your display resolution, you can have two to four apps on the screen at one time. Furthermore, apps can now appear on multiple monitors -- so, if you have a two-monitor setup, you can have up to eight apps open at the same time. Microsoft even went so far as to make the Internet Explorer app more desktop-like by allowing you to see the address bar and tabs all the time.

Another option in Windows 8.1 that's designed to make the user interface behave more like a traditional desktop user interface is the ability to disable the upper corner navigation features. Again, on the Navigation tab, you simply clear a pair of check boxes (When I point to the upper-right corner, show the charms and When I click the upper-left corner, switch between my recent apps), and those touch-oriented features go away.

Windows 8.1 Update 1

It's less than a month until the Windows XP expiration date, yet only six months since Windows 8.1 was released (October 17, 2013) -- and here comes Windows 8.1 Update 1 packed with enhancements designed to bring out the desktop even more and improve navigation when using a mouse and keyboard. When you take a closer look at the specific features being added to this Update 1, it's easy to see that it's intended to bring mouse and keyboard users back into the fold.

While Windows 8.1 introduced the ability to boot directly to the desktop via an option the user must manually set, Update 1 plans on taking it one step further and making the boot to desktop the default setting on any device that lacks a touch screen. This means that mouse and keyboard users will never encounter the shock of seeing the Start Screen right out of the box, so to speak.

Most of the other new features are designed to make the modern apps more like traditional Windows applications. For example, the Taskbar now appears on the Start Screen, and modern apps now appear on the Taskbar. Making the Start Screen more like the desktop and making modern apps more like traditional desktop applications should go a long way when navigating Windows 8.1 Update 1 with a mouse.

The Start Screen is now more reminiscent of the old Start menu, complete with Power and Search buttons. Thus, you no longer have to access the Charms bar first.

The Start Screen and modern apps also have context menus like the traditional desktop. If you right-click on a tile on the Start Screen, you can change the size of the tile, unpin, or even uninstall the app. Modern apps now have a title bar with minimize and close buttons, plus context menus with options for the Snap View features.

Other pertinent information

While Windows XP will no longer be officially supported after April 8, 2014, which makes it very vulnerable to hacker attacks, Microsoft is offering the following:

To help organizations complete their migrations, Microsoft will continue to provide updates to our antimalware signatures and engine for Windows XP users through July 14, 2015.

While I was writing this article, but before I noticed, Microsoft inadvertently let the Windows 8.1 Update 1 bits out of the bag, so to speak. While they closed the breach fairly quickly, several astute Windows aficionados caught wind of the snafu and got a hold of the bits. Ed Bott over at TechRepublic's sister site ZDNet grabbed a copy of Windows 8.1 Update 1 and put together a nice gallery of images.

What's your take?

Once Windows 8.1 Update 1 is actually released, I'm sure that we'll find other, more subtle changes that are designed to make Windows 8 more keyboard and mouse friendly. Do you think Windows 8.1 Update 1 will bring mouse and keyboard and Windows XP users back into the fold? Are you still using Windows XP because you detest the touch-based user interface? Will these new keyboard and mouse features make you think differently about Windows 8? Please share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.

 

 

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

130 comments
Donbennett888
Donbennett888

I have two older laptops .. Need upgrade ram to 1 gig .. Then I will try the upgrade, one at a time. I needed the mouse keyboard version as other people can use the laptop ( win 7 users ). Step by step ahead at last. Thanks.

Treknology
Treknology

One simple question, Greg: Did you create the above article on a real keyboard, or the touch-screen equivalent? I haven't seen anyone who can churn out hard-text documents on a touch-screen at 100wpm. In the last twenty years I haven't seen a keyboard that allows users to type at 100wpm either, but that's a hardware quality argument, not OS.

The barrier between GUI and Console remains. The whole GUI concept is bean-bag computing (a previous author's analogy, not mine). You can push it vaguely into the shape you want, but getting it precise is a huge amount of work.


My current project involves mapping database fields onto pre-existing government-produced forms. I can't just "drag and drop". To produce something that is presentable, I have to edit the placement of each field to 1/100th of an inch and, yes, if I get it wrong it's visible to the eye of the end user. Digging through the multiple layers of multiple dialog boxes to enter the settings is time-consuming and mind-numbing. Unfortunately writing VB code (macros) offers no further solution, because that would assume that each different form was authored on an identical system.


To me it seems that computer hardware is growing exponentially in power capability (and consumption) while our ability to produce useable output is declining.

4dandl4
4dandl4

Greg, Microsoft needs to give desktop users a choice between traditional win 7 desktop or win 8. I have a computer that is running win 8.1 that has the boot to desktop checked, but it still isn't win 7. I have no use for the Metro interface or the hot corners on my monitor, I really dislike the charms bar. I see no reason to have a local account and a Microsoft account and not everyone has Microsoft account and don't want one. The only way to get the win 8 to 8.1 update is to sign in with a MS account or at least an email account. It makes setting up a win 8 computer a lot of fun. I will stick with win 7 for now. Yes I know I could install something like Shell Classic and tweak win 8 to behave like I want it to, but I might as will be running win 7.

irenaeus
irenaeus

I have a traditional laptop, without touchscreen, that came with Windows 8. I installed the Classic Start Menu for the start button and, when 8.1 arrived, I booted it to the desktop. I absolutely never, ever, go to the apps screen for any reason; it is totally unneeded and unwanted. I bought an Asus T-100 tablet with Windows 8.1 and, of course, the tablet's screen is a touchscreen. I use the apps screen about 50% of the time and the desktop the other 50%. Two different devices with different capabilities will obviously be used differently. I would be interested in hearing what Microsoft employees have to say about Windows 8 and their own experiences on their laptops/desktops w/o touchscreen who have to use Win8 and those who use it on devices with touchscreens. Surely Microsoft would check with their own work force on their experiences with Win8, wouldn't they? It would seem that they would have already heard the complaints from their own folks. But, maybe, the pressure on their own staff to conform is too great for them to make honest assessments of the awkwardness of Win8 w/o a touchscreen.

Bikey100
Bikey100

Once again, we see a large company(Microsoft, this time) forgetting what made them large in the first place, in this case an easy-to-use and fairly reliable OS. People bought XP in droves, and it became the system they loved and still use.  Now, Microsoft is still trying to sell a very different OS (in terms of interactivity at least) and people are upset, generally because they don't want the hassle of learning a whole new way of operating their computers, and why should they want that hassle? Just because someone in Redmond says so?

Microsoft is becoming the GM of the software world. "Build something, anything, and people will still buy it in quantity because they need it". Compare XP and Windows 8 to cars..XP would represent the traditional car..it has the gas pedal on the left, and the brake pedal on the right. Now along comes "8"..it's like having the pedals reversed, the shifter on the ceiling and the driver's position in the center! Definitely "adaptable", but unneccesary, and that's the whole beef with most people.

What Microsoft should've done, was upon installation on a new computer, give the option either for "desktop"  or "touchscreen" installation. Forget all the taskbar modifications you have to check off to make the system more like a desktop.

Get in gear, Microsoft, or you'll end up in history, just another Oldsmobile or Studebaker.

essdave
essdave

I'm surprised at all the negative hullabaloo over the Win 8's lack of a Start Button, particularly Win 7 users that complain.  With a CHEAP add on 3rd party program such as Start 8, Win 8.1 operates almost identically to Win 7.  Also you Linux pushers should get a life, you think these Win XP & Win7 users who can't adapt to a few changes in Windows are going to be better at learning a whole new system as well as a whole new array of programming?!

merrill.nuttall
merrill.nuttall

I'm totally enjoying the Windows 8 modern interface. I do not want an anachronistic desktop. I also find it hard to believe that people want a 'Start' button. Press the Windows Key and start typing the name of the application... again, I don't want an expanding & cascading Start menu. It's all old .Look at Apple. A stagnant design with the desktop metaphor. Honestly, this is the year 2014. I find most people who complain about the new interface have a brain age of 90 years. That and/or have never spent time with the enlightened UI. I use a touch screen tablet and a Gateway Tower (no touch but a mouse that supports gestures). Welcome to the future! 

aksalaymeh
aksalaymeh

I am facing a problem with updating right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can't install this month updates in windows 8.1,even I disabled updating automatically 

I agree with most of comments

aksalaymeh
aksalaymeh

I am facing a problem with updating right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can't install this month updates in windows 8.1,even I disabled updating automatically 

norme.gnome
norme.gnome

I think it is too little too late.. Windows 8 is a pile. I do work on family computers and those of my family are having such a hard time with windows 8. Even the young people in my family who do not have a preference on windows hate windows 8. Just a bad operating system. These are all users with out touch screen interface. Most americans these days can not afford the costly touch screen upgrade.

rebelkey
rebelkey

Article has good intentions but why have you spent more than half the time with a historical critique?  Just tell us what you see as new and added.  Most of the added stuff has been around for a few months now.  I wanted to show my class yesterday  what's new for April (seniors all with little background in Windows in general) and one of their comments was that the topics had been covered in the 8.1 course last fall.   

JJFitz
JJFitz

It does not matter whether you like Windows 8 or not. If you are like many people who subscribe to TechRepublic, you probably support computers.

You may or may not have the authority to keep Windows 8 out of your business but there will come a time when you will need to support it.

Some client or colleague will come in with a Windows 8 laptop for a meeting and need help connecting to a projector or your wifi or some co-worker will buy a Windows 8 computer for their home and request remote access to corporate resources.

Do you want to be the computer support person who flounders when trying to get it to work and risk losing trust in your skills or do you want to stay on top of your career?

It is fine if you decide not to use it for your personal computing but you should be well versed in how to use it. The same goes for other operating systems.

I am not a big fan of Mac OS or many of the Linux flavors but I am pretty good at supporting them. -because I need to.

And please... The 80's called. They want Windoze and Micro$oft back.

LarryTX
LarryTX

How can Microsoft expect that Windows 8.1 will woo anyone away from Windows XP when a huge number of people still can't install it, and Microsoft is merely ignoring them? I myself have had over six different sessions with Microsoft remoting into my PC trying to get it installed. One such "session" lasted three full days (over 30 hours in total) with no success. A clean install of Windows 8 has been done five times complete with reformatting of the hard disk drive. Each time Windows 8 installs with no problems, but even an install with a Windows 8.1 .iso fails.


And my saga is just one of many to be found all over the Web. How does Microsoft expect that trying all of the "resolutions" for 8.1 upgrade problems, such as disconnecting everything except the keyboard and mouse, turning off all non-Microsoft services, uninstalling all drivers and attempting an upgrade disconnected from the Internet, and on and on and on will appeal to the average non-technical user? Or how hours and days of a Microsoft technician remoting into your computer — how will John Doe Public like that?


Windows 8.1 is totally scary!

LarryTX
LarryTX

How can Microsoft expect that Windows 8.1 will woo anyone away from Windows XP when a huge number of people still can't install it, and Microsoft is merely ignoring them? I myself have had over six different sessions with Microsoft remoting into my PC trying to get it installed. One such "session" lasted three full days (over 30 hours in total) with no success. A clean install of Windows 8 has been done five times complete with reformatting of the hard disk drive. Each time Windows 8 installs with no problems, but even an install with a Windows 8.1 .iso fails.


And my saga is just one of many to be found all over the Web. How does Microsoft expect that trying all of the "resolutions" for 8.1 upgrade problems, such as disconnecting everything except the keyboard and mouse, turning off all non-Microsoft services, uninstalling all drivers and attempting an upgrade disconnected from the Internet, and on and on and on will appeal to the average non-technical user? Or how hours and days of a Microsoft technician remoting into your computer — how will John Doe Public like that?


Windows 8.1 is totally scary!

DvT-Hex
DvT-Hex

I have Win8.1. I got Win8 more out of curiosity than need or desire: it sucked. I absolutely hate the touch-screen aspect. 8.1 improved that situation, but not enough to make me change my default boot from Win7. Currently, I would guess that I boot into Win7 500 or so times for every time I boot into Win8.

The minimalist Windows logo of Win8 looks like it was designed by a 1st grader and reflects what I think of the general appearance of Win8.

"You can use the Apps view as a full screen Start menu." How exciting! We've had that since at least Win95: it is called the desktop and it has had only those "apps" on it that I want to see consistently. In pic with that caption, one of the apps is WordPad; I have had a WordPad icon on my desktop since never and I doubt that, starting with Win95, I have used WordPad as many as 2 dozen times. How nice to now have in Apps view. Not. In fact, I do not have an icon on my desktop for even a single one of those shown in the pic.

Treat my computer like a computer, not a cellphone. When one tries to be all things to all people, one ends up being nothing to no one.

griff.computerservices@ve
griff.computerservices@ve

What a joke!  Most Windows XP users haven't even gravitated to Vista or Windows 7 (for chrissakes) let alone delve into that GUI mess (dumped upon the public that is Windows 8 or (8.1).  There will be no mass migration.  There will be none of that; until those boys at Redmond finally stop assuming that people are willing to just simply leave their years-long comfort zones and venture out into a new, unfamiliar void.  It ain't gonna happen boys!  I've seen this, over my long years as a Windows tech, first hand.  

How many times does Microsoft have to be smashed on the head with that hammer known as Public Apathy before they begin to get the darn message?  Remember, we're talking about people 'still' using an over-a-decade OS.  These folks are not only in no hurry to leave the safety of their familiar surroundings, they are downright ADAMANT!   Unless Microsoft can find a way to entice these folks out of their burrows and make them feel comfortable, they will remain entrenched.  Looking for a solution?  Just ask those WinXP stalwarts.  They'll provide all the remedies you need...  End of story!
griff.computerservices@ve
griff.computerservices@ve

What a joke!  Most Windows XP users haven't even gravitated to Vista or Windows 7 (for chrissakes) let alone delve into that GUI mess (dumped upon the public that is Windows 8 or (8.1).  There will be no mass migration.  There will be none of that; until those boys at Redmond finally stop assuming that people are willing to just simply leave their years-long comfort zones and venture out into a new, unfamiliar void.  It ain't gonna happen boys!  I've seen this, over my long years as a Windows tech, first hand.  How many times does Microsoft have to be smashed in the head with that hammer known as Public Apathy before they begin to get the darn message?   

birdmaniw
birdmaniw

If they made it look and work like Windows 7 with the start bar where i can open my uesde programmes from but without have to fiddle with settings to get rid of the Windows 8 Mobile Phone screen then I might be interested but until that day happens I will stick with windows 7. This applies to Windows 9 as well. Windows 8 was completely unitelligable. As there are still so many windows xp users out there, Microsoft should continue to issue fixes or persuade manufacturers to issue drivers for later versions of windows for longer.

Lemuelpn
Lemuelpn

I love windows 8 and I can't wait long.

paul
paul

Wont touch 8, 8.1 or any other version of windows 8 until it has a start button in the lefthand corner with a full menu that i can customise to be like any previous windows opperating system.

I would rather defect to apple or linux than use the current pitifull offering

junk
junk

They are simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.


If people just wanted mouse friendly, they'd have gone to Windows 7 which is a reasonable system for replacing XP.  However, most holdouts are doing so because they have applications which simply won't run on Win 7 or Win 8, and no amount of tweaks to the bells and whistles of the Win 8 UI will fix that issue.

firenewt
firenewt

Purchased a new laptop to replace my old XP workhorse - I knew W8 was a mess but decided to try it.  Finally  beat it into a workable OS after downloading 8.1, a start screen shell and 2 weeks of trial and error.  Still don't like it but it is usable.

I'm in the process of building a dual cpu PC with boot options for Windows 98, ME, XP, Vista and 7 - I have unused versions of the operating systems from my building PC days.  Won't have to depend on the Virtual Machine sloutions.  Should be interesting...........................  

.   

Snak
Snak

"... Will it bring Windows XP, mouse, and keyboard users back into the fold?"

I don't think so. It is my experience that Windows 8 is another Dead Duck. It's ME, it's Vista, it's the rubbish OS between the goods ones in true Microsoft style. We are currently updating 10,000 PCs. Not one of them will have W8 on them. 

techrepublic
techrepublic

No one seems to talk about all those legacy 16-bit and some 32-bit programs which no longer work under Windows 8.0, 8.1, or 8.1 Update 1. The Virtual Machine solutions are slow and clumsy. It's not only what Microsoft has added and tried -- unsuccessfully -- to cram down people's throats that's the problem as much as it's what they have taken away. All legacy software should be runnable under Windows 8.x. This incompatibility will still keep many people clinging to Windows XP.

plantr
plantr

I am euphemistically described as a "senior citizen", living on a fixed income plus whatever else I can lay my hands on, so purchases of the latest and greatest is naturally limited. With the announcement of the demise of XP I decided to take the plunge and shell out for Windows 8. I have never followed the upgrade route, preferring to buy a full package and start from scratch, so I visited my local vendor and purchased an OEM package. Admittedly OEM is supposed to be for new computer builds, but I justified the purchase because I intended to replace the case (I had a nice server case with hot swap cages for HDD's and a BIG psu), plus I wanted to add a new graphics card to drive a flat screen LCD monitor, and the hard drive would be a brand new SCSI 146GB, and finally a brand new DVD drive - all components I have at hand so no purchase necessary. The only original parts of my old computer are the motherboard, CPU and RAM, and there lies the rub. Having completed the purchase, stripped my computer and re-built with all new goodies I inserted the Windoze 8 OEM disk and got as far as a 0x0000005D error. A few attempts later I re-installed XP, googled the problem and discovered my old CPU is not compatible - doesn't have the eXecute Disable (XD) bit. 

There will be many people intent on updating their OS now that XP is no longer officially supported, and many will have hardware that is incompatible. My vendor refused to take back the OEM pack, because it had been opened. Microsoft said they couldn't help, I should talk to my vendor but doubted if I would be successful because the pack had been opened. Fortunately in South Africa we have a new law - The Consumer Protection Act, which incorporates software, so with a copy of the whole legal document in hand I returned to the vendor and quoted the relevant chapter and verse and forced him to take back the pack and provide a refund. How many unsuspecting people I wonder will fall into the same trap, and only later realise that with Windows 8, they also need to purchase a new computer.

I'm still running XP, for now.

At the same time as re-installing everything for XP, I have also made it dual boot to Ubuntu 12.04, and am in the process of acquiring computer packages running under Linux that are compatible with my files that were originally produced on Microsoft packages. Some are more difficult than others, I have lots of spreadsheets with VBA subroutines that have a problem, but I wrote all these subs, so I can do it again in the free package. I also have video editing software that was very expensive and only runs on Windoze, these will eventually be replaced when I find something I can use that is as good, but in the meantime I will keep XP just for that.


Goodbye Microsoft, it was nice knowing you for the last 30 odd years. We've seen so many changes together from my first faltering steps with DOS and GWBASIC, and I've given you a lot of my hard earned pittance, but no more. 


Hello Linux - how nice to build a kernel that only has code for my specific hardware - no more BLOAT !!

lkeller
lkeller

I thought that Windows 8 would be more difficult and cumbersome than it actually is.  With the update to version 8.1 it is even less cumbersome.  I play music while I work and find an app to do that much better than using a resource hungry program to do so.  Switching from the desktop to an app and back is just a mouse click.  Closing an app is just right clicking on its image and selecting close from the menu that is presented.  I wish it were as easy to close an app on the iPhone as it is in Windows 8.1.

Though I don't use a Windows phone there is logic to one interface across devices.  I prefer a mouse and keyboard but also like using apps to play music, games, etc., while still working with productivity programs.  Windows 8.1 makes that relatively easy.

Of course, Windows will never equal AmigaOS and never will.  But Windows 8.1 is the best version yet.

W. Radke
W. Radke

I have a w8.1 touchscreen. Also W7, Vista, and XP. I tried the METRO interface, but turned it off, and disabled Live. The OS does seem faster, but perhaps only because it is running on a newer, faster machine.


My most negative issue, though, is their dropping support for previously existing applications and, apparently, drivers. In my case the issue is W8 dropped support for video and dvd creation. Even third party software fails because the underlying drivers have apparently been removed. Also, I have heard a rummer that other applications may have been similarly affected. As it stands now my W8 machine sits mostly idle as I can accomplish more with my older machines.


Oh, I do like Charms. Will pixie dust be next? Did I hear that Disney just bought Microsoft?

SecretAgentGuy
SecretAgentGuy

Big deal - programs like Classic Shell have been "fixing" Windows 8 for desktop users since it's release. I'm a longtime Windows user (even Win8 on some machines) and have to support and implement it at clients sites, but I'm getting damned tired of making excuses for Windows 8 and assuring users that I can massage it into something resembling Windows 7.


There's nothing wrong with a desktop OS! You use a car on land and a boat on water- have you ever seen how ridiculous those "boat cars" look? Win8 is a boat car- it tries to do two things and winds up not doing either particularly well.


C'mon Microsoft.. stop making it so hard for us to like you.

SecretAgentGuy
SecretAgentGuy

Big deal - programs like Classic Shell have been "fixing" Windows 8 for desktop users since it's release. I'm a longtime Windows user (even Win8 on some machines) and have to support and implement it at clients sites, but I'm getting damned tired of making excuses for Windows 8 and assuring users that I can massage it into something resembling Windows 7.


There's nothing wrong with a desktop OS! You use a car on land and a boat on water- have you ever seen how ridiculous those "boat cars" look? Win8 is a boat car- it tries to do two things and winds up not doing either particularly well.


C'mon Microsoft.. stop making it so hard for us to like you.

rtroy56
rtroy56

Is this some sort of bad joke - just like Windoze Ape?  The true Win 7 gui and XP / 7 Start Menu's are still missing.  Microsloth can tweak MUTRO / Ape all it wants but it will still be a no-go to XP and 7 users.  

geofroberts
geofroberts

I think I will try a different operating system.

helena.hi
helena.hi

It is ridiculous that a company cannot offer parallel operating systems. Why would I want to switch to another, more gimmicky and NSA friendly OS, when my OBDI/II software only runs on XP? To blame users for their tendency to not change a winning team is ludicrous. And it appears that time doesn't seem to be an issue. No OS switch ever was as simple as the companies want to make users believe. After roughly 35 years computing I use a 27" iMac for all modern things, while my XP is a 'galvanically' separated entity from the interwebs - no more updates needed. With Tweak UI it is faster than most bloated modern gimmick 'computers'. The question is, do you use your PC to work, or to play online games? My laptop has all my diagnostic software on it and I use it for data logging - it will still work perfectly fine in 25 years from now - provided the hardware doesn't fail.

Thus is the eternal problem - people mistake bigger and newer for better. Only better is better and the times I had to help friends with their Vista/Win7/8 it became painfully clear that none of the descending OS's are in any way better - only more complex. But that's just my two cents. XP is the last Windows software I will ever use. I know it inside out, because like many others, I too spent countless nights to streamline it and to remove everything that doesn't serve my needs.

pethers
pethers

It doesn't matter what Microsoft does to Windows 8.1 to improve it, in the minds of those wanting to keep Windows XP. They want to keep Windows XP because they think that it works fine so why upgrade. These people hate change, and they don't want to change ever. I personally think that Windows 7 is the new XP, and if XP users tried out Windows 7 they would be happy with the experience, compatibility and performance.

As for me, I have criticised Windows 8 from the start, and the 8.1 updates have 'fixed' it enough for me to now start using Windows 8.1 on my primary work desktop PC. I use Keyboard and mouse with no touch screen, and this was a big bugbear for me personally that WIndows 8 was not designed for keyboard and mouse.

I still find that I have to teach staff to use their new computers that they buy for home, particularly those that get PC's with no touch screen.

Ultimately, Microsoft have listened and are doing something about it, and that is all that I have ever asked of them.

I love using that latest and greatest, as long as they are in fact 'greatest'. :)

ringer1
ringer1

personaly I like windows 8, 8.1, True you have to get used to the changes, but there not all that bad. All Update 1 is, is a patch to try and satisfy those "cry baby's" who complain every time windows comes out with a new OS. They sit at there laptops and expensive PC's and spend all their time on facebook and twitter or buy "stuff", and e-mail back and forth with their friends,and take pictures of themslefs with their phones. My advice to them is buy a smart phone or tablet with a phone and leave windows OS to those that Know what their doing and appreciate It. Microsoft even made a new mouse for them so all they have to do to switch from desktop to metro is "click" a button! In my opinion MS should have never put the desktop in windows 8. :))

I hate to say this but smart phones and tablets will more than likely take over the PC sooner or later :((

However Im looking foreward to the 8.1 update and 9.0, once you learn how to manipulate and use windows 8-8.1 It's easy to use. BTW, what version of windows is hardly if ever mentioned when windows OS are talked about?

pdriddell
pdriddell

I still don't see any advantage to switching to Win8, if you can avoid it. I loved XP and learned to like Win7 but then I was FORCED into Win8 when I purchased a new laptop. While I have a touch screen I am NOT a tablet user, I am a desktop/laptop user. I hate the new menu and seldom use it. It's just not intuitive.

If you are forced into Win8 like I was, do yourself a favour and spend $4.99 to purchase Start8 from Stardock.com  You will immediately be launched back to the days of Win7 / XP where you will be immersed in familiar territory. You won't be able to thank me enough !

I use to be a fairly loyal MS user but after this last launch of software where Microsoft clearly demonstrated an abysmal attitude toward their customer base, I've started to learn the Linux operating system. I am pissed that Microsoft tells me what I can have rather than listening to what I want. I'm the one who is paying for the software, I should be getting what I want.

Hogsbreath
Hogsbreath

I think it is too late for Windows 8.1x. People don't like it and not matter what Micro$oft does to it now it will not widely be accepted by businesses or the majority of end users. With Steve Balmer gone I think things can turn around but Microsoft has to listen to the consumer and give them what they want. Balmer should have been fired after his first 2 years. 


Wait for Windows 9, maybe they will get it right if they have learned their lesson.

Lodmot-ad4d7
Lodmot-ad4d7

I really like these new changes in Update 1, and I definitely believe Microsoft has finally steered itself in a better direction, now that it has some different people running the company. However, this update will still baffle a good number of XP users. I like how the taskbar can appear inside the Modern UI now, but it only appears when your mouse goes down there-- otherwise, it's hidden. Older folks (or people like my mom, who are less tech-savvy) will not know why their task bar suddenly disappeared. It should be visible all the time, in my opinion (unless it's on a device with no keyboard or mouse detected). Also, Modern UI is still a full-screen interface. On a tablet that's okay, but when you're working on a large 24 inch monitor, the entire screen constantly changing can be an eyesore to people, and it really isn't needed. The one design I especially liked was Jay Machalani's; I wonder what happened with him... 

The only other people that are making a really nice converged UI across multiple devices is Canonical with their Unity interface for Ubuntu. The Unity interface will be able to dynamically morph itself between a touch-oriented UI and a mouse/keyboard-oriented UI, depending on the screen resolution the OS detects. And all of it is being developed under the same codebase, so software running on an Ubuntu tablet can also work in a desktop computer.


However, I'm still interested to see Windows 9. A new start menu with 3 or 4 customizable live tiles, a section for my most-used applications, and a section where I can scroll through all my applications would be amazing. Like I said, Jay's design nailed it. I really hope the reason why we haven't heard from him in a while is because he's been busy working at his new job at Microsoft.

Treknology
Treknology

@irenaeus I don't think so. Having started in computing in the pre-DOS days, my first introduction to DOS product was MS Word 3.0. Word was not originally written BY Microsoft, but FOR Microsoft. As a programmer myself, it was apparent to me that the development of the whole Word menu was very carefully planned by a team of people that were expected to use their own product.


On the other hand, I have video footage of Steve Jobs presenting the NeXT system (complete with Japanese subtitles). It is painfully obvious during that presentation from the clumsy way that Jobs had to keep shifting from keyboard to mouse and back again, that the WIMP interface needed (and still needs) much more work. The hardware concept behind NeXT was brilliant. The user-experience, by comparison, sucked.


Driving the Mac OS or Windows from a keyboard only seems deliberately designed to frustrate the user, and high-jacking the ALT key to activate the menu AND/OR a field within a dialog box was plain stupid.

griff.computerservices@ve
griff.computerservices@ve

@merrill.nuttall  

I hope you're kidding!  If not, you are certainly on an island unto yourself.  I've been in the Windows tech business for a long, long time, my friend, and apparently you have gone into a "future" that does not give any consideration to the past.  Windows 8 is an abject failure.  Not because of its so-called 'futuristic' enhancements, but because of its inability to attract long-time adherents of the Windows brand.  Cluttered interfaces does not translate into 'improvements'.  Think again.

Trilln451
Trilln451

@techrepublic  Yup, that's pretty much where I am. 8.1 may be fun to tinker with, but I need XP for WORK.  I'm seriously considering a virtual OS. Never run one before, but you learn by doing I guess.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer


There he is, folks!  Living proof that age isn't an automatic barrier to using new technology!

bobc4012
bobc4012

@plantr I agree with what you have to say, except the typical home user will stay with XP until their desktop/laptop craps out and then they have to make the decision to buy a new Windows based PC or a tablet. Many home users I know told me when - and if - that happens, they will either buy an iPad or an Android tablet. Most of them have little knowledge of PCs other than turn them on, find the icon on the screen and click on it. Typically they broswe the internet, use Facebook, do e-mail and play games. Many of them don't even use IE anymore. They usually have had a friend install either Firefox or Chrome as their browser and they like either better than IE. One other thing that impresses them is Facetime on an iPAD or iPhone. 

Practically all of them are nowhere as sophisticated user as you. I'd say this applies to 80% - 90% of the typical home users.  To them, the PC is nothing more than an appliance that you plug in, turn on and start doing the few things I mentioned above. I have shown a few how Linux looks and runs and they say it looks nice, but are reluctant to make the change - even trying it in a VM. Plus they are not about to run out and shell out for Windows 8 - they didn't do it for WIndows 7, why would Microsoft or anyone else think they are going to do it for Windows 8 (or 8.1).

ringer1
ringer1

@pdriddell  you were never forced to buy It, you had a choice, if you don't like It put It up on ebay or throw it out and re-install win7? Why use something you don't like?

eaglewolf
eaglewolf

@Hogsbreath

The problem is the 'consumer' they're listening to is NOT the power user who needs a working tool .. not a toy.   They're listening to the 'get a neat computer and get on Facebook and Twitter as fast as you can' group.  And they're listening to Marketing which says they need more 'market share' which IS that FB/Twitter end-user.

I get the feeling they're not going to change and also that they won't miss us at all.  

Ron West
Ron West

@bobc4012 @plantr  Nonsense, you underestimate to capability of 'most PC users' In my circle of colleagues, most are currently using XP but will switch to Windows 8.1 when the updates have made it more compatible with mouse and keyboard.

For my part, I have tried Windows 8 and 8.1 and really don't know what all the fuss is about.

I will most definitely be a user of the latest Windows 8 incarnation.