back to article Windows 8.1: Microsoft's reluctant upgrade has a split-screen personality

Microsoft will release Windows 8.1, a free update for Windows 8, on 18 October. The plan had been for no pre-release code until then, but Microsoft has back-tracked. The release to manufacturing (RTM) code is now available early to developers and IT professionals via Microsoft’s MSDN and TechNet subscription sites. There are …

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  1. JDX Gold badge

    Newly installed apps hidden

    That sounds terrible for non-savvy users (i.e. the bulk of users). Just how hidden are things - more detail from anyone else who tried it?

    1. Peter Lee
      FAIL

      Re: Newly installed apps hidden

      I downloaded it from TechNet yesterday and installed it onto my Windows 8 laptop. I was a bit alarmed that it didn't offer an upgrade option and instead flattened the thing, only offering to keep my personal files, but that was all. Sure there must be a way to do an upgrade but I'm surprised the wizard didn't offer it.

      The installer seems to force you to enter the details of a Microsoft account too - presumably for SkyDrive - and didn't offer a "skip" option that I noticed.

      When I installed Office 2013 I was surprised that the Start page didn't put the new apps centre-stage, and they also didn't appear on the desktop. To find them I had to press Start, then zoom out to see all my applications, scroll to the right, and there they were, buried away in the list.

      As for booting to the desktop it's hidden as the review says. It's not in the computer settings, or in your user account, but in the taskbar properties! Log in to the Start page, click Desktop, right-click the desktop, and it's a checkbox on one of the tabs. Hardly intuitive. Once set though it behaves as you'd expect.

      All in all it seems a little better than Windows 8, but I still prefer Windows 7 because it does what I want it to do in the way I want it to do it.

      1. Phoenix50

        Re: Newly installed apps hidden

        Not sure about that - Windows 8 never put your newly-installed apps "centre-stage" - you click Start and scroll down with the mouse (or swipe across) and they're tagged on to the end of the start screen. All applications that create their own program folders did that. And they never place anything on the Desktop unless you explicitly tell it to (i.e. with a tick box during the installer routine).

        1. Squander Two

          Re: Newly installed apps hidden

          I can see why this one is a tough choice for Microsoft. 8.0 places tiles on the Start screen by default, but I find this leads to clutter. The Start screen should ideally contani just the buttons I want it to, arranged the way I want them, and having the OS chuck extra tiles in their automatically can be annoying. On the other hand, for something like Office, yeah, almost all users will want those tiles almost all the time. On the other other hand, when I install Office, I really just want the Word and Excel tiles; Powerpoint can fuck right off.

          What 8.1 needs here is a tick-box during installation: "Place tile on Start screen?" And, of course, they may have that in the final release version.

          1. Squander Two

            Re: Newly installed apps hidden

            Can't believe I just typed "their" instead of "there". WTF, brain?

            1. Philip Lewis
              Headmaster

              Re: Newly installed apps hidden

              "their"

              I did that yesterday too! To my horror. I think it is because I read so many poorly written forum posts written by illiterates. When one sees the words used incorrectly day in and day out, after a while the correct spelling becomes a rarity. If I see the broken lose/loose usage again, I may accidentally integrate it into my own writing.

              Are our education systems so poor now that we are unable or unwilling to teach our children to spell?

      2. MattEvansC3

        Re: Newly installed apps hidden

        Okay as a Windows 8.1 user there's a few things that seem weird with your postl

        A) The Preview and RTMs aren't upgrades, they specifically state they are fresh installs even going so far as to warn users that they will have to reinstall Windows 8 when Windows 8.1 is officially released. This isn't even in the small print so not sure why that would alarm you and if it was that alarming why continue with the download prior to installing it? Microsoft have stated that Windows 8.1 will be an upgrade made available via the Windows Store app.

        B) Windows 8 has always asked you to enter account details during the installation, this isn't new to Windows 8.1.

        C) Windows never put apps front and center on the Start Screen, they were always put on the right hand side of the screen and only items installed from the desktop would add a shortcut to the desktop and that's if the software provided you the option during the installation.

        Not saying you aren't using Windows 8.1 but most of those issues you've mentioned are what you would have experienced on your original Windows 8 and the other issue carries a warning telling you this would happen before you even download it.

        1. Peter Lee

          Re: Newly installed apps hidden

          MattEvansC3

          Hello. Well, I *did* install Windows 8.1 on my laptop (want me to take a photo of the screen and send it?) As for the others...

          A) I was just saying it surprised me. Windows 7 to 8 has an upgrade. Windows 8 to 8.1 didn't offer one. I just found it unusual. Surely if someone buys a copy of 8.1 - assuming it is made available to buy, rather than buy 8 and click a button once installed to upgrade - they should expect there to be an upgrade. Makes sense to me anyway. As for "why did I continue", well, when I ran the installation it asked if I wanted to keep my personal stuff, which I took as meaning keep my data and settings and install 8.1 around that - aka an upgrade - but once it was installed it had trashed all of my settings, lost my preferences etc. Like I said, it surprised me.

          B) Windows 8 asked me to provide that data but provided a "skip" option. I skipped it in 8. 8.1 didn't provide a "skip" option that I noticed - I was forced to enter a MS account, or create one.

          C) I was responding to the first post on the comments board. When using Windows 7 (or any other version of Windows from 95 or so if I recall) the Start menu had an option to highlight newly installed programs. When I installed Office 2013 it didn't give an option to add icons to the desktop, or pin them to Start - they were buried away in the Apps list.

          Incidentally, I've just looked on my TechNet Subscriber Downloads page and can't see a mention of this being a clean install, not an upgrade, including in the release notes. Just saying.

          1. Ed Courtenay

            Re: Newly installed apps hidden

            I upgraded from MSDN Windows 8.0 Pro to MSDN Windows 8.1 Pro on Monday evening as soon as I saw that it had been made available to MSDN subscribers.

            Although I had to enter a new key, the upgrade process was simple and a hour later my system was running 8.1 with all my desktop applications and preferences still in place.

            It's early days, but it feels a bit more polished than 8.0 (and slightly faster too, but I've got no benchmarks to prove it).

            1. Peter Lee

              Re: Newly installed apps hidden

              Ed - Strange. The TechNet version gave me the option to remove everything or preserve my files, but there wasn't an option to upgrade. I told it to preserve my files, which it did (in the Users folder in the profile for my account which no longer existed) but everything else was shoved into the windows.old folder. My apps were still there as files, but when I tried to open one it threw an error, so as a result I've had to reinstall the lot. Still, at least my old wallpaper and a few documents were still in the Users folder.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Newly installed apps hidden

                What starting version? I tried to go from W8 Ent to the MSDN upgrade which is W8.1 Pro and had no "preserve" option. Just "keep files" or "keep nothing". A quick Google shows the W8.1 Pro SKU will not be in MSDN for a week to two. Backed off at that stage.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Blitterbug
          Facepalm

          Re: Newly installed apps hidden

          @MattEvansC3

          Not saying you aren't used to Windows 8, but it has always allowed you to create a local profile rather than log in with a Live account. Perhaps you never looked closely at the foot of the screen during this step? You seem bent on ticking off someone who ought to be more familiar with the OS, when he was actually correct in pointing out that if 8.1 disallows local account creation then it is quite a lot more restrictive than 8.0.

        3. joed
          FAIL

          Re: Newly installed apps hidden

          "B) Windows 8 has always asked you to enter account details during the installation, this isn't new to Windows 8.1."

          Yes, but there was an option to use local account when installing 8 and I never provided any email during setup. Now, if 8.1 upgrade (or worse complete reinstall over existing system) gives me no choice to avoid these details (there's always mailinator option;) I don't see myself "upgrading". Especially that changes are hardly improvement worth the hassle.

          Only 2 millions were curious to try it (I did not even bother to waste my bandwidth cap), gone are the days of mad rush on scraps MS tossed (does any know stats for Vista RTM?).

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Newly installed apps hidden

        "The installer seems to force you to enter the details of a Microsoft account too - presumably for SkyDrive - and didn't offer a "skip" option that I noticed."

        That annoyed me when I got a cheap machine to act as a media player for the TV. I don't want it logged in as me all the time as anyone in the house can use it.

        But if you want to download anything from the app store, you need to give it an account.

        So far, I've not needed anything from the app store so have avoided creating one for it.

        (before anyone asks, yes I know I could have bought a cheaper linux based machine like a Raspberry Pi, but so far I have found the only way to watch iPlayer programs offline is via a PC and my internet connection plays up from time to time)

    2. MattEvansC3

      Re: Newly installed apps hidden

      I'm using 8.1 Preview so may have changed in RTM but its "hidden" on a second screen. If you look at the first screenshot in the article there is a icon in the bottom left that's an arrow pointing downward in a circle, clicking that takes you to the next screen where all your metro and desktop apps reside. You can also access this screen by right clicking on the start screen and a small banner appears in the bottom with an icon on the right called apps.

    3. Vociferous

      Re: Newly installed apps hidden

      You're supposed to search for everything.

      For some reason it's supposed to be easier to open a search window, type "Firewall", and click "firewall" in the list, than to click the icon directly.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        For some reason it's supposed to be easier to open a search window

        "it's supposed to be easier to open a search window, type "Firewall", and click "firewall" in the list, than to click the icon directly."

        I think it is. Even on W7 I am doing this more and more for control panel stuff, and apps, since perusing to see exactly which sub-folder I put the icon in is rather boring.

        It's not a "search window (on 8.0 anyway). Even on W7 Hit Windows-Key and type "fire", this is much quicker than start->control panel->wheverever-it-is

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: For some reason it's supposed to be easier to open a search window

          I think it is. Even on W7 I am doing this more and more for control panel stuff, and apps, since perusing to see exactly which sub-folder I put the icon in is rather boring.... Even on W7 Hit Windows-Key and type "fire", this is much quicker than start->control panel->wheverever-it-is

          I do the same, except that I use Ctrl-Esc (I generally ignore the abomination that is the "Windows Key"), when I need to run Windows apps that aren't on my bash path, or control panels / MMC snap-ins that I don't use often enough to remember their names. Faster than navigating through menus and I can touch-type whatever I'm looking for without watching the screen.

        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: For some reason it's supposed to be easier to open a search window

          "it's supposed to be easier to opena search window, type "Firewall",and click "firewall" in the list,than to click the icon directly."

          Funny, that's what I've always said to people when they see me using many xterm's under X. They would invariably say that the windows GUI and mouse was much easier and quicker than having to type commands, and that I should "stop living in the past"!

          1. Squander Two

            Re: For some reason it's supposed to be easier to open a search window

            > it's supposed to be easier to opena search window, type "Firewall",and click "firewall" in the list,than to click the icon directly.

            This is just nonsense. Windows 8 allows you to pin tiles to the Start screen or shortcuts to the Taskbar or on the Desktop or all three. You can also mount custom menus on the Taskbar, same as ever. So clicking the icon directly is very much supported. Personally, I have some things I run constantly and others I run never, and loads of stuff on the spectrum between them, and I don't want every single bloody shortcut on the machine presented to me every time I want to start an app. So Windows 8 allows me to pick the icons and/or tiles I want and put them where I want, while at the same time making all the other apps and settings very very easy to find via text-based searching. I really don't understand why some people are so angry about this. It's flexible and useful and you're not being forced to do anything: you're just being presented with choice.

            Similarly, my browser contains some bookmarks for things I access regularly, and I have access to search engines for whenever I want to find anything else. No, having a bookmark for every single site on the Web and scrolling through them all every time I want to go to my webmail would not be more convenient.

    4. BobChip
      Coat

      Re: Newly installed apps - hidden and hazardous

      Things which are hidden can't be seen....... You can be hurt by these.......

      MS is beginning to look a bit like the Titanic - the damage is too serious, everyone realises that it is going to sink, and shuffling the deckchairs is doing nothing to address the problem. Fortunately, this time there are plenty of other ships out there to pick up passengers from the wreck and they are doing so very quickly. But MS does not own any of them.

    5. Not That Andrew
      Facepalm

      Optional

      Considering I had to resort to googling to find out how to turn off Windows 8 when tried it, it sounds like a recipe for disaster.

      1. Squander Two

        "I had to resort to googling to find out how to turn off Windows 8"

        So you didn't think of trying Ctrl+Alt+Delete? Sure, some bits of Windows 8 are a break with the past, but this has been the same for two decades now.

        1. Matt 21

          Re: "I had to resort to googling to find out how to turn off Windows 8"

          The other thing is that the author refers to Windows as if there's an old way for old people who can't cope with the new touch way.

          I don't think this is very helpful. Touch just isn't practical for many actions and using a mouse is faster for many others. If I'm going to have to use the mouse then I'm likely to continue using it. It may be handy to have touch features but the one or the other approach seems to be at the heart of the problem.

        2. Not That Andrew

          Re: "I had to resort to googling to find out how to turn off Windows 8"

          Strangely enough, I prefer using the mouse, so I assumed there would be an obvious way to do it using just the mouse.

        3. Blitterbug

          Re: So you didn't think of trying Ctrl+Alt+Delete?

          Wow. That's really intuitive for the novice user base MS is aiming at.

        4. TimeMaster T

          Re: "I had to resort to googling to find out how to turn off Windows 8"

          Just curious; how does one hit "ctrl+alt+del" on a tablet?

          1. Squander Two

            Re: "I had to resort to googling to find out how to turn off Windows 8"

            Blitterbug,

            > That's really intuitive for the novice user base MS is aiming at.

            But I didn't suggest that Ctrl+Alt+Delete was the only way of turning off a Windows 8 device. I was just surprised that someone -- a Register commentard, no less, and therefore presumably fairly knowledgeable -- would resort to Googling before trying Ctrl+Alt+Delete. There are other ways, of course, and I've had no difficulty finding them. I understand that some people can't find them, but I don't understand why, because they're very easy to find.

            I might add that it's not the novice user base you allude to who are complaining about Windows 8; it's advanced users. People who don't much care about computers are simply buying new machines and using them, much as they always did. As I and others here have mentioned before, there's this huge disconnect. All the advances users complain about Windows 8 on behalf of novices, but when you talk to actual novices using Windows 8, they make comments about it such as, "It's OK, I suppose," and, "Yeah, it's fine," before moving on to a topic of conversation that normal people actually care about. Sorry, tech people, but novices do not care about operating systems. They just don't.

            TimeMaster T,

            > how does one hit "ctrl+alt+del" on a tablet?

            Fair point. I use Windows 8 on a laptop, so tend to think of it in those terms, sorry. I have not much opinion of it as a tablet OS, as I've never used it as such.

  2. Ebaneezer Wanktrollop

    What about the rest?

    Where are the expected announcements for x.1 upgrades for Vista and Windows ME???

    I mean - they're a pile of shite as well. Won't anyone think of the children!

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: What about the rest?

      WinXP was Win ME & Win2K upgrade. (Though Win98SE better than Win ME crapware). Win ME people should have got XP or Win98 free. Maybe Win2K people should have got free XP, though at least Win2K mostly works, as Win XP was the finished version of Win2K

      Win 7 was Vista upgrade. It 100% should be a free service pack. Look at version numbers!

  3. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    How much different?

    Seeing as my lappy came with Pokki and I automatically reassign file associations to everything non-Microsoft plus don't use the MS cloud -- what's different?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Run As Administrator

    A major failing if this option is staring you right in the face. If you are going to hide things then this option should have been at the top or near the list.

    1. Phoenix50

      Re: Run As Administrator

      "Run as administrator" is what got everyone into trouble with Windows XP in the first place.

      It needs to be less-obvious and stay that way.

      1. The Axe

        Re: Run As Administrator

        Have you tried running Win8 as a normal user. Not nice. You need to be admin level (or at least be able to access the admin account) to do anything other than just browse the web or write documents/spreadsheets/adjust photos.

        1. Tom Chiverton 1

          Re: Run As Administrator

          Good.

        2. Law

          Re: Run As Administrator

          "Have you tried running Win8 as a normal user."

          You should try enabling family settings, just signing in is a nightmare. All the background services, manufacturer plugins/spyware/junk all triggering parent permission screens one after another.

        3. Gordonbp

          Re: Run As Administrator

          Sorry that's a load of rubbish. I set up a local admin account and changed my daily-use account to a User.

          I do anything I like to my computer - all I have to do is enter the local Admin password...

          1. Ambivalous Crowboard

            Re: Run As Administrator

            Here, allow me

            http://xkcd.org/1200/

        4. joed

          Re: Run As Administrator

          I have no problems doing just that. I have not used any of my PCs running full time admin. No reason to do this, UAC does work and credential prompt is the least of the issues when using 8.

        5. Rob Moir

          Re: Run As Administrator

          Unless the only things you do besides browse the web and edit documents/pictures _are_ admin tasks then you're either talking bollocks or doing it wrong.

      2. Vociferous

        Re: Run As Administrator

        Who ever got in to trouble by running anything as administrator?

  5. Justicesays

    Didn't they have a fix for apps appearing on start in previous versions?

    I seem to recall, something like "add to start menu/desktop" in the installer....

    But all the "old" win8 installers will obviously not have it, assuming this is now something you can (again) do.

  6. Longrod_von_Hugendong

    I suspect...

    That no matter what you / M$ do to Windoze 8 will still be a giant turd floating around the drives of the world, torpedoing user data.

    Quite sad really when better things exist out there.

    1. Phoenix50

      Re: I suspect...

      *I* suspect... you'll never like or want Windows 8 - any version of it for that matter.

      Perhaps you should focus your energies into something more productive, like fly-fishing?

    2. joeW

      Re: I suspect...

      Oh my god, you used a $ instead of an S! Because, Microsoft are a profit-driven corporation, right? Wow, that's hilarious. Seriously, my sides are splitting here.

      1. Squander Two

        Re: I suspect...

        Yeah, that's near the top of my list of words that stop me reading the rest of a comment.

        Micro$oft

        Windoze

        sheeple

        Bliar

        U$A

        It goes on.

        1. Piro

          Re: I suspect...

          I always read it "M Dollar" anyway, and it stops making sense. Which is good, because it doesn't make any sense, and should not be encouraged. I like this list.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: I suspect...

            I always read it "M Dollar" anyway, and it stops making sense.

            I always read it as "M is a BASIC string variable". 'Cause, ya know, I'm old.

      2. andreas koch
        Facepalm

        @ joeW - Re: I suspect...

        Hey, not just that! He also spelled it Windoze (geddit, hey, geddit?) and called it a turd!

        I bet Microsoft is now totally intimidated by this reasonable and rightful criticism and will immediately stop trading altogether.

        We should all thank Longrod_von_Hugendong, the fighter for a better world by arbitray application of playground coprology.

    3. Geoff Campbell
      WTF?

      Re: I suspect...

      OK, you don't like Windows 8, fine, that's your choice.

      But "torpedoing user data"? That's a pretty specific and serious allegation to level against an OS, with absolutely no evidence that I can recall from the normal news sources. Certainly it has been completely bullet-proof on the half dozen or so PCs I am directly responsible for, and if it routinely destroyed data, I think it would have been all over the Internet by now, no?

      GJC

      1. Rob Moir

        Re: I suspect...

        Indeed, as much as I heartily detest Windows 8 to the point where after trying my best with it for about 9 months I've just re-installed 7 on my home machine, I can't say I've seen _any_ microsoft operating system take a cavalier approach to user data.

  7. EddieD

    Meh.

    We have a wee inspiron duo, and a Acer aspire w5.

    I put classic start on them, and twenty minutes later took it off.

    If you think for a few minutes, the new interface, well, the V8 interface, I've not yet seen V8.1, is actually quite intuitive.

    Either that, or I'm warped.

    1. Darren B 1

      Re: Meh.

      I'm with you, I have 8.0 on my Samsung Laptop and although it took me a few days to work out things but I am very happy with both the Start Screen and not having a start menu.

      Using Windows Key + Q takes me straight to all the apps installed on my Laptop which I can then pin to taskbar, start or just launch. No problem and it keeps my desktop clutter free, once in the desktop view then Windows Key switches me nicely between desktop and start.

      The main annoyance is the "multi-touch" track pad on the laptop which attempts to create the touch-screen but fails and is just very annoying especiallly when trying to right click on icons on the start menu.

    2. Matt_payne666

      Re: Meh.

      your not warped, your just one of the few that is open to change!!

      Im in the same boat as you... after a little acclimatisation, the classic interface of win7 and before feels a bizzarely convoluted method of launching software...

      1. Getriebe

        Re: Meh.

        @Matt_payne666 - likewise - I keep going to fondle my screen at work and then get very annoyed I can't swipe in the search.

        Mouse only is now anachronistic.

        1. joed

          Re: Meh.

          Maybe anachronistic but mouse is faster and gets the job done without smearing the screen (and some do hate shiny screens as well) - just to point few issues brought by "modern interface".

          Also mouse/start menu seems to work reasonably well regardless of user's familiarity with nuances of gestures and keyboard skills.

          Above all user does not need MS permission to get/install Apps (and the % cut is the only reason they are pushing this junk).

      2. Western Infidel

        Re: Meh.

        Same for me, took me 2 hours of Windows 8 use to stop instinctively moving mouse to bottom left of screen. Personally i hated the legacy start menu, was a horrible unwieldy mess made worse by publishers being inconsistent with their naming of program group folders, plus all the unnecessary shortcuts to uninstall, help, links to website etc etc. When you have a lot of apps installed it became a scrolling nightmare and needed constant management to cut/paste shortcuts from one program group folder to another or to rename folders. I just stopped using it years ago. For anybody who struggles to change the way they launch an app, 8.1 gives them very similar to what they had before except that its fullscreen. For those that categorically refuse to accept this, then theres plenty of free and low cost Start Menu apps that replicate Windows 7 Start Menu... you have a choice.

        I use Windows 8 desktop pc's (3 at home), Surface RT tablet and Lumia 920 and i love having the UI familiarity, integration with MS Cloud Services and all my stuff syncd across the 3 platforms. The only chore i have now is having to use Windows 7 at work, whilst it was excellent and still is for most peoples needs, i cant stand the sight of it anymore. What i dont miss is any of the Google services (i used to think irreplaceable) since i cut the Google umbilical cord. Most of the negativity i have read in comments under click-bait articles about Windows 8 have been from people who are anti-MS, dont use Windows 8 and have a brand loyalty to Apple, Google or Linux.

        1. Levente Szileszky

          Re: Meh.

          Hahh, you paid MSFT astroturfs can NEVER resist, NEVER...

          " The only chore i have now is having to use Windows 7 at work, whilst it was excellent and still is for most peoples needs, i cant stand the sight of it anymore. What i dont miss is any of the Google services (i used to think irreplaceable) since i cut the Google umbilical cord. "

          ...and this is why it's ALWAYS OBVIOUS who is a (likely paid) MSFT TROLL on any forum - you are either too stupid to realize that your Google-hate give you away immediately or you know but you just cannot help yourself, this Ballmerian hatred runs so deep. :)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meh.

        Win 7/Server 2008 + Quickstart Folder does 90% of my application startup.

        One click and I'm done.

        Oh, It also allows me to start two copies of Explorer (no not IE) OOTB.

        Anything that requires more clicks/keypresses is a huge step backwards IMHO.

        But hey, I've only been a Professional Software Developer for nigh on 40 years so what do I know?

        Nowt really.

    3. Keith 72

      Re: Meh.

      I thought I liked Win 8. I've often got thumbs downs on here for supporting it. But then I tried to help some newbies use it and I realized that it is truly, terribly broken. And it doesn't sound as though Win8.1 is going to be much less confusing for newbies than Win 8 - the start "button" and charms change will improve things a little for those that are used to XP and Win 7, but as a tablet operating system that Grandma can use? Forget it!

      I think the Win 7 improvements like the quick start up/shutdown time and Hyper-V are great. But the apps suck ass.

    4. Not That Andrew

      Re: Meh.

      You're warped, but unfortunately we will have to get used to TIFKAM, or switch to Apple or Linux

      1. Rattus Rattus

        Re: Meh.

        Only reason I am not using Linux full time is I like my games and it can be a hassle getting them running properly under WINE. If Windows 9, when it is released, also continues to perpetuate this shitty interface, I think I will just have to get used to WINE. It is, after all, no more hassle than using Windows 8 itself.

  8. Robert Taylor

    I'm interested - when 8.1 was installed on a Surface Pro did it just work (i.e. all drivers downloaded automatically, etc) ?

    1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      re Robert Taylor 1150

      I installed the preview 8.1 on an old (ca 2007) Thinkpad. All the devices worked, no hunting around for drivers.

      But I still strongly disliked 8.1.

  9. LeeAlexander

    I've installed 8.1 also

    I've had the same sort of experience...I was surprised that there wasn't an upgrade path but I didn't mind too much since I prefer fresh installs over upgrades anyway.

    I love the aggregated search which on its own is worth the upgrade from 8; no more having to click different groups to see what was found. There was some driver issues as well - when I plugged in my Galaxy Note 2 it didn't appear in explorer which I'm sure it did when I was using V8.

    Regarding the ‘Modern UI apps’, I still prefer the desktop versions Foxit, Skype, email to name but a few…Call me a silly old fuddy duddy if you will but I actually like being productive and using Modern UI apps feels like 10 steps back when sitting in front of a keyboard and mouse that is. I’ve been using Windows 8 since it came out so I think my feelings aren’t just knee jerk reactions.

    Finally all of this doesn't bode well for the longer term so I may jump ships entirely over to OSX if Microsoft continue to push the modern UI down our throats.

    Regards

    Lee

    1. MattEvansC3

      Re: I've installed 8.1 also

      There's no upgrade path as its designed for OEMs to be put onto unused PCs. Windows 8 will upgrade to Windows 8.1 via the app store once it is officially released.

      1. joed
        Thumb Down

        Re: I've installed 8.1 also

        Update via app store?

        What's the catch - you have to create MS account.

        I'll pass.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A turd with a slightly better finish.

    1. John 172

      You can polish a turd

      The Mythbusters proved that one (although there were a few hairs still sticking out of them)...

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: You can polish a turd

        The Mythbusters proved that one (although there were a few hairs still sticking out of them)

        Well, they're pretty hairy guys.

    2. Ben79
      Unhappy

      I just hope they reinstate the grey blocky "Classic" W95 desktop theme. It's all I've ever known...

    3. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      But even the turd (as you call it) is still better than the latest abomination from Ubuntu. I guess if 8 is a turd, then Unity is the morning after a seriously strong curry and too much beer.

      1. Vociferous

        Yeah Ubuntu's Unity interface sucks...

        ...(and for much the same reasons as Win 8, e.g. you have to search for everything)...

        BUT Linux Mint and it's Cinnamon interface doesn't.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. DrXym Silver badge

    My problem with the windows appstore

    What I hate most about the appstore is it says there is an update for an app but it doesn't provide any way to find out what the update is. Is it a bug fix? Does it add new features? Does it ask for extra permissions? Does it do anything? You'll never know unless you install it and possibly not even then.

    1. MattEvansC3

      Re: My problem with the windows appstore

      It works like iOS apps, they developer puts the update notes in the product description for the app.

    2. Vociferous

      Re: My problem with the windows appstore

      You are a user. You do not need to know, and only get confused by information.

  12. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    You can't polish a turd

    Only roll it in glitter

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too many words

    “New Windows users had serious trouble with some Windows 8.0 features. Even tenured Windows users had deep adoption anxiety.”

    Is easier said -

    "Newbies thought it was shite and the rest of us just walked away"

    "Adoption anxiety" my arse.

    1. SnG
      FAIL

      Re: Too many words

      It is the user's fault it's a flop!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do I remove the Start menu?

    It's just annoying me and it's in my way.

    1. Squander Two

      Re: How do I remove the Start menu?

      Ha. I hated the Start menu for 15 years. They finally remove the bastard, and everyone complained so much they're putting it back before I can finish celebrating. Can't please all of the people all of the time, I suppose.

      1. Richard 22

        Re: How do I remove the Start menu?

        Erm, no. The start menu is still not there, only the start button. That takes you to the start screen. If you want a start menu you still have to install an add-on app to get one.

        1. mmeier

          Re: How do I remove the Start menu?

          But - why do I need a "start button" wasting space? I have a Win-key on the keyboard that does the same (desktop) and on the tablet pc it is just "stylus to lower/right corner"

          Na, I wait till 8.2 and hope they allow users to switch that damned start button off. If not - I will switch to Atari TOS!

          1. Combustable Lemon

            Re: How do I remove the Start menu?

            I find myself annoyed in the same way. I was glad to see the back of the start button and now they are putting it back. I would hope there is some way to disable and remove it again because it's just wasted space. For the rare times i have to venture into the start menu there is a frikken button for it, right there on my keyboard... 2 of them in fact!

            Do people not pin most things to the taskbar anyway? I do on my home and work machines (Win 8 and 7), between that and win + R i never click the start menu. I think i've opened it maybe once today... Maybe... Honestly if they removed the run dialog i could understand all the annoyance but a useless, hard to navigate, menu? Nope, no complaints here.

            1. mmeier

              Re: How do I remove the Start menu?

              Until last October I was in the "pin the important stuff on the taskbar" camp. Since I switched to Win8 I no longer do. The stuff in the task bar is now the first "non app" block on my Modern screen and the taskbar only shows the running programs. Given that quite a few programs (i.e Firefox) stack the "start new instance" and "running instances" icons I find it more convenient to have the "start new instance" element on Modern

              1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                @mmeier

                Given that quite a few programs (i.e Firefox) stack the "start new instance" and "running instances" icons

                That's done by the Windows Taskbar from Vista/7 onwards, it's nothing to do with the application.

                It is possible to force Windows not to stack, but it's difficult and Microsoft strongly discourage it, going so far as to bury the API. I don't get why, as many non-trivial programs have items of different "types" which probably should not stack.

                Also, some older windowing toolkits (eg Delphi 6) avoid it because of the way they work, introducing different and highly annoying oddities.

                Of course, in TIFKAM it's simply impossible to have more than one instance of an App running so you don't actually care about this at all.

                1. mmeier

                  Re: @mmeier

                  We are not talking APPs (never tried to pin them to a taskbar) but APPLICATIONs. And those still can be run in multiple instances just fine. At least on my Win8 version

                  Wether it makes sense to run more than one instance of an App is debatable since they are build for a rather limited task compared to an application

            2. Levente Szileszky

              Re: How do I remove the Start menu?

              "Do people not pin most things to the taskbar anyway?"

              Err, FYI not all of us stay in the browser-Office-files trio forever during work.

              I work on a combo of 27" landscape + 24" portrait Dell Ultrasharp monitors and I still cannot imagine having enough Taskbar space for pinning all the things I use at least on weekly basis.

              Also Start Menu is SEARCHABLE, SCROLLABLE etc - only an idiot working @MSFT would trade it for such an unfinished, utterly clunky (and visually extremely ugly), incoherent crap this FrankenOS brought to us.

            3. Vociferous

              Re: How do I remove the Start menu?

              1) You care about one button wasted space _ON METRO_? Metro is an orgy in wasted space:

              http://winsupersite.com/site-files/winsupersite.com/files/uploads/2013/06/start-screen-01.jpg

              2) When you pin a program to the taskbar, the program is running. This means that if you click it, it is maximized. Then you want to start another instance of the same program - and whoops, it's gone from the taskbar. The idea is that users never run more than one program at the time (and especially never multiple instances of the same program, a habit Microsoft strongly discourages every chance it gets).

            4. JP19

              Re: How do I remove the Start menu?

              "Do people not pin most things to the taskbar anyway?"

              My 'All users' start menu currently has 503 entries and 196 folders so no I don't pin most things the task bar. I pin less than 1% of things to the task bar.

              I also use classic shell because I agree the Win7 start menu is useless and hard to navigate.

            5. Paul Shirley

              Re: Do people not pin most things to the taskbar anyway?

              What's so predictably depressing about all the cheerleading and Win8 defence is the complete and utter failure to accept THERE'S NO SINGLE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT. While 90% of my launches are indeed from 6 pinned apps, I also use desktop icons, folders of launch links on the desktop, search and the old Start Menu. The tools I use most (File Explorer, Firefox & Eclipse) I launch least, just leave them running till they crash.

              I don't value the Start Menu because it can do everything, I value it because it can do some things I value better than the other options. I'd really like people and Microsoft to stop trying to take away my options.

          2. Lusty Silver badge
            Go

            Re: How do I remove the Start menu?

            "But - why do I need a "start button" wasting space?"

            Because when you boot straight to desktop you'll need to press the start button to get to the start screen of course! Now I'll admit that I didn't turn on boot to desktop so I don't need to press the start button every time I switch on but everyone else here seems to love pressing the button :)

      2. Paul Shirley

        Re: How do I remove the Start menu?

        Fanbois persistently tell me the Start Menu never went away, that the Start Screen is the Start Menu.

        A flat 2D, barely organised, space wasting, context breaking, excessive mouse motion provoking barely usable Start Menu. If it offends you so much ask Microsoft to actually remove it... they've done more stupid things ;)

        Or if you wait a few days after release *and* someone more talented shares you're hatred of the Start *button* the put back, I'm sure there'll be a 3rd party hack to remove it again.

      3. Chris T Almighty

        Re: How do I remove the Start menu?

        > "Can't please all of the people all of the time"

        Sure you can, all it needs is an option to choose between the desktop start menu or the metro start screen.

  15. no_RS

    Arrogance v competence

    Now that Balmer is on his way to obscurity they seem to be getting a bit of competence back, it isn't that difficult to support both desktop and tablet interfaces and give people a choice. From Microsoft's perspective surely it doesn't matter how you use it but that you do use it.

    What we have now is the result of an arrogant company being beaten round the head just enough to compromise and stay in business. Hasn't gone far enough to make me jump from win7 to 8.1 but it is progress.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Arrogance v competence

      Firstly the original abonination and it's slightly less twisted sister were both born under Balmer's rule.

      Secondly, Metro only exists on Windows Phone, Xbox and Windows 8.x so you have to buy all your apps all over again. That is where Microsoft want to go, they don't give a crap how many consumers they annoy alonng the way.

      When everything is Metro, they will be richer than their wildest dreams. However if Surface, Windows Phone, Xbox One and Windows 8. which are all Metro based all flop, well it's game over... And it's looking like every single one of those is a total turkey.

      This is why shareholders are crapping themselves, as there is no Plan B, and Plan A clearly went to crap.

  16. Perror
    Meh

    Meh

    I've successfully upgraded to 8.1 from 8 using the MSDN ISO.

    - The upgrade process was very smooth, no problems or crashes, kept applications and docs (though it told me I had to reinstall VMware Workstation for some reason).

    - Changes to the Start screen are an improvement, and the return of the button makes it much easier to use VMs with a mouse.

    - Really shitty move trying to force you to use a Microsoft account to log in to the machine. Luckily there are two workarounds: (1) Install offline, or (2) A (hidden) workaround: give it bogus info (blah@localhost.local) when it asks. However...

    - Skydrive is all or nothing: either you log in using an MS account or link one to your local user, or you cannot use Skydrive except with the web app. The desktop application is gone and won't install or execute. Yes I know why they say they've done it that way... integrated blah blah seamless blah blah...

    - System backup (the Windows 7 style one) is gone. All you can use now is a combination of command line stuff (at least that means you can automate it) and File History. Better than nothing but a step down in my opinion.

    All in all... nice upgrade I suppose, but the cloud stuff shouldn't be pushed in your face, and some useful things have gone for no good reason.

    1. Gordonbp

      Re: Meh

      I actually quite like File History - apart from two things.

      You can't add folders that are outside Libraries, and you can't set a specific time for the backup...don't know whether that's changed in 8.1...

  17. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Why else is the option to boot to the desktop, rather than the Start screen, buried in Taskbar and Navigation properties, rather than in PC Settings?

    It comes from re-inventing the wheel, then realizing v.1 worked better than v.2, but the plans to the original model are lost.

  18. Bill Gould

    "Will Microsoft or its OEM partners ever work out how to deliver Windows 8.1 devices that are simple, attractive and as cheap as they need to be to compete with Android /FULL STOP/?"

    Don't put Apple products in a sentence with the word "cheap". Overpriced by a large margin.

    That said, I found Win8 intuitive and easy to use as a desktop OS. Took about 5 minutes to get used to it.

  19. Mage Silver badge
    Flame

    They have lost the plot

    The main market for Windows is real laptops/notebooks/Desktops, not relying on "cloudy" services . This STILL penalizes Windows users.

    The ONLY reason to use Windows [on real laptops/notebooks/Desktop] rather than Linux is having loads of traditional Windows applications that invariably need local storage, a real keyboard and a mouse.

    If I need an OS for a tablet / Touch screen device (which is painful for traditional Windows Applications) why on earth would I want to pay for either the x86 or uselessly incompatible ARM version? I'd go for Linux, Android, Chromebook or iOS even.

    So they continue to alienate the only market they realistically can have (OEM/Enterprise/Legacy Windows) for the market they realistically can't compete in and has no major Applications/OS upgrade value. Who will pay for a newer version of Office or Windows for a Tablet?

    I don't want a windows with a baked in Cloud and Tablet GUI. Actually I suspect 90% of windows users especially Business would rather pay for a choice of new Windows XP or Win7 (Win7 should be free to Vista Users) service pack. than any "new" flavour of Windows.

    Which is a bigger Market anyway? £20 Service Pack to ALL XP, Vista (inc Win7 upgrade) and Win7 users every 1 to 2 years (and included on new PCs at same OEM cost as Win8) or trying to flog two incompatible tablet OSes one of which is Mashed into non-tablets?

    How much is any OEM going to pay for a Tablet OS?

    How can MS possibly sell OS upgrades, and Desktop priced Applications to Tablet users. They are deluded and dreaming with the idea people will "rent" Cloud based MS apps such as Office for Tablets.

    1. Squander Two

      "They are deluded and dreaming with the idea people will "rent" Cloud based MS apps"

      Really? I rented Office 365 for a while there, simply because it's an extremely good price. Cancelled it after about four months because I don't need it any more -- and the fact that I could do so just makes the price even better. Don't think I ever even got around to using its cloudiness; it works perfectly well as normal local-storage-based Office, contrary to some nonsense I've read.

      1. Squander Two

        Re: "They are deluded and dreaming with the idea people will "rent" Cloud based MS apps"

        Seriously? EIGHT downvotes just for looking at two purchase options and choosing the cheaper one? You people are psychotic.

        1. Rattus Rattus

          Re: "They are deluded and dreaming with the idea people will "rent" Cloud based MS apps"

          I think the downvotes are for recommending Office at all, and especially for recommending a US based cloud product.

    2. mmeier

      Re: They have lost the plot

      Why should I use more than one OS for my client computers when Windows does the job for all types? And a lot better for my use cases than "dedicated" desktop and tablet os can do?

      In the "enterprise" world Windows tablet pc are an "old hat". That is actually the place where they HAVE BEEN USED since 2003! Windows offers software and hardware support in that area that do not have a match in the "Linux" world (using the term loosely to include Android). And those units had and have good quality docking stations so they are the local workstation, the notebook and the tablet all in one.

      And "local storage" actually plays a rather limited role in business. Most stuff there is on shared drives somewhere on a server or in a Sharepoint instance. Local stuff is (often deliberatly) limited to what is currently worked on. Often "checked out" from a central repository / verson control system and back in after work.

      Office on a unit as small as an Ativ500t makes sense. In tablet mode I can still easily and in a format my co-workers can use/edit review and annotate documents even while sitting in a public bus. Or do presentations without hidding behind the screen and guessing if that complex PowerPoint with links to external programs (for demo) runs - It will since the box runs PowerPoint.. Or in meetings hand the thing around and everybody scribbles in his ideas Drop it in the dock and I have a netbook and can enter lengthy text. Bigger boxes are even ultrabook or mobile workstations.

      The Windows tools exist on ALL resonably current Windows boxes so my Journal based notes can simply be emailed to coworkers, they enter their comments (using a keyboard if they want) and sent it back. Sharepoint integration keeps the documents synchronised. If that is not enough - OneNote to the rescue. Again quite a bit better than the "Linux" solutions since it CAN work with a local Sharepoint instead of "cloud only" like Evernote

      ========

      Skydrive is simply "privat persons" Sharepoint. It is a cloud solution but that is IMHO ok for privat data. I do not care if "the state" or "the secret agency" can read my mail (Google does allready) or my chats with friends (Facebook does that as well). Unless you commit a crime that the state MUST investigate - who cares what the state knows. "Kein Schwein hört dich ab, keine Sau spioniert wegen dir"

    3. ao7-

      Re: They have lost the plot

      And PC gaming.

      DirectX is great and, I think, doesn't have any competition (apart from consoles).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They have lost the plot

      Hah hah, the other 'ONLY reason to use Windows [on real laptops/notebooks/Desktop] rather than Linux' would be to be like the other 99% of PC users out there who do not, have not, and will never run Linux as a desktop OS.

      Seriously, the way you penguin lovers on this forum bang on, you would think that desktop Linux is a common choice on the desktop. It is not. It has about 1% market share. It is not growing in terms of market share. It is, and always has been, an utter failure.

      Win8 may not be the most favorably reviewed product that Microsoft has ever released. But, in terms of adoption, it is orders of magnitude ahead of all of the different 'flavors' of Linux combined. in fact, I think it has now overtaken OSX.

      So, in summary, the people who have lost the plot are the people who have been banging on about 'the year of the Linux desktop' since about, ummmmmmmm, 2001.

  20. M Gale

    So...

    Now there's a useless start button that does nothing, what's going to happen with the start menu replacements that put their own start button in?

    Aha, now I think I see the plan. Well fuck you, too.

  21. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "it has done so through gritted teeth"

    Not gritted teeth.

    But I think penny arcade said it best, so just go check them out.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: "it has done so through gritted teeth"

      I found this review of Windows 8 enlightening:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTYet-qf1jo

  22. mmeier

    The question "why no choice on first install wether to go desktop or modern" has a simple answer:

    Convertibles / 2 in 1

    They are tablets on one boot and notebooks on the next one. So what should be the default? Same for tablet pc with a dock. And quite a few units on the market fall in that group the Surface Pro being one of the few "mostly tablet" devices

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      That's rubbish and you know it.

      Most users already know which mode they want as default.

      And if the option wasn't buried away in an near-impossible to find, illogical place, they could easily change their mind as they begin to use the device in their real world.

      Even better, the convertibles *know* their hardware configuration so auto-selecting "users tablet/users laptop" mode at boot would be trivial MS they cared about user preferences.

      It's this way because Microsoft know damn well that TIFKAM is despised by the majority, and their current strategy requires that it be rammed down all our throats.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 8.1: Fail and still Failing

    Microsoft where the Fails keep on coming.

    They just don't seem to realise that they can't cater to both desktop and tablets as people use them both in completely different ways.

    The only way forward that will work is to release desktop OS, and a tablet OS.

    1. mmeier

      Re: Windows 8.1: Fail and still Failing

      Or a hybrid that offers "good enough" on both. Like Windows does since "times immortal" (well more than a decade) when you use tablet pc as opposed to touchy toys.

      1. Splodger
        FAIL

        Re: Windows 8.1: Fail and still Failing

        Why have a "one size fits no-one" when you can have simple options?

        And for those hybrid/convertibles that no one is buying, perhaps something as tricky as....

        "Welcome to Windows 8. Would you like to optimize this installation for desktop, tablet or hybrid/convertible?"

        Why not have Windows fondleslabs automatically behave more desktop-y when you attach a keyboard?

        Etc.

        1. mmeier

          Re: Windows 8.1: Fail and still Failing

          Please inform

          Sony

          Asus

          Acer

          Samsung

          Lenovo

          Toshiba

          that nobody buys convertibles. The companies stil insist on building them

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still no better.

    It's quite clear Microsoft have no understanding of the crucial problem.

    Windows 8 is designed around media CONSUMPTION.

    PC's are designed around CREATION, i.e. WORK

    MetroUI is really bad at work, as it's tailered for watching cats on youtube. And if you want to do that, then get a Nexus7, it's better and cheaper.

    1. RSM715

      Re: Still no better.

      I agree PCs are for creation not consumption primarily, but what's the problem? The touch menu is just a full screen start menu with the option to access some basic functions by touch (if you are not in a suitable place to get a laptop out or you just want to check something quickly.) As soon as you press the single button to take you to desktop you are simply in the familiar windows 7 desktop environment (only it works better and is faster). What is so difficult about that?!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New SkyDrive's New Name

    NSADrive

  26. John Sanders

    Windows 8.1 is a generous free upgrade

    "Windows 8.1 is a generous free upgrade" an upgrade maybe, but care to clarify why "generous"?

    1. Oninoshiko
      Gimp

      Re: Windows 8.1 is a generous free upgrade

      It's generous in the same way the mistress is.

      make it hurt so good....

  27. Vociferous

    Crap.

    Still an utterly useless downgrade from Windows 7.

  28. Gordon 11

    Boot to desktop in WIndows8(.0)

    My son managed to achieve boot-to-Desktop in 8.0 by removing all entries from the Start screen apart from the Desktop one, which he put at top/left. Then, when he booted the system (very briefly) went to the Start screen then flipped into Desktop mode on its own.

    And there he added an extra toolbar for "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Wuindows\Start Menu", and has a Start button.

    1. RSM715

      Re: Boot to desktop in WIndows8(.0)

      Yeah, you could do this, but why bother?

    2. joed
      Unhappy

      Re: Boot to desktop in WIndows8(.0)

      Very handicapped solution with this toolbar (I know because I tried it on release preview), eventually shelled 3$ for startisback (and this integrated the search so 8.1 truly has nothing to offer but waste of time). It sucks that MS tries so hard to force its own customers to use third party apps just to customize desktop theme/layout (and even then some things can't be fixed).

      Probably last 20$ I gave to MS (early 8 upgrade option).

  29. Vociferous

    Is Microsoft astroturf out in force?

    Or are there really this many Win8 fanbois on the Reg?

    1. Squander Two

      Re: Is Microsoft astroturf out in force?

      Oh, yeah, if anyone disagrees with you, they must be being bribed. It's the only explanation.

  30. Levente Szileszky

    Still stubborn, still resisting, still refusing to give our Start Menu back...

    ...so I'm still refusing to let any of this onto my network, you arrogant, fat, bald chair-throwing clown.

  31. PAT MCCLUNG

    The touch-oriented desktop efforts just pitiful, but a pretty good OS (au fond), and can be made to work reasonably well with a little effort.

  32. Herby Silver badge

    Let the Dancing begin...

    Now we will have more adverts that show people dancing around and flipping screen icons. Then the attack of magnetically attaching keyboards.

    Shades of "West Side Story". Choreography breaking out in a vacant lot. *GROAN*

  33. regorama

    I never understood the rage against Win8.

    I'm now using Windows 8 myself. My mom (who is the least tech savvy person in the world) uses it. A friend's father is using it. It's easy to use and not cluttered for the people who get confused or aren't tech savvy enough to understand the options. Metro may be a tablet UI, but as a side effect, simplifies things for the average person.

    If you want desktop applications, you can still download them like you would Win7 and earlier. This hasn't changed. Hell, I spend all my time in desktop mode because I don't need to be babied. I spend literally just seconds each day in the Start Screen for searching for settings and whatnot (muscle memory has not changed since Vista/7: click /press start, type.). For me, Win 8 behaves pretty much the same as WinXP - there's just simple defaults for users who don't want to run around downloading Adobe Reader or a photo gallery application..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Another direct experience

      My 95 year old Mother who has never used a computer in her life (apart from working at Bletchley Park for 2 years in WW2) tried my Brothers Surface. Yeah, he is a numpty I know.

      She was very easily confused by the 'charms' and all the other crap.

      I showed her my Android 4.0 Tablet.

      Easy. She was able to do lots of stuff on her own

      Then she got hold on my iPad 2.

      I'm now no longer in posession of the iPad.

      Her words, not mine about the Windows 8 device was, 'It does not make sense. I got confused."

      I know that she is not the target market but her comments are telling.

      As an aside, she has a picture of her and her team with Alan Turing proudly displayed in her living room.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    its just awful

    Its really horrible badly thought out and a terrible experience and hard to support. Ive done many roll backs to windows 7 and even to XP.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only reason why Windows 8 exists

    Microsoft simply wanted to leverage its desktop business onto the touch-centric mobile device business, and consequently cooked up the Jekyll-and-Hyde monstrosity called Windows 8.

    Now that Microsoft's mobile device business is failing (Surface and Nokia Lumia phones), its dominance of the desktop business will also begin to wither away.

    Windows 8.1 (what happened to the good old days of calling it Service Pack 1, hm?) will not salvage the situation for Microsoft. If you thought users clung onto WinXP for too long, wait till you see them cling onto Windows 7.

    Ballmer wasted an entire decade, and I doubt the next CEO (likely an internal hire) will turn things around at Microsoft.

    Microsoft will become the next IBM or Kodak.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: I doubt the next CEO will turn things around

      Such lack of imagination.

      Imagine Stephen Elop as next CEO, in week 2 sending 'son of burning platform' email to the world and dumping Win8, the difference this time being there's no actual Win8 sales to lose... it could happen ;)

  36. Splodger
    Thumb Down

    "Windows 8.1 is a generous free upgrade...."

    You have got to be kidding.

    And why would anybody want MS Skydrive baked into the operating system?

    No thanks, that alone ensures I won't be "upgrading",

    And I still want an option to stop everything being called an "app" - I'm not a spotty teenager gawping at fart generators on a bloody "app store".

  37. johnwerneken

    Win 8.1 "RTM" is GREAT

    Runs great! Nightly, ice dragon, cometbird browsers with 38 tabs, outlook, IE with maybe 10 - 3.2 gig memory used. Boots extremely quickly. Mounts *.iso. Runs hyper-V VM's. Bootleg true MS code installs fine with default key, activates with win 8.0 key. IE can be set to one mode only, desktop or TIFKAM. Tiled start screen manageable. TIFKAM side by side works intelligently. Between new "start" and older WinKey 'power menu', charms can be avoided. Ne search feature now works as they say it did in Preview. Media Center was there.

    I don't see much reason to change/upgrade tools 'just because its new', but this thing is a real improvement!

    There are issues imho with portable contraptions used as computers, even laptops, but both Intel and ARM chips and SSD storage are getting to the point where before long applications as opposed to "aps" will run and run well. The smaller display and small, non-existent, or add-on KB input means limit the use of such Iimho, but they sure are great for taking ones electronic connections, including the hundreds of thousands of 'aps, with one at all times. And the portables are largely used for networking, geography, media consumption, and communication.

    Whether the concept of "one ring to rule them all" makes sense, I don't know. The use case differs. BUT. If it matures successfully, users and those who support them and code for them would have one and only one user interface to deal with. It's already converging - MAC OS X, Android, Windows, and most public-oriented Linux distros are looing more alike every day.

    As to the upgrade. I put 8.1 RTM atop a 8.1 preview and yes I had to reinstall the limited number of aps , principally communication, browsers, and productivity stuff. There is no 'keep aps' option on this path, as was stated in the beginning. I AM WAITING for the actual final release code to upgrade 8.0. Screen shots from others who have put the RTM - ACTUALLY ANOTHER BETA - atop 8.0 show a "keep aps" option. Also, the real public release build will be supported for 90 days after install.

    1. Philip Lewis
      Joke

      Re: Win 8.1 "RTM" is GREAT

      Why do I keep parsing RTM as "return to manufacture" every time I see it mentioned in the same sentence as Windows 8???

  38. jsp91470

    Windows 8.0?

    I find it amusing that the author refers to Windows 8 as Windows 8.0. I know, he has to distinguish it somehow from the upcoming "Windows 8.1."

    In fact, "Windows 8" is actually Windows 6.2, and "Windows 8.1" is Windows version 6.3. For that matter, "Windows 7" is Windows version 6.1. Microsoft really should have incremented the version number to 7 with Windows 7.

    1. Belardi

      Re: Windows 8.0?

      That is because Microsoft is STUPID.

      But here is the thing... Win2000 is vastly different from WinNT4. XP is noticeably different than Win 2000.

      In PROPER Software versions, a major release gets a new number. The SP = sub numbers.

      So... Windows 2000 = Win 5.0. With 6th service pack = 5.6.

      Windows XP = 6.0 (SP3 = Windows 6.3) well, doesn't that make much more sense?

      Vista = 7.0 (but theres 2 SPs)

      Windows 7 should be Windows 7.5... because its really a major UI and memory bug fix from Vista.

      Windows 8... its 8... It'll always be crap.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Windows 8.0?

        C:\WINDOWS>ver

        Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]

        C:\WINDOWS>

        Windows 2K is 5.0

        XP [32 bit] is 5.1.x

        Windows [Server] 2003 R2 SP2 is version 5.2.x

        But confusion ... 64 bit XP is 5.2.x also

        http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms724832%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

        Also

        Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600] (Pro 32-bit SP3)

        Microsoft Windows [Version 5.2.3790] (Windows XP 64-bit) [x86 or Itanium? Both exist and are incompatible. Itanium version removed 2005]

        Microsoft Windows [Version 5.2.3790] (Windows 2003 SP2)

        Microsoft Windows [Version 5.2.3790] (Windows 2003 R2 SP2)

        The 64 bit XP is based on Server 2003, hence the version number.

        Each of these last three are delivered as separate OS's; as separate products (you had to pay to go from 2003 to 2003 R2), and yet they have the same major, minor, build number?

        From

        http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/567220d3-089c-4f99-9a05-8763d1cf5f01/version-numbers-for-windows-2003-and-windows-2003-r2

        Vista, Win7, Server 2008 and Win are all 6,x versions

  39. Belardi

    Best Solution to Windows 8

    Its very simple: Windows 7!

    It costs the same.

    Its more compatible.

    It looks much better, not some 80's Window 1.0 crap

    Its easier to use.

    Its bloody works.

    Its 100% compatible with ALL Windows XP+ software.

    Unlike Windows 8 lovers, nobody says "Its not that bad".

    1. Belardi

      Re: Best Solution to Windows 8

      2nd best Solution to Windows 8:

      LinuxMint

      Its free

      There is no activation

      It looks much better, not some 80's Window 1.0 crap

      Its easier to use than windows 8

      Its bloody works.

      Unlike Windows 8 lovers, nobody says "Its not that bad".

  40. W.O.Frobozz

    bskyb?

    Who thought of that name anyway? Mushmouth from the Cosby Kids?

  41. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Jeremy Clarkson had a comment applicable to Windows 8.n

    "Boring. Boring. Boring. Tedious. Boring. ..."

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  42. whatsa

    hmmm

    I find a lot of the comments a bit @nal

    Having used win7 and win8.

    other than adding the start button they worked 99.9% the same

    I actually found win8 as a experience more forthcoming and

    the system prompts far more generic and user friendly.

    there is a lot more "plain language prompts now"

    on upgrading to win8 the only learning curve I had was the apps screen

    and that was about 5 minutes playing around till I was comfortable with it.

    I really believe to many people over think a lot of this

    sometimes cheap and nasty apps that pollute the phone/tablet ecosystems

    is all you may need. I like the fact that that is an option.

    with GIS systems havings access to both

    provides a usable creative platform and the consumable interface ie tablets/phones.

    When I have work to do I use the desktop and real programs.

    if I choose to take a break and just consume info from live tiles or chitchat then its a simple swipe

    on my dual screen PC they both can be visible.

    I think a lot of the stigma is purely in peoples heads and has little to do with reality.

    Not unlike the 80ies and 90ies where 90% of people had mental blocks about PCs.

    if you had given them a smartphone back then they would have complained it had no buttons

    to dial with!

    1. Belardi

      Re: hmmm

      Really?! Funny, when I want to sit back and consume media. I use an ipad... it works quite well, its about $300 for the older 10" model. Does everything I need as a tablet... and its $600 cheaper than a SurfacePro.

      Then when I want to work, I use my Win7 quad-core i5 / 16GB ram on a 24" display.

      Most people don't need or want WInRT or Windows 8.

      1. mmeier

        Re: hmmm

        Oh, Win8 isn't a must have. But a good Windows convertible is. Why have two units, two sets of programs, two sets of UI concepts and tons of synchronisation hassles when lil old T731 can do both jobs?

  43. kwv-dc

    Win 8.1 Wonderful? Not likely !!!

    Win 8.1 net-centric ?? Wonderul for the billion having decent net access ..... not so brilliant for the 6 billion having little or no net access. Actually, considering the latencies in Office 2013, its not even wonderful for those with 100 Mbs.

    Let's see, if MS/Ballmer can add another 25,000 programers, they can fix this Win 8.1 baby.

    By the way, compared to Sugarsync, SkyDrive is simply awful.

    I must have gotten out of the wrong side of the bed this sunny September morning here in Moscow, Russia !!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Win 8.1 Wonderful? Not likely !!!

      In five years time, Windows 8 and Metro will be looked upon in the same way as Windows ME and Microsoft Bob.

      In the meantime best to stock up on Windows 7 OEM disks, whilst seeing if the next release of Mint's Cinnamon is as stable as Mint 13 with MATE, in case "Metrosoft" pull more silly tricks with Windows 9.

  44. ByeLaw101

    I only want one option - "Disable Metro", is that in 8.1?

  45. PaulR79

    Split-screen pointless

    I've tried to see the case for having split-screen apps and I just can't see it. On x86 you can use the normal Windows 7+ screen snapping as well as resize the windows to your choices. On ARM you .... can't run desktop apps so you're stuck with apps and this is the only way to run two apps....... ah now I see the point! Try to make the ARM experience a little closer to the x86 one and hope that users will accept it.

    Aside from price concerns this is the single biggest reason to go for x86 over ARM. It seems not even Microsoft have a clue what ARM / RT is best at since their ads focused on some shity High School Musical inspired ad with lots of dancing and showcasing a stand that clicks.

  46. JeffinLondon

    Still a multi-headed hydra so no thanks.

    Why not a Mobile, touch OS and a heads down desktop OS a la Apple is beyond me.

    Two swings and two misses, Microsoft. You're down in the count and have only one swing left.

    1. Squander Two

      "Why not a Mobile, touch OS and a heads down desktop OS a la Apple is beyond me."

      Because they're already being trounced by Apple on that front. They've decided that the best way to compete with the iPad is to offer something it doesn't: the ability to convert to a fully functional PC, and no need to purchase separate software for two separate devices. You can argue (and I think it's safe to say people are arguing) about whether Windows 8 is a good approach to that strategy, but I think the strategy itself was a good one.

    2. mmeier

      Because two OS with two sets of UI behaviours are extra hassle at keep data synchronised etc. A Windows convertible fills both roles quite nicely since 2003 and Modern adds benefits for the "touchy fans" while being at least as good (and sometimes better) than Win7 for the pen, keyboard and mice users

      1. Rattus Rattus

        Funny, my Windows 7 desktop, Linux laptop, and Android tablet all have different OSs and UIs and they are no extra hassle at all. I move my data easily and freely between them all with much less effort than it takes to even work out how to configure settings in Windows 8. And while the W8 interface might be good for the touchy feely types, I absolutely reject your assertion that it is as good with mouse and keyboard as Windows 7, because that is simply not the case. Using W8 with a mouse is a complete pain in the arse.

        1. mmeier

          Well Mr. Rat - I do not believe your claims!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I believe his claims. I have used both Windows 8 and downloaded the Windows 8.1 preview to give it a chance. Classic shell plus removing all the Metro file associations does indeed produce reasonable results, but what's the point? Easier and more productive just to use Windows 7, rather than mess about with banishing Metro, which has no benefit on the desktop. I am sure knocking out Aero amongst other things may make it appear faster or more stable, but on a reasonable spec desktop, I have never felt Windows 7 to be slow, and I haven't personally had it crash more than a couple of times in the whole time I have used it. Anyone would think that it had the stability of 3.1 or ME, the way Windows 8 defenders go on about it now.

            Again, where are the killer programs that make Metro desirable? Why should a desktop user want it? Even Linux is now preferable on the desktop to Metro. All the arguments that can be thrown against Linux (lack of commercial software - i.e. Photoshop or Microsoft Office), retraining users or lack of familiarity (which is not really the case if you are using MATE, Cinnamon or Xfce, Firefox, Libre Office, Skype and all the usual suspects) can equally be thrown with even more force against Metro. Yes you can run the 'traditional' programs under Windows 8, but again, why bother with it, just run 7. Metro has zero benefit on the desktop.

            Why are businesses not lining up to use Windows 8, now that XP really has reached the end of its life, if it is superior? After all it is supposed to be leaner than 7, and easier to use? Surely a dream come true for business, as it may not require junking old hardware, or expensive retraining.

            Windows 8 and Metro are an abject failure. I am sure some people do find the interface pleasant, but the majority do not. It is not simply a matter of people fearing something new, or Microsoft bashing, as Windows 2000 and Windowws 7 were in the main welcomed when they first came on the scene. I am sure if Metro was released as a tablet operating system with a native Metro-ised version of Office, something along the lines of RT would have potentially been a winner, but stuffing a half baked tablet interface on top of a cut down version of Windows 7 on the desktop is a sad pathetic joke.

            1. mmeier

              Oh cute, once again all the FUD and lies from the Win8 haters / Pingufreaks in one package.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Alright then. Let's assume criticism written about Windows 8 is utter rubbish, users who dislike the Metro interface are all liars spreading utter nonsense. Explain to us why desktop users should want Metro. What are the killer programs for it? Once we are all enlightened then we can chuck all our Windows 7 disks away, and wipe Linux partitions, and get on with converting all those non technical and home users from XP onto 8. Why should I, and people I know replace their Windows 7 machine with Windows 8, and why should I recommend replacing the old XP machines used by family and friends (who are fairly clueless with computers) to Windows 8.

                I think that is a fair challenge.

                1. mmeier

                  Yor initial assumtions/questions are nonsense so I called the "Bureaux of Inderlander Affairs". A Witch or Warlock will soon come and drive you away from your bridge

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Good reasoned argunent, everyone who dislikes Metro is a troll then. Thrown any chairs recently perchance?

  47. RSM715

    Where's Office?

    Frankly if a PC user cannot find Office without it being on the start menu, they shouldn't be using a PC at all, they will probably not even know where they are saving their files, such people should stick to utility devices like mobile phones and Android/iOS tablets. Such people should not be engagin in incessant whinging, holding back real power users of proper PCs with their ignorance and laziness, they should make the tiny effort required to educate themselves or stick to simpler toys and leave the real machines to the adults.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where's Office?

      Because all power users want Metro? Hahahahaahah! There is nothing in Metro I can possibly see that a 'power' user needs.

      I am typing this on Linux, and could launch Libre Office from the command line if I want to. But unless I am working in a terminal window, I am not going to go to the hassle of opening one to type it in. That is surely a 'power user' way of launching a program, but pointless unless I am actively in the terminal at the time. Two clicks in the menu in MATE, which does not obscure Firefox as I type this loads it up. Same principle with Windows 7, why launch a command prompt, or search for the executable in explorer? Presumably I am lazy and ignorant then?

      Windows is the defacto standard anyway for most businesses. People are forced to use it in the workplace, and many might not be overly tech savy or even the least bit interested in it, but have to use a computer as part of their job, which in most cases will have absolutely nothing to do with IT. Why should they be forced to learn new methods just so that Microsoft can try and encroach on the tablet market? For most people computers are a tool. Presumably if I use a hammer to hammer a nail into the wall, I should be competent in blacksmithing?

      1. mmeier

        Re: Where's Office?

        Olaf Officedrohne with his 3-5 programs would actually benefit from Modern a lot. Even today he clicks on Icons using "muscle memory". So Modern - makes it easier for him to click on the icons since he no longer needs to dig out the desktop. He does not care if for a short moment his other Windows are overlayed by Modern, most of the time he only uses one anyway.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Where's Office?

          So on the one hand the previous poster states that Metro and the Windows 8 way of doing things is for the 'power user', and now you state that it is ideal for an office 'drone' with limited technical skills. Which is it?

          It seems like the target market for Windows 8 is as schitzophrenic as the operating system.

          1. mmeier

            Re: Where's Office?

            Simple - it works for everyone!

    2. Vic

      Re: Where's Office?

      > if a PC user cannot find Office without it being on the start menu

      Three posts within quarter of an hour of joining, all aggressively defending Win8.

      *Sniff*. *Sniff*. Smells like Astroturf to me...

      Vic.

  48. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Not mine

    Doesn't much matter. Win8 doesn't run on our hardware. And I'm not buying new hardware just to run it. I'm already running Linux, and when XP goes out of support next year, my brother is going to have to move to Linux as well on his machines.

    1. NPCO543

      Re: Not mine

      "...and when XP goes out of support next year, my brother is going to have to move to Linux as well"

      Because XP will stop functioning when support ends??

      Comments like these never make sense. If you want to switch to Linux, by all means, do so. I have it installed on a system or two here and it's fine. But don't resort to ridiculous excuses like this. I still have XP on a few older systems, and they will remain on XP until I take them out of service or they suffer some hardware failure. The OS operates, and will operate, as good tomorrow or next year or 5 years from now as it does today.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not mine

        It will work of course, but it will only be a matter of time before it gets exploited. Which will be pretty easy for those wishing to do so, by reverse engineering the updates for Windows 7 to see what Microsoft are patching.

        XP will be best kept in a virtual machine, or disconnected from the internet. I certainly wouldn't recommend keeping XP out in the wild much beyond the end of support date.

  49. Heathroi
    Meh

    RTM? Responding to moaning, perhaps?

  50. Muhammad Imran/mi1400

    I see most of people here are linux worshipers not just worshipers but the type of who could not get their super coold words of advice in Linux itself. Other people are like the one who are the first to reach venues like occupy wallstreat, gay rights defenders etc ... or they are the people who got job at some office and all they do is wander around and complain this wall should be there, that corridor is not a shortcut to there, all the paintings are too metro type... come on... plz give urselves a gentle flying-kick-fuck and go to ur desk start working at that office. whatever the enviroment is .. open ur excel or whatever tool and concentrate on ur work... also mind it that Windows-server-2012-R2 will also be based on as per ur words.. SHIT.. .so if MS is basing its R2 on shit .. who r u to complain!?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What is this incomprehensible rot?

    2. Daniel B.

      Ok, someone plugged an Xbox360 fanboy brain to the MS shill-o-matic machine.

      Nope, most here aren't just "Linux lovers", but are IT people who suffer the most when vendors screw up. Win8 is one of these things!

      1. mmeier

        The same as similar operations are done on Android - Using a combination of hardware keys. I.e "Volume" and "Windows key"

  51. HKmk23

    Windows 8.# = Vista all over again

    No wonder Ballmer has bugged out.......

  52. peedurr

    Perhaps it is time to move on from Windows 7...

    I bought a new PC with Windows 8 a few weeks ago, I now have 8.1 Preview on it. The update makes the OS more customisable, e.g. you can have the desktop background on the Start Screen, and if you don't do this, you have a lot more foreground and background colours to play with.

    As for Windows 8 in general, I have a touch screen, so if I want to, I can do the whole finger-tapping thing. But as most of the applications I use are ones I used to have on my Windows 7 PC, I find I'm spending most of my time on the conventional desktop, and the only differences are that everything definitely runs faster, and of course the system boots up and closes down far more quickly than it used to. If I do find myself on the Start Screen, it's not exactly difficult to work out what to do. Heavens, you can always click the 'Desktop' tile to leave it. And both 8 and 8.1 have the rock-solid feel I knew from 7, but didn't feel with Vista. So really, is there that much fuss to make?

  53. DaneB
    FAIL

    Windows 8.1?

    Still a massive fail - Microsoft needs to rethink... their audience is so engrained in an older-style Windows experience that this will never work.

    Microsoft doesn't need to be an Apple-alike to compete with Apple.

    Command-Alt-Delete

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