Now that the hype of the moment has died down, and people are actually considering upgrading to Windows 8.1, it’s time to make it crystal clear what they are in for. After all, there are countless articles online about how good it is and how better Windows 8.1 performs in comparison to earlier versions of Windows, but for the users to have an accurate picture about Microsoft’s new brainchild, they must be made aware of the bad things also.
When making this list of the bad things that Microsoft has’n fixed, the phrase “the more things change, the more they stay the same” comes to mind. Although everyone that had Windows 8 installed on their computer complained about all the thing that weren’t right, it seems that this feedback has fallen on deaf ears.
Windows 8.1 final is just Windows 8 with a few tweaks
From the list of improvements that Microsoft proudly flaunts in the faces of its users, there are a few that add value to Windows 8.1, such as the Ribbon, which is now accessible in every folder and makes accessing different options very easy, or the new Windows PowerShell which will take over from our beloved Command Prompt.
Note: CMD is still available, but users have the option of replacing it with PowerShell
Another thing that can add some value to Windows 8.1 is the Snap feature that allows users to work with multiple apps on the screen at the same time, but we’ll take a closer look at this feature later on. For now, let’s stick with the things that are still annoying in Windows 8.1.
What’s Still Bad in Windows 8.1
To make this a bit more fun, we’ll be taking Microsoft’s own “what’s new list” and break it down to what it actually means to the users. Everything looks awesome when you see it on the website, but a closer look can reveal some actual facts.
The Start Button is back (NOT!) – Well, Microsoft, nice move! I have to give you that. Everyone was asking for a start button, but they actually were referring to the start menu that was an iconic Windows feature. Now, Microsoft basically trolled everyone and added a Start button that will send users right back at the Start Screen, and only by right clicking it, it reveals a few other features. Well played, Microsoft, well played.
Search Everywhere – This feature was introduced when Windows 8.1 Preview was made available, and there was a stir in the online world due to the fact that it had ads blended in with the results. Microsoft seems to think that people actually enjoy seeing ads in their results, so they kept this option and made the ads customized to each search, based on the user’s input. However, if you are using this tool to search online, better stick to Google, as the results are thrown on an endless page with more blank space than actual text.
Snap Multiple Apps – This feature is pretty nice, right? Well, it is great if you have a humongous screen at your disposal, otherwise, you’ll be struggling to make out much of anything. Everything is crammed together, making it pretty hard to work. The number of apps you can open at the same time depends on your screen size, but on a regular sized laptop (15.6 inch screen), opening two apps at the same might not be a good idea. Also, what’s the point in adding as many apps you want to the screen if all of them are oriented vertically? Try doing word processing that way and see how quickly you’ll be throwing your computer out the window.
New App Store and New Apps – The part with a new App Store that looks better and allows users to search more efficiently is true, however, Microsoft might want to make some effort and pump up the quality of the apps that are available. Of course, the Windows 8 App Store is not mature enough like the Play Market or iTunes, but some higher standards wouldn’t hurt either if you ask me. And if we are on the apps chapter, why can’t we open multiple apps easily? If you’re watching a video and you want to open another app, let’s say Facebook, it will pause the video and open the other app in full screen. Now, how many times did you had this problem in Windows 7?
Personalization Options – Hurray! Hurray! You’ll be happy to know that even if you hate the start screen and you don’t want to see it at all, you have a wide selection of animated backgrounds and colour schemes at your disposal, to make it prettier, and (probably) more bearable. Thank you very much Windows 8.1, that’s exactly what we needed. Also, when it comes to changing your settings,where do you go? That’s right, you have no idea because Microsoft decided to toss logic out the window and add settings all over the place so users have to remember where each individual setting is. On a related note, how much time did you search for the shut down button the first time you started Windows 8? If it is over 10 seconds, the there’s a problem to be solved my Microsoft here.
We won’t even bother with Internet Explorer, which I’m confident is still the best browser to download other browsers with. However, in spite of all these shortcomings, Windows 8.1 does bring performance upgrades and other good features to the table. If only Microsoft would listen to its users and not make everything so set in stone….
In a closing note, we’ll just state that things could have been a lot better. Windows 8.1 is a good operating system for any touchscreen interface, but when it comes to laptops and computers, you have the feel of two different operating systems competing for your attention (Desktop mode and Start Screen). Wouldn’t it be better if Microsoft added a feature for PC users to just skip the whole Modern UI and have the traditional look instead? Well, they could do this, and yet they don’t. So, if this is the best Microsoft can do, well, I am not impressed.