back to article Make or break: Microsoft sets date for CRUCIAL Win 8.1 launch

Microsoft will begin the second act in its Windows 8 drama on Thursday, 17 October. The company said today that Windows 8.1 would be available through the Windows Store in a free worldwide update for consumers already on Win 8 from 4am Pacific Time on that date (7am Eastern, 12 noon BST). PCs and tablets featuring Windows 8.1 …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Question

    MS already polished the turd with Windows 8.

    Is it actually possible to polish a polished turd?

    1. andreas koch
      IT Angle

      @ AC 1519h GMT - Re: Question

      Regardless whether it's a turd or not, or whether you like Microsoft or not: They have, at least to some extend, changed what users wanted changing. That alone is already laudable, I think.

      Although it's so much more efficient to just produce something and make people want it, I have to admit. Microsoft seems to be inferior to companies like Google, Facebook or Apple in this respect. The question is now: Is that a good or a bad thing?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ AC 1519h GMT - Question

        No they haven't.

        They have disingenuously added a button.

        Users wanted the start button back, so they didn't have to see the stupid metro interface.

        It's still there.

        Did Microsoft pay you for that post?

        1. Richard 22
          FAIL

          I think they misunderstood

          I wanted the start _menu_ back, not the start button per se (though the button provides a handy way of invoking the menu).

          I think I'll keep Start8 for the few times I boot into Windows - pretty much exclusively using Linux Mint at home now.

        2. andreas koch
          Happy

          @ AC 1603h GMT - Re: @ AC 1519h GMT - Question

          Posting that as AC shows a lot of faith in the credibility of your opinion.

          And no, they didn't. Who paid you? Oh, wait, they wouldn't know who you are . . .

          Arf Arf Arf.

      2. Charles Manning

        @Andreas Koch

        "That alone is already laudable, I think.". Bollocks. What **might** have been laudable is actually listening to customers in the first place.

        The brief history of what happened here is:

        MS in their normal arrogant way says: "Here is our new product. Assume the position. You will take it regardless."

        Customers: "But why all this change for change sake".

        MS: "We've been doing this for 30 years. You ALWAYS listen to us. Now come along, you know how this game works, assume the position."

        Customers: "FU. We have options now. We have tasted other foods and will no longer eat of your swill."

        MS (thinks to itself): "Hmmm never had this problem before. Bugger. The customers are no longer compliant. We'll have to do something".

        MS: "Look how well we listen to the customer"

        Andreas: "Look how well MS listens to their customers!"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Andreas Koch

          Actually that isn't how its going down.

          Microsoft saw they had a good thing going with Windows 7.

          They started down the path of Windows 8.

          In early alphas of Windows 8 there was a "classic mode".

          Sometime in the early beginning of 2012 some idiot at Microsoft saw that sales of PC's were tanking and sales of Tablets were growing + Sales of Windows Phones were a joke.

          At this time Microsoft removed "classic" mode and forced metro on users. The reason was simple. forcing the use of metro would force the development of metro apps and since metro apps are universally compatible with desktops, laptops, phones, tablets it would grow the app market, which in turn MS thinks will increase sales.

          Windows 8 comes out. To no one's surprise its a turd.

          Holiday PC sales tank. Everyone, including Microsoft claims its because of tablet sales canalizing PC sales.

          No one bothers to point out that it could be because no one wants Windows freaking 8.

          Many at Microsoft are convinced that all they need to do is tweak the UI and make it easier and people will buy into their one ecosystem while behind the scenes I'm certain that they are getting serious blowback from the enterprise market for Windows 8's UI changes. (Name me a enterprise business that likes retraining their userbase on how to use a freaking computer.) There is a certain percentage at Microsoft who is dang well aware that many users want the classic UI. But since MS is committed that the future is tablet and phone. They want to continue.

          They develop 8.1.

          My prediction is it will bomb like 8 and they will continue down the path that tablets and phones are the wave of the future. Sales of PC's will continue to tank because no one wants this crap and Microsoft will point to the iPad as the cause. And people will continue to use Windows 7 or *nix.

          Its a self fulfilling prophecy that Microsoft is doing. The question is will they recognize this downward spiral before they smash into a wall? They have enough money to survive for awhile with multiple attempts. If MS can get over themselves and realize that you DO NOT abandon a 17 year old UI overnight (Even 3.11 to '95 still could launch the Program Manager.) they could save themselves.

          1. Charles Manning

            Completely wrong UI paradigms

            There is a vital step you missed.... MS's dabbling with the Kin Phone.

            Kin tanked completely, but lives on in the form of the tiles UI. This is a UI first designed for teenagers - not for serious businesses used to beige. The teens didn't want it.

            Rule #1 of business is to keep your bread & butter customers happy. MS pissed in the soup when they went to W8 showing no path for corporate users.

            I tried watching part of a presentation on W8, but was forced to give up when some UI elements were called "charms". Seriously... CHARMS!!!!

            I can understand having things called charms if you're making Pink Pony OS for pre-pubescent girls.

            How is anynne supposed to take something with "charms" seriously as part of their corporate infrastructure?

            Pity the poor IT help desker trying to keep a straight face while talking about charm bars.

            1. RightPaddock
              Pint

              Re: Completely wrong UI paradigms

              "How is anynne supposed to take something with "charms" seriously as part of their corporate infrastructure?"

              Physicists will take it very seriously, and ask where the strange bar is hiding - is up or down, spinning around...

        2. Tom 13

          Re: @Andreas Koch

          While granting that I think we are now at the point were MS has ignored customers for longer than they listened to them, there was a time, way back in the dark ages of computing when they mostly did. By the time they were done eviscerating Netscape they lost the capability and now must be roundly beaten about the skull with a 4x4 to get their attention (the standard 2x4 being of insufficient sturdiness to get their attention).

      3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: @ AC 1519h GMT - Question

        No. They didn't change what people wanted changing. They made a series of half-asses pesudo-changes that don't actually meet the requirements people set forth whilst further reinforcing R&D into the options and configurations that people flat out don't want.

        Saying Microsoft "did what people wanted" is like saying that a company selling whit shirts to a crowd demanding black is "Meeting demand" by selling blue.

        1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

          Re: @ AC 1519h GMT - Question

          'Saying Microsoft "did what people wanted" is like saying that a company selling whit shirts to a crowd demanding black is "Meeting demand" by selling blue.'

          Actually, in this case I would say it's more like them continuing to make white shirts, but adding a tiny black square to them.

          1. Tom 13

            Re: but adding a tiny black square to them.

            Not quite. It's a pack of black dye so you can do it yourself at home. Somehow they consider this an improvement on the Henry Ford meme "You can have any color as long as it is black."

      4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ AC 1519h GMT - Question

        I think what Microsoft are really quite bad for comes from Ballmer, right at the top; arrogance.

        When Windows 8 was in beta stages people cried out that the IFKAM was a fatal error, and still they ploughed on. It doesn't work, it never worked, it never will. If they ploughed the money that they wasted on trying to be a hardware manufacturer on user acceptance testing, this might now have happened.

        The thing I don't understand is that Microsoft have an impenetrable market in business, no IT manager in their right mind would replace 500 Windows desktops or server applications with Apple, Android or Linux because they're not viable or well enough supported, but if they keep up stunts like Windows 8, they will alienate enough people to erode their last remaining unique market. Everything else has already eroded, as shown by all the IT admins walking around with Macbooks, iPhones and iPads, you would NEVER have seen that 10 years ago in the "Apple? *spit*" days.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Question

      Since W8 is massively different to its predecessor, your statement doesn't even make sense let alone seem funny.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Question @JDX

        Are you Loverock Davidson in disguise ?

        1. andreas koch
          Happy

          @ AC 1711h GMT - Re: Question @JDX

          No, dear AnonIX, I'm actually who I am. And not ashamed of my opinion or my name.

          And that opinion is *my opinion*, nothing more, nothing less. I don't pretend to state facts.

          So, let's just agree to disagree, OK?

          1. Tom 13

            Re: @ AC 1711h GMT - Question @JDX

            An opinion without facts is like a fish without a bicycle.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ AC 1711h GMT - Question @JDX

            "No, dear AnonIX, I'm actually who I am. And not ashamed of my opinion or my name."

            So, andreas koch, nominative determinism is clearly a far from spent force..

    3. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Question

      You can put facets on a polished turd...

    4. LarsG
      Meh

      Make or Break?

      I can say with almost complete certainty.......

      There will be a lot of discounts to be had in 2014...... I'd normally say yippee, but even at a fraction of the cost it will never be a bargain.

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: Make or Break?

        Just as long as you can go into its BIOS, disable secure boot and UEFI, and install Linux and/or Windows 7, I'll be happy with a discount.

        We can already see what non-repurposeable Windows Surfaces are worth, can't we?

      2. andreas koch
        Facepalm

        @ LarsG - Re: Make or Break?

        I'm actually starting to wonder why so many people are even bothering to write about a bad update to an OS that they didn't want in the first place. Why?

        You don't like it: don't use it. Dead easy.

        Every second posting here whines how rubbish Win8.1 is. Why even be concerned? it's not as if you are forced to buy it. There's always IOS or some flavour of Linux.

        I'm not exactly a windows fanboi; this laptop here runs on Ubuntu, my media centre on Mint and at work we're using CentOs/RHEL. I haven't touched a Windows machine for months. But this is getting silly: why slag it off, if you have a choice?

        It's like saying "Tripe soup is horrible, it's so awful, yuk yuk yuk, ewww. The stuff is so vile it surely tastes like poo and if you put salt and pepper in it it tastes like poo more. Bwaaa."

        Just don't have it for dinner?

        1. theOtherJT

          Re: @ LarsG - Make or Break?

          Because a lot of us WILL be forced to buy it, or some descendant of it, eventually. Businesses frequently depend on windows software that they simply are not prepared to (or in many cases just plain _can't_ due to the dependencies involved) have re-written so it can run on *nix.

          In 5 years the thousand or so desktops around here are all going to need replacing, and what's the licencing deal going to be on the OS they're replaced with? Can I (or whoever sits in this chair at that point) convince anyone that moving to *nix is a viable choice? Not very likely. Windows is what we're stuck with, and the pain of supporting all those users through massive workflow changes is going to fall on whoever occupies this office - and other offices just like it all over the world.

          I'm all for improvement, but 8 isn't a step forward, it's a step sideways at best, and that's just annoying for everyone.

        2. Nuke
          Thumb Down

          @Andreas koch - Re: @ LarsG - Make or Break?

          Andreas koch wrote :- "I ... wonder why so many people are even bothering to write about a bad update to an OS that they didn't want in the first place. Why?"

          Because so many people use Windows, and will use Win8 regardless of how bad it is, that it continues to be an major influence on the IT world even if you do not use it yourself.

          "You don't like it: don't use it. Dead easy."

          I don't like it, but I am locked down to use Windows and nothing else at work. Not Win8 yet, but one day we will have to move on from XP, and the PHBs seem to think any non-MS software is somehow illegal.

          "Every second posting here whines how rubbish Win8.1 is. Why even be concerned? it's not as if you are forced to buy it."

          I am, any time I buy a PC, unless I go to a great deal of trouble like building my own.

      3. Tom 13

        Re: Make or Break?

        I don't see this as make or break for them. They are too big for any single thing to be make or brake. They pulled the same crap with Vista and clawed their way back to relevancy with Win 7. I can see the same thing happening with Win 8.

        The lawsuit on the other hand could hurt, regardless of the actual decision or out of court settlement. I'd think the OOC is the more likely outcome.

    5. Great Bu

      Is it actually possible to polish a polished turd?

      You can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Question

      nah I say this as a Windows user but...

      Windows 7 was a (very) polished turd (it's WIndows afterall, and remember it was just the proper version of Vista)

      Windows 8 was Microsoft deciding to take that turd, mashing it up a bit, adding a few secret ingredients and serving it as lunch.

      Everyone moaned 'Waiter there is a fly in my soup' (his name was Metro, pesky little chap) so Microsoft took the bowl back to the kitchen, rearranged things a bit, put it in a new bowl, and brought it back out again, complete with said fly, it's mouche soup don't you know?

    7. Euripides Pants Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Is it actually possible to polish a polished turd?

      Maybe they're hoping the waxy buildup will be mistaken for improvement...

  2. EddieD

    It's a bit of a shame.

    I got my wee Inspiron Duo, and put my work copy of Windows8 on it - and I found Windows 8, metro/modern interface and all, very usable.

    However, with a machine that doesn't have a touch interface, it was an uphill struggle.

    One thing I did sense though - if felt a lot smoother and slicker than Win7 on the same hardware.

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: It's a bit of a shame.

      Exactly the same here - W8 makes sense of having the touchscreen and vice-versa. Wouldn't contemplate W8 without a touchscreen though.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: It's a bit of a shame.

        It works pretty OK without touch really. For me anyway... I very rarely click the Start button on W7. All the Metro stuff is wasted on me, but it doesn't really get in my way either. I wouldn't buy a new PC to get W8 but I wouldn't not buy a new PC because it had W8.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a bit of a shame.

      Windows 8 is OK if:

      1/ You have a touchscreen

      2/ You don't need to actually do work on it and just want to consume media.

      For everyone else, its best to avoid.... Which seems to be what they have done, fake start button or no fake start button.

      What Microsoft fail to understand, it seems, is that the problems with Windows 8 extend FAR beyond the lack of a start button....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's a bit of a shame.

        An iPad or Android Tablet will do the same thing, only better.

      2. joed
        Unhappy

        Re: It's a bit of a shame.

        1 - but who would like to have big glossy touchscreen in front? And what for - to grow muscles?

        2. not even fit to consume media - as opposed to 7 it does not come standard with Media Center, not even DVD will play without additional software. I guess MS predicted that users will be so lost that all they'll do will be starting at squares on the Start Screen.

        That said I use customized W8 machines but just hate the way the system is bastardized.

        It's not really start button that bugs people. It's the whole Metro getting in the way that only few (and MS hoping for some sales) have use for (while for majority it just wastes CPU cycles and confuses less computer savvy). Ugly themes (colors, clunky thick window frames, disabled customizations that one may enable through registry - if lucky to find the key), no previous versions functionality (I know, full backup is the correct way but in most cases this is better than nothing). Etc, etc ... All these choices that MS made on users behalf and would be better off to leave to them (users). If they follow this path I can see myself on Linux (if I have to change why not for better, cheaper and more productive (like no games)).

      3. Mark 110 Silver badge

        Re: It's a bit of a shame.

        You clearly haven't used it. I never consume media on my PC - use it much the same as I did Windows 7. Web, Word, Excel, eMail, etc - all just the same. Theres some metro thing they added which I ignore. Thats all.

        1. joed

          Re: It's a bit of a shame.

          I like WMC and got it for free with early W8 license so technically I'm not affected (and I can call 8 my primary system). Now, if by media consumption you refer to stuff you get through web browser then why would I want to pay any $ for such a OS if free options existed? MS is playing the game where they stripped features users cared for (some more some less but it's pricy package after all) to force them into buying missing pieces from their store (if not today then tomorrow this may be the only option). There’s too much personal stuff on everyone’s pc to rely on connected apps (and reference it to real identity via credit card info) – even FB users figure this out after a while. Arguably ugly UI (and restricting common sense customizations to registry hacks) does not help.

          Does it boot faster – maybe. Do I care – nope.

  3. Amorous Cowherder

    “It’s very exciting to be delivering Windows 8.1 to consumers just before Windows 8 celebrates its 1-year anniversary,” LeBlanc said.

    Or as the rest of read it, "Bloody hell it took us nearly a whole year to fix the damn thing to make it usable but hopefully this give us 5 minutes breathing room now!"

  4. John P

    Just to be annoying

    Interestingly, all the new toggles in Windows 8.1 don't seem to include the ability to turn the start button OFF. I don't need it (my keyboard has one) and it's using up a valuable taskbar location that I've got quite used to having free for whatever I like.

    You can please some of the people some of the time...

    1. mmeier

      Re: Just to be annoying

      Guess I will wait for 8.2 where you can switch off the useless "Start" spacewaste and force maschines to "only start with Modern" from the server policy. Ja, definitly!

    2. Nuke
      Joke

      @John P - Re: Just to be annoying

      Wrote :- "the new toggles in Windows 8.1 don't seem to include the ability to turn the start button OFF. I don't need it "

      Just hope that MS offer a 8.1 -> 8.0 downgrade option, like they did for Vista.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Touch on the desktop? A ways off, I'd say

    It is strange that Microsoft did not learn their lesson from previous desktop touchscreen attempts. The home computers featuring touchscreens never really sold in quantity and yet MS tried to push WIn8 on to the market, and therefore, users.

    Home and office computers have a different operating paradigm than tablets and phones - home & office do more content creation than tabs & phones and constantly reaching across your table/desk to a touchscreen interface is distinctly uncomfortable, to the level of being unergonomic and potentially injurious. Once computers are the desk - built-in, and near field - touchscreens will make sense but now, with our average 20 inch viewing distance, touchscreen simply does not make sense.

    1. breakfast
      Facepalm

      Re: Touch on the desktop? A ways off, I'd say

      Given that they seem to have spent their entire existence trying to ape, copy or compete with Apple, you would think they would have learned the lesson that desktops and touch devices are different, which Apple seem well aware of.

      Instead they appear to have learned "Apple have phone! Apple phone make money! We like money! Make everything like phone!" When it comes down to it, that's not an enormously profound lesson.

    2. Vociferous

      Re: Touch on the desktop? A ways off, I'd say

      The idea is that PC is dying, so Microsoft wants to ease users, but especially developers, over to mobile devices. Win 8 was supposed to teach PC users how to use a touch interface, and give developers a natural migration route to Windows Phone and Windows RT, which *desperately* need apps.

      What Win8 actually did, was annoy PC users, drive developers to Android, and show everyone that Microsoft are cynical bastards who'll happily throw their PC userbase under the bus because they know that there is no realistic alternative to Windows on PC.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: The idea is that PC is dying,

        Yeah, start with a flawed premise and everything after that is pretty much crap. Doesn't matter how bright or dim you are.

    3. Paul Shirley

      Re: Once computers are the desk

      ...the lawsuits for neck pain will start rolling in. Staring at where you hands comfortably sit on a desk is not something anyone should do all day.

      When will people finally accept that touch is a solution to specific problems (like tiny devices with nowhere to put any other input), not something worth chasing for it's own sake and definitely not something to force into all use cases regardless of common sense. Allowing it everywhere for occasional, optional use makes sense, enforcing it everywhere never will.

      1. El Andy

        Re: Once computers are the desk

        @Paul Shirley "Allowing it everywhere for occasional, optional use makes sense, enforcing it everywhere never will."

        Where exactly does Windows 8 enforce touch usage? Specifically, what features of the OS are impossible to use without touch?

        Or is it, in fact, entirely optional?

        1. LemonadeCellar

          Re: Once computers are the desk

          Change "enforcing touch usage" to "enforcing a touch interface". There we go, confusion cleared up.

          1. mmeier

            Re: Once computers are the desk

            It's not even that. Modern is a different style of "start menu", that is all. Desktop applications still run as they did in Grandpa Xerox times.

    4. Tom 13

      Re: Touch on the desktop? A ways off, I'd say

      Never I'd say.

      I expect the touchscreen will be a dead-end in computer evolution. It makes sense now on tablets and phones. But what we are seeing with the Wii and the Kinnect (sp?) on Xbox seem to me the more likely path for in the future. You put the motion sensor on the desk, use the interferometry to turn the entire cube of space into your work area, and start doing things in the air and they are reflected on the screen. Avoid the whole problem with smudgy screens, probably has far more flexibility as well. Maybe touchscreens still make sense on phones because you don't have enough separation between the sensors, maybe they get sensitive enough phones adopt them too.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Announcing the news, LeBlanc rehashed the rather hollow Redmond party line that Windows 8.1 “continues the vision that began with Windows 8."

    Righty...it would appear that 'comical ali' out of the Iraq war is now living by another name in Washington state. In other topical news, the White Star Line have 'continued the vision' of their series of ocean liners with the new 'Titanic'.

    1. Nigel 11

      Oddly, the design and engineering deficiencies of the Titanic didn't deter travellers of that age from embarking on the Olympic (Titanic's sister ship)

      Sinking-ship icon needed.

      1. Snake

        Olympic comparisons? Not really.

        "Oddly, the design and engineering deficiencies of the Titanic didn't deter travellers of that age from embarking on the Olympic (Titanic's sister ship)"

        Do you mean before or after the Olympic's refit to increase safety: the new double hull, the new davits, the raised watertight bulkheads?

        Add in the fact that Imperator wasn't a slight on Olympic's luxury accommodations (read Imperator's refit nomenclature), including the fact that White Star's Olympic class had no steerage (while Imperator still did), and that left world-class supership travel to a competition between White Star and Cunard (as it always was, back then).

  7. Stephen Channell
    Flame

    NO, Windows 9 is make-or-break

    I have Windows 8.1 RT on my Lenovo hybrid, but couldn’t see the point of adding it to a Intel box.. it’s not as if anything important has changed. The gesture oriented interface (point to corner & swipe to charm are not touch oriented) is still shi1e on anything but a tablet.. and Outlook on RT is no killer app. Start-screen button is “meh”… frankly without a “control panel” button, leaves me wondering why they didn’t spend a WHOLE weekend on Windows blue.

    Make-or-break will come with Windows-9 when we’ll either say “how did we ever do without these gesture controls & Kinetic” or give them an Agincourt gesture.. not all of us are supressed Sheldon’s looking to wave and talk to our computers.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: NO, Windows 9 is make-or-break

      Make or Break will be when Microsoft announce an EOL date for Windows 7. As long as businesses can "downgrade" to 7, they'll just ignore Windows 8 while suffering the (just about manageable) pain of migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7. If MS has any sense left it'll announce that Windows 7 has guaranteed support until at least 2020.

      If there's no user-compatible upgrade path from Windows 7 when it's EOL announcement arrives, that will be the date that businesses divorce Microsoft. (I mean divorce. Messy, acrimonious, and horribly expensive).

      PS the desktop isn't dead, and never will be. It may run a non-MS O/S, or become a thin client for a noisy fat monster in the server room, but it will have a proper keyboard and mouse and a big monitor at the far side of a desk. What you need for real work, as opposed to playing, posing or skiving.

    2. Mark 110 Silver badge

      Re: NO, Windows 9 is make-or-break

      Just pin the control panel to your taskbar . . . Or use the handy desktop icon maybe?

      1. Stephen Channell
        Facepalm

        Re: NO, Windows 9 is make-or-break

        oh sorry for the confusion, Win 8 & 8.1 have three "control panels" {setting; pc settings; control panel} that each do bits of what you could do from Win7 start button & you can indeed pin two of them to start-screen and one of them to the task-bar.. plus powershell lets you do without all of them (& that too can be pined to start & task).

  8. Pat 4

    Softies go "Finally!"

    Astro-turfers go "It's FANTASTIC! And so slick and easy to use!!!"

    World goes "What... ever..." while reading the news on their tablet.

  9. Ged T
    Coat

    Whilst paddling up De Nile...

    .... 'Senior marketing communications manager Brandon LeBlanc blogged the news on the official Blogging Windows blog: “It’s very exciting to be delivering Windows 8.1 to consumers just before Windows 8 celebrates its 1-year anniversary,” LeBlanc said....'

    Mine's the one with directions to the Apple store...

    1. MysteryGuy

      Still not for me thanks

      I just want to use the 'old' desktop interface on my desktop. (And even if I did have a 24 inch touch monitor I wouldn't think TIFKAM was a great way for me to work).

      Windows 8.1 is closer, but still no cigar since they still try to suck you back into tile-land whether you want to go there or not (no real start menu, etc.).

      Sure, if you work at it and use 3rd party apps you can do better at avoiding it, but why should I have to go through the effort for the privilege?

      1. Fibbles

        Re: Still not for me thanks

        Admittedly I use Windows very rarely these days but after struggling for a week trying to get to grips with 8, I've vowed that my emergency Windows install will only be upgraded if Windows 8.2 is just a code name for Windows 7 Redux.

    2. tony2heads
      Joke

      Re: Whilst paddling up De Nile...

      They are still in de nile

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    gooooooooooooood

    Excellent.

    Metro has gone, and program files, control panel and all the other stuff is back.

    No more live tiles,two versions of ie or stpuid sliding screen shit.

    No more spyware apps, and so on..

    Cannot wait.

    1. Rono666

      Re: gooooooooooooood

      Try looking for a program called startisback and this will rid you of the metro screen, it is still there with cltr+w but not when you start up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: gooooooooooooood

        I've been using Classic Shell without any problems on Fista, 7 and 8, and it's FREE!

        http://www.classicshell.net/

    2. StanBumps

      Re: gooooooooooooood

      Is metro actually gone though? I thought MS were trying a sleazy cop out with this by literally adding a Start button back but when clicked it would show that God-awful metro tile screen instead of the Start menu? As someone that's used it on a tablet and a desktop seperately, it's a beautiful tablet OS but utterly horrific desktop OS UI.

      1. Nigel 11
        WTF?

        Re: gooooooooooooood

        I read the OP as irony

      2. wdmot

        Re: gooooooooooooood

        @StanBumps

        No, in 8.1 the metro screen is not gone. The "Start button" just brings up the annoying metro screen. I cannot fathom why they thought that's what customers wanted when they loudly complained of the missing start button.

        My wife's new laptop came with Windows 8, and after trying to use it for a week with the stupid gestures happening accidentally (and thus losing focus to whatever she was running, especially a first person RPG), she asked if I could replace it with XP as I had done for her previous laptop running Vista.

        So I installed ClassicShell, and she's been happy with it since. Granted, there are some oddities and differences from Win7 or XP, but for the most part just fine. I think if MS actually wants us to be interested in Win8, they'll add something like ClassicShell as an option that's easy to find and turn on.

        1. MattEvansC3

          Re: gooooooooooooood

          The touchpad gestures can be switched off via the options screen.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: gooooooooooooood

          @wdmot: "I think if MS actually wants us to be interested in Win8, they'll add something like ClassicShell as an option that's easy to find and turn on."

          And just watch the claims of anti-trust and killing the competition if they tried to do that!

  11. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
    Joke

    They're not actually changing anything. They're just releasing it with a new version number, investing heavily in PR, and hoping the positive noise gets consumers to believe it has changed and they can start buying it. And in ten years time we'll all remember how woeful Windows 8 was and how brilliant Windows 8.11 was.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news - New Chromebooks on the way.

    No need to suffer Windows 8.x nonsense, or the Windows swiss-cheese security nightmare.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/11/chromebooks_fastest_growing_pc_market/

    1. mmeier

      Re: In other news - New Chromebooks on the way.

      Smart idea, giving all your data to a trustworthy organisation like the GMail Man. Ja, really smart

  13. dds007

    WILL THEY GET IT RIGHT ?

    THIS SHOULD BE A TWO DAY EVENT:

    DAY 1

    WINDOWS 8.1 I PUBLISHED

    DAY 2

    NOKIA PHABLET AND TABLET WITH WINDOWS 8.1 IS PRESENTED

    1. Steve Knox
      Mushroom

      Re: WILL THEY GET IT RIGHT ?

      "PHABLET", still?

      Phuck oph!

      PS. The key you're looking for is to the left of the A.

      1. ammabamma
        Joke

        Re: WILL THEY GET IT RIGHT ?

        OH THANKS!

        ITS MUCH EASIER TO TYPE NOW!

    2. deadlockvictim Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: WILL THEY GET IT RIGHT ?

      re: all-caps

      ow. that hurt.

      could you be a little more sensitive next time?

      thank you very much.

    3. Vic

      Re: WILL THEY GET IT RIGHT ?

      You registered just to post *that*?

      Vic.

  14. Vociferous

    I hope absolute minimum is not enough.

    Microsoft with this release has made the absolute minimum concessions to their PC users they think they absolutely have to, in order to get people to stop hating Win8.

    Metro is still there, all software must still use Metro to get certified or be sold through Microsoft Store, default document storage locality is still Skydrive, the new start button isn't really. The small temporary concessions in Win8.1 doesn't change anything, the plan is still to migrate users and developers to mobile devices with touch interface, to switch to a subscription-based business model, and lock users in to Microsoft Store.

    I hope it fails. I hope users see through this and that Windows 8.1 crashes and burns horribly.

  15. Matt_payne666

    well, ive just setup and 140 touch screen win8 convertibles, my non touch latitude is win8.1, Touch is very nice to have... but certainly not necessary - the mouse still works, just the areas you need to hit happen to be gigantic in the metro interface. touch is useable in classic mode, win x, stab device manager, long stab the unknown device to update a driver... I challenge anyone to be faster with mouse and keyboard combo...

    Other than swooping apps from side to side, please tell me of how touch is _necessary_ for win 8?

    as with another poster, I wish I could bin off the useless start button... its just wasted screen space, mouse into bottom left and click, easy...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    What Microsoft doesn't understand

    Touch is great for a smartphone or tablet but it's a complete pain in the arse when you are using a 24in desktop system. W8.1 still does not address most of the short comings.

  17. Fuzz

    Don't get why Microsoft didn't push 8.1 just a little further

    Windows 8 has one perceived issue that is the lack of a traditional start menu. 8.1 essentially solves that problem by giving you.

    1. Boot direct to desktop

    2. Show applications on start screen rather than tiles

    3. Show desktop background behind start screen.

    Unfortunately this isn't enough for the masses because it's 3 options to change rather than one and, perhaps more importantly, it doesn't get you back to where you were. Microsoft could easily have chosen to bring back the windows 7 style start menu as an option. In the same way that XP offered the 95 style start menu. The start screen on windows 8 is probably better than the start menu but it needs refinement and time for people to come to that conclusion by themselves. When XP came out everyone changed the start menu to look like 2000, but over time people realised that actually the XP start menu was better. The jury is still out on the Windows 8 start screen but without the option to use the old system people aren't even going to try windows 8.

    The other thing here that is interesting is that 8.1 is essentially windows 8 sp1, a free upgrade for all windows 8 users.. However server 2012 is moving to R2 which is a new version of Windows server

    1. Petrossa
      FAIL

      Re: Don't get why Microsoft didn't push 8.1 just a little further

      They can't bring the W7 back, since the reason why w8 seems slicker is because they tore out aero. Less to draw, so you get the impression everything works faster. It doesn't really, but there's we enough suckers who fall for it. So it'll never ever come back because that'd negate to socalled speed increment .

      Also if you read the windows 8 blogs design specs for the screen in across various devices it's very obvious they want it to be a consumer entertainment center. Kinda a tablet everywhere you look,tv/pc/tablet/phone/fridge/kitchensink

      1. Vociferous

        Re: Don't get why Microsoft didn't push 8.1 just a little further

        That Metro is more lightweight (it has to be - it's designed to run on pads and cellphones!) is only part of the reason W8 seems faster. The other part is that when you "shut down" W8, it doesn't actually shut down, it goes to sleep, and naturally waking from sleep is faster than a cold boot - so it boots faster. Also, when you "close" a program in W8, it doesn't actually close it, it hides the interface and flips the program to the background. The next time you start the same program it will therefore seem to start very quickly, since it's simply being flipped to front.

        None of this is bad, but it's basically trickery and could easily be implemented in W7.

        If instead you're running demanding games, raytraces, moves huge files, or anything else which is limited by hardware capability, then W8 is no faster than W7.

        1. Havin_it
          Mushroom

          Re: Don't get why Microsoft didn't push 8.1 just a little further

          Ah yes, that joyous little tweak they call Fast Startup. Wish I'd been aware of it before I started repartitioning the HDD on mine for dual-boot.

          Bright side: only hosed the Win8 install, not the lovingly-prepared Gentoo install I'd added.

          Not-so-bright side: did so twice before I figured out what was going on.

          Cheers for that one, MS :/

    2. Matt_payne666

      Re: Don't get why Microsoft didn't push 8.1 just a little further

      Point 2 - You could always have application shortcuts on the start screen.

      Boot to desktop... the first thing I do is click the desktop icon - its a gut reaction - then I open the start screen and load an app (usually a classic one)... but, how do you work? whats the first thing you do when you log onto your PC? do you languish on the desktop all day, admiring your wallpaper? do you click a shortcut on the desktop/task bar? or do you click the start button and navigate to an application?

      for 99% or people the first task after logon is to launch a program having the shortcuts in front of you removes the first click of the day... when you exit a software title you are back to desktop so in exactly the same state as if you quit an application in win7...

      My users are being forced over to win 8 - these are normal people, not nerds, geeks or tech heads - there are a few technophobes in the mix too... the consensus is - wow, that's new, I suppose I will just have to get used to it...

      People adapt... its not like trying to breathe underwater, its a change to one way of launching a program...

  18. Mr. Peterson

    “It’s very exciting to be delivering Windows 8.1 to consumers just before Windows 8 celebrates its 1-year anniversary,” LeBlanc said.

    like a young male puppy so jazzed to be going somewhere - until he wakes up at the vet clinic to find he's been neutered

  19. Clockworkseer

    Its the gestures...

    That really get on my nerves. I would like to be able to move and put the mouse where I like on my screen without something happening like a menu appearing or a charmless bar overlay what I'm doing until I have explicitly told it ti (ie.by clicking on something to summon it.)

    Thats why I wanted the start button. Thats why I want buttons/menu options for charms bars etc. Having the gestures decide that because my mouse is somewhere that they are going to open an overlay menu interferes with my work.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Faith in humanity

    It's good to see the most up-voted post addresses the real issue.

    Nobody gave a monkeys about the start button itself that was a side-issue.

    People wanted the start menu. It's simple and fast.

    For years UI designers seem to have it in their minds that hiding programs 100 layers deep is somehow more helpful. Some of the recent Linux interfaces are godawful too in that respect.

    Great a search box! But if you don't know, or can't remember, the name of what you're looking for it's nearly useless. Where as it took you seconds (or less) to find in simple visible tiers like a start menu.

    The great thing about all recent versions of Windows was that you could switch back to "classic" modes and get it nearly looking like Win2000. Simple, clean, efficient.

    Many of us have no interest in touchscreens on the desktop when working and they should realise this and stop trying to enforce interfaces designed for it on us. At the very least they could have a "touch" mode in the same way you could switch to Media Centre mode previously and leave the desktop as a productive environment.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Faith in humanity

      But we already had a search thing in the W7 start menu. There is a "clear desktop" button too in case you want to have icons all over your desktop to start things. What I object to is the mental context switch of going from your current work to a completely new screen of stuff. 8.1 appears to address that to an extent, but the small menu at the corner is much better to work with.

      As a much earlier poster said, its basically pushing MS' tablet UI so you'll find it natural to use/buy one of those.

  21. IGnatius T Foobar
    FAIL

    Vista 8.1 is full of antitrust violations

    The big change in Vista 8.1 isn't the half-assed return of the Start button. It's the forced integration of Bing with every layer of the operating system. True to Microsoft's form, they are forcing you to use their non-monopoly product/service in order to try to turn it into another monopoly.

    Hopefully the antitrust people will whack them on this. They need to be taken down a couple of pegs for such an egregious violation.

    1. GotThumbs
      Boffin

      Re: Vista 8.1 is full of antitrust violations

      They are following Apples example of a successful and closed Eco-system. Apple has billions in the bank because they force it's users to only use Apple market and products.....all companies have noticed the example. If the public is so willing to succumb to apples rule, then why not follow suit and hope for even a small amount of success? It's only logical for the mass-population of followers.

      The problem is that not all of TR readers are followers and do want options. We are not the main focus of these companies. The money is generated by the average consumer.

  22. Herby Silver badge
    Coat

    On another note...

    Didn't Debian just celebrate its 20th anniversary?

  23. Kellic

    Level of craps not given: All of them.

    seriously. I don't use 8. I will never use 8. 8.1 is just 8 with a button that launches......the start SCREEN making the reason to not use 8.1 the same reason I don't use 8.0. I have a workflow of doing things in Windows. This may work on a tablet with a 10" screen. On a desktop with a 27" 1920 x 1080 screen and 60 icons onscreen that can't be sorted into subfolders its crap. Its worse then crap its crap painted over with crap where the painter thinks that the crap on top of the crap is going to make the crap look better to people.

    I fully expect 8.1 will be as much of a turd as 8.0. The question is will Microsoft continue to try and force a UI down people's throats with either 8.2 or 9. Or will they realize you don't drop a 17 year old UI overnight unless you are an arrogant, pompous, clueless company. Even when Microsoft introduced Windows '95 with the Star Menu you could still launch the Program Manager since the install left it intact. A clean install removed it but it was still accessible.

    There is one and ONLY one reason why MS is forcing this damn UI on people: pushing tablets and phones by forcing developers to make metro apps. That is all there is too it. Sorry Microsoft. I refuse to lay under the bus for you. Windows 8 was removed when I got a new ultrabook last fall. It will NEVER be used by me until you stop making tablets and phones a higher priority then the hundreds of millions of PC's still out there who wants Windows 8 but doesn't want your damn touch interface.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Level of craps not given: All of them.

      "Its worse then crap its crap painted over with crap where the painter thinks that the crap on top of the crap is going to make the crap look better to people."

      Just... LOL. Thank you for that, this made my day. Have an upvote.

    2. Matt_payne666

      and why cant you put all 60 of your onscreen icons onscreen in 8? your monitor will hold 300 (25x12) icons on the new start screen add a few groups and dividers, make the more frequent larger and the number decreases, but its still tidier than the classic start with all the hovering and clicking

      and 1920x1080? I think you need a new monitor! that's an awful resolution to use!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 8/8.1... it is THAT bad.

    Some weeks ago I had some time to spend and figured that it would probably be a good time for me to increase my level of familiarization with Windows 8 (or 8.1, rather). I had used the operating system briefly from time to time but I wanted to set it up from scratch and use it on my own for a bit.

    Since the preview was already available by then and easily accessible too (since there was no requirement to register to acquire a copy)... off I went.

    Now I have to point out that I went into this exercise with a very open mind. I continuously told myself "well, it can't be THAT bad now can it" all the way from when I was downloading the preview to installation. Boy was I wrong. So very, very wrong.

    First off; let me begin by saying that the start screen isn't actually that bad. Once you've uninstalled all those bloody useless default apps (which can be easily and quickly accomplished) you can actually turn the start screen into a rather pleasant interface from where you can access commonly used applications and folders. And yup, the fact that you can actually create shortcuts of folders on the start screen helps a lot.

    My problems begin surface once you move away from the start screen, however.

    What Microsoft really should have done was take Windows 7, leave the entire interface as-is, add the start screen and increase support for tablets and call it a day. But nooo... they had to screw around with what already worked. The Task Manager for instance doesn't offer the same amount of detail (additional columns to select and view) in its process list compared to Windows 7... which is annoying.

    Then comes the fact that even when you've decided to put the start screen away it still tends to make unexpected reappearances from time to time. If for example you go to the "classic" desktop and go to Control Panel and Network Center and subsequently click on "Manage Wireless Networks" you're given a bloody start screen view of all available wireless networks rather than the good old fashioned wireless network profile manager.

    And while we're on the topic of the new wireless network "manager"... you can NOT remove a wireless network profile unless you are within range of that wireless network. What? And yes, this is verified. The only way to remove a wireless network profile when out of range of said network is through Command Prompt.

    Even the start screen itself isn't exactly intuitive (namely its default apps). At one point I accidentally opened the Mail app. It asked me to enter an E-Mail login to link my Windows account to a Microsoft Live account, or some such. I did not want this. So I clicked on "Cancel" (one of two available buttons, the other being "Next") and was greeted with an error stating "You must enter an E-Mail address". Clicking on "Next" gave me the same error. WTF? There was no obvious way to get out of this screen other than to Alt-F4.

    Such blatantly careless interface design decisions make me want to puke. Just what it's like for users who are unaware of the various Windows keyboard shortcuts is beyond me.

    I could really go on forever about just how bad and unpolished Windows 8/8.1 is but I think I've already made my point. All this would be maybe even 1% understandable if the operating system was absolutely fan-fucking-tastic on a tablet but even those who own Windows 8 tablets aren't exactly satisfied.

    So... zzz...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 8 is effectively preventing me from spending money on a PC.

    The missus has been bugging me for a laptop for a while now. But what are my choices?

    Windows 8: phone-calls every half hour, "it's not working"

    Downgrade to 7: that's still more work for me, no thanks

    Switch to Apple? This is where I think MS got it wrong. I'd never have previously considered buying a Mac, because I'm not familiar enough to provide 'support'. But if I'm going to have to 'relearn' everything anyway, it could become an option.

  26. Al Jones

    Why the fixation with October?

    Who buys a computer for Christmas any more?

    I would have thought that being ready for the Back to School market in August/September would be far more relevant in this day and age than a mid October launch.

  27. Heathroi

    after spending some time with it, i'm still not happy with the interface which as many have said is shit but the worst thing for me is the MS store which has bugger all apps in it compared to Ios and android and at ludicrous prices, Paying for the facebook and youtube app? piss off.

    1. mmeier

      What is the problem? Don't use the app, on Windows you have a full capabel browser for Facebook, Youtube etc

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Meh

        Windows you have a full capabel browser

        Funny, I thought it came with IE.

  28. lansalot

    Server 2012 on an RDP desktop (NOT full screen) is still a nightmare. Trying to hover down the bottom left in exactly the right spot is a piss-awful way to try and work.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Must FAIL!! Whole world download

    Crzy Ballmer no-brains how can the whole world download the bloatware all at once?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Must FAIL!! Whole world download

      There is a new service that has cached copies of loads of stuff so you'd only be downloading it from your local Node. The service is called Node Storage Acquired (bit strange branding) but reportedly this NSA has copies of all the interwebs traffic so can off load local copies of MS or your own, family files at will.

      They considered a Kickstarter project but in the end were funded by someone called BlackBudget which I think is a financial group from the states or something.

      Recently they had a bit of a pinch on new BlackBudget stuff until some goal post called "smoke has blown over" is reached so they are looking to raise fund direct from the end user (as opposed to indirect which has worked so far) so their new products are;

      NSA-Mail filter and store (can't deselect that one),

      NSA house watch,

      NSA-P2P (your files are our responsibility)

      NSA character profiles (free with every non sign up)

      They also offer a pick and extradite service together with the more fun packed get-away called rendition.

      Its all good and they will be handling about 60% of the webs traffic from here in with some subsidiary handling the last 40%.

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