Windows 8.1 livetiles

Microsoft Windows 8.1, first impressions

I am a little late to adopt the latest MS Windows 8.1, but my old computer wasn’t suitable for the switch to 64-bit so I had decided to wait till my next computer purchase. With the demise of my old PC, now was the right time. So was it worth the upgrade, short answer: Yes, but don’t expect it to change your life.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of improvements (although I think my experience is a little more positive given I had skipped Windows 8 and jumped straight to 8.1), but it doesn’t move the bar as much as Windows 7 did.

Little Gems you might not even notice

There are a lot of negative comments about Windows 8 out there in general with stories of people uninstalling it and reverting back to Windows 7. This is undeserved bad press. I think part of the problem is that the stuff it does well, it does it so well that you take it for granted the moment you start using it.

Little things like:

  • Super fast boot times – you get used to this very quickly!
  • Ability to burn DVDs directly from Windows without additional software
  • Revamped search functionality
  • More powerful task manager (see below)
Windows 8 Task Manager

However, one of my favourite apps of all time is now deprecated – Windows Media Centre. At first I thought they must have put it in a different place or merged its functionality into another re-branded app. Unfortunately after some research it seems that although you can still get it, you have to pay extra for it and there is no place for Windows Media Centre in the new world order. Microsoft simply believe that we do not watch TV the same way we used to and we probably stream everything we watch now (instead of through an antennae) – they are probably right.

Windows 8.1 Interface

The biggest compliant about Windows 8 is the new Metro style interface. It’s perfect for mobile devices, seriously it really does kick Apple and Android out of the park. However, for a desktop people are divided. Personally I love that they attempted to kill the Start button. In reality there is a max of 10 app (and that’s already a lot) that people will use on a daily basis. This is perfect for Live Tiles. I mean it just looks so beautiful, just let it sit in your living room and proudly have it on display. If you really want to find that random app you use once a month, just use the much improved Windows Search (Keyboard windows key and just start typing app name – you don’t even have to reach for the mouse!).

Windows 8.1 livetiles
Microsoft Windows 8.1 LiveTiles

In summary, if you are someone who is generally afraid of your computer going wrong and like things to stay as they are, stay with Windows 7. If you don’t mind doing a bit of exploring, I would recommend an upgrade, there is just about enough features here to be worth the pain.

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