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  • RGagne1975 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I've been using Windows 8.1 with the program Classic Start Menu for several months now. I have not looked back at Windows 7 since. This new update looks like it will bring Windows 8.1 closer to what it should have been to start with. Reply
  • Alexey291 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    What are the real advantages when coming from 7?

    I don't intend to use IE or bother with Metro. So is there any REAL point in paying for essentially the same OS?

    I'm not trying to troll here. I just don't see it.
    Reply
  • nevertell - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Yes, there are. Power consumption, kernel updates. That's the short answer.
    If you actually bothered to use it, you'd feel the improvements they've made at least on the filesystem side. You also get loads of peripheral device instability such as WiFi dropping out until you reboot it, USB drivers getting broken upon a Windows update and the like. This sounds sarcastic, but these are the mainstream pros and cons with windows 8. Also, if you use enterprise WPA, well tough luck. There is no built in support for that, as far as I could tell. Maybe it was the home/professional differentiation, but with a Windows 8 laptop, my mate could not log on to the eduroam wireless network for universities.
    Reply
  • Alexey291 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    So essentially nothing interesting for a desktop user/gamer.

    I've not used windows on anything mobile for a looong time. But yeah fair enough. Despite the big name the o/s is just a small incremental upgrade over win7

    And yeah I did bother to use it albeit for a short time back when the preview edition was bouncing around. How should I put it... It didn't inspire me to pay money for it.
    Reply
  • davepermen - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    if performance gains isn't enough for you as a gamer, then, what is?

    it boots much faster, it uses less ram, it's more snappy. it uses less power == pc can clock higher. etc.. but metro and the metro apps are actually worth exploring, even on a desktop. i moved from desktop to metro apps for all i can. which means, on a new pc, i just log in once, and all is already there. zero manual efford.
    Reply
  • Alexey291 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I'm vsync'd at 60fps in the vast majority of my games. I have no idea why I'd want more fake performance. For most normal people (who have grown out of extreme overclocking and "professional gaming") gaming means playing games on a good pc. Not trying to get 300fps out of CSS for the sake of getting 300 fps.

    Besides those performance benefits are not only REALLY small but are mostly unproven. Like the gentleman below said. Its more or less on par.

    Also... PC doesn't clock higher because windows uses less power :| What are you even... I have no idea how to talk to you anymore...

    Snappier interface is not important when windows is a shell for launching games from steam. (or from desktop shortcuts). I have mobile devices for most of the rest of things. They are more convenient. That's just the way it is. Windows is only there because backwards compatibility with my 300 game steam library is important.

    And metro apps? What apps? Facebook Skype and their ilk? I have a mobile phone (and a tablet) for mobile apps with a much larger app store I might add.

    Nope still don't see it.
    Reply
  • abhaxus - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    The fact that you just used CBS as your example while condescending to him about what real gamers want makes me think that you haven't been a "real gamer" since CSS was a big game. It's ok that you don't like windows 8 bro, but you don't have to be a condescending prick to get your point across.

    Lol @ you being vsync capped on your 300 steam game library. 10 year old A-listers and indie games are not exactly the performance benchmarks most look to.
    Reply
  • Alexey291 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    So you have something constructive to add or you are going to throw ad-hominem accusations around some more? ;)

    Besides name me a 2013 AAA title (rome2 doesn't count its just badly optimised and is generally bad). Which was made on a demanding engine. Something that isn't UE3 (which is 8 years old now). Tomb Raider is the only thing that comes to mind? And only that because of the cool hair effect.
    Reply
  • turtlenip - Saturday, April 05, 2014 - link

    He's not being ad-hominem at all. He called you a condescending prick because you acted like one. You showed a clear bias toward Windows 8 and replied with snide and rude remarks.

    This is from an objective pov since I was not involved in the argument.

    Oh and Windows 8 is faster. So quite spewing nonsense that they are "unproven".

    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2013/11/24/battlefi...
    Reply
  • Donkey2008 - Saturday, April 05, 2014 - link

    I ran my own benchmarks in BF3, BF4 and Planetside 2 with a GTX 670; I saw virtually no difference between Win8 and Win7. That's "proven" enough for me. Reply
  • groberts116 - Friday, April 11, 2014 - link

    I'm not going to challenge anyone on increases in application and system speed. To me it seems faster, I say seems because I haven't used any app to actually verify Windows 8 performance over windows 7. I will say that anyone with more than one monitor will definitely want Windows 8.1 because it provide more features for multi-monitor users than what are available with Windows 7. Also, there are more Windows 8 version upgrades coming before Windows 9. Not only that but the cost for upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 9 might be less than upgrading from earlier versions of Windows. Finally there is the inclusion of RT in Windows 8 that will have more value because of Universal Windows applications that will begin showing up in Microsoft store after the release of Windows Phone 8.1, which will allow universal apps to run on Windows devices, which include: Windows 8.1 phones, Windows RT tablets as well as, Windows 8.1 PC's. Reply
  • OldTimer74 - Sunday, April 20, 2014 - link

    acually, windows 7 is quite a bit faster than windows 8 if you know what "updates" to avoid..... in every update cycle, ALWAYS avoid the generic compatibility updates.... they are crap updates that slowly bog the old OS down.. microsoft has been doing this since XP. This way, once the new shiny OS comes out, it appears to perform better. Its very blatant, and underhanded, but it IS fact.... quite a few gamers have figured it out (those that still game on windows that is... as pointed out above... when was the last AAA title released for windows? Microsoft has pushed most gamers to their locked down console)
    Seeing how my pc is used less and less for gaming(my newest game is literlally 8 years old) and all these games run fine on wine.... linux is my next OS after win7 looses support.
    Reply
  • frozen ox - Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - link

    Vsync has nothing to do with not wanting high frame rates. It's for fixing stuttering and tearing for games where the developers will not fix it. Metro series for example. Without vsync, it's unplayable. Reply
  • novastar78 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Well for HTPC purposes there are a couple of reasons.

    1.) Windows 8.1 works better on the big screen then Win7. The Start Screen actually becomes usable as a Smart TV-like interface that is easy to use and makes an otherwise microscopic Start Menu (from Win7) very usable.

    2.) The Windows 8 Netflix app for some 1080p goodness.

    That's why I upgraded and it's worked out great on my Plasma.
    Reply
  • Alexey291 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    See I can get behind that.

    For HTPC win8 makes a lot of sense. Same goes for them semi-tablet things and even for laptops it would likely work out well enough.

    For a desktop its a questionable proposition. IMO ofc.
    Reply
  • augiem - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    The one thing I like is the return of the up arrow button in explorer. Oh, and you can now mount ISO files as discs out of the box, which is convenient. Task manager is somewhat nicer. Other than that, everything else is just a sidegrade or downgrade in my opinion. I've been trying for months to get used to Modern, but it simply just doesn't do what I need it to. I've resorted to building my own folder of programs that I keep on the desktop that I can categorize how I see fit. It's still clunky though because I have to remember to go find the program and add a shortcut there every single time I install something. Feels like going back to the Amiga / GEOS / Macintosh days opening folders to find your files. And I seriously hate how not all installs show up in All Programs -- I'm not 100% sure but I think anything that installs for "all users" will not show up there. UGH MS! If I'm stuck with Modern, at least let me organize my stuff in folders (that aren't always open in my face). Reply
  • haukionkannel - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Yep! I have UHD display and win8.1 is much better than win7 in there. But there still are some problems left. Old programs don't scale so nicely (they don't do it win7 neither) and multimonitor support could be better. But all in all definitely upgrade from win7. I have high hopes for win9 for the rest upscale/resolution problems. I hope that by 2016 or 17 whenever win 9 will come out, the norm monitor is something else than 1080p...
    But as I said, even now it is getting better!
    Reply
  • akdj - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    Agreed. I've finally rid my Win7/XP partitions with 8.1...& as both an MS and OSx user, that's thee ONE challenge I'm still having on my Window's side of the coin. That said, I own three of the 15" rMBPs for our business (we're mobile audio/video production company in Alaska, have been for thirty years now...when everything was done 'on tape')...Apple truly nailed their scaling algorithm(s) in 10.8/10.9. .7 was a mess, especially with multi monitor support. Doing our coloring, editing and review sessions with clients, multi display....including but not limited to UHD or HiDPI. To me, this may be the most exciting and possibly hidden 'gem' with this update...and future SPs, which now maybe just old hat. No more service pack 14 month intervals. Instead, smaller, faster, more efficient and timely updates issued ...and as much as I love 'em both, ala Apple's '.' Program. They're incredibly quick these days with security, java and/or Trojan protection. As well as the RAW updates, lens corrections, printer support and continued refinement of Safari...to the extent it's become my favorite browser to use. On OSx. They've got to improve the iOS version though. As fast as it is, third party browsers are better on the iPhone and iPads.
    Microsoft took a BOLD step with 8. BUT, so has everyone else! Whether it's your new car stereo you can't figure out (7.5" LCD), your smart phone, tablets and their decimation of the traditional PC sale's figures...the computational paradigm is here. And now. And EXTREMELY cool to be a part of! Of course as a business owner, I've always found it beneficial to keep a 'day' job over the years with a family, mortgages and student tuitions, et al...I was lucky enough to start in radio toward the end of the 'golden years'. Reel to reel and wax pencils with razor blades, spinnin Rick Dees and ol Casey Casem off the Technic 1300s (1200's direct drive predecessor), the move to CD...and blessed to still be programming a group of six stations to this day....and as with all the media we grew up with becoming less and less relevant (TV, radio, print)---the aggregation into the social networks, blogs and forums, cloud storage and real world, low latency abilities to send 'audio' around the world with a click....from a PHONE! Android? iOS? Who CARES! Again...love and own both. My personal, the iPhone 5s. Business line is the Note 3. I can't get enough! Gave up drinking fifteen years ago and I think it was actually 'cheaper!' Lol
    Better HiDPI support for our NECs and Eizos...PRETTY PLEASE MS?
    Reply
  • blushrts717 - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    I thought the same thing until I realized that you can't control the apps with a remote control. The Netflix app is excellent other than you can't control it with a remote. Reply
  • hero4hire - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    "Grown out of extreme overclocking" I'm going to hope you are talking about the margin between OS and not being patronizing about finding the best performance for $ or OC as a hobby. If you're vsync capped in demanding multiplayer games without overclocking then you're doing it wrong. Reply
  • Lerianis - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Yes, but if you are on a gaming laptop, if Windows itself uses less power, you get more battery life, which is always a good thing.
    Really, you hit on a big thing today that even I have to acknowledge: for most people, even a bargain basement Core i3 laptop that costs 300 dollars is good enough for them.
    I'm personally looking at one of those to replace my gaming-class laptop because the graphics chips from Intel have FINALLY gotten as powerful as a 9800M GTS from NVidia in my gaming laptop.
    Reply
  • frozen ox - Tuesday, April 08, 2014 - link

    Not to mention that many desktop users have SSD drives for the OS now and do just fine with 4GB+ of RAM.

    However, I am interested in 8.1 for my work machine where I'm running VMs and need the host OS to use as little RAM as possible. But with that said, I do not need it to cache everything for a quick boot and anything automated with SkyDrive is just a deal breaker. Can't do that Microsoft, sorry.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    A "performance improvement" that's the difference between 188fps and 192fps is entirely useless.

    However the cons of Win8 are very real, dropped wifi, broken USB drivers, shitty 1998 AOL looking fucking design. Don't be a smartass when you're so wrong.

    This update looks like it at least warrants another chance. But I still very much doubt that I'll be leaving Win7 any time soon.
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I've had no USB issues. 8 adds native USB 3.0 support, so USB is BETTER, if anything.

    "1998 AOL looking design"? Ummmmm yeah not so much.
    Reply
  • Barnassey - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Uh NO USB 3.0 support on windows 8 and 8.1 is HORRIBLE. You cant even install the drivers from intel. As well as you get usb 2.0 speed on USB 3.0 devices. Reply
  • SilverEyes - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    Windows 8 actually introduced USB support.

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/de...

    In your case, what motherboard/chipset do you have? Have you installed those drivers?
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I do actually use the Metro apps. I like that it gives me a way to have "tablet style apps" on a desktop, and they're sandboxed...so it's sort of like having iOS stuff on my regular Windows. I use the Weather Channel program regularly that way, the Kindle program, etc. At worst it's not hurting anything for that capability to be in there, but I actually find it a little useful.

    Does it actually use less RAM? I don't know...but then I guess the lowest amount of RAM I have in any current system is 2GB in a Surface 1.

    I've disabled the hybrid boot stuff though. It already boots plenty fast on all my systems so I'd rather just do a totally clean boot :-D
    Reply
  • Exodite - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    For a true desktop those benefits are largely irrelevant, and very marginal at best.

    My W7 machine, running completely without solid state storage, boots in ~50 seconds and I reboot about once a month - when Windows updates forces me to.

    Less power is also irrelevant with a desktop that's hooked up to a wall socket 24/7. Heck, I've even undervolted my CPU so whatever optimizations W8 brings to the table are likely mroe geared toward mobility.

    At the end of the day I, personally, found every single user interface choice made for W8 to be the worst imaginable choice.

    I don't use desktop icons, I prefer nested menus sorted alphabetically.

    I don't use search, it's disabled because it's non-intuitive and potentially a security concern.

    I don't use touch interface, I force the minimum icon, text and window border size coupled with maximum mouse speed to make the most of my screen real estate.

    I scan text faster than I do icons.

    I've disabled the gadget engine on W7, because it's terrible, and W8 charms succeed in being even more obnoxious.

    And so on...

    YMMV, obviously. My point is merely that the upsides of W8, being minor under-the-hood changes with little impact for desktop users, cannot make up for what I'd lose in usability by migrating.

    Unfortunately, more for Microsoft than myself I suppose, I don't see future versions of the OS offering a real remedy either. It's all compromises to push their one-size-fits-none solution of touch-first.
    Reply
  • Morawka - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Oh a handful of API's that allow you to encrypt your drives without any overhead, DX 12 coming soon, Hundreds of Runtimes baked into the OS. The API's in Windows 8 is where the bulk of the benifit is. I'm starting to see several upcoming programs requiring windows 8 because of the API's. The new Xbox 360 Emulator in development requires windows 8 for example.

    Multimonitor benifits. DPI Scaling benifits, Split screen productivity benefits, More Granularity in power control, built in free anti-virus, Tiled Based Rendering, A whole new app store with access to thousands of new softwares that used to be limited to smartphones, true multi-session networking, Thousands of Hooks for just about any sensor you can think of, Built in VMWare, More performance gains from driver updates, lower level access to connected hardware, Cortana Personal Assistant coming to PC maybe.

    oh i dunno, i say there's plenty for a gamer to want in windows 8. Especially with Xbox One, Windows Phone, and Windows 8 Unifying soon.
    Reply
  • emn13 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I'm not sure where you're getting this, but windows 8 isn't magically much faster than previous versions for most tasks. If there's any difference at all, it's likely on the order of 1%, at BEST. This isn't because windows 8 is horrible, it's because many common tasks simply aren't bottlenecked by the OS. Even if the OS part of the performance equation were 100 times faster, you might not notice for many tasks, and frankly, previously version of windows weren't that terrible that it's possible to make those kind of wins.

    Windows 8 can be noticably faster in a few areas where the OS is the primary bottleneck, such as startup + shutdown. But that's pretty much it - if you're copying files around or rendering webpages, the OS overhead simply isn't large enough to make newer OS's dramatically better.

    In short, through no fault of win8 it's not noticeably faster than win7 in almost all use cases.
    Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Well the problem is that desktop and laptop hardware is more powerful than needed and runs win 7 perfectly. So unless you are pushing for maximum performance, and the vast majority of casual users are not, the under the hood benefits are minimal, while for the average user, the first thing they see is the interface, and they are seriously intimidated and put off by it. Same for power savings. The minimal power saved is inconsequential on the desktop, and in a laptop, you still have to get past the interface to see any power savings and I am not sure it is enough to really change the user experience anyway.

    As for "it is ok if you add a start menu program", I dont buy that the user should have to do that. MS basically gave an eff you to non-touch users and now we should add some second party program to make up for that? I dont think so. And again, most uninformed casual users, (the vast majority of consumers), just see the unfriendly interface and dont know about or are afraid to add a classic shell type program.
    Reply
  • AlphaBetaBuster - Thursday, April 17, 2014 - link

    @ frozentundra123456 :

    ""Well the problem is that desktop and laptop hardware is more powerful than needed and runs win 7 perfectly.""
    What the heck are you talking about?
    Surely that is not a "problem", or to put it bluntly, what makes you think that hardware is "more powerful than needed"? That's evolution, as things evolve, the users get more performance while using less power for the same amount of money, that's good, nothing bad about that.
    Besides that, you’re are not in the position to judge what amount of power "is needed" as every user has his own opinions and needs. There are no general guidelines as to what constitutes as enough of something, just different needs and technical possibilities. In your view it may be enough for your usage scenarios, someone else may come to a different conclusion, thus please stop proclaiming that your personal opinions represent universally valid facts.
    I always tend to buy the most powerful systems available (and affordable to me), but apart from the company owned servers and workstations that I'm allowed to use, every normal consumer grade machine (or gaming machine for that matter) is seriously lacking (at least in my opinion). Just try running a few dozen virtual machines simultaneously on a laptop or a x79 system and see what happens. Once cpu utilization reaches 100% (and stays there) and ram gets maxed out your system starts to crawl. Unfortunately I don't have the money to buy a few dozen 4 socket servers with 1.5 TB of ram each for home use (to free myself from the aforementioned constraints to a certain extent, not to mention the heat output), hence there are many things that I'm unable to do with the current, affordable, systems. Those limitations become especially burdensome when dealing with all kinds of large scale simulations or data intensive applications that take days or weeks or longer to complete (even on these powerful systems).
    I will appreciate every development that gives the user more power while saving energy, because it increases the possible potential for the successful execution of demanding usage scenarios, entirely irrespective of them being utilized or not (that's up to each individual).
    However, my point is that it is of particular importance for the reserves/resources to be there in any case, as that's always a good thing to have, especially regarding the extended possibilities enabled by them.
    Fortunately the current development of software getting more efficient (or more optimized) while hardware progressing at a faster rate than the increase in resource demand by the former, constitutes to an increasing resource reserve buildup in the long run, hence the road to heaven is paved.
    Reply
  • David87124 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I have two computers running Windows 8.1 and one running Windows 7 Pro. There is really nothing about Win 8.1 that makes it worth the aggravation of trying to figure out where things are intuitively; mainly because it is the most unintuitive interface ever from Microsoft. Not to mention that there still aren't Windows 8.1 drivers for a couple of devices on each computer - LOL

    So, here comes the update - I wonder what the odds are that I will finally be able to disable the touch screen on my laptop when using the cordless mouse. I had it working fine in Windows 8; sadly the current Windows 8.1 driver isn't cutting it.
    Reply
  • MamiyaOtaru - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    oh BS it uses less RAM. This canard gets trotted out with every new Windows and it's almost never true. We just had to update a bunch of machines used for displaying xrays thanks to XP going away (finally). Tested out Vista, 7 and 8.1 on them and 8.1 was the heaviest, both sitting at desktop, and with the xray prog running.

    Vista was using ~550 MB at desktop, 7 ~390 and 8.1 ~670. For slightly older (core 2 duo) machines with a paltry 1GB of RAM 8.1 was not acceptable. 7 was fine.
    Reply
  • Rezurecta - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    BF4 gets a huge fps boost from Windows 8. Many games are in the neighborhood of 10% minimum. Reply
  • Donkey2008 - Saturday, April 05, 2014 - link

    Bf4 gets a huge boost from Windows 8? I have benched it myself and there was virtually no difference. There is no 10% gain at all in any game I tested. Reply
  • piiman - Saturday, April 05, 2014 - link

    According to the link posted above its only 3% to 6% depending on your vid card. So 60fps goes up to 61.8 or 63 fps Hmmmm BIG WHOOP! Even at your 10% minimum (which isn't true) its not that big of a difference. Reply
  • jimbo2779 - Monday, April 07, 2014 - link

    Read the conclusion where they talk about actual gameplay rather than just 3d performance. They tested multiplayer gaming sessions where pausing and "hitching" (their word) of the frames would be commonplace on win7 machines which were undetectable on win8.

    So yeah the frame rate of the 3d side of things may be "just" 3-6% better in win8 but the overall gaming experience on win8 was said to be worlds apart. If you just care about FPS and not the experience of gaming when you are gaming that is your prerogative I guess.
    Reply
  • Donkey2008 - Monday, April 21, 2014 - link

    There is absolutely no difference in "overall gaming experience" between Windows 7 and Windows 8. I used Windows 8 as my primary gaming rig for over a year and finally went back to Windows 7. I saw ZERO, NADA difference. I have been PC gaming for almost 20 years now and I know what I "experience". This sounds like a psychological placebo for people trying to justify Windows 8 superiority over 7.

    If you just care about Crayola(tm) and Fisher Price(tm) colors on a Seasame Street(tm) interface built specifically for consumption instead of a functional, logical GUI for doing actual work that is your prerogative I guess.
    Reply
  • Lerianis - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Plenty interesting for a desktop user/gamer. I'm a desktop (actually desktop replacement laptop) user and I'm loving Windows 8.
    Speed improvements, it is much more stable than even Windows 7 (less applications having sudden crashes while not taking down the computer), and the Modern UI unifies nearly everything for me.
    Reply
  • chizow - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    @Alexey291

    There are some other nice changes in Win8 vs. Win7 for desktop/gamers/enthusiasts. The new Task Manager for example is vastly improved and provides all kinds of great info like better charting of CPU usage. It also provides much better access to disk and network utilization info in real-time.

    Another example is the improved copy/transfer progress bar that shows both speed and progress simultaneously. There's a few other changes, but mostly to the underpinnings in terms of memory usage and performance. If you're a SkyDrive user, it's now integrated into your Libraries/Navigation Pane seamlessly, although Win7 users can install a plugin for the same functionality.

    I'm a big Win7 fan, and other than the horrendous Metro UI, I can comfortably say Win8.1 is the better OS. That said there's a few downsides too that gamers won't like, pretty sure it is fixed now but at one point MS's stewardship of the USB driver forced a lower polling rate on Logitech gaming mice. Similarly, the uniform USB 3.0 stack causes problems with some devices and Intel's native USB 3.0 controller.
    Reply
  • da_cm - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    I am using Win8 and am able to connect to the eduroam network, it just required a more complex setup than on Win7. I don't know if it's the same for your mate, but he could take a look at this guide: sheffield.ac.uk/cics/windows8/eduroam Reply
  • valnar - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    I had several problems with Windows 8.1 and had to go back to Windows 7. A Premier Microsoft support case could not help one problem. That was a printer issue that didn't work in Windows 8.

    From a GUI perspective, I spent hours just trying to make it look like Win7 (ie. useful). Loading Classic shell, Stardock ModernMix, desktop tweaks, etc. It would not work with some old apps and games I had. MIDI is pretty much gone. Desktop scaling was always fighting with me as it seemed Win8 had a mind of its own. Set Internet Explorer to 100% and it changes randomly to 75%, etc. My company's VPN client didn't work. Sh!t like that. Win7 behaves much better.
    Reply
  • rabidkevin - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Every benchmark shows win8 performs faster in every regard. Some are marginal by only 2-3% but the difference is there. Boot time & sleep mode are also drastically improved. Minus windows update or major application updates, I dont need to restart my computer for weeks at a time. Didn't like 8, but 8.1 is more usable, and the 8.1 Update will definitely put it where I'd like to to be UI wise. Reply
  • Alexey291 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    So it boots 5 seconds faster and performs 2% faster.

    Worth 100 quid then.

    Nuff said.
    Reply
  • thewhat - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    "Every benchmark shows win8 performs faster in every regard."
    No, it really doesn't. In fact from the available benchmarks I've seen you couldn't conclude that it's any faster overall. Some benchmarks show 7 to be faster in some way and some show the opposite. It's not nearly as conclusive as you imply.

    "Boot time & sleep mode are also drastically improved."
    Actual _proper_ boot time is pretty much the same as in Windows 7. Comparing the semi-hibernate mode (Windows 8 "Fast Startup") to actual boot is not fair.
    And how exactly is sleep mode different?

    "Minus windows update or major application updates, I dont need to restart my computer for weeks at a time."
    I restart Windows 7 once a month for updates and it works great. What am I missing?
    Reply
  • Morawka - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    Back your statements up or shutup Reply
  • turtlenip - Saturday, April 05, 2014 - link

    Startup from "cold start" is definitely faster on 8, still make up facts. Reply
  • piiman - Saturday, April 05, 2014 - link

    Big whoop! So once a month you have 20 seconds. What will I do with all that extra time on my hands!? BTW my Win7 with SSD boots just as fast and its actually completely booted when I see the desktop, win 8 is still booting after the desktop appears so they are just fudging the boot. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    That's impressive...I didn't even now it was supposed to be faster. Vista was faster than XP, but I haven't paid much attention to it since then, but that's impressive if they've been able to continue tweaking NT 6.x to get it faster... Reply
  • Homeles - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    It also boots a lot faster. Reply
  • hero4hire - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    SSD boot drives make this distinction marginal at best. Bios and legacy wait times make more impact in my real life scenarios Reply
  • The Von Matrices - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    You can't ultra fast boot in Windows 7; UEFI load time is directly proportional to the operating system you are using. Reply
  • piiman - Saturday, April 05, 2014 - link

    BIG F'ing DEAL! How many times do you boot your PC? Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    My take is because Microsoft supports their OSes a long time, there's usually not a *need* to update to the next release. Windows 8 brings with it the typical improved hardware support, and things like USB 3.0 native, but that's probably not relevant if you're already running an older system with 7.

    It's also got some nice interface improvements all over the place. They're small things, like the task manager, copy dialog boxes, and especially explorer window improvements, but they're enough that they add up and make Windows 7 feel a bit archaic when you go back to it.

    I like 8 better than 7 overall, but if you've already got a 7 system, 7's just fine too. No pressing need to upgrade I don't think, unless programs start droping 7 support or Microsoft's support for the OS ends. No need to be scared of 8 though when you buy a new PC. I've used it for over a year now and...basically all the freak out over it boils down to the start menu being full screen LOL. I've NOT installed some third party shell, seen no reason to do so, and still overall prefer 8's interface as a desktop OS, as a lot of little improvements all over the place get ignored in the comparison.
    Reply
  • haukionkannel - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I agree! If you have normal 1080p monitor and win7, there is very little reason to upgrade now. Win7 will work very fine many years!
    If you coming from win XP like me, the win8 is most probably better choice.
    Reply
  • eanazag - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    There are actually some benefits. I have been using it on the Surface and it is great on that device. All the above additions are very welcome though. MS did a lot to prepare Windows 8 for a GPS and cellular device. Touch was big obviously. I would gripe that they removed Windows Easy Transfer with the 8.1 update. It can still be used but it is no longer built-in. MS was trying to prod us into Skydrive/Onedrive for file and settings syncing, which is blocked at my work. Reply
  • Azethoth - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    The single most massive and also completely ignored improvement is secure boot. MS delivered the first OS with even a chance of eliminating bios malware. But its more than just secure loading of the bios. Given signed bios code you can improve boot times down to 10-15 seconds. They also now have special restart modes that are almost instant compared to having to reboot the bios.

    I think this matters to you as a gamer because the flakiest code in Windows is released by nVidia and AMD as "graphics drivers". Faster reboot = more time gaming. Secure boot keeps malware off your system which means it does not get magically slower over time. Refresh clears out the crappy install uninstall problems.
    Reply
  • piiman - Saturday, April 05, 2014 - link

    Another Big whoop!
    Most people don't have a BIOS needed for secure boot and when was the last time a game crashed your PC? A game hasn't crashed mine in many many years.
    Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Monday, April 07, 2014 - link

    Secure boot has been in BIOSes for a couple of years minimun now, at least, the first machine i had with it was a llano laptop. given laptops seem to break easily for most users, and the fact i rarely see a older laptop in the wild now, ill hazard a guess and say ore people have it than you think.
    and second, the games? Ive had 3 crash this week, mostly graphical corruption, which dissapeared when i reinstalled the nvidia driver. PCs are not crash proof, and programs as finicky as games still have occasional problems.
    Reply
  • piiman - Saturday, April 12, 2014 - link

    Well just because you don't see older laptops in the "wild" doesn't mean Sh**. Just how close do you look at others laptops and just how many do you see? Answer a tiny tiny tiny tiny fraction of what is really out there. Your conclusion is based on ASSUMPTIONS so they mean nothing.

    You also should know there are these things called desktop PC's and many people keep them for ages.

    Are you claiming to get a BSOD 3 times a week? If your PC is crashing to a Blue Screen you have a driver or a hardware problem and if you have to reinstall drivers 3 times a week you have something corrupting your driver or HD.

    I have almost 300 games on Steam and a GTX680 play them EVERYDAY (well not all of them) and have not had a PC crash to a Blue Screen in years nor do I have to reinstall my drivers on a weekly basis. Matter of fact I only update them when new versions come out.

    Anyways the point wasn't that the don't crash but that (lets use you as an example) if your PC crashed three time last week and your super reboot time saves you, what, 45 seconds maybe a little more? So Big Whoop look at all that extra gaming time!
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    I like the extended task manager and the better copy dialogue. If you have an enabled system, it also boots faster (with my P55-i7 setup, I have no difference between Win7 or 8). Right-clicking the start button brings up many more useful features than before. Reply
  • MDX - Saturday, April 05, 2014 - link

    I've worked on both Windows 8 and Windows 7. Windows 8 is most definitely a step backwards. Reply
  • mechBgon - Sunday, April 06, 2014 - link

    "Is there any REAL point [in Win8 over Win7]?]"

    Yes. Win8 has significant security hardening under the hood versus Win7, to make it more difficult to exploit. Support for SMEP on CPUs that support it is one of many examples. So I would turn the question around... is there any point in settling for second-class security? You can make Win8.x behave like Win7 with a free or extremely cheap start-menu add-on, and that may not even be necessary after the update being discussed in this article.
    Reply
  • BaronMatrix - Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - link

    Not many... It boots faster and has somewhat better audio... But without Aero it seems like we've gone back to Win98 graphics... I can see having non-alpha-blending for Modern UI but the Desktop looks YUCKY with the Flat Modern UI... Reply
  • scottish_usa - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Direct-X12 is coming out in a few months and is going to be Windows 8 only. It codes to the metal like AMD's mantle, and is expected to eliminate a lot of windows overhead in the graphics pipeline.

    Windows 8 also boots at least twice as fast as 7 and natively supports HDDs larger than 3 TB unlike 7. I could go on...
    Reply
  • kamranki - Sunday, April 13, 2014 - link

    Same with me. Install Classic Start Menu and your Windows 8 / 8.1 Start Button will behave exactly like Windows 7. Best free software ever made IMHO! Reply
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    http://youtu.be/usfiAsWR4qU Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    How did you get Aero on in your 8.1 screenshots? I tried out the 8.1 Enterprise Evaluation version, and I don't think it did that. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Where do you see Aero? Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    The task bar is opaque in the 8 screenshots, but transparent in the 8.1 screenshots. Unless that's the 8.1 Update build. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Oh, I thought the bar was always transparent. I never noticed the difference between 8.0 and 8.1. Reply
  • inighthawki - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    It's transparent in both, just very tough to see in the 8 screenshot. But that's only the taskbar. Everything else is opaque. If you want actual aero glass though, there is a mod that fully adds it back: http://glass8.berlios.de/ Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Hey, that's more like it. The glass and shadows might use more resources, but it makes windows pop. Reply
  • davepermen - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    only the taskbar is transparent. and that's always true. Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Seems like a step in the right direction. The only thing is that Win 8 has gotten such a bad reputation for usability (rightly so IMO), that I dont know if this can reverse the perception attached to it.

    Unless non-touch devices boot to desktop and behave much like Win 7, I think people will still hate it. Personally, on a desktop or non-touch laptop, if I never saw a tile it would make me happy. There sounds like a lot of nice options, but the problem is it takes a fair amount of training to use all the new features, and I think a lot of people will still say "7 was great. Why do I need to relearn a new OS just to get back to where I was before the change?"
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    With your thinking we'd all probably still be on Windows 2000 Reply
  • lurker22 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Yes and productivity wise Windows 2000 was a fantastic OS which was in many ways better than XP (MS purposefully didn't add a lot of functionality to 2000 to force us to XP which had a LOT of issues initially).

    Windows 8 is change for change sake. Windows 7 actually made me more productive as compared to XP and I instantly loved 7. Windows 8 lost me when I couldn't find the power off without doing a google search.
    Reply
  • jardows2 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    alt+f4 worked well for me without having to lookup how to turn off the machine. Reply
  • lurker22 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Alt+F4 closes the current application/window. It doesn't turn off the computer. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Actually it does if explorer currently active program and all explorer windows are closed.

    I do think that was a bit confusing for people used to earlier OSes, and the tweak to this update makes sense, although it really wasn't any weirder than Windows 95 already was, it's just that we all knew where it was. (And technically it's still in the same place in 8 too, if you right click instead of left.)
    Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    That happened to me too. Reply
  • akdj - Sunday, April 06, 2014 - link

    Since 3.1---CTRL-ALT-Delete has always brought up your task manangement system! Come on, been around 30 years. You 'never' thought to rt click the 'start/modern/left corner, GottaHaveMyFreaking[Start]BarOrI'mLost Button....button? Man. I left 25 years using Windows after 14 months of frustration with Vista on a half dozen laptops we run our mobile audio/video company with. Have for thirty years in Alaska...fRom tape/analog to SD/SSD,HDD,CD,DVD,BluRay...and over the past five years, the astronomical launch of cloud services that are rewliable, affordable, efficient, cross platform...and DropBox is ubiquitous in our industry to collaborate on projects....uploading motion, audio or stills...Tokyo, LA, Beijing and counterparts all over western Europe have 'instant access!' Regardless time of day, day of week...if you TRULY had to google how to turn your 8.1 rig off, I'm with ya. Should stick with XP....I mean '7' Reply
  • akdj - Sunday, April 06, 2014 - link

    Should've mentioned....we switched in 2006 to OSx, ALL of our rigs with the exception of our studio MacPros that held a partition with Win 7 for a few pieces of Adobe software unavailable on Mac (Audition was the BIG one). I've enjoyed every Mac I've purchased. They're incredibly reliable, phenomenal customer service and absolutely, 100% efficient ans dependable while performing in front of 8,500 people. When the '.1' update dropped for Win 8, I bought a pair of Ultrabooks, one a hybrid HP tablet/laptop with a core i5 processor, 8GB RAM & a 128GB SSD. The other, a Surface Pro II? ....bad ass little tablet. I'm able to do a few more 'things' productively on it when compared to our armada of iPads. Ballmer is out. HE WAS the problem. New managment, new visions, young-blood....and importantly, a new philosophy @ Windows moving forward....as they've seen with other brands and OS's, today's 'winner' is absolutely 100% compatible with your entire hardware group. Tablet. Phone. Laptop. Desktop. No broken RT/x86 differences. Its ok to have a different 'Metro' (modern) interface. Its FAR from 'hard to learn' and damn near as intuitive as ANY OS ever built! Seriously...other than iOS, I can't think of another 'new UI' OS I've seen that doesn't NEED an instruction manual. Watch an 8 minute youtube video and you'll have 95% of the interface (& the ability to change 'back' to your familiar 'Desktop' boot up....with a mouse, you'll miss nothing!) down pat. All it is...a bunch of live tiles updating themselves. Click desktop and BOOM....Guess where you end up? Right click the 'Start/Windows/LowerLeft' button and EVERY option plus MANY more present themselves...just like XP/NT/2000/7! Forget. Vista. It was a tragedy. Microsoft is...well, it's IN the name. They're a software company. If they focus on their software, work with OEMs to optimize their software....maybe continue building on the Surface/XBox platforms...but their past success has always been it's ubiquity the world over. First, the OS/UI itself. Office. Enterprise, server and large company support....many areas Apple has little interest in. We'll see the outcome over the next decade...but as we are more and more mobile, ultimately the company able to aggregate their OS across ALL daily use platforms (phone, tab, laptop, cloud storage and access) will win ...it's a marathon, not a sprint. As a 43 year old, I started with an AppleIIe playing Microsoft Flight Simulator in 1985. Got my first 286 in '89. 486 in '91/92 and continued building my own rigs for gaming, buying overpriced, underwhelming Compaq laptops....even spent the $400+ on Vista Ultimate with Bill's signature and the numbered black box. Man, what a devestating year that followed. 2006 was the switch year for us to OSx. I'll always own Macs moving forward...but I'm glad to be playing with Windows again. So many of the shitty reviews, complaints and BS ya read online will make the ignorant believe it's Vista 2 when the facts are 180° different. Its new, exciting and the way 8.1 manages RAM while manipulating D800 RAW files in Photoshop or rendering frames in AfterEffects...even on these new ULV Haswell chips is mind blowing. Snappy as hell, extremely stable....and I'm NEVER returning to the HDD. Solid State, PCIe storage.... And 8-10 second reboots, instantaneous app launching, fast transfers....down to $.50 cents a GB...I believe the next 18 months we'll see a precipitous drop in SSD pricing while capacities continue to rise. Front page of Anand right now is a review of a rebadged SSD set --- 128, 256, 512 & 1TB. Just over $500 for the TB SSD. THAT'S PROGRESS! As is memory managment, UI overhauls, high resolution graphic power AND the coding to deal with multiple monitors in HiDPI or assorted resolutions....that's my hope for 8.2?? Reply
  • EdgeOfDetroit - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Windows 2000 was a great OS in its day, and bucks the trend of "every other OS is good" from Microsoft. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    That isn't an actual trend. Every other OS lately from Microsoft just gets a ridiculous negative meme to it that isn't fact based. Reply
  • hero4hire - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    First impressions. XP had problems but we're quickly forgiven because of how much of an improvement it was. Win7 had a rediculously long/ open beta and was polished. Had Vista been stalled until it was solid maybe we'd use "Vista sp2" and not 7. In hindsight maybe Vista pushed hardware so 7 could flourish as 8 may push touch so 9 will. But that is a different conversation and ignores the here and now.

    This update to 8 and by no longer treating the desktop like dos mode is what may get me to use my $15 upgrade.
    Reply
  • Donkey2008 - Saturday, April 05, 2014 - link

    Vista is one of the most under-appreciated OSes Microsoft has ever made. It did a LOT of the heavy pulling for Windows 7. The superfetch was a disaster (remember the hard drive chunking along when you first logged in?), the memory footprint was not optimized and Nvidia/ATI drivers were terrible (not MS's fault), but Vista did bring 64-bit to mainstream and once the before-mentioned superfetch was polished by SP2 Vista ran great.

    I get annoyed when nubs who know nothing about computers put Vista in the same sphere of "horrible" as ME or Win8. It was not a good OS for those running old hardware but if you had a decent system it ran fine.
    Reply
  • akdj - Sunday, April 06, 2014 - link

    While Vista indeed brought 64bit to the masses....and 'possibly' helped build '7' --- Even MS will tell ya, it was a mistake....a terrible, awful, incredibly over the top POS until the second service pack. Even then, MANY refused to loose XP Reply
  • Exodite - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    While I appreciate that there's been some movement to please desktop users the reality is that W7 is still entirely superior from a user experience perspective.

    Until the time that's no longer the case the under-the-hood improvements of W8 and up are completely irrelevant to me.
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    What is this 8.1 Update still missing? It looks like they've now put back all the features they stripped out. Reply
  • inighthawki - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Ojectively, a start menu, and subjectively, a visual style that doesn't make my eyes bleed from ugliness. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    This update returns the start menu, is there anything else that's still missing?

    I agree with you on the theme by the way. It's flat, sharp and somehow reminds me of the 256 color days, what with everything being one solid color.
    Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Windows 8.1 Update 1 doesn't include the Start Menu or windowed Metro apps. That's coming in Update 2 (or 8.2 or 9.0 or whatever they call it). They demonstrated it this week, but it won't be available for awhile yet. Reply
  • inighthawki - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Truthfully my biggest complaint about the visual style is it's absolute lack of any contrast around anything. The outline around windows, for example, is just a single pixel line that is a darker shade of the theme color, and inactive windows are quite possibly the worst shade of light gray (not even the theme color) they could have chosen. The min/max buttons are ugly little flat solid black icons. Couple this with the non-configurable title bar text color and you have an ugly theme that is incompatible with any kind of dark color as the theme color.

    Thankfully deviantart has a number of decently nice visual styles to choose from to make the OS bearable to look at.
    Reply
  • valnar - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    MidiMapper is gone from Windows 8. New printer driver system screws up some printers. There are a bunch of under the hood "improvements" that were bad. Reply
  • Exodite - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    True, nested application menus sorted alphabetically as opposed to by gaudy non-scannable icons.

    Killing the travesty that is charms.

    The ability to completely disable Metro and everything assosciated with it.

    Real boot options that don't require blundering through 8 levels of submenus because it's deemed "advanced".

    Getting rid of the C64-style flat interface, being very unintuitive and ugly.

    The short of it is that, aside from a couple of minor under-the-hood changes that largely doesn't impact me as a desktop user, everything that's different in W8 from W7 is a direct downgrade. Often a significant one.

    Now, that obviously goes for me personally so I'll appreciate being spared from any discussion over how these new UI changes and features are *actually* good and how I *just have to learn how to use them*.
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    How is it "entirely superior"? I find 8 mostly superior to 7 for desktop use. Explorer has a lot of nice tweaks that make 7 feel a bit archaic. Reply
  • Exodite - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I'm sure that's true - for you.

    I'm arguing from my personal preferences and usage, obviously, and in that case W8 is a strict downgrade in every possible way.

    I wouldn't be so vocal about it if I didn't find outright terrible, it's like someone dug up my personal vision of hell and implemented it as a operating system interface.
    Reply
  • piiman - Saturday, April 12, 2014 - link

    " it's like someone dug up my personal vision of hell and implemented it as a operating system interface."

    LOL Good one!
    Reply
  • EdgeOfDetroit - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    What are all these fraking icons supposed to be? http://images.anandtech.com/doci/7922/NewApps_575p... I have no idea what I'm clicking on. I want TEXT, not some god damned icon to know what I'm clicking. I hate this in apps and I sure as hell won't stand for it in my OS. I imagine when Windows 7 is dead and gone, I'll be forced to update to a Windows Server OS just to avoid all this bullshit. Reply
  • lurker22 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Let's hope by time they kill Windows 7, Microsoft has fixed Windows 8. It's crazy, Windows 7 was so fantastic from the first moment I used it. I can't believe how they messed up so much with Windows 8. All they had to do was leave the GUI alone for desktop/laptop users and add the metro interface for tablets/touch screens and they would have had a winner upgrade. Reply
  • JeffFlanagan - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    All you have to do is install Classic Shell, and Win 8 becomes better than Win 7. The only issue with 8 was Metro and the insane depreciation of the desktop. Once Classic Shell is installed, it's a faster OS than Win 7, with a familiar UI, and a much better task manager.

    Yes, we shouldn't have needed to install Classic Shell, but the fact remains that Win 8 + Classic Shell is better than Windows 7.
    Reply
  • piiman - Saturday, April 12, 2014 - link

    "All you have to do is install Classic Shell, and Win 8 becomes better than Win 7"

    That would be your opinion , mine is that it doesn't.

    I have win 7 and 8.1 installed and I never boot win 8 expect to download the newest Windows updates from time to time. I have done this with every new OS from MS and this is the first time I keep going back to the older OS.

    I did install that other Stardock app I think its called Metro-mix, or something like that, that runs Metro apps on the desktop in a window. Its getting a little better piece by piece as MS slowly moves back to Desktop use instead of touch.

    Next they need to fix the ugly interface.
    Reply
  • valnar - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    Agreed. Icons all the way back to the Windows 3.0 days were just meant to be a cute add-on. The program is the text. Now they've swapped that but those icons don't mean diddly to me. It takes longer to find something. What if you had three email or four photo editing programs? Nuff said. Reply
  • Dentons - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    This is where Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Windows RT should have been upon release. Better late than never, but none of those products should have shipped without these core features.

    Most of these revisions are blindingly obvious.

    - Changing the OS interaction depending on which user interface, mouse or touch, is being used?

    - Adding context menus and other mouse-friendly options to the start screen?

    - Universal application across Windows 8, Windows Phone, and RT?

    Microsoft has tens of thousands of software engineers. This is what the day-one, release-one, RTM Windows 8 should have been.

    Why did it take Microsoft so many YEARS to reach this place?
    Reply
  • inighthawki - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    They have tens of thousands of engineers, but not all of them work on features for windows. Microsoft is huge and spans numerous high end products (Windows, Office, VS, Xbox, Azure, .NET, etc etc).

    On top of that, take just the subset of engineers working on Windows, then exclude all those who work as test, then limit that only to people who work on the features you mention. You're probably down to a couple dozen people across multiple features.
    Reply
  • Dentons - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    What's more likely is that these changes were not approved until quite recently. Once approved, they were quickly developed, and quickly tested.

    It wasn't the lack of software engineers, it was the lack of direction.

    MS still has not set a date for the return of the start menu and windowed Metro apps. By the time those changes release, Windows 8 will have reached its two year birthday.

    These changes were obvious and should have been present on day one. They don't even fix a lot of the core issues with the Metro interface. Touch UI tablet users will still have to wallow into the desktop interface to perform a majority of maintenance functions. This is quite difficult to do on a tiny tablet.

    How long will it take Microsoft to make Metro versions of the system utilities? Another two years?
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    It's worth noting that 8's desktop interface actually works great on a 10.6" tablet at least. They subtly changed the size of things so that even the desktop works great by touch. 8"? I don't know, haven't used that much (and don't like smaller tablets as much anyway).

    Most stuff's available through the Metro interface though as of 8.1, and most of the rest you wouldn't be regularly changing anyway, and often isn't available in dumbed down mobile oses like iOS or Android.
    Reply
  • Dentons - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I have an 8.1 tablet. Windows 8.1 hasn't solved it.

    A large majority of maintenance functions are still only available in Desktop mode. It's true that many commonly accessed settings are now reachable within Metro, but they are a tiny subset of Windows Desktop's GUI maintenance panels.

    Changing those settings is at the very edge of usability on smaller tablets. On 8" tablets, I'd describe the settings as unusable to most with average, unmagnified vision. I've most often hooked a tablet to a larger monitor, hardly a optimal solution.

    There's just no excuse for Microsoft taking over two years to make Metro versions of these core OS components. They want the focus on touch, and nearly two years on, still haven't provided the basics.
    Reply
  • grahaman27 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I used windows 8 which was then updated to windows 8.1, but I switched back to windows 7 because I got tired of minor incompatibilities and inconsistencies (notibly chrome, Google drive did not work right). I also hated the fact that windows 8 requires secure boot and that the "F8" startup menu is gone. I did use classic shell, so I don't think 8.1 fixes anything for me besides the start menu which I already had.

    So, I guess I will just wait for windows 9.
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Chrome works just fine for me, and I used Google Drive briefly and it seemed fine.

    Also Windows 8 does NOT require secure boot. That's an option.
    Reply
  • grahaman27 - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    its an "option" but it will nag you every time you reboot and puts a watermark in the bottom right hand corner of your desktop just like having a non-genuine version of windows would. and google drive worked for me once I put it in compatibility mode. but there are just too many issues for me. I want a desktop that works. Reply
  • Dribble - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Hurray!!! by 9.0 it might work almost as well as 7.... Reply
  • azazel1024 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I hadn't read about the compatibility mode being added for IE11. Hopefully it works properly and if so, that would be a nice little perk. My wife's part time job she has to enter her time sheets through an employee portal and it ONLY works with IE8-10. No 11 support (fails to load) and it won't work with any version of Chrome or Firefox I've tried, even the ones it claims it supports. So I've been running an IE compatibility dev app to run IE9 java engine so that she can still enter her hours (doesn't work from mobile safari either).

    Otherwise we have zero devices that can log her in. iPad 2 and iPhones don't work. My kids Android tabs don't work. My laptop, desktop and server (8.1, 8.1 and 8) all have IE11 on them and won't work. So its that dev app or nothing right now.

    This would be nice so any of the IE11 machines could finally work.
    Reply
  • Da W - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Depends on your ecosystem.
    I use a surface pro and windows phone, so my big rig in the basement having Windows 8.1 helps, if only for skydrive and apps sync. Having your music, playlist and pictures all synced effortlessly to all machines is cool. Even with android i have to manually perform some action to sync everything with my PC. With windows 7 i would have to download extra software to do the same.

    Some things like Skype or even printing/scaning is easier for computer illetrate with the apps versions (instead of bloated dekstop software version).

    Although i do use Metro on my surface and desktop only on my gaming rig.
    Reply
  • jardows2 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    This update makes me wish I had went ahead and bought Windows 8 for my new build a couple years ago. After testing Windows 8 on an older laptop, and taking some time to tweak the interface to my liking, I find it a much smoother experience for my purposes.

    Also, I don't get the complaining about the "look" of Windows 8. The first thing I have done with Windows XP and later is turn off all the eye candy. Shoot, I'd still be using DOS command line if I could still function with modern computing that way.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    That's it, you don't get the complaining because you don't care how it looks.

    You answered your own question.

    Some people do care, and they think 8 is ugly. Not hard to understand.
    Reply
  • jardows2 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I still don't understand the fuss. When I am working on my computer, I am not looking at the window borders or the taskbar, I am focused on the content on my screen. When I am gaming, I almost always use full screen mode, but if not, the above statement applies. I personally find that all MS Windows default themes are rather ugly. You may not like the look, but to make such a big fuss over it when it is such a small part of the experience, to me is just people wanting to whine. Reply
  • Deelron - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    For me it's like I'm watching TV and there's hideous shiny bezel around the screen reflecting light that's coming from outside. Even though I'm not "looking" at the bezel I still notice it's hideousness nevertheless. When I go to write something I'd prefer to be in a nice garden area rather then surrounded by a garage full of tools. Aesthetics most definitely matter. Reply
  • tunapez - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    "if performance gains isn't enough for you as a gamer, then, what is?"
    If negligible improvements are your yardstick, so be it & congrats. I consider obfuscating controls and hardware locking into in my overall evaluation, as well. I also take "App Store" and all the recommendation engine/behavior mod/developer gouging facets into consideration, too.

    Where are the real gains to merit a doubling of license fees that I see at retail or to warrant a PC upgrade? Oh yeah, I hear the OEMs got a break, but where's the discounted OEM licensing for me? I see 8 @ Fry's for $130 & computer prices have not dropped. Good for Corps... I can always pay more.
    Reply
  • dstarr3 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I think Windows 8 is definitely shaping up to be a perfectly tolerable OS if you get stuck with it. But the thing is that, yes, Windows 8 does generally perform better. But, people aren't looking at Windows 7 and thinking "Gosh, I wish this was faster." People are stuck in an "Ain't broke, don't fix it" mindset with Windows 7 (and I can't blame them). So of course there's still reluctance to upgrade.

    But, fortunately, if you get cornered into using Windows 8 on a new device, at least it's becoming more and more bearable. Almost good, in fact.
    Reply
  • DARBYOTHRULL - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I am really warming up to the idea of using a 8.1 laptop, but I am having trouble finding something that is competitive with the build, price, and functionality of a MacBook Air. Does anyone have any suggestions? Reply
  • Braumin - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro - starts at around $899 and comes with a 3200x1800 13.3" screen (albeit a pentile screen) Reply
  • cbf - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I find the Dell XPS 12 or XPS 13 currently selling for a nice discount at the Microsoft Store (http://www.microsoftstore.com/store?SiteID=msusa&a... are very competitive alternatives to the MacBook Airs.

    The XPSes are slightly heavier, but the screens are superior to the MacBooks Airs:
    - higher resolution (1920 x 1080 vs Air's 1366 x 768 or 1440 x 900)
    - IPS (remember, the MacBook Air does not have Retina display options)
    - touch screen (definitely better for Windows 8)

    The XPS 12 & XPS 13 build quality is also better than the Yoga 2 Pro. The 3200 x 1800 on the Lenovo is actually a problem since a lot of Windows apps don't yet handle it well.
    Reply
  • CountvonKramm - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    As a Windows user since the advent of '95, I followed the introduction of Windows 8 with some interest as it went through it's development process. Tried the Alpha, the Beta and the release candidates. My hopes were not at a real high point at that time. They have not gained much altitude since. So, I figured that I would simply stick with 7 and be happy. However, since I build and support desktops for my family and friends, need to have a working knowledge of the beast. So I got me an OEM copy of Win8.1 and have coexisted with it for several months now on my main box. The relationship does not appear like it's going to be a long term one, as I am not happy with the fact that it wants to take my $1200 desktop and turn it into a $500 iPad. I can read, I don't need generic symbols on garishly colored backgrounds to hold my interest.
    While I can see that the system would probably be a good ticket for a phone or a padd device, I don't have either.(Well, I have a phone but I'm silly enough to believe that a phone is for making and receiving PHONE calls. So I don't use it for anything else.) But, as a desktop OS Windows 8.1 falls quite off the mark. I have researched the benchmarks and reviews. Done some benchmarking of my own, and can find no area where it rises superior to it's predecessor. In addition, I find it much slower in reading an optical disc, usb device, or storage drive. I have no desire to turn my data over to anybody's "cloud", I am quite capable of backing up and protecting my own digital content. I don't Facebook, Skype, or Shop for Apps to any large extent. I do like to watch DVDs sometimes, but wait, no payback anymore,(Yes I have read the alleged reasons for this, not convinced.) without purchasing additional software. This being a key point, much of 8.1 seems directed toward getting you to buy from or turn your data over to, Microsoft. I also find glitches in the UI that I have never experienced before. Mainly with the mouse cursor, and some content windows appearing and disappearing at random. Sorry, but I don't see a good reason to get rid of 7. Shame is, I really would like to use it.
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    I have no idea why it would be slower reading from a drive or USB. 8 includes native USB 3.0 support so if anything USB works BETTER. I've certainly never seen anything like you describe.

    The desktop has a lot of tweaks that improve it from 7.
    Reply
  • marc1000 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    @Brett, that start menu is the real one on 8.1update???? if it is, I could give it another chance...

    also I hope this time they fixed the USB 3.0 external drives disconnecting issues... on 8.0 they work fine, but on 8.1 the OS will try to put the drives to sleep every few minutes and disconnect them. even changing power configurations or registry hacking could not fix this.

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows...

    http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-1882340/win...

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/usbcoreblog/archive/2013/1...
    Reply
  • Hruodgar - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    they are supposed to rollback the stupid deep sleep mode with the april update. In the meantime a little program called KeepaliveHD will keep the drives from disconnecting.(Drove me nuts until I started wondering if it was a windows problem rather than my brand new 7=port USB 3.0 hub). Reply
  • marc1000 - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    thanks Hruodgar! I will search this program. my w8 install is crashing while browsing the web currently, I will test different browsers and later I will upgrade to 8.1u. Reply
  • Braumin - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    That start menu from the keynote is for a future update - maybe Update 2, maybe Windows 9. But coming soon. Reply
  • marc1000 - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    too bad :( should have been like this since day 1! Reply
  • Brett Howse - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    It's sounding like the Start Menu is Windows 9 Threshold. They were very vague about the timing during the keynote. Reply
  • marc1000 - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    thanks for the reply! see my comments above, I hope they get it right this time. or I will be back to 7... Reply
  • marc1000 - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    Hruodgar, from that app description it writes a small file to the disk every few minutes. This prevents disk sleep, but it does not prevent the disconnecting issue. My drives disconnect even while downloading torrents or converting video files - with pretty high usages. :( Reply
  • Lerianis - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Desktop was always a first class citizen. You could easily 'split the screen' between a Metro App and a Desktop App and use both at the same time.
    Never understood why people kept on whining about "The desktop has been depreciated!" because it simply had not. It had been made an equal to Metro Mode, which was fine and dandy for the majority of people.
    Reply
  • Brett Howse - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    On the RTM version of Windows 8, there was no split screen. If you used the desktop, and then snapped a Metro app with it as the primary app, the desktop was useless and only showed the task bar preview of your open apps.

    They've fixed that somewhat with 8.1 with the split screen which defaults to half screen for each app, and keeps the desktop usable.

    These updates however are pushing towards being able to use the Modern app environment on the desktop, which will make a much bigger market for Modern apps.
    Reply
  • piiman - Saturday, April 12, 2014 - link

    Yeah like running an app in a tiny strip is fun.

    "It had been made an equal to Metro Mode, "
    so you admit the desktop as been down graded? :-)
    Seriously Metro is not an upgrade unless you have a tablet.
    Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    "Even better, with the update developers can now target Desktop apps (due to the windowed mode), Tablet apps, Phone apps, and even Xbox One apps, all with common code. This is a big win for developers"

    Brett, you really need to learn to stop mindlessly accepting MS PR.
    There are basically two parts to most normal apps: the backend and the UI (or if you prefer, the Model and the View) with some glue between them.
    The backend is for the most part agnostic as to your OS.
    The UI is (or SHOULD) be STRONGLY dependent on the input devices and screen available. A device appropriate for a phone is sub-optimal for a tablet and absolutely unacceptable for a desktop. Likewise what makes sense for Xbox input devices.

    Which means what, for us? It means that "common code" is as much bullshit today as it was with Windows 7. If your app is not going to be complete garbage, you will write it today exactly the same way you would have written it two years ago --- with a common backend, and multiple front ends. If you actually drink the MS koolaid and try to write some single UI that's automatically going to expand from phone all the way to desktop to Xbox, you're going to ship crap.

    This is the Java story all over again (wrt writing desktop apps). Some nerds will not let the fantasy of "write once run anywhere" die, even though it's been demonstrated repeatedly that it produces nothing desirable. Being able to deploy one binary (badly) to multiple targets might be acceptable if you're writing some in-house app that people are forced to use, but you're not going to have ANY commercial success following that path.
    Reply
  • sorten - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    Depends on the application. If it's just a line of business application, then your viewmodel and controllers can be shared across platforms and you can focus your form factor work on the UI. Or you can go the responsive UI approach and build a front end that adapts well for the various form factors. I understand what you're saying and in some cases a first class application has to be targeted at a specific platform or form factor. Reply
  • Braumin - Friday, April 04, 2014 - link

    It's not one binary for all platforms. It's one app package, with multiple binaries, for multiple platforms. To the user it's seamless. You buy in one store and can install on many devices. The dev has to do some work though, but much less than was required before.

    Prior to WP 8.1, the API was different for the phone. Similar, but different. WP 8 had WPRT. Now, Windows Phone and Windows 8 share WinRT and APIs which allow lots of code to be shared. Yes you still need to tweak your code for each device to make the interface work. Other than that it should be pretty easy.
    Reply
  • sorten - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    For people asking for reasons to switch from Windows 7 to 8.1+, here's a wiki page for your consideration. I've been using it in desktop only mode and wouldn't consider going back to W7, but YMMV.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windo...
    Reply
  • Gigaplex - Thursday, April 03, 2014 - link

    "Traditional PCs – desktops and laptops – will now boot to the desktop by default. PC makers building tablets or types of hybrid machines with touchscreens can now set a flag to identify the device as a Slate, which will make them boot to the Start Screen."

    So for existing Slate devices that get this update, they're going to think they're a desktop and become a nuisance for touch. Yay.
    Reply
  • MDX - Saturday, April 05, 2014 - link

    There's a better solution: use Windows 7. Reply
  • Xajel - Sunday, April 06, 2014 - link

    And I'm still waiting for the ability to choose different login username/password than the Microsoft Account one..

    I'm not talking about local account, I'm talking about a real Microsoft Account, but I want to choose different login username and password than my original MS Account one...
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Sunday, April 06, 2014 - link

    This misses the mark a little. They added touch for Windows 8, and took great pains to make sure it worked well, but that doesn't mean it's touch-first or that you couldn't use whatever you wanted. I've been using touch, mouse, pen, and keyboard extensively since I started using Windows 8, and I can basically do anything I want with any one of those options. That's been the biggest strength of Windows, in my eyes.

    The worse matter was about how Windows handled touch on smaller UI elements, like 1px handles (like when resizing columns in Excel) or small buttons. That *has* been a problem, but it was still technically possible (in a maddening way) and was fixed in 8.1. I still have a couple problems with touch correction, but one of Windows' greatest strengths is that we can customize it so much. They could just give me some more options.

    The theme is definitely about bringing the old-style elements to the new interfaces they built, though. Dragging the entire window down to the bottom to close an app would probably be intuitive if we've been using touch all our lives, but we haven't. It makes me wonder, though, if they should have thought ahead and used mouse gestures more in Windows 3.1 and later.
    Reply
  • marc1000 - Monday, April 07, 2014 - link

    so? anyone has actually installed this update??? no blue-screens or whatever? Reply
  • HardwareDufus - Thursday, April 10, 2014 - link

    On my system that I do real work with (Programming / Design) I stayed with Win7.

    However, I just put Win 8.1 with this new Update on a spare Intel I-5 system I have and I was pleased.

    I'll evaluate how the apps I use function and perhaps finally upgrade to Win8 on my primary box. (I'd like to start developing for Phone 8).
    Reply
  • ayangjia - Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - link

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