MyTechBlog

First Impressions of Windows 8.1

By on 5 June, 2013

For months now Windows 8.1 has been in the pipeline, but today Microsoft released a first look video of its up and coming operating system, Windows 8.1. From the offset Windows 8 has divided opinion but I think that it is fair to say that Windows 8 has been somewhat of a disaster for Microsoft. Any changes to software are always greeted with initial dislike. Remember when Facebook released the timeline for the first time, or the redesign of YouTube? People need time to adapt. Is Windows 8 one of these changes or is there a more serious problem with the latest Windows operating system? Windows 8.1 is meant to be Microsoft’s response to the consumer complaints, so, what’s new in Windows 8.1?

Return of the Start Button

Windows 8.1 Start

The Windows logo will once again return to the bottom left hand corner of the screen. This move is hardly revolutionary, but rather a backward step by Microsoft in response to fierce complaints. In my experience the issue isn’t the lack of a start button, but the lack of a start menu.

Lock Screen

The lock screen will now be able to pull photos from your SkyDrive account. I personally don’t store any photos on SkyDrive so this feature is pointless.

New Tile Sizes

The home screen will now see additional tile sizes. At the moment there are only two sizes. I must admit that this is not something that I have thought much about but I guess this will make some users happy. There will also be more customization options available.

Windows 8.1 Home

List of all your apps

Swiping up from the bottom of the screen will bring up a list of all your apps. Additional features have been added to this list where apps can now be sorted by date installed, most used, category and name.

Improved Search

Windows search has been greatly improved and now integrates with Bing to bring images and web pages.

Windows 8.1 Search

Automatic Multitasking

To be honest I had forgotten that full screen apps could be multitasked with a split screen view. This new feature means that if you open a photo attachment in the mail app it will open the image-viewing app side by side. Just what I’ve always wanted! Not.

Verdict

So what’s the verdict of these new features? Well, to be honest I thought that this announcement was some kind of joke. Microsoft doesn’t seem to understand the complaints about Windows 8. For example, are larger tiles really going to encourage a user to upgrade? I feel that these changes are purely cosmetic and don’t help the Windows environment at all. In my opinion Microsoft has aimed Windows 8 at the tablet market, but what they seem to have forgotten, is that the majority of users use a keyboard and mouse. Microsoft has tried to make Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 all-inclusive for tablet and desktop and as a result failed at both.

Verdict: Have a different operating system for tablets and desktops

What’s your opinion on Windows 8.1 – would it encourage you to upgrade?

Tags:
Windows 8 Windows 8.1

II am the Founder and Director of Wheal Media Limited and a student studying MEng Computer Engineering at the University of Portsmouth.

http://www.johnwheal.co.uk
John Wheal
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