I have Windows 8 on all of my machines. Not so much because I live Windows 8, but more that I got the licenses when they were on sale and it actually runs better on old machines. That being said, I have yet to use the chicklet ‘metro’ elements of the OS. Even on my new touch tablet, I still use the desktop. Now here comes Windows 8.1. Its not a major game changer, and if you have not upgraded from 7 to 8, there is nothing new in here that will change your mind, but for those of us already on 8, there are a few welcome upgrades. Two that make it welcome.
First you can finally boot directly into the desktop. This is huge for me. Right now there are two moves I have to make that are a total waste. I have to first move the splash graphic out of the way so I can get to the login, then after logging in, I have to click on desktop. Sigh. I’m hoping to find a way to shortcut the landing graphic, but at least with 8.1, I can go directly to the desktop top. Much better.
The second thing is the return of the ‘Start’ button. Its not as populated nor as flexible as the start button in Win7, but I expect that will improve as well. Far better then the window-x option we have now. Did you guys even know about that? Also the search UI is suppose to flow better, but an issue I have still does not seem to be addressed; when I type in an app or file, I have manually move from category to category. Sigh. Although now they have added skydrive and email as part of the search. Not sure how I feel about that.
I have read that the metro apps are getting better. They are really half baked and anytime I accidentally go from desktop to one of these things, I’m immediately struck by just how limited the UI option are on them. Perhaps in a few more iterations they will be become as useful as the equivalent desktop app, but I’m not seeing it. There have been more improvements on the start screen, like more sizes for the chicklets, better filtering and a few other niceties, but honestly, I never use any of them, so I cannot say if this matters or not.
Also there is IE11. I have lived without Internet Explorer for so long I do not even know the difference between the versions any more. From what I have read, 11 is suppose to bring IE into the modern browser age, but I read that about IE 9 and 10 and yet they always fall short. So I guess time will tell.
Bottom line, if you are already on windows 8, as soon as its released, and its free, go get it. Else if you have not made the jump yet, there is nothing here to change your mind.