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

#2
KainXS
I'm going to stick with 7(even though I got 8 for 15 bucks)

this article convince me not:shadedshu
Posted on Reply
#3
Arctucas
by: Derek12
When someone recurres to insulting or using childish derogatory terms (Windows 8 is junk, retarded, trash, etc...), 0 arguments.

The fad of insulting Windows 8 and its users must die.
A little tongue-in-cheek jab at those who have berated and derided me for not blindly accepting Microsoft's ill-conceived latest iteration of Windows does not sit so well with you?

Interesting...
Posted on Reply
#4
Fluffmeister
by: riffraffy
Hey ...I think you're on to something , maybe they wanted to sell more windows 7's .
As long as people keep buying and using their software, I doubt they really mind.

They still have you by the balls.
Posted on Reply
#6
D007
Side note: Making condescending topics, about people who simply do not share your OPINION. Is not a good way to make your point. If anything, even more people won't want to use it now.


by: Ikaruga
, so who knows how this will turn out.
This guy knows because it has happened for the last 20+ years..
Like DX 10 and DX11, this new feature will not even start to be used for another 5 years.. So why bother?
Idk why people have such a hard time admitting the plain and obvious truth. Win 8 offers virtually no performance increase at all, does nothing for games and pays little attention to who is actually using the PC..

Let go of win 7 to embrace this joke of an OS?
Chea.. Not....lol..
I don't just give my money away for new products, JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE NEW.
Fan boys do that..

Honestly this topic screams "I am fanboy, hear me roar"..
Well have fun with win 8 all you want. I do not care.
Just like no one should care about my preference, Because it is MY preference..
Posted on Reply
#7
jihadjoe
Use it? I wouldn't even pirate windows 8.
Posted on Reply
#8
acerace
by: D007
Side note: Making condescending topics, about people who simply do not share your OPINION. Is not a good way to make your point. If anything, even more people won't want to use it now.
Bravo.
PS: Windows 8 sucks..



This guy knows because it has happened for the last 20+ years..
Like DX 10 and DX11, this new feature will not even start to be used for another 5 years.. So why bother?
Idk why people have such a hard time admitting the plain and obvious truth. Win 8 offers virtually no performance increase at all, does nothing for games and pays little attention to who is actually using the PC..

Let go of win 7 to embrace this joke of an OS?
Chea.. Not....lol..
I don't just give my money away for new products, JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE NEW.
Fan boys do that..


Honestly this topic screams "I am fanboy, hear me roar"..
Well have fun with win 8 all you want. I do not care.
Just like no one should care about my preference, Because it is MY preference.. Not yours..
Words of wisdom. Pretty much sums it all up.
Posted on Reply
#10
Deadlyraver
Still got my cob webbed copy of Windows 8 on my shelf from a friend, who had a copy, which he got stocked up with. I might get 8,1 when it comes out, but I wanna be sure it'll work with my music apps.

I like how they managed the metro menu through a transparant windows, something I really hoped for since the last time I tried Windows 8. Anyone testing it with apps like Pro Tools?
Posted on Reply
#11
MxPhenom 216
Corsair Fanboy
by: Deadlyraver
Still got my cob webbed copy of Windows 8 on my shelf from a friend, who had a copy, which he got stocked up with. I might get 8,1 when it comes out, but I wanna be sure it'll work with my music apps.

I like how they managed the metro menu through a transparant windows, something I really hoped for since the last time I tried Windows 8. Anyone testing it with apps like Pro Tools?
I can right now if you want me too on my VM and let you know.

EDIT: NVM looks like it says on the website Pro Tools 11 HD is not supported with Windows 8.
Posted on Reply
#12
BarbaricSoul
been using 8.1 today on my laptop. So far, I still prefer 7. I really do not like the look or style of metro or the new start menu.
Posted on Reply
#13
Deadlyraver
Admitting, it is inevitable that we all gotta move to 8.1 or 8 someday. I think I can live with Windows 8 as long as the software industry catches up to it.
Posted on Reply
#14
jmcslob
I'm setup to boot to the desktop..
On the Desktop I installed a program called "Shutdown8" which gives you a power button on the desktop quick launch section


When you want access like the classic start menu simply hit the new start menu button on the bottom left...you can access everything by clicking the down arrow


Which brings you to all apps just like the old start button but with an expanded view


Now if you don't wanna go through the process of hitting an extra button simply right click on the app you want and pin it to the apps page....

That took me less than one minute to figure out...I simply find all the whining about the OS unwarranted.

My Apps page...where the new start button takes you
Posted on Reply
#15
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
I just found another annoyance. You can't run any Metro apps under the administrator account! WTF is that?!

by: jmcslob
I simply find all the whining about the OS unwarranted.
You obviously haven't been paying attention.
Posted on Reply
#16
jmcslob
by: newtekie1
I just found another annoyance. You can't run any Metro apps under the administrator account! WTF is that?!



You obviously haven't been paying attention.
I've been paying attention...and when 8 came out I didn't care for it...8.1 is improved and I think people are doing the whole "I'm not gonna switch from XP cause I fear change and can't be bothered with taking 5 minutes of my time to learn a new process" which btw is just as good and even a little better than the old one....

I get it everyone feels they are being forced into something they aren't comfortable with and they are not...It runs just like Win 7 imo with an easier to use and setup start function that is metro...


You don't have to use metro as is...You can change it to suit your needs and that is a very simply process.

I actually think Metro is a good GUI that takes the best of Windows 7 and Windows 7 Media Center and combines them...Take metro and an Android device ad pair them with Unified remote or an Xbox controller and you have an excellent HTPC...

Again I didn't like 8 but 8.1 isn't 8 its what 8 should have been.
Posted on Reply
#17
johnspack
Last time I'll post about win8... it's unintuitive, it takes multiple more strokes or clicks to do the same job. I keep hearing about alt-clicking this, and then click on this, when I can do that with 1 click under win7. I don't have a touch screen, I find the metro gui very pointless. Even with classicshell installed, I find win7 faster and more intelligent to work with. I don't need a friggin app store on start up, how is that helpful? If they want to "soften" the interface for mainstreams users, fine, but let us power users have the same access to the os that we are used to. I'll walk by this like I did with Vista. Rant over.....
Posted on Reply
#18
rtwjunkie
by: jmcslob
I actually think Metro is a good GUI that takes the best of Windows 7 and Windows 7 Media Center and combines them
Last I checked MS is making you PAY for Media Center, either by upgrading with the Pro pack or by buying Pro, and then you can buy Media Center. Has that changed? They only offered Media Center for free in the first couple months.

I think I'll just stick with Media Center in my HTPC currently, included for free on my W7 x64, which works spectacularly.
Posted on Reply
#19
jmcslob
by: rtwjunkie
Last I checked MS is making you PAY for Media Center, either by upgrading with the Pro pack or by buying Pro, and then you can buy Media Center. Has that changed? They only offered Media Center for free in the first couple months.

I think I'll just stick with Media Center in my HTPC currently, included for free on my W7 x64, which works spectacularly.
You don't need it...Just download what you want and pin it to metro, VLC, Netflix, Hulu, BluRay apps, TV Tuner card programs etc...
The only thing I can think of the WMC does that you can't do without it is stream from your Xbox.
Posted on Reply
#20
rtwjunkie
by: jmcslob
You don't need it
Unless you're streaming movies from your server to HTPC using MyMovies which integrates perfectly with MC. I'm not gonna mess with what works.

But I do thank you for the good info on those other programs that could come in handy if when I test the media properties on my W8 testbed!
Posted on Reply
#21
H82LUZ73
This is what I see in these post.....And its true :laugh:

Windows 7 user = Lazy Asses that want one or 2 clicks to do anything

Windows 8 Users= Guys who like to use new OS features and find ways around Metro and Like to work their ASSES off.

So If i was to hire someone Based on IT experience and Computer Knowledge what group would I pick ,It sure as hell would not be someone that is a desk checker........

Hey i`m sorry but that is what you 7 users are saying to us,So don`t be mad about it... It is 100% true and your mad because it is.

And I forgot to Say this Windows 8.1 is a SERVICE PACK 1.......hence the .1 have fun in Windows7 ........
Posted on Reply
#22
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: jmcslob
I've been paying attention...and when 8 came out I didn't care for it...8.1 is improved and I think people are doing the whole "I'm not gonna switch from XP cause I fear change and can't be bothered with taking 5 minutes of my time to learn a new process" which btw is just as good and even a little better than the old one....

I get it everyone feels they are being forced into something they aren't comfortable with and they are not...It runs just like Win 7 imo with an easier to use and setup start function that is metro...


You don't have to use metro as is...You can change it to suit your needs and that is a very simply process.

I actually think Metro is a good GUI that takes the best of Windows 7 and Windows 7 Media Center and combines them...Take metro and an Android device ad pair them with Unified remote or an Xbox controller and you have an excellent HTPC...

Again I didn't like 8 but 8.1 isn't 8 its what 8 should have been.
Awesome, so when I'm watching a movie and want to run another program, I can't watch the movie anymore. That definitely makes a great HTPC all right...NOT. That isn't better, and frankly there is no reason for it. There is absolutely no reason the Start Screen has to take up the entire screen if I don't want it to.

Furthermore, all that customization takes time, for me it took over an hour on a new install when I installed 8.1. Over an hour just to get a usable start menu, because after installed the roughly 75 programs and games I always install on every one of my personal computers, I then had to wade through a simply massive start menu filled with probably 100+ entries that I'll never use to pick out the actual programs and then pin them to the start screen. All this was not required at all on the classic style start menu. It isn't about learning a new process, it is about the new processing being less efficient for no real improvement.

And what does Metro really bring as an improvement? Live tiles...and...and...NOTHING. Why can't we just use the desktop gadgets to get that functionality...oh wait we could, but not in Win8 because desktop gadgets have been remove.:ohwell:
Posted on Reply
#23
TheGuruStud
by: newtekie1
Awesome, so when I'm watching a movie and want to run another program, I can't watch the movie anymore. That definitely makes a great HTPC all right...NOT. That isn't better, and frankly there is no reason for it. There is absolutely no reason the Start Screen has to take up the entire screen if I don't want it to.

Furthermore, all that customization takes time, for me it took over an hour on a new install when I installed 8.1. Over an hour just to get a usable start menu, because after installed the roughly 75 programs and games I always install on every one of my personal computers, I then had to wade through a simply massive start menu filled with probably 100+ entries that I'll never use to pick out the actual programs and then pin them to the start screen. All this was not required at all on the classic style start menu. It isn't about learning a new process, it is about the new processing being less efficient for no real improvement.

And what does Metro really bring as an improvement? Live tiles...and...and...NOTHING. Why can't we just use the desktop gadgets to get that functionality...oh wait we could, but not in Win8 because desktop gadgets have been remove.:ohwell:
And no shadow copy. They removed shit that worked. M$ can eat shit and die.
Posted on Reply
#24
c12038
This makes me laugh out Loud

Why fix an already working and fine system like windows 7

Simple answer more ££££ $$$$ to Microsoft

Thanks but no thank you I am staying with windows 7 x64 does the job for my needs
windows 8.1 can suck eggs for awhile let them iron all the little bugs out of it......


Needless to say Microsoft will not stop at win8.1 its gona continue like a bad series with many seasons like what next windows 9 Black edition or maybe open source on the older systems like millennium and XP....
Posted on Reply
#25
neliz
MSI Rep
by: H82LUZ73

So If i was to hire someone Based on IT experience and Computer Knowledge what group would I pick ,It sure as hell would not be someone that is a desk checker........
You'd pick the Win 7 group, because those are the guys that save you money with every task. :) They are the guys that want a streamlined interface, an interface that offers everything for power users and the basic newbs.

I know Change is the biggest problem with people when you're implementing a new system, but if, after a year, people are still complaining, the " change" probably isn't the problem and you should really look at why the hell you pushed that new system in the first place.

Yay, I bought a new OS, I need to buy extra software to get functionality back that the Old OS had and the new system lacks in intuitiveness, flexibility and control. Oh yeah, the users are the problem ;)

That's the experience of a real IT guy :)

M$ had to learn with Millenium as well, they had a superb OS with Windows NT already.
I ran NT 4 in dual-boot with Win95 and loved it a lot, except it was lacking in DirectX support. Microsoft actually had a very, very good OS with NT 5 and although they did skip some things in 2000, it wasn't bad at all.
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