Friday, June 28th 2013

Windows 8.1, and Why You Should Let Go of Windows 7

When Steve Jobs went upstage in early-April 2010 to unveil the iPad, it was expected to be the next logical step to Apple's successful miniaturization of the MacBook to the category-defining MacBook Air. It was expected to be an OS X-based handheld that ran on hardware not much different. When Jobs revealed the iPad to be an upscale of the iPhone idea, rather than a downscale of the MacBook idea, the industry was never the same again. The successful reception of the iOS on both the iPhone and iPad is what could have been the genesis of the Windows of today, which looks great on smartphones, tablets, and touch-enabled notebooks, but is hated on desktops, particularly by the PC enthusiast community. Much of that hatred is misdirected, and is a waste of time. Here's why.

While Microsoft Windows CE and Windows Phone powered PDAs for years before the smartphone revolution, Microsoft's most popular creation in the mobile space has been Windows Phone 7, and its successors. The brand new 'tile' interface, coupled with clear, finger-friendly, and forgiving UI elements finally gave Microsoft the UI design it was looking for. Rather than making a repeat of Apple's winning formula of upscaling Windows Phone 7 to a software for tablets (i.e. being content with Windows RT), Microsoft extended the UI to the entire Windows product family, including operating systems for the PC, and shockingly, even Windows Server. With the new Windows 8.1 Release Preview, it's clear that Microsoft isn't going back on the direction Windows 8 took, and so as PC enthusiasts, we're forced to ask ourselves if putting up a fight against it, by clinging on to Windows 7, is really worth it.

The Start Menu that never really left.
The guiding principle behind a tile-like UI on mainline PC operating systems isn't that people would drop their mice and stretch their arms out to the monitor (a touchscreen), and begin using their PCs that way. It was so the PC in itself could evolve. The biggest point of contention for PC enthusiasts refusing to upgrade to Windows 8 and its inevitable successor is the lack of a Start menu. Well, not sure if you noticed, but the Start menu never left. It's only not a menu anymore, it's a screen. When you click on the start button on older Windows desktops, whatever shows up as a result, has your undivided attention. You're either looking for a program to launch, a document you were just working on, or finding your way to the key areas of the operating system. Your business with the Start menu gets wrapped up in a few seconds. So why not stretch that Start "thing" to cover the entire screen, and make it more functional?

Submenus of the Windows XP Start menu stretched out to the entire height of the screen, and with enough items, you could practically fill the screen with an extremely collapsed Start menu. Ask yourself if a fullscreen Start screen is really that different, after all, when Microsoft shrunk the Start menu to a fixed-size one in Windows Vista, by dropping in a scroll-bar, it sparked outrage.

Finding programs, documents, or OS-related functions using the Start screen takes nearly the same time once you get the hang of it, and can actually be quicker. When people screamed from the rooftops asking for their familiar Start button back on the taskbar, Microsoft obliged. The upcoming Windows 8.1, which will be a free upgrade to current Windows 8 users, features a Start button, right where you expect it to be. Before you get excited, all it does is spawn up the Start screen. Windows 8.1 also features an option with which your computer starts up straight to the desktop, instead of the Start screen.

The Modern UI bloat that doesn't really exist.
Another point of contention for Start screen opponents is the modern UI apps that come included with the operating system constituting bloatware. Well, they don't. These are apps that tell you the weather, list out the headlines, track your stocks, and so on. The default set of apps that come with Windows 8 barely have a couple of dozen megabytes in memory footprint, which is made up for by an overall better memory management by Windows 8. Besides, enthusiast PCs begin at 4 GB of memory, 8 GB is considered mainstream for gaming PCs, and enthusiast builds are getting the whiff of 16 GB already. Plenty of room in there for an app that tells the weather.

The grass on the other side stays greener even after you get there.
With the Windows 8.1 Release Preview we got to play with, Microsoft made it clear that it's not going to make steps backwards. There's "a" Start button, not "the" Start button. What shows up after you click it is bigger and better than its predecessor's Start screen. There are new tile-size options, including "large" (double the area of a medium tile), and "tiny" (a quarter of the area of a regular tile). The new "tiny" tile size is perfect for organizing shortcuts to scores of programs or games, the tiles have just enough room for a clear icon.

Windows 8.1, like its predecessor, starts up quicker than Windows 7 does. The kernel of the operating system never really shuts down, but hibernates, and wakes up in a snap each time you power up the PC. The new Storage Spaces, which is similar to Linux LDM, lets you better organize data across multiple physical hard drives.

Windows 8.1 introduces a new display driver model, WDDM 1.3. This brings with it a few new display features, including the standardization of wireless display, 48 Hz dynamic refresh rates for video playback, V-sync interrupt optimization, video conferencing acceleration, a Direct3D API feature so major, that it warrants a version number change. Introduced with DirectX 11.2, a new API feature called "tiled surfaces."

Tiled Surfaces is analogous to the OpenGL mega-textures technology demonstrated by id Software on "Rage," which helped it create vast, detailed, and smoothly animating 3D scenes. Instead of streaming textures as the scene is being rendered, mega-textures allows developers to deploy larger textures that are fewer in number, and dynamically show portions of it. These textures needn't be loaded to the video memory entirely, can stay on the disk, and the API would access portions of it as they become relevant to the scene, as it's being viewed. In essence, mega-texturing is a sort of "virtual-memory" for GPUs, and could shift focus from larger video memory to faster memory, in the upcoming generations of GPUs.

In conclusion
Suck it up. Windows for PC isn't going to change, and was always prone to significant change. Windows 95 was Microsoft's response to PCs that were firmly capable of GUI, at a time when people at large were getting the hang of using a mouse. Windows 8 and 8.1 are just as landmark, whether we like it or not. Microsoft is catering to a large mass of people that are getting the hang of a touchscreen, and prefer a uniform experience between devices both on the desk, and on the move. Improvements such as new "tiny" tiles make the Start screen just as functional and quick to use as a menu, and Microsoft isn't stopping with its innovations that will get increasingly out of reach for Windows 7 users.
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339 Comments on Windows 8.1, and Why You Should Let Go of Windows 7

#1
cadaveca
My name is Dave
by: neliz
you have a $1500 PC and you hate multi-tasking, the W8 is great for you.
That's actually where it works BEST for me, but I use multiple monitors. And so when I boot up, I have access to the desktop AT THE SAME TIME as the silly start screen that so many complain about.
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#2
MxPhenom 216
Corsair Fanboy
by: cadaveca
That's actually where it works BEST for me, but I use multiple monitors. And so when I boot up, I have access to the desktop AT THE SAME TIME as the silly start screen that so many complain about.
and then..and then if you customize the start screen tiles to the size you like and orientation that works best for you, it works very well. Imagine that....customization.
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#3
solarrior
Well,
I finally installed Win8.1.
What you say is true, but only if I want all this icons to be on my desk. I do not have any action, I have windows(real ones) to see the weather, so those small app/tiles are totally useless for me.
I like empty screen. My Chrome window has usually 30-50 tabs, plus other applications.
While I am sure that underlying technologie is better that the one from Win 7, I have something that Win7 gives me that Win8/Win8.1 doesn't. It's a choice!

My desktop should look like the way I want it to be or need to be. Not the way MS thinks it should be.
OS is platform to facilitate the use of apps that I need to make some money for living. If it is there to make it harder or let's say, more complicated, then I don't like it and can't agree with that.
And that' what most of the business will tell you. For some of us, PC is actually a tool to work and make living, not to watch colorful tiles on our screen.
Thanks for reading.
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#4
de.das.dude
Pro Indian Modder
i quite like 8.1 on my laptop as well as my desktop. somehow feels a bit more fluid than win7 in some ways.
win8 was an abomination though.
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#5
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
I installed win 8.1 on my desktop. I gave it 6 months and I reverted back to win 7. Windows 7 is just better hands down. Ran win7 on laptop ( Still running it too) while win8.1 was on desktop.
I find windows 8.1 not very user friendly is all. Just too much fluff no substance.
Posted on Reply
#6
FX-GMC
by: trickson
I installed win 8.1 on my desktop. I gave it 6 months and I reverted back to win 7. Windows 7 is just better hands down. Ran win7 on laptop ( Still running it too) while win8.1 was on desktop.
I find windows 8.1 not very user friendly is all. Just too much fluff no substance.
The only people i've seen struggle to use Win8/8.1 are the same people that could barely use Windows 7.
Posted on Reply
#7
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
by: FX-GMC
The only people I've seen struggle to use Win8/8.1 are the same people that could barely use Windows 7.
Well that maybe your take on it But that is just not the case. Just because an OS comes out DOES not mean it is automatically the best. there are many examples from windows that would tell you this just 2 that come to mind are win 98, windows 2000, Windows NT, windows Vista! And to add one more to that LIST will be Windows 8 oops that was more than 2!. Screw all the bs it looks like crap like a 3 year old designed it. I think it is a dumbing DOWN of the software and a sad attempt at using pictographic universal language. Some see this I know I do. The ones that do not attempt to justify this new OS by saying things like "People are struggling" and "they could barely use " Power Bully statements is all this is.
So is windows 8 or 8.1 worth it? NO not at all. is see no use in this sad attempt at a OS. This will be reflected in the next OS to come. And also should have been a clue in the recent push to get windows 8.1 out! LMFAO!!!
Posted on Reply
#8
FX-GMC
by: trickson
Well that maybe your take on it But that is just not the case. Just because an OS comes out DOES not mean it is automatically the best. there are many examples from windows that would tell you this just 2 that come to mind are win 98, windows 2000, Windows NT, windows Vista! And to add one more to that LIST will be Windows 8 oops that was more than 2!. Screw all the bs it looks like crap like a 3 year old designed it. I think it is a dumbing DOWN of the software and a sad attempt at using pictographic universal language. Some see this I know I do. The ones that do not attempt to justify this new OS by saying things like "People are struggling" and "they could barely use " Power Bully statements is all this is.
So is windows 8 or 8.1 worth it? NO not at all. is see no use in this sad attempt at a OS. This will be reflected in the next OS to come. And also should have been a clue in the recent push to get windows 8.1 out! LMFAO!!!
I never said anything about it being the best, so idk where you pulled that one from.

You call it a "Power Bully" statement, I call it "what i see at work".

If 8/8.1 is a sad attempt at an OS, then so is Windows 7. 8 is not so tragically different than 7 that someone who knows their way around one can't find their way around another.
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#9
Goodman
Guys! , guys.... It's an old thread resurrected buy a new guy with only 1 post (Post #279) that smell Troll all over IMO
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#10
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
by: Goodman
Guys! , guys.... It's an old thread resurrected buy a new guy with only 1 post (Post #279) that smell Troll all over IMO
Still relevant IMHO. Really Windows 8 and 8.1 are for folks wanting the NEW shinny thing in the room nothing more. and it is a debacle IMHO. Looks like the dumbing of people to me.
I will stick with windows 7 till some thing intelligent come out again from MS.
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#11
Jstn7477
My new laptop (CyberpowerPC Fangbook Evo HX6-110) came with Windows 8.1 and I'm perfectly fine with it. With a Mushkin Atlas 240GB mSATA SSD that I added, it reaches the login screen in under 10 seconds from power on, and it's pretty snappy. I spend <1% of my time on the Start screen, and if I need something I just press and start typing. Still have 7 on my main desktop but am using the laptop most of the time now, nothing really wrong with the desktop but I need to reformat it soon, and will probably wait for Windows 8.2 or whatever the next update is.
Posted on Reply
#12
solarrior
by: Goodman
Guys! , guys.... It's an old thread resurrected buy a new guy with only 1 post (Post #279) that smell Troll all over IMO
Hey Goodman, thank you for calling me troll! :-) You know, people do search, find the forum, read the things and then they feel like that want to give their opinion. That's me. I hate trolls.

Now back to the subject, well my biggest problem is luck of choice, if I want metro UI or not. I prefer "old way", as it was on Windows 7 and before. Metro just doesn't work for me, I tried. And I am objective. It might work for so much others, and good for them. I would like that in Windows 8/8.1 there easy founded option that can bring standard "desktop" interface back. And I see i am not alone wanting this.
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#13
tigger
I'm the only one
Been using 8.1 for months now, only had 1 bsod in that time. I never even see the tile Metro ui, i have disabled it, i use win 8.1 just like i did win 7. I do like win 8 though, only problem is drivers for some older stuff which would work on 7 don't on 8.1, but no biggie.

The main reason I installed win 8.1 is because BF4 apparently runs better on it.

I am using Start is back.
Posted on Reply
#14
Prima.Vera
In my book, an OS which needs 3rd party programs to be used and to work properly (Classic Shell, Gadgets back, Start, No Metro, etc) is A BAD OS.
That's all.
Posted on Reply
#15
tigger
I'm the only one
by: Prima.Vera
In my book, an OS which needs 3rd party programs to be used and to work properly (Classic Shell, Gadgets back, Start, No Metro, etc) is A BAD OS.
That's all.
I do not know why they just do not put it back ala win 7, and be done with it. it is what the users want. All they have done is create a new market for start menu replacement programs.
Posted on Reply
#16
FX-GMC
by: Prima.Vera
In my book, an OS which needs 3rd party programs to be used and to work properly (Classic Shell, Gadgets back, Start, No Metro, etc) is A BAD OS.
That's all.
I use windows 8.1 without any 3rd party programs and it works properly. I'm sure you knew that though. Couldn't resist the urge to troll now could we.
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#17
Prima.Vera
by: tigger
I do not know why they just do not put it back ala win 7, and be done with it. it is what the users want. All they have done is create a new market for start menu replacement programs.
When did mr. Ballmer ever do something that user's want? :))) Just look of all the mess in his mandate. Windows Visa, Windwos RT, Zune, Xbone's "special features", etc, etc
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#18
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
In conclusion stick with windows 7. Windows 8 is a bad OS and needs to die just like windows 2000 did!
Posted on Reply
#19
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
People are still complaining about Windows 8?
Posted on Reply
#20
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
by: Easy Rhino
People are still complaining about Windows 8?
Well when some thing is as bad as it really is then it is crammed down the necks of the consumer as the next big thing I would say YES!
Posted on Reply
#21
FX-GMC
by: trickson
Well when some thing is as bad as it really is then it is crammed down the necks of the consumer as the next big thing I would say YES!
Since when does a company not act as if their product is the next big thing? It's called Marketing. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marketing

Also, just because YOU ( <-- keyword here ) don't like something doesn't make it bad. That's called an opinion. Typically opinions are stated like "I think Windows 8 is bad." An example of an incorrectly stated opinion would be "Windows 8 is bad."
Posted on Reply
#22
Prima.Vera
by: FX-GMC
Since when does a company not act as if their product is the next big thing? It's called Marketing. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marketing

Also, just because YOU ( <-- keyword here ) don't like something doesn't make it bad. That's called an opinion. Typically opinions are stated like "I think Windows 8 is bad." An example of an incorrectly stated opinion would be "Windows 8 is bad."
Except that if a person doesn't agree with your views you call it a troll right away, right? ;)
Posted on Reply
#23
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
by: FX-GMC
Since when does a company not act as if their product is the next big thing? It's called Marketing. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marketing

Also, just because YOU ( <-- keyword here ) don't like something doesn't make it bad. That's called an opinion. Typically opinions are stated like "I think Windows 8 is bad." An example of an incorrectly stated opinion would be "Windows 8 is bad."
Since when did there marketing equate into the next big thing? See you have it wrong, You may like it and it may very well be the next big thing FOR you, But I am not going to buy into there marketing, See I let there product speak for them not there mouth piece they put in front of a camera.
Again you are wrong. Windows 8 is a BAD OS. Many people agree there for we will NOT buy it, We will however wait and hope that the Interface will once again return and not look so fing retarded! And YET the GUI and user interface is RETARDED! But then again the pictographic language is so bad I loose IQ points just looking at it! Bring back the Intelligence QUOTA!
Posted on Reply
#24
FX-GMC
by: Prima.Vera
Except that if a person doesn't agree with your views you call it a troll right away, right? ;)
Obviously. You make troll statements you get called a troll. :rolleyes:

"In my book, an OS which needs 3rd party programs to be used and to work properly (Classic Shell, Gadgets back, Start, No Metro, etc) is A BAD OS.
That's all."

Sure it can be a bad OS in your book. Nothing wrong with that. Making a false statement such as "(Windows 8) needs 3rd party programs to be used and to work properly" is trolling.

by: trickson
Since when did there marketing equate into the next big thing? See you have it wrong, You may like it and it may very well be the next big thing FOR you, But I am not going to buy into there marketing, See I let there product speak for them not there mouth piece they put in front of a camera.
Again you are wrong. Windows 8 is a BAD OS. Many people agree there for we will NOT buy it, We will however wait and hope that the Interface will once again return and not look so fing retarded! And YET the GUI and user interface is RETARDED! But then again the pictographic language is so bad I loose IQ points just looking at it! Bring back the Intelligence QUOTA!
You see arguments where there are none.
Posted on Reply
#25
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
by: FX-GMC
You see arguments where there are none.
I see things for what they are, No argument about it. Windows 8 sucked so BAD they were working on a "Hot Fix" Also know as Windows 8.1! Argument? NONE at all they NEW that they had a crap OS that looked like some fing 5 year old designed it. LMAO. Oh well some like some do not. I will wait as I hear windows 8.2 is coming out SOON! LMFAO! SUCKERS!
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