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back to article Microsoft to ship Windows 8.1 in 'late August'

The Windows 8.1 Preview is barely two weeks old, but Microsoft's Windows boss Tami Reller says the final version of the update will be ready to ship to manufacturers in just a few more weeks' time. Speaking at Redmond's annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Houston, Texas on Monday, Reller announced that the RTM version …

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8.1 or 8.0 same ol same

I have given 8.1 a few days testing on my secondary workstation and I personally don't feel that it is going to make the slightest difference. I just have to pray that W7 will have a long shelf life. The majority of our machines are still on XP and it looks like W7 is the winner for the upgraded machines.

The few changes that were made were so minor that they are irrelavant. Balmer described this as being more than an Service Pack !!!!!!!!. I would hardly consider it as anything more than ironing out some late bugs.

By the way Steve, that's not a start button, it's a shortcut to TIFKAM and for Deitys sake fix the damned "no network connection" icon when a proxy is being used.

It's a shame, I really wanted MS to make an effort an bring back that "Start Menu" as well as the Start button.

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Meh

They can keep their 8.1.

My laptop with it's unexpectedly gawdawful Win 8 will be my last MS operating system.

Have downloaded Linux Mint, and will be trying that out for size shortly.

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Re: Meh

You'll be back

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Meh

Re: Meh

Not for anything > Win 7 I won't.

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Linux

Re: Meh and Meh

So "you'll be back". Let's hold judgement on that one....... until Splodger has tried Mint at least as thoroughly as I tried Win 8.

I went to the "dark side" - ie Linux - four / five years ago, and although I keep an open mind on OSs and have looked at MS and Apple offerings, so far I have seen nothing to make me want to switch back to MS on a workstation. This is most emphatically true of Win 8 and 8.1.

All I want is a system that allows me to get on with productive work (what us people get paid for), not something stuffed with unnecessary crud. Mint works for us too.

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"Obviously, Windows 8.1 isn't as dramatic an upgrade as the leap from Windows 7 to Windows 8."

Indeed. But what is required is as dramatic a leap as from Windows 8 to Windows 7.

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Joke

This just in...

Rumors from Redmond indicate that work has already begun on Windows 8.2. Sources say that the start button might actually be useful this time, and not need any re-training for older users migrating from Windows 7.

You heard it here first!

Now if would be interesting if this were actually true, and not a "joke".

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Anonymous Coward

Sums....

" She reiterated Microsoft's claim that it has sold 100 million Windows 8 licenses, and added that it now has more than 20 million "enterprise evaluations." What's more, she said, customers have now used Windows 8 for more than 60 billion hours."

So that's 60,000 million hours (assuming a US Billion aka a Milliard) across 100 million licences.

I make that 600 hours per licence.. for an O/S that is a year old... so that's about 2 hours per day...

Or maybe the heat has addled my brain.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Sums....

What is creepy is how Microsoft knows how much time you spend using it. Reason #1,682 not to use Windows 8.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sums....

They only know if you take part in the "user information programme" or whatever it's called. When you install, possibly even when you make a new user (I forget and I work in a domain, so things are a bit different for me) you are explicitly asked if you want to send information back to MS to help them improve Windows. I assume they use this info to generate an average for all installed OSes.

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Linux

Re: Sums....

Um. sadly not. When installing Windows 8 (those that have it pre-installed may not see this) you are asked whether you want to opt in to certain tracking facilities, one in particular is "Application Usage" which cannot be turned off.

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short upgrade cycles will be "the new norm"

Short, _chargeable_ upgrade cycles will be "the new norm". Or annual subscriptions.

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Windows Orange: Will it be 8.2, 8.11 or 9

so now that "not a service pack" is on the way, what will the next "we've listened to our customers" version be called.. I doubt they go right to Windows Red(faced in shame).

The longer they leave it, the more likely it'll merge into Windows9 kinetic gesture control

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Happy

Re: Windows Orange: Will it be 8.2, 8.11 or 9

Perhaps they'll build in a self deleting facility when it sees 2 fingers stuck up at it in a famous british gesture

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Happy

Re: Windows Orange: Will it be 8.2, 8.11 or 9

No doubt the 11th finger will be part of kenetic gesture control.

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I wish everyone would get over the start screen.

Ignore the app ecosystem and all you've got is a big Start Menu, that's the whole difference.

Where's my Start button? - On your keyboard FFS.

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Have you ever even considered for a moment that some of us are simply quite comfortable/happy/find it usefull/ mange quite well with the existing start menu.

TIFKAM wasn't made for the desktop and I don't have a touch screen on any of my computers, 2 at work and 4 at home, so it is not just a case of "getting over it".

W8 does offer other advantages but the change in the interface makes for a major pain .......

Choice would have been nice and no "Classic Start" is not choice, it is a workaround....

By the way, it is not the Start Button that is the problem it is the Start Menu or lack of.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes...

Me too, every time these articles come up, it's the same comments over and over again. They are all frighteningly similar to the things that people said about XP, just without the amplification of the Internet.

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Anonymous Coward

@Khaptain - Your argument is the same that was used about the Windows 3.x->95 move. People actually stuck with the program manager for years in some cases, despite the start menu being obviously better. (Cue a comment about "it's not better etc", which was exactly what all the people holding out for the old 3.1 interface said...)

As for the modern interface requiring touch, it just doesn't at all. It's nice with touch, but it in no way needs touch. "It needs touch" is one of those lame excuses when what it really meant is "I can't be arsed to learn something new" or "I don't like it".

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"Ignore the app ecosystem and all you've got is a big Start Menu, that's the whole difference."

Wrong. The lack a Start button is actually the least of the problems with the new Start screen. It's simple enough to mouse down to the lower-left corner and click, true enough, and that's what most experienced users will probably do by default. The mainproblems with the Start screen are:

1) It is non-hierarchical; i.e., everything in creation gets splattered all over the screen. When an application installs multiple shortcuts, it's nice to have them associated with that application, not put on the top level by default.

2) It is unsorted and unsortable. I find it logical to sort things in some kind of order, say alphabetically, automatically, without having to shuffle everything around by hand.

3) It is hideous. This is, of course, a subjective viewpoint, but the default available color schemes are wretchedly ugly.

Now, to address the inevitable counter-points:

1) Yes, I know you can re-arrange icons by hand. That's fine when you have only a few applications, but I have dozens of applications with probably over a hundred icons among them. Some sort of default order is called for.

2) I don't care whether my complaints seem like minor objections to you. They constitute a non-trivial impediment to the optimal setup of my primary workspace.

3) I also know that you can install programs to return the Start menu to its pre-Win8 configuration. The availability of those programs does not negate the criticism of the Windows 8 Start screen; if anything, they support the criticism because they indicate that there is a significant market for the return of the old configuration.

"I wish everyone would get over the start screen."

I wish I could ride to work on a unicorn, but that's not going to happen either.

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AC:"Your argument is the same that was used about the Windows 3.x->95 move. People actually stuck with the program manager for years in some cases, despite the start menu being obviously better"

Pretty much sums up the 'fuck you' thinking coming out of Microsoft right now, channelled by their army of shills.

Apparently you are allowed to think the 95 era 'Start Menu' was *obviously better* but I'm not allowed to think the Win8 era 'Start Screen' is obviously worse on the desktop. Neither am I allowed to continue believing it after trying to use the sorry POS and finding it defective.

With Win95 Microsoft had the confidence to leave the old style launcher shell in place and let users choose. They even left it there in XP for any remaining holdouts. This time round though they seem to lack the confidence to just let the new out compete the old... as if even they know that's doomed to fail.

But the greater needs of forcing Windows onto the tablet and phone market requires that letting users decide what works best on users desktops is not an allowable option. If that impoverishes the set of tools I have available, neither you or Microsoft cares.

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Program manager was available on WIn 95

And Windows 95 was a serious step forward. (Just as OS X was)

Modern UI (and I didn't think americans got irony) is like using windows 3.1 with dos applications that you can't use in windows.

You start an MP3. You get a full screen player, which might have been acceptable on a 486 running DOS, when the machine would struggle to do anything else too, but not anytime this century. Then you have to swipe the screen and choose the desktop tile. (Or alt tab a few times).

Are they going back to the 80s so they can sell all the UI improvements again?

To be honest I don't find the Windows 8 experience to even be an improvement over a GEM system from over 20 years ago.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Program manager was available on WIn 95

Start an MP3, well for me it opens VLC, although before I installed VLC it opened in Windows Media Player. But then again, I know how to operate a computer and realise that you can configure them to operate how you want them to, rather than just having to bitch about them not doing what you want.

How people have the nerve to post this drivel on a supposed IT pro web site, I don't know. If you said something like this about Linux, you'd be torn apart, figuratively speaking.

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@Maddox

What software are you using/what are you doing with the box? Hundrets of icons? This sounds very strange and/or like badly programmed applications

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Re: Program manager was available on WIn 95

@AC 08:56

Before mentioning other people's "drivel" please re-read your own post..... It is quite revealing.

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FAIL

@mmeier

mmeier:"Hundrets of icons? This sounds very strange and/or like badly programmed applications"

Seems you've forgotten classic desktop installers expect to add as many links as they like, all packaged away into a sub-menu so the Start Menu doesn't get hopelessly messy. It seems Microsoft also forgot it when coding the Start Screen, which translates classic installs by dumping all the structure and creating an unholy flattened mess.

Can't say I'm too surprised at all this forgetfulness, the price of entry to the Metro fan club always involved wilfully forgetting the past, to avoid unfavourable comparisons springing to mind.

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Re: @mmeier

@Shirley

Looked at my installations:

Visual Studio Express: Four

Office: One per Program (Excel, Word, Powerpoint, OneNote)

Netbeans and Eclipse: One each

ArtRage: One

Firefox: One

Various games: One each

Foxit: One

VLC: Two

Kindle: One

PDF Generator: One

RPG Character Generators: One each

There may be "badly behaved" programs out there but I have none installed. There are quite a few more under "Alle Apps" but the above is what was auto-pinned

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Re: @mmeier

Mediaportal is not a 'badly behaved' program, at least as far as it's install process and links is concerned.

It installed 16 links in my Start Menu, split between front and backend sub menus, both contained in the Team Mediaportal main menu and easily navigable. The Start Screen picked 8 of them to dump into it's grid and didn't even keep them together in the jumble. The 'all apps' view at least clustered them into 1 group but discarded the front/backend distinction and only found 13 of the links. Not only did it flatten the hierarchy, it couldn't even find all the links... beyond useless.

It's probably the most links an installer added but far from unique - I see 4 TortoiseSVN links on the Start Screen, worse than useless because the main one is a context menu that only works in explorer on the desktop!

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Re: @mmeier

Given the licence and the fact it is OpenSource I am sure the developers spend a lot of care on the installer. After all the always do - not!

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FAIL

Re: Program manager was available on WIn 95

Installing VLC is a work around. One that anyone can do, and should (other media players are available).

The problem people are getting at is the design. Here, the designers have failed to acnowledge that taking over the full screen is not appropriate to every single app.

If you bought a car, and every time you sounded the horn, the bonnet flipped up (so not to impede the sound), it would be a problem. Merely suggesting that people could just open their windows and shout, isn't really addressing it.

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Re: Program manager was available on WIn 95

I do not see the problem. Win8 supports both "apps" and real applications. If I have tasks that benefit from multi-windows -> I use an application. If single window is the best (reading Kindle on the tablet, watching video) -> an app can be enough(1)

At least I HAVE the choice - Android does not give that to me

(1) Actually I use the Kindle-Application since it has better document management capabilities and is more stable

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This is rather amusing.

They added a pin stripe to that car and called it a new model.

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Pint

Google Chrome

I realise that not everyone here will be a fan of Google, but I just received a chromebook today. If you are considering a complete desktop re-assessment, then they are seriously worth considering rather than the inflated cost of Windows laptops/tablets.

I just printed a document, via the cloud, to a local printer for the first time, at the first attempt.

No costly licensing issues, no VPN to configure, no special firewall settings to mess with. For many, many users it just all works. MS have got some serious catching up to do to get it this good.

Paperless office? Not anytime soon for most. YMMV.

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Mushroom

Re: Google Chrome Printing @Roger

> I just printed a document, via the cloud, to a local printer for the first time, at the first attempt...MS have got some serious catching up to do to get it this good.

You just described what's wrong on Android (IOS as well), and you fail to see the problem. Your scenario is good only if you need to home printer while on the road and you have a brand new printer which has embedded cloud printing - many new printers just don't have the capability. And if you have a "legacy" printer that doesn't do fancy cloud stuff - you need an extra PC to act as a print server.

Not to mention that connecting any USB printer straight to your Chromebook will never work.

I have a working "legacy" printer on the network. It doesn't understand cloud print/NSA print, but it understands IPP/LPD/RAW, like any good printer does. Printing starts immediately and certainly isn't capped by my 1Mb uplink speed.

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Re: Google Chrome

Works for those with a useable network speed and a printer that can do it / infrastructure that supports it. Will not work for those at the end of a 384kbit DSL line or without the right hardware. Both are quite common.

Will not work for quite a few documents with a non-European cloud (legal reasons). And if I use a privat cloud - MS has some very nice solutions to share documents without printing them. Actually one of the ideas behind tablet pc is to print less..

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Windows 8.1 Blended Background...

Windows 8.1 'It's so intuitive'

On installing Windows 8.1. The first thing you'll will want to do is get rid of the jarring between the Classic Desktop and the Metro Start Screen, by enabling the 'blended' desktop background...

Simple Hey? Well, I challenge anyone to work out how to change to the new blended background without Googling the answer.

Wndows 8 / 8.1 has a lot in common with the Mini Metro produced by British Leyland in the 1980's, that went into production and was forced on the masses, but essentially was a heap of sh.it, yet it still sold in the millions.

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Re: Windows 8.1 Blended Background...

that was the first thing i did, but i didn't realise it was difficult. next time my toddler messes around with my win 7 install, i'll go back to 8.1 and see how hard it was.

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Happy

Re: Windows 8.1 Blended Background...

Mini Metro- that explains the previous TIFKAM name!

And the shitness!

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Thumb Up

Re: Windows 8.1 Blended Background...

No, no, no, it's different. It's called a Rover Metro now.

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Facepalm

Allow me to translate

"The Windows 8.1 Preview is barely two weeks old, but Microsoft's Windows boss Tami Reller says the final version of the update will be ready to ship to manufacturers in just a few more weeks' time."

=

"Microsoft's Windows boss Tami Reller confirms that Microsoft haven't listened to anyone. Again."

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"Reller said Microsoft is launching new programs aimed at getting developers and resellers on board with Windows 8, including a "User Experience Design Competency" training program for designers, plus a program called TouchWins that offers distributors and resellers incentives to carry Windows 8 PCs and tablets with touchscreens."

Gee... with Windows7 and XP even, microsoft didn't have to strong-arm developers or resellers to sell windows based products. I'm confused about the last part a bit... are they offering Windows7 systems? It doesn't matter how cheap the good incentives are, if people DON'T WANT TO BUY OR USE WINDOWS Fracking 8!

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Linux

"Reller said Microsoft is launching new programs aimed at getting developers and resellers on board with Windows 8, including a "User Experience Design Competency" training program for designers" -- Oh the irony!

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Microsoft messed up with a long release cycle

Either with gross misjudgement as to what customers wanted (Bob, Vista, Windows 8) or with buggy software (Windows 95) or both (Windows ME), Microsoft sure messed up a lot using long release cycles and a lot of time between releases of major OS products. Windows XP was a bit of a mess, too, until SP1 fixed it up.

So Stevie Ballmer cracks the whip and all his vassals say "Yessir, we will do a short release cycle." The man has an awfully large set of balls.

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Anonymous Coward

I like 8.1. Being able to make start tiles a bigger range of sizes, and move them into labelled groups is a satisfactory setup as far as I'm concerned. It's a change from W7 but a neither a great improvement nor a hindrance as far as I'm concerned, since Win7 jump lists I'd been mostly just using taskbar pinning anyway. It does work a lot better on my surface pro than a start menu, which is the whole point I guess.

Using wallpaper on start screen makes the desktop/start switch much less jarring, a good improvement.

YMMV.

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Joke

60 Billion Hours

... actually only 60 hours, but feels like 60,000,000,000

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Anonymous Coward

How much?

I assume Microsoft will be charging Win 8.0 users again for the privilage of finally having a near feature complete version of Win 8 (ie Win 8.1).

So, question is, how much? Surely its got to be low enough to convince enough people to upgrade so they can hopefully just all forget 8.0 ever existed?

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Re: How much?

According to the german Fosstard Research Site at heise.de the 8.1 will be free of charge

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The Evil Empire has become the Stupid Empire

Oh dear, MS had the chance to correct the mess that is Windows 8 but as a PC desktop user there is little to attract me to update from Windows 7. If they had offered a PC version without Metro and improvements to the desktop mouse/keyboard side of things they could have had a winner. This attempt to provide an OS for all devices was flawed from the start. I have been looking elsewhere and have installed Linux Mint 15 and am very impressed.

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