Windows 8.1: Mostly great! Only a few observed glitches.

Windows 8.1 is a fantastic update! It was what windows 8 should have been (and could have been had it been given the extensive beta its predecessor enjoyed).  Paul Thurott beautifully summarizes my feelings on Windows 8 in the prologue to his Windows 8.1 review: 

Windows 8.1 represents a more refined, or evolved, version of the vision that Microsoft has with regards to moving Windows into a new generation of personal computing that is defined by mobile devices instead of traditional PCs and mobile apps backed by cloud services instead of heavy desktop applications back by locally stored data. As a transitionary product, Windows 8.x provides both a traditional PC environment, called the desktop, as a well as a new touch-first mobile environment that was originally called Metro. (Microsoft cannot legally use the Metro name to describe this environment, and it has confusingly not settled on a new term that was as globally applicable as Metro. The firms sometimes describes this environment as Modern, and the apps that run within it as immersive apps or Windows Store apps.)

This design was of course the source of much frustration and complaining, though Microsoft positions it as a best of both worlds-type solution. In the original version of Windows 8, the transitions between Metro and desktop were often jarring and unwelcome, and impossible to configure. But Microsoft has made improvements in Windows 8.1 that lessen the impact of these transitions and provide more user control. For example, those with traditional PCs that wish to stay in the desktop environment can mostly do so, certainly more easily than with Windows 8. And those with tablets or other modern devices can more easily stick within the Metro environment.

If that doesn’t sound profound to you, the year-long drama around Windows 8 must have happened while you were off-planet. Put simply, Windows 8 disappointed virtually everyone: Those who were ready to forge ahead with modern tablets and other devices complained that it didn’t go far enough and didn’t offer an option to discard the desktop. And the bigger audience of traditional PC users complained—loudly—that Windows 8 was a huge compromise, with Microsoft jamming a mobile environment they did not want down their throats.

While nearly nobody thinks as deeply as Paul on the matter, many have nicely summarized what's different.  Here's the Nerds Limited QuickList: 

  • Smoother user interface
  • Much better help functions
  • Search which won't make you crazy
  • The desktop many people badly missed
  • A deeper SkyDrive integration
  • Better core apps (mail, contacts, calendars, skype, etc.
  • Finally Apps in the store which arent awful (the new facebook app is pretty neat) 
  • A fantastic photo app for touch interface. 

We've done many Windows 8.1 upgrades for clients and have only run in to two issues thus far:   

  1. Secure Boot isn't configured correctly watermark on the desktop

Secure boot was a feature which began with windows 8, but wasn't widely adopted until very recently.  Apparently, Microsoft has decided that they should change the rules with 8.1.  If you bios supports the feature, I'll gladly enable it during our next session.  It wasn't anything we did or didn't do wrong.  Here's Microsoft's official statement: SecureBoot

2.  The default browser doesn't stick unless it is Internet Explorer.

This issue seems like another veiled  attempt by Microsoft to get people to use Internet Explorer.  Because I set the default browser to Firefox, Windows decided to give you a pop up at some point which I'm sure you didn't see asking you  to change your default browser for the operating system.  Here's a link to change your browser back to the app of your choice:  MS change your default browser. 

Do you have a question about your 8.1 upgrade? Call Nerds Limited (505) 750-8885 or drop us a message.