“Windows 8.1 RTM will be available for OEM partners in late August. This means OEMs will be able to get the RTM bits and begin preparing devices with Windows 8.1 just in time for the holidays! We’ll have more details to share in the coming months for consumers and other customers on how to get Windows 8.1.” So far, Windows 8.1 has been a massive improvement over Windows 8 on my Surface RT – except for the total system crashes (including shrieking sounds) Skype causes a few times per week.
Windows 8.1 to RTM in late August
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2013-07-08 6:38 pmBushLin
I’m just being facetious as there’s plenty of good content in that link but I can’t ignore that the article is called:
“10 New Features in Windows 8.1 Preview that saved my Surface RT”
and then the first entry in the list is…. *drumroll*
“Being able to use your Desktop Wallpaper as your Start Menu background”
What a killer feature!
2013-07-08 7:14 pmNelson
I felt the same way until I tried it. It makes a difference in making both the Desktop and new Modern environment one cohesive thing.
2013-07-08 7:28 pmBill Shooter of Bul
I don’t know. I actually liked the fact that it was different. It clearly differentiated the two very different parts of windows 8. You should not expect them to behave similarly. So, they should look different too. Plus it will allow people to make them ugly. I guess I shouldn’t care, except that kind of stuff pops up on some social media sites “look how ugly I can make my computer/phone! I think its great!”.
2013-07-08 7:40 pmNelson
I like how the Desktop wallpaper extends down into the All Apps menu. Something the normal Win8.1 parallax backgrounds don’t do.
and the transition between the two environments is different, have you used it?
2013-07-08 7:56 pmBill Shooter of Bul
No. I have a copy of Windows 8. I purchased it for a specific windows only ap. Sadly, it didn’t work reliably enough on Win 8, so I don’t use it very often. I haven’t tried upgrading it to 8.1. I think I probably will once its retail, but I don’t have a real need or desire to mess with it before then.
2013-07-08 11:12 pmNelson
It animates the transition slightly different so its less jarring between both environments. It looks terrible with a bad wallpaper, but I set mine to cycle pictures from my SkyDrive and it all works seamlessly.
In fact SkyDrive being melded into the OS is one of my top features. Libraries automatically include SkyDrive folder too should you decide to go that route.
I also like the coloring on non Metro tiles. It dynamically colors them based on the primary color of the icon like Win7 which is better looking imo.
2013-07-09 2:11 amBill Shooter of Bul
Does sky drive integration work any better than the old “Web folders”?
I’d prefer it if all of the operating systems didn’t lock you int a particular online storage solution. That’s kind of crappy. I really don’t need all of them.
2013-07-09 2:42 amNelson
I’m not familiar with Web Folders, but its basically deeply integrated into Explorer. Its the old “Desktop SkyDrive” sync client on steroids.
So they’ve gone ahead and unified the Desktop and Metro side of things in that they’re more cohesive. Metro gets syncing of files rather than just browsing and downloading. There’s a twist though.
They use reparse points in the FS to download only metadata from SkyDrive (enabling content to show up in Explorer/Searches/whatever) and only download the actual file on demand. This removes the tedious management of selective sync or the wasteful data usage of full sync.
In a nutshell its now this seamless things. Applications (even Win32 ones) can be pointed to locations in the cloud and be none the wiser. Its all uniform.
Re: competing providers I don’t see why they couldn’t do something similar.
2013-07-09 2:55 pmBill Shooter of Bul
Webfolders were a windows 98 feature that used an extension to HTTP. I think it required that the server also have support turned on for webdav. In any case it was pretty terrible. If everything worked perfectly, you could access your files in windows explorer. However, back in 1998 web speeds were pretty slow and not as reliable. Most of the time it would just lock up my computer. I think they kept support for it through windows xp and vista, but didn’t promote it as much or call it webfolders. I think it was just something generic you could add to “Network places”. I never tried it outside of windows 98.
2013-07-08 8:01 pmlucas_maximus
I know what you mean. Fair point.
I posted these here because they were a good run down of some of the positive things.
2013-07-09 1:33 ambassbeast
Win 8.1 will fail just as Win 8 failed and the reason why is simple….its a touch UI and more than 98% of the PCs made or being made IS NOT TOUCH ENABLED!
This is like coming out with a version of windows that ONLY works well on polka dotted PCs…do YOU own a polka dot PC? me neither. Hell even my local Walmart has a grand total of 2 touch enabled PCs and both suuuuck, with really weak sauce chips to try to keep the price down since large touchscreens are still a major expense.
I’m sorry Windows 8 fans but you are in a TINY minority, in fact I’ve had more work wiping win 8 for 7 than I had wiping Vista for XP, folks DO NOT LIKE the whole “LOL I Iz a Cellphone,LOL Appstorez” feel on Windows 8 and while i had no problem adapting even to the funkier UIs like some of the offbeat Linux or really niche like Haiku even i was bashing my head against the keyboard thanks to how inconsistent things are laid out and how badly the UI is designed. This guy lays it out better than I could ever do so I’ll just leave this here..
2013-07-09 2:44 amNelson
This is an article about Windows 8.1 and the changes it brings. Have you used it?
2013-07-13 9:42 ambassbeast
Got it running in a VM and its “meet the new crud,same as the old crud”. watch the video i linked to previously and NAME ONE THING he mentions that is “fixed” in Win 8.1, just one.
I can tell you that you can’t because it has the same problems as Win 8. Its got a VERY poorly done UI that is hard to tell what is clickable and what isn’t, it takes more steps than ever to do even simple admin tasks (look how many steps it takes to boot into safe mode, its a fricking joke, went from “push F8” to 4 clicks and 2 sub-menus, all to just get safe mode) and yet again the biggest WTF is that they are STILL trying to jam touch down our throats when every.single.OEM. has already said its a DO NOT WANT and that they have warehouses full of high end touch ultrabooks nobody wants.
The simple fact is that MSFT is trying to force their way into cellphones by pushing a cellphone UI on the desktop and people HATE IT. I have stopped even carrying Win 8 in my shop because I saw people pass up nicer systems with more powerful hardware to buy one not even half as nice JUST to get Win 7, even when the pricing is identical folks would rather have Win 7.
For those that keep defending this turkey i have an analogy for you…bikes are cool,right? Bikes are slick,sexy, get good gas mileage…so why aren’t you driving your truck with bike handlebars instead of a steering wheel? Are YOU “that guy”? are YOU a Luddite? Of course not, you simply know that just because an input method is good in one place doesn’t make it good in another and what we have here is a UI that is designed for devices held in your lap or hands and used like a book being jammed onto a big flat vertical screen and it just doesn’t work, its never gonna work, and the sooner that MSFT really does copy Apple and have winPhone Metro for mobile and a real desktop or at least comes up with something designed for the form factor? its gonna keep right on flopping.
2013-07-09 7:22 ambenytocamela
Oh, come on… you’re being “that guy.” Don’t be “that guy.”
I still can not get the reason to push so hard for the new metro interface on all platforms. Sure, it may make sense on small tablets and phones but, frankly it is lacking for desktop users. Most computers I support have now screens that are at least 20″ and their users like to keep 2 to 3 programs partially visible at same time. Skype on them are just such a wast of space, they all just want a small contact list and be done with it, some don’t even want images!
At least they are not asking to downgrade to Windows 7, well, actually they do but I install “Classic Shell” and they get by with it (funny thing is that for a small group “UBitMenu” is also needed 6 years after the “revolutionary not” ribbon interface).
2013-07-08 7:02 pmemarkp
The reason to force Metro on desktop users is quite clear: to force us to get used to it so we’re more likely to use Windows Phone. End of story.
MS knows if they do not capture significant mobile space, they’ll atrophy as desktops become a smaller part of the total market.
2013-07-08 7:26 pmmoondevil
If you watch the recordings from BUILD 2013, the subliminal message for getting developers into the new platform was being repeated everywhere.
All the new tooling across languages and frameworks is mostly focused on the Metro interface.
As if the desktop environment would fulfil a similar role as Classical in Mac OS X.
2013-07-08 8:04 pmlucas_maximus
I dunno how I feel about that.
But as a ASP.NET dev I suppose it doesn’t affect me as much as the other Microsoft developers that focus on the desktop.
2013-07-08 9:45 pmmoondevil
On my case it is a bit different, as I work for a big consultancy company.
The set of technologies we use changes from customer to customer.
Regarding ASP.NET, the focus was mostly:
– Usage of WebForms and MVC in the same projects
– .NET and IIS improvements for application performance and scaling
– Azure related tooling
– Apps support
2013-07-08 10:14 pmlucas_maximus
Everyone is mixing MVC with WebForms it is pretty much standard now.
2013-07-08 10:24 pmHiev
Not me =), pure MVC here.
2013-07-09 6:37 ammoondevil
Everyone is mixing MVC with WebForms it is pretty much standard now.
Not really. All my ASP.NET projects so far have been WebForms based.
The point is that currently you need to hack around Visual Studio project templates in order to have mixed projects.
With Visual Studio 2013, there will only be ASP.NET projects and you get to choose which components are supported.
This will also allow for SharePoint web parts to be developed in MVC. But here the focus is to more to move into a single page app model.
2013-07-09 6:58 pmlucas_maximus
For a new project yes. But I have this monstrous solution where they have just done it.
I heard from a lot of my friends from uni that are also C# / VB devs and they are in the same situation. Massive WebForms project with MVC stuff mixed in.
Scott Hanselman also mentioned that a lot of it is mixed.
I know this is anecdotal but it certain a pattern I have observed often.
2013-07-08 7:42 pmNelson
It is to push the Metro environment. They’re using their Desktop dominance to bootstrap their new ecosystem.
The halo effect for WP is secondary to that.
2013-07-08 7:47 pmacobar
It is a risk path. Windows 7 interface is one of the best on DEs I have ever used. In my humble opinion had they spent their energy on a better and improved integration of web services for phones, their desktop and their server OS offerings they would be collecting the rewards already. Instead they are again just shifting and lifting the decoration.
On an environment as competitive and with such degree of commoditization we are experiencing right now you better have a differentiator that is not just face-lift. Apple knew it and MS should do.
PS.: Well look likes they are actually working hard. Se the bellow link.
Edited 2013-07-08 19:51 UTC
2013-07-13 9:53 ambassbeast
I have a question since it sounds like you are a fellow PC shop guy….have you been doing any “refresh my PC” jobs on win 8? a little or a lot?
Because I am now convinced that win 8 has some sort of corruption bug and refresh my PC was jammed in there at the last minute because they couldn’t get rid of the problem. i have a ton of Win 7 systems out in the wild and honestly other than hardware upgrades or replacement? They don’t need me, it just keeps right on ticking. Compare this to those that didn’t listen to me and bought win 8 systems anyway, I’ve had to do at least once and in many cases multiple “refreshes” because Win 8 ends up crapping all over itself, and these systems aren’t even a year old.
So I’m curious to see if you have seen something similar. I find it kinda sad that I have plenty of seriously old systems, we are talking late model P4s and Pentium Ds and they are all solid as a rock under Win 7 (the most i had to do was slap in a few HD2400XT cards for those whose old IGP didn’t have Win 7 drivers) while my customers that went and bought new laptops with Win 8 despite my warning end up bringing the systems in for refresh.
On my RSS feed, this showed up as last August.
Speaking of Windows 8.1 does anyone know if Start8 or Classic Shell or something else is capable of removing the Microsoft-provided Start Screen – button from the taskbar and replacing it with the proper Start Menu – button? It’d look silly to have both of them there, that’s why I am asking.
2013-07-08 8:50 pmacobar
Classic Shell does. You need only to customize the button to what you would like, like the Windows 8 logo. Just right click it after install and look for the option, right now I have just desktops with linux or windows 7 close to me.
2013-07-08 9:13 pmacobar
Forgot to add. Grab the last version from SF.
2013-07-08 9:49 pmmoondevil
I have Windows 8.1 installed on VMWare and actually like the compromises Microsoft has proposed.
You get an in-between screen with the set of applications selected by you. For getting the endless list of titles, you need then to press the expand button.
Granted, it is not the solution we would like to have, but for me is kind of ok enough.
2013-07-09 4:45 pmTuishimi
I think there is a start8 beta version out that does that. But I am not running 8.1 so I am not certain.
In Windows 8.1, it seems you can press Win key and S to bring up a little search window on the right hand side of the screen. Given that I used the start menu in Windows 7 almost solely as a searching tool, I now feel that Windows 8.1 is pretty much equivalent in terms of usability for me as Windows 7 was. Yes, I know that Windows 8 let you search in the start screen, and I found it usable in some regards, but I still found having my whole screen taken over a bit too jarring, I’d like something that distracted me less from what I am doing. YMMV
…that’s probably just the NSA getting feedback.
TBH, I don’t use a surface, I could probably use the newer outlook but 2007 seems good enough for me at home.
Will be upgrading my main machine once this comes out or I have a set of replacement SSDs for the ones that died.
I like the metro improvements, I would like better application tiling as tbh the split has been only been useful for IM and a few other choice applications.