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on January 9, 2015
I do not think I need to do a review of Windows 8.1 Pro. Personally, I love it. Once you get the hang of it, it is quite intuitive. However, I buy OME versions of 8.1 to use on computers that we resell to 3rd parties. We generally use a generic computer case, an Asus motherboard, 8 to 12 GB of Crucial memory and an Intel Core I7 Processor. I also recommend to the end user to pay the additional $9.95 to buy Windows Media Center from Microsoft from within the Windows 8.1 control panel.
We build these computers for resell as Media Center Computers. The OME version is only good for one computer. If you are going to be reselling it, you need to remove the Microsoft holographic sticker with the activation key from the disk sleeve and put it on to the back or side of the computer case. We generally do not give this OEM disk to our customers but instead we provide them with a disk that we created. This disk also has the all the device drivers included.
This OEM disk is not for non-technical people, as it does not have any device driver for the particular hardware upon which you are building the computer. Some advanced user might be able to download the required device drivers for Windows 8.1. However, they are sometime quite different from the ones used by Windows 7 or even Windows 8.0. This OEM version is less expense than a volume license agreement sold through Microsoft.
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on January 3, 2015
Windows 8 hates itself.
* Networking is strange (windows makes decisions on whether you are on a private or public network, it can make wrong ones without your ability to correct it).
* Some of the appearance settings (like icon sizes and H/V spacing, border sizes, menu/scroll bar sizes, etc.) can no longer be adjusted in a nice way.
* There are several ways to adjust things -- PC settings, control panel, registry...
* Got some "code 10" error fro a driver? Go see event viewer... oh wait... nothing sensible there either...
* Windows Media Center (a separate $10 purchase online) hogs the sound driver in a very specific way. Produces incomprehensible "I'm not gonna work" problems if you go to windows playback devices and -- CORRECTLY -- adjust speaker setup to 5.1 surround. E.g., windows software does not understand windows OS. Windows hates itself.

Windows 8 is like Windows 3.x. Windows 3 was a GUI shell on top of DOS. Windows 8 is a tablet shell on top of desktop/laptop OS. Does not feel right, bloated, many actions accomplished mainly or easier via desktop style actions. Just think about it... Driver Manager, Control Panel, Event Viewer... Even in just tablet "mode" look at this: to update OS PC Settings->Update/Recovery; to update apps Store->Updates. Two different places...
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on August 24, 2014
I bought this to upgrade an HTPC which was running Win7 Home Premium. I did a clean installation on a 1 TB SSD and it couldn't have been easier. After I installed it and did all of the updates, I did the Windows Media Center upgrade, tweaked all of my settings, and it is fantastic. It is my forth computer to run Win8.1, so there was no learning curve involved. I have two with touch screen, and two without. Is it different from Win7, of course. Is it hard to learn, not at all. It is so easy to customize the way you want it to look and "feel", and the performance is great.
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on September 19, 2014
I bought this so that I could do a fresh install on my Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro while also getting the features of the Professional edition of Windows.

There was a hiccup during install where it installed the 8.1 Standard (or Core?) edition. It turns out there is a product key embedded in the system BIOS so by default it installs the Windows 8 that comes with the machine. I was able to override this by placing an EI.CFG file on my install media which prompted me for the correct product key and installed the right version.

As for Windows 8, it's fine if you install "Classic Shell" or any of the other programs that give you the Start Menu and allow you to start at the desktop instead of the tile interface. With that installed I can't really tell any difference between 8 and 7 from a functionality point of view. There are actually a couple of apps that I like running in the "tile" mode such as the Kindle Reader and Facebook.
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on December 19, 2014
Coming from using MacBook Pro for the past 4 years, I haven't really used windows too much. After seeing windows 8 on a family members' touch screen laptop, it just looked completely confusing. I didn't like it at all. Couldn't really navigate it well especially since I didn't really use windows 7 either. But I decided to go ahead and get this for my new PC build because it performs better than windows 7. After using it, it only took maybe a few days to a week to get used to it. I actually like it now. Not as annoying as it was the first time I saw it. You can tell it's built more towards touch screen computers. Only gripe I have is really just a windows thing since I'm coming from Mac. When ever I plug in a different audio output source it doesn't automatically switch over to it like it does on Mac. So I have to go all the way to control to change it. I just pinned control to my task bar since I have to go to it so much because of other things with Windows. Other than that it's nice.
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on February 18, 2016
Works best among choices of Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10. Also allows free download of Windows 10 for future use. However, buy ONLY from Amazon. DO NOT BUY FROM iTRUST STORE. They sell "Blocked" licenses that show the license tag ONLY on an inner Blue packet, missing the outer, sealed, white OEM MICROSOFT packaging. This product is worthless without a legitimate license key; it's just a disc.
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on March 28, 2015
I've been using this product for several months. Generally I am very with Windows 8, but there are several things about this operating system that are glitchy and very annoying. For example, the file search menu will not process correctly about 40% of the time I open it. Instead of showing the computer files, it shows nothing and I can't search with it. (This is a critical function that they couldn't get right!) Also, frequently the tile pictures will often show only blank squares, which makes it impossible to tell the difference between file types. This can be very frustrating! Ultimately, it is not all bad. It has a very quick boot-up. It has excellent program search capabilities. Even still, I will be waiting for the next Windows operating system to consider an upgrade. I stayed with Windows XP for over six years, but I won't last that long on Windows 8.
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on March 15, 2016
The software is illegal. The code on the product is blocked from activation. I cannot even activate via phone. DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT or conduct business with this seller. You've been warned.
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on July 17, 2014
I'm still going to give this 5 stars, in spite of all the problems I had to work through to get this installed properly. Here was my scenario, and I hope my experience will save a headache or two. A few days ago I purchased a new HP 17e150 touchscreen laptop here at Amazon. It came preinstalled with 8.1 standard. I have always preferred having my own os discs and have built many desktops. It's been a while since I've bought a new prebuilt machine. So a day or so later I ordered this oem system builders edition. OK, I've been a little behind I guess. The problem the last couple of years or so, is that these machines are coming out with the product key "embedded" in the bios. Just slipping in the disc and setting the bios to boot from it won't do it properly. Even setting the bios to legacy and clearing the keys out or disabling secure boot. The usual dialog box where the product key is entered will not show up. The install process will still pull the key that's embedded in the bios (somewhere). I let it run the first time though, and wound up with...Win8.1 standard..:( Well after some calls to HP (who transferred me to Microsoft, who suggested I get back to Amazon...)I managed to piece together a working solution from several different forums. I'll just cut to it: Here's what I had to do:
On my new HP with it's factory install, I created a recovery usb, then I used another disk imaging program to copy the entire drive to an image file to be double safe.
I grabbed an old spare usb stick 8GB; (4 would do it, probably), removed all other usb devices. Then opened a command prompt as administrator. Stepwise type:
1. diskpart -another cmd window should open, then type
2. list disk -you should see your usb drive listed probably as 1 if no other devices are inserted.
3. select disk 1 -or whatever yours is.
4. clean - previous step selects, this one cleans it out..;)
5. create partition primary - that's what it does...
6. active - sets it active, naturally
7. format quick fs=fat32
8. assign -to give it a drive letter
9. exit -takes you out of diskpart back to the command prompt.
At this point I put my OEM disc in the drive; you could also create/mount an iso, which would make the following go much more quickly.
Then, my command prompt still open I typed:

xcopy E:\* G:\/s /e

the first letter is my dvd; second, the usb. Substitute yours.
Now create a new text file in Notepad and type:

[PID]
Value=XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX

The X's being your product key of course.
Save it as a text file called PID .
Copy this file into the \sources directory of the usb drive just created.
Now, when booted from this usb, the Windows installer will ignore the key that's embedded in the machine and pull it from the pid.txt file. When the license agreement dialog appears it will read "Windows 8.1 Pro" and the install will proceed "normally". Whew! Anyhow, after all this I still am liking Win8. I started out with the beta program, then release candidates, and got my first copy back when MS offered the Pro version briefly for 39$
I hope this will help someone in a similar predicament, and many thanks to the eightforums,ms forum users, blogsolute,the reviewers here at Amazon and (my head is spinning) others. Amazon has (their CS people are really nice) offered me a refund, and sent a link to a mailing label, but I guess now I'll just let it expire...:-D. Well, I learned a lot about UEFI, embedded keys ( they don't even put COA stickers on the bottom anymore; been doing that a while now ), secure boot vs legacy, etc. So maybe I've caught up a little bit, and the next time I'll know what to expect!
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on August 2, 2014
Okay, I'll rate it based off it how well it installed and how smoothly I got up and going from a brand new pc build. This OS worked flawlessly.

After installing Start8, I have no problems with it. well ... minor problem with windows media player not able to play dvds .... but I downloaded vlc and took care of that.

Powersupply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750G2 80PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V/EPS12V 750W Power Supply 220-G2-0750-XR
Hard Drive: Samsung Electronics 840 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Single Unit Version Internal Solid State Drive MZ-7TE250BW
Processor: AMD FD8350FRHKBOX FX-8350 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition
RAM: Corsair Vengeance Red 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 2133 MHz (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory (CMZ8GX3M2A2133C11R)
Mobo: ASUS M5A99FX PRO R2.0 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
OS: Windows 8.1 Pro System Builder OEM DVD 64-Bit
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