So the news is the update and the way Microsoft is handling the update. So let’s talk now about the update itself. What’s in this update for us? Well apparently this is a peace-offering update. The first version of Windows 8 was a tablet oriented OS and to say that it was met with a wave of complaints from a mouse and keyboard public would be an understatement. A massive one. Microsoft users not only turned an apathetic eye toward Windows 8, they responded in the only way that would eventually cause Microsoft to relent…..they refused to buy the new OS. They held onto XP. They held onto Vista. They are still buying Windows 7 in droves.
To be sure, they dealt with some of the complaints with Windows 8.1.
• They brought back the ability to have the Start button….but not the Start menu
• Better Skydrive integration
• Better personalization…you can use the desktop background as the Start screen background too
• 8.1 adds large and small tiles
• They added Smart Search that automatically builds a nice Metro-UI result from a (dreaded) Bing search thus giving a more unified search. I hate Bing so big deal.
• A new App Store interface. It is still full of junk and useless app offerings but is better than 8.0
• Internet Explorer 11……why do we care? Why are you still using Internet Explorer??
• Ok, ok..IE11…Windows 8.1 adds support for permanent tabs and support for infinite tabs, REALLY???
• Minor improvements of Xbox Music and Mail. I still find Mail to be totally useless. I have not been able to set it up and I will no longer even try because why?? I don’t need it. Would it really be easier than using Outlook directly…I sincerely doubt it.
If Microsoft really cared they would have just done one thing and made me and countless other Microsoft users happy. Find a way to have the Metro user interface and Desktop work together. The idea that you have to install an app twice just to use the Desktop is childish, stupid, mean spirited and just plain stupid. At least that is how I might feel if I wasn’t fair and even handed in my reporting.
Windows 8.1 Update
Ok, now what is new about this update? Will this pull Microsoft’s buns out of the fire and make the world a happy place again? Well first of all, I have to do a retraction of sorts. I told people at first that this was not going to be handled by auto updates but you had to manually update it yourself. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I got a haircut today and I am going to purposely wear the hairy shirt for the rest of the day for punishment. I know, it seems harsh but I am willing to take responsibility for my statements…..Anybody have a back scratcher???
If you were waiting for massive changes you will be disappointed. With 8.1 Update Microsoft went subtle. But that may be a good thing. Many analysts are calling this the mouse and keyboard update. Here are some of the changes:
• The taskbar can be accessed from any screen. The desktop and the Start screen. It jumps up when you violate it’s airspace with your cursor. You can also pin both desktop and Windows Store apps to it with just a right click of your mouse. The Windows Store icon is pinned to the taskbar by default (but not permanently).
• Microsoft has lowered the minimum mass storage requirement from 2GB of RAM and 32GB HDD to 1GB Ram and 16GB HDD. This may lower the price for some units.
• Maybe the biggest news is that you can boot directly to the desktop. The manufacturers can decide to set their machines to boot directly to the desktop instead of the Start screen. But don’t worry, regardless of what the manufacturer decides you can set it to whatever you wish.
• This one they changed just for me….for pc users there is a power and a search charm in the upper right corner of the Start Screen. I hated using the mouse to try to entice the “charms” to appear so I could turn the pc off.
There are other minor changes but I think these are the major ones. They also could be a deal maker now instead of the deal breaker they were previously. Maybe most importantly is now with these changes XP and Windows 7 users shouldn’t feel so alienated. Windows 8.1 Update should help them feel right at home.
Just remember, if you are updating from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 Update you must first install Windows 8.1 before you install the update.
Show Note Links for Neal Rubin’s two articles:
The first article is entitled: Readers’ eyes turn to Bookstock, Michigan’s largest used book and media sale,Neal Rubin, Detroit News, April 24, 2014. And it deals with The Bookstock Used Book and Media Sale at the Laurel Park Place in Livonia, MI. It is located at: Laurel Park Place Mall, on Six Mile east of I-275 in Livonia. It starts on Sunday, April 27, 2014 and goes to May 4th.
Show Notes for Windows 8.1 Update podcast: