[Ask The Readers] Do The New Features & Changes In Windows 8.1 Make It Whole?

Since the day Microsoft released Windows 8, there has been outcry by many about the major changes introduced in the OS, especially about the features that were taken away. “Windows 8 is to Windows 7, what Windows Vista was to XP”, they say. Do the new features in Windows 8.1 help change that perception? That’s what we are going to discuss in our today’s Ask The Readers feature, so join us past the jump as we take a look at the things Windows 8.1 changes, and then tell us what you feel about them.

Windows-8.1-poll

Microsoft officially demoed the next version of Windows – Windows 8.1 “Blue” – at BUILD last week. At the very beginning of the presentation, they announced the availability of a public beta of the operating system on Windows Store & TechNet/MSDN for everyone to try out. Some of us here at AddictiveTips installed the Preview on our machines, analyzed just about every single new feature  – announced or otherwise – and discussed them in separate articles.

New features include:

These, and a whole lot more, including an updated Windows Defender and a new Windows Store video editing app for Windows 8.1 called Movie Moments.


These are all great additions to what is, in my opinion, the most solid desktop operating system available today. I have been on Windows 8 for a good many months now, and I am a satisfied* user. However, I spend the vast majority of my time using it in the Desktop mode, bringing up the Start screen only when I need to search for an app that isn’t pinned to my Taskbar, or a file I don’t know where I have saved. The new ‘boot to desktop’ feature in Windows 8.1 – which makes it so that Windows bypasses the Start screen on booting – will doubly ensure I don’t have to see the Start screen unless I absolutely need to.

The Start screen is just not of much use to me. The fact that it is optimized for touchscreen input when I am using an older laptop that refuses to respond when I pull off basic gestures doesn’t help either. Perhaps I will use it more when I buy myself one of those new laptops with capacitive touchscreens.

For yours truly, Windows 8.1 is a minor evolutionary update, and I will definitely be installing it. I cannot say the same for everyone though, especially people with touchscreen laptops, desktops, tablets. And that’s what why we’re running this poll.

*The only problems I’m facing so far can be sourced back to my laptop manufacturer for not providing the best quality drivers.

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  • Ivan

    I’m using W8 since it’s out as a full release (RTM I think is the right term). I don’t do alpha, beta, preview, etc. I’m a fan of new stuff, and adapt quickly to new stuff if its appealing to me. I find W8 amazing, besides the Metro/Modern part. I like the new Start (menu, or what ever its called) but do not have one drop of modern apps (even uninstalled the ones that come preinstalled, ALL OF THEM !!!). I’m the classical desktop user, Windows user, i like real software, not “apps” on my PC, and tend to keep it that way. The day the desktop will be gone, so will be Windows from my harddrive. W8.1 sounds promissing, boot to desktop is very important for me. Also like the background/wallpaper on the start page. Hopefully also performance tweaks. I’m very pleased with the performance of W8. Find it alot better then W7. I’m only sad that aero is gone. Really loved it.

  • Alfonso

    Im using windows 8 since the release, and its very rare to make use of the modern apps.Almost any installed.99% of the time i use the desktop, so for me the good thing of 8.1 is the option to boot directly to desktop, The start button is a joke, just do the same as a hot corner.Im testing the new preview, and for desktop only users, i dont see major improvements.

  • alukard

    I’m enjoying it so far on my surface rt and I believe it can only get better.

  • mark

    To be honest windows 8 and 8.1 are not worth the time it would take for me to format my hard drive or ssd and reinstall windows 7 a couple days later, In fact windows 8 seems to be the biggest mess i have seen sense windows vista. Windows 8 and 8.1 are just not optimized for standard users and seems bulky even thought their are some good things i like about windows 8 the cons of windows 8 also drag down the fact that windows 7 is just a more comfortable working environment and more stable. I wish Microsoft would get its act together and stop acting like apple and stop with this excessive updating. I know the start menu button and its original content that was displayed from it previous operating systems needs to come back because i know many users that miss it. I firmly believe that the start menu gives the users a ease of use because vertical lines are more calming than little square boxes coming in horizontally from the new metro look. Users just want a easy 123 step and a couple of clicks but metro takes away from that. In conclusion i still see windows 7 sticking around for a long time, and it being the operation system of choice that many companies will rush out too and upgrade to stay up to date.

  • Fantasm

    The problem with Windows 8 is that it doesn’t offer me any compelling reason to change from windows 7… Even worse, it takes away things I already have that I like…
    Windows 8 means:
    I lose, the Start MENU (not the frakking button)…
    I lose the Aero glass effects…
    I lose Media Center…
    I also end up with my multi-monitor set up not playing as well as it does under Windows 7
    In return, I get the Metro UI, which to me is so ugly, I’d rather not look at it at all… so no point in “Live” tiles updating if I’m not looking at it… and besides, all that info (weather, emails etc…) updates on my Android phone anyway…
    I have no use for the Metro UI…
    I don’t want Xbox music I use Winamp…
    In fact, I don’t want Xbox anything…
    I don’t plan on buying or even downloading any Apps…. I barely do that on my smartphones… and I will never buy an app…. for them or for windows….
    Sure with windows 8 it boots faster… about 7 seconds instead of 9…. I have an SSD… but only because it hibernates… however, power off to power on, it’s slower….
    Sure I can save “resources”…. Gee that’s why I have 8 gigs of ram, 9 terabytes of storage and 2, 1 Gig video cards… to save resources…
    I have no need or desire for touch-screen… My 40 inch monitor, is too large to reach all of it from where I sit… Given the choice, I’d get a bigger screen or a 4k screen with the extra cash rather than a touchscreen… (and those Metro tiles look uglier and uglier the bigger the screen) Touchscreen is simply not precise enough for what I do on a monitor… You can’t do pixel by pixel photo work when your fingertip covers a hundred pixels…
    And then too… 4k screens are starting to appear already… I really can’t see the sense in blowing extra bucks on a touchscreen that may be obsolete in 2 years… I hate to imagine what 4k touchscreen will cost…

    The Metro UI is going to go the way of the Dodo… It’s going to be fashionable for a while then die…. As fewer and fewer developers create apps, it will slowly die off… no need for Apps, means no developers, means no new apps, means less demand for apps… means no need for Metro to exist… (Gadgets from Vista and Windows 7 died pretty much the same way…)
    And to be honest, that plain Metro UI already looks stale and dated… Never, ever use a specific font in anything if you don’t want it to look out of date really soon… (Think of some of that 1960′s lettering on ads and posters for example…)
    To be honest, when windows 8 came out, I had high hopes for it… I did want it to work… but the actual hands on experience made me hate it…

  • MikeFromMarkhan

    I installed Windows 8 on my wife’s desktop computer for two reasons: (1) she initially thought it might be easier to use than Windows 7, and (2) it was only 40 bucks to upgrade.

    After a few weeks, she came to hate the built-for-touch approach, the kiddie building-block look of the start screen, and all the useless apps even more than I did. So I installed Classic Start Menu and turned her pc back into a desktop-only machine, and In that mode, it actually functions well.

    I am now testing the Win 8.1 preview on an old laptop (where it can’t screw anything up), and it still works very well in desktop mode, especially now that the very latest release of Classic Start Menu has killed the idiotic start screen button and replaced it with the good old windows start button and menu. I don’t think I spent more than 5 minutes on the start screen since I installed 8.1, and even that was far too long for my liking.

    That said, I will probably update my wife’s computer to Windows 8.1 when it’s finally released, but she’ll never know that anything changed because she still see only her desktop, and that will make her very happy (happy wife = happy life!)

    Sorry Microsoft, but you’ve still got millions of computer users out there (like my wife and me) who are never going to buy into your half-baked notion that a touch-optimized interface is the way to go on anything but a touch screen device, and who are never going to use one on their laptop and desktop devices.

    Wake me up when Windows 9 rolls around …

    • Mike

      Absolutely on-point (and now, only if Microsoft would listen . . .).

      I’m a long-time desktop sorta guy, but I also like new tech–it’s just plain fun. When I purchased a new (non-touchscreen) laptop with Windows 8 on it, I thought to give the new Start interface a fair chance and a go. (I even had a Windows 7 install disk to use, if I felt otherwise.)

      After more than 2 months of use, I can honestly say that I was using the computer less than before. It just was more of a hassle to use the Start system, and the Start menu almost felt like a Lego-set sort of construction, more for a young child than an adult. The Start apps, themselves, seemed like dumbed-down versions of desktop counterparts, with fewer options and abilities.

      After 2 months, I finally bit the bullet and put Classic Start Menu on my computer. Immediately, it was easier and faster, and more “adult,” to find programs, as well as to browse. As we all know, the desktop start menu just works, as an efficient system. And using regular desktop versions of programs showed their maturity and sophistication.

      Not to say that Windows 8 is bad. Its quick start-up is wonderful. And the Start screen is fun to play with and a good at-a-glance screen for weather, breaking news, and bling. I’m glad to have the advances.

      But I’m also glad, now, to have my “regular” computer back, with its sophistication and adult nature.

      Where I think Microsoft has gone wrong with Windows 8.1 is its half-hearted attempt, if even that, to address customer cries to get the desktop start menu back–quite candidly, simply giving a “start button” without a desktop start menu is rather insulting. (And, in fact, the 8.1 start button already is there, in essence, simply by mousing to the bottom left corner.) But, again, Classic Start Menu and similar options can address that mistake. Maybe Microsoft finally will fess up and understand this as well, along with its user base and the inherent nature of desktop/laptop computing. Shocking to even have to say this, though.

  • Samuel Pettey

    Granted my Steelseries driver install crashed on 8.1, then the system wouldn’t boot & wasn’t able to restore or boot in safe mode.

    8 works with the same exact software, so what ever they changed in driver installation will need to be remedied.

  • Ocelotty1

    I did my homework on Win 8 for months before I touched it. I dismissed the whiners out of hand but I did read up as many how to’s as possible – Win 8 out of the box is basically rubbish; but once beaten into shape it’s is hands down the best OS Microsoft have ever produced (at least to me) – I’ve been using Windows since 3.1.
    Now I have Win 8 everywhere. I don’t like or use Metro but I installed the Freeware Skip Metro – Get past the nightmare that is Metro & Win 8 is basically a rocket propelled Win 7. I love it; with caveats

  • javi

    What i dont like about W8.1 is that icant use my norton antivirus or any other just windows defender and firewall :[

  • Saimoen

    Windows 8.1 is an improvement to Windows 8 but why the heck should anyone use Windows 8? Microsoft is phasing out the traditional desktop and the WinRT isn’t a real replacement. You still don’t get a real multitasking, and still don’t get a good replacement for “windowed” apps. And WinRT apps can’t use the full range of different programming languages. To use the full range, you need to implement a client-server architecture. So Windows 8 restricts the user and limits the programmer.

  • Andrew Coffer

    I voted no since the way it was worded, I’ve been using 8 since it’s Beta and i think i like more of it than less of it, i got my copy for free as a student but if i had to pay for id skip it as it doesnt really add anything to the user experience that one couldnt find with win 7.

    I like the features in 8.1 a lot i feel like win 8 was half baked and with these new features win8.1 is a 3/4 done OS :)

    PS warning with 8.1 its hella beta, on my desktop (2006) i kept getting hardware boot loops, fixed it then got memory boot loops. And on my laptop (2012 )it doesnt like it’s wifi driver. But honestly win 8 has been a POS with my hardware from the get go, 8.1 is a bit too ruf for a daily driver yet IMHO.

    PPS win 8.1 finally fixed the problem i’ve been having with metro apps not working lol.

  • Ivan

    I’m typing this message from a samsung 700t slate with Win8.1. TBH I don’t like it. the onscreen kb is horible, there is no propper webbrowse for touch. (on chromium right now). navigating in metro world is pretty awesome thou, but I just prooved myself I’m not a tablet person. if ever tablet then it must be Android powered. Win8 & 8.1 remains a favorite as desktop.