Last year, I made the mistake of upgrading my Windows 7 Desktop System to Windows 8. I've been running Windows 8.1 since the Preview version that came out a few months ago, and the official release version that came out this week. While Windows 8.1 does make some improvements to Windows 8, it is still is not an O/S that is desktop friendly. On the positive side, you can now boot directly to your desktop without using a 3rd party utility, and the "Start Button" is back (sorta). On the negative side, Microsoft has still left out the "Media Center", and still charges a ridiculous $99 to purchase the "Pro-Pack" to regain the same functionality that was free in Windows 7(Home Premium). There is still lack of quality Windows 8 apps. Windows 8.1 does very little to improve navigation through the O/S if you're using a mouse/keyboard, and not a touchscreen. At least Microsoft did not attempt to charge Windows 8 users to upgrade.
Windows 8.1 does fix some of the issues people running desktop environments complained about, but it still does not go far enough. If you're running a touchscreen system, then 8.1 isn't bad at all. If you're not and have Windows 7, I'd think long and hard on whether Windows 8.1 is an upgrade or downgrade from what you have.
Edit: The April 2014 Windows 8.1 Update has further improved Windows 8.1 on a desktop environment. By default, the OS will now boot to your desktop if you're not running a mobile touchscreen device. There are also improvements if you're navigating with a keyboard and mouse. Switching back and forth between desktop apps and modern apps is much easier.
on July 19, 2014
Download the trial enterprise edition and try it for yourself - force yourself to do the entire 90 days, not just give up after a day like I did the first time. My second time around I gave it a proper chance and now I love it just as much as I did windows 7.
Tips to make life easier:
1. Realize there is a big learning curve. Windows 3.1 to 95 was a big learning curve too and look how well that turned out.
2. To boot to the desktop you simply right click on the task bar and choose that option under properties > navigation. You don't have to use the tile screen or apps (I don't like them, but I've never given them a chance either).
3. You just have to remember to right click on the start button instead of left click and all your things are there.
4. Lastly, if you want to run a program it's easy - hit the windows key and start typing the name of the program. You can still pin programs to the task bar or occasionally use the app screen if you don't want too many pinned.
Microsoft should've included an obvious tutorial or something - luckily I have friends that know it well and that's why I shared my tips. I definitely recommend 8.1 over 8, but the problem with it is that people immediately agree with other people's hate of it and don't give it a proper chance. I hated it until I actually tried it. Why? Just because someone else did... stupid. I completely ignore the tiles and all that, but there are advantages such as it being easier on resources.
I'm a gamer and I don't appreciate merging my desktop with the mobile interface, but as long as windows doesn't go off the deep end next time I'll be ok. Actually, games run better on 8.1 than 7. The masses are going towards mobility and you market what most people want.
In my experience, people fear change and don't want to learn. I had that issue at first, but then I decided I refused to be like that.
on September 21, 2014
Here's why I do not like this product:
(1) For your computer to even work (during the initial setup) you MUST have a Microsoft account and MUST constantly and automatically upload everything on your computer to the "safety" of the Microsoft version of cloud. Strings galore on this thing. Give me some privacy PLEASE!
(2) It's becoming an icon-heavy world and I haven't a CLUE what most of them are for. Under normal circumstances this might be a mild irritation but considering how different everything is to begin with, these phantom icons drastically increase my frustration.
(3) It's simply TOO COMPLEX. Sure, it'd be nice if my 100% full-time job was to figure out how to work Windows 8.1, but it's not. I wanted the latest software so my daughter could use it for college...well, she doesn't have that kind of time, either. I understand it's trying to be a tablet and a desktop all at once, and for some people that's probably just fine. I needed to download something and still have NO CLUE where it went. When I searched for the download folder it brought up a folder, but then I tried to move that folder so that it would permanently reside on the desktop and it VANISHED! The next search tuned up NOTHING. Well, that I cannot abide. I MUST know where my downloaded items are. I'm returning it tomorrow.
(4) I would pay REAL MONEY for a simple-to-use, non-cluttered, no-trial software, basic-joe computer operating system. Apple doesn't have it. And I guess Microsoft doesn't have it either. Too bad. They got caught-up in their own needlessly-complicated machinery. They used-to make some pretty awesome stuff.
I had abandoned the use of Apple products due to their overly-proprietary ways, but I see that Microsoft has followed their lead. Were I to have the power to bend the ear of anyone in the software business I would suggest one of these mega-corporations come out with a classic operating system which runs the newest programs but utilizing a basic format: "Apple Retro" or "Microsoft Basic" ... I would buy that!
I feel bad about giving just one star. Were I a brilliantly-intuitive computer user I'm sure I could muster the rationale to give it two stars. But due to my current frustration and lack of brainpower I must give it one. If you are offended by that then consider this: due to Amazon's review policy (no one can give zero stars) you have 20% of my approval!
on April 5, 2015
Awe WINDOWS and all the magnificent screw-up developers at Microsoft have out done themselves this time. Anyone considering buying this crap (WINDOWS 8) need only search on YouTube for the dreaded "infinite repair loop". So here is what happens... If your OS becomes corrupted or the boot system files for any reason your wonderful PC will start to diagnose the problem and start an automatic repair. This can not be overriden, you can not hold combination of keys to force windows to boot into the Bios or to a cd such as a OEM windows 8 disk to just reformat the darn computer accepting the fact that you will lose everything on that computer. No; instead you get the pleasure of watching the computer attempt to repair for the next 3 days only to have it finally tell you the repairs were unsuccessful... Insert finger-up here...I have watched many videos on YouTube and read probably 50 different threads and can also tell you Microsoft is aware of this but will not offer a solution. Windows 10 has reported having the same issue. The Microsoft support staff, though they are polite they offer no solution except to kindly remind you you should have created a rescue disk and backed up your data. This the obvious and not one bit helpful info they give to anyone that is willing to waste the 5+ hours of their life of waiting to talk to someone on the darn phone. I repeat it again!!Before you buy windows 8 go to YouTube and look up "infinite repair loop" first. I have forced my computer on and off now at least 20 times and this process repeats. This is a $2200 ASUS G750 gaming laptop that is completely trash now, well at least the hard drive in it is at the very least but after hard-resetting it 20 times and having it attemp repairs for 3 days before changing screens I think there is more damage then just the hard drive.
on May 23, 2014
Purchased a new computer with Windows 8.0 Wanted to upgrade from an older version of Windows and was familiar with Windows 7. Thought Windows 8 would be an upgraded version of Windows 7. BIG mistake as it has made me hate Microsoft - The Windows 8 program quickly defaults to Microsoft solutions. Wanted to search in Google - you get Bing. Want to run a DVD - you get Microsoft X-Box. Want to read email - you get Microsoft Mail -
You can not see your programs - they have to installed as Tiles. If you like to use the keyboard and mouse - you will quickly grow to hate the Windows 8 or 8.1 Format - as it expects you to treat you computer like a tablet.
Ugly program Microsoft. You could do better for us customers - Listen and stop being so pig headed - We don't mind you trying to gain market share - but not without satisfying us as customers.
on April 11, 2014
Not when it comes to my operating system. Microsoft has officially jumped the shark. This reminds me of that mystery game where you wake up in a room, and the object of the game is to click around the room and attempt to find clues on how to escape that room. With previous versions of Windows, everyday functions were relatively easy and intuitive. Now we have this awkward, clunky and uncomfortable user interface that makes you feel like you just downgraded to something that predates Windows 3.1. If there was ever a time for another company to step up to the plate and give Microsoft some competition, now is that time.
on March 3, 2014
I'll start by saying that I didn't hate Vista. It wasn't good, but I thought that the amount of hate that it spawned was unjustified.
Windows 8 (and 8.1) are awful, and they deserve every negative comment that I've seen. Microsoft tried to treat tablets, phones, and PCs as the same product and the result for PCs has been a disaster. If you prefer using a computer with a mouse and keyboard, then you will not like Windows 8/8.1. I've been using this OS for almost a year and I don't see even one improvement over Windows 7 in terms of usability, speed, or stability. For what it's worth, I thought Windows 7 was excellent. [Update: I bought a new Win 7 PC, and I have to concede that Windows 8 does boot faster. Only slightly faster from sleep, but noticeably faster from a complete shutdown. However, the Win 7 system still wins by a wide margin on usability and stability. I also never feel the urge to place my Win 7 PC in the microwave, and I can't say that about the Win 8 PC.]
You may have heard that MS brought back the Start button in 8.1. They added something, but it is not the Start button. Left clicking it just takes you to the infernal tiles. Right clicking brings up essentially a list of system tools. You certainly can't click on it and expect to easily select the Word document that you'd recently been working on. Using a PC to do actual work is more cumbersome in Windows 8/8.1 than any previous version in the last 20 years.
MS seems to have concluded that they should make everything feel more like a tablet because tablets are selling so well. I like tablets and use two of them regularly. But I also think that there are certain things that will always be easier on a PC than on a tablet--primarily producing information rather than consuming it. Unfortunately with Windows 8, those things just got harder on a PC.
on March 22, 2014
I have this OS because it was forced upon me; it came with my laptop. I hate it. I have to sign in to MS Live to use my laptop. If I am online, MS gets to know everything I do when I do it. MS Office and the OS are constantly trying to throw my personal info to clouds.
The OS is designed for a tablet. It is a messy, app-flooded, seizure-inducing display. Navigating my pc is now difficult and confusing. No tutorials. No manuals. I have to search online to figure out what to do in all kinds of situations.
Worse, my older Office products are not compatible. I cannot use IE 10 or lower, which screws up work situations for me.
Nothing feels secure. My email is pasted in big block letters on the app-laden screen.
DO NOT BUY. Win 7 is much better.
on April 28, 2014
I downloaded the trial version of 8.1 Enterprise, made it a bootable USB stick and installed, while installing it ask for my e-mail then used that to create the user. That connected me to my Windows Live account, the first thing I did was create a user that was not the admin of the computer and didn't login to windows live. I tried to install Kindle for PC and discovered I had to login to my Live account to reach the store to install the Kindle for PC app. That sucked but the Account Protection crap MS has setup upset me to the point I not longer have an account, I canceled it after being ask to verify my e-mail and then enter the code they would send, that happened 8 times in two hours. It appears to be focused on routing everything you do to one of the many Microsoft cloud products, Outlook, Store, Live, MSN. Since I use this on a 30" monitor the HUGE blocks are almost as bad was some of the MSM web sites, you know, the "new" look where the web page fills he entire screen and scrolls forever.
I'll see what they have to offer for 9, I'm still upset over the "Account Security" crap, I'm sorry but I don't have all-day to play their game.
on October 18, 2013
If you have Windows 7 or XP, you can buy Windows 8.1 Pro (look for the Windows 8 Pro upgrade if you already own XP or Windows 7 - it's much cheaper - you can update it to Windows 8.1 for free). Microsoft decided to no longer include Windows Media Center as part of Windows 8. So if you buy this and decide that you want to have a home entertainment pc, you would have to buy the Windows Pro Pack for 99 bucks just to get Windows Media Center. If you buy Windows 8.1 Pro, you can get Windows Media Center for 10 bucks extra.
If you already have a version of Windows 7, you would be better off to simply install it on your computer rather than this. If you are updating from Windows XP, I recommend that you find a Windows 7 Upgrade package rather than install Windows 8.1 on your computer. Microsoft has stopped selling Windows 7 upgrades (because they were out-selling Windows 8), so you may have to buy a Windows 7 OEM version to do a clean install of Windows 7 on your computer. Windows 7 comes with Windows Media Center as part of the operating system and has an interface well suited for use on a standard non-touch screen computer.
With Windows 8.1, you now get a start button, but the start menu is still not back. Even more important than the lack of a start menu, you can either have the tiles or an awkward stripped-down desktop choice. Microsoft still has not realized that a computer is most productive with an operating system designed for a mouse and keyboard interface and that a tablet and a phone come with a touch screen and work best with a touch interface. The all in one approach will make some power users and early adapters happy, but an every day user who just wants to run multiple applications in actual windows (instead of awkward full-screen apps), including MS Office, email, and dozens of other programs will be much happier with Windows 7.
Windows 8.1 is a bit friendlier than Windows 8, but it is still an operating system that gives the user an awkward desktop interface instead of a classic start menu and takes away the valuable feature of Windows Media Center only to charge you an additional 99 dollars to get it back by buying Windows 8 Pro Pack.
UPDATED INFORMATION: Below are quotes from a CNET review of Windows 8.1 concerning the tiles, the start button and the classic Windows 7 interface as well as their observation about Windows 7 vs Windows 8.1:
"The split between the touch-friendly tiles and throwback desktop mode is still awkward, and the OS is hard to use without a touch screen. While welcome, the new Start button doesn't behave like the classic version..."
"What you're left with is an OS that still feels like an awkward compromise between the traditional "desktop" Windows and the touch-centric, tablet-optimized future that looks and feels exactly like Windows Phone."
"If you have a legacy Windows 7 system and haven't taken the Windows 8 plunge yet, there's still no reason to."
Full review is at [...]
If Microsoft were to restore the option for the classic start menu and include Windows Media Center as part of the operating system, I would be inclined to recommend Windows 8.1 as an operating system that I would use. However, in its current state, I must agree with CNET that if you have a legacy Windows 7 system and haven't taken the Windows 8 plunge yet, there is still no compelling reason to do so based on the changes in Windows 8.1.
UPDATE December 3, 2013: As of November 30th, here is the breakdown of Microsoft operating systems in use:
*Windows 7 46.64 percent of pc's
*Windows XP 31.22 percent of pc's
*Windows 8 6.66 percent of pc's
*Windows Vista 3.57 percent of pc's
*Windows 8.1 2.64 percent of pc's
Windows 8.1 is faster and has some improved security features over Windows 7. However, as you can see, even Windows Vista has a larger installed share of the market than Windows 8.1 as of November 30, 2013. Windows customers are waiting for Microsoft to give them a choice of whether they want to use the tablet (tiled) interface or a fully functioning desktop O/S complete with a start menu as an option.
Although Windows 8.1 made some improvements and I could tolerate it (however awkward it might be), I am staying with Windows 7 because it already includes a friendly desktop with Start Menu and Windows Media Center for recording live tv. Why should customers lose functionality or incur additional expenses with Windows 8?
The rejection of Windows 8 and 8.1 has gotten so bad that sources say Microsoft is finally talking about bringing back the start menu in Windows 8.2. See "Microsoft may finally bring back full Start menu with Windows 8.2"
Computer manufacturers have become so disgusted with the whole Windows 8 and 8.1 mess that they are now talking about selling computers that run both Windows 8 and Android. (Note: this can't be good news for Microsoft!) See "PC makers plan rebellion against Windows at 2014 CES, analysts say."
My predictions are that we will also see an end to Windows RT. There will be a desktop Windows 8.(something) and a Windows 8 Phone. One or the other is going to end up on Microsoft tablets. Right now there are full versions of Windows 8.1 running on tablets, so it should be interesting to see which O/S runs on Windows tablets in the future.