Lookout! Here comes the much needed update to Windows 8, appropriately called Windows 8.1.
For those who are confused, it’s basically like a service pack (such as SP3 for XP or SP1 for 7) which updates, enhances and fixed many things in the already very ‘broken’ OS. But, unfortunately, it’s not exactly what many think it is going to be.
First of all, don’t get us wrong, we don’t technically hate Windows 8 in its entirety. There’s some great features that it brings to the table, such as: a greatly improved Task Manager, a very nice copy/move dialog, good out-of-the-box support for the latest and greatest technology, some nice visual enhancements, and it’s relatively stable and fast (maybe on par with Windows 7). But, of course, just about everything else stinks, mainly the new Start screen, the lack of the Start Menu on the Desktop, no way to start directly to the Desktop, and the fact it’s optimized for touch screens when the majority of business and power users, and other enthusiasts will be using a keyboard and mouse. And don’t even get me started on the Charms bar, or just trying to restart the machine in Safe Mode or many other things that were relatively simple for a humble tech and are now difficult for us, and thus ridiculous for the average user. Of course, it’s Microsoft and they just expect you to know things and do things there way after all of these years of doing it relatively the same (which was their way too), so whatever.
Now, Windows 8.1 is touted to fix several things, which is good, as it does. We will be able to now boot directly to the Desktop, certain areas will now be slightly easier to get to, there’s performance and visual enhancements and the Start Menu is back… oh wait, no it’s not. They are bringing back the Start button, but it does NOT bring up a menu, it just takes you back to the crappy Start screen. Oh joy.
Suffice to say, we have seen our far share of Windows 8 machines either come into our shop or one we have had to service in the field and there are always problems with them, when it all worked just fine in either XP or 7. Whether it be a certain program not working correctly, something not connecting within the network, Internet Explorer hosing things online (which is always has, but still), drivers for a printer, scanner, copier, etc. Whatever the problem may be, we have always stayed away from Windows 8 and continue to recommend and sell Windows 7. It is fast and stable, like XP was, and it still looks damn good, and of course, it just works.
For those who are curious about Windows 8.1, feel free to check out the following links for some news and technicalities: