Re: Have you actually used PowerShell to automate GUI operations?
I found upgrade from 8 to 8,1 extremely easy, not in the least torturous. I didn't have to tune any KBs. And I find the 8.1 GUI at least as good as the Windows 7 GUI, better than the XP Pro GUI, and infinitely better than the Vista GUI. It lets me use a decent command language, run 5 instances of sql server using 3 different releases (2008R2, 2012, and 2014) ,allows me to use an old-style start menu, makes it very easy to work as an unprivileged user instead os having all sorts or privileges (as used to be required to work efficiently under XP and various Unixes), in general it doesn't present any problems.
Maybe having first started messing about with computers 50 years ago has made it easier for me to adapt to changes in OSs and UIs that you seem to have found adapting to Windows 8.1.