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.
Add your own comment

339 Comments on Windows 8.1, and Why You Should Let Go of Windows 7

#1
The Von Matrices
by: 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.
Irrespective of whether Windows 8 improves or hampers productivity, I get the impression here that there a lot of the computer users who have everything arranged very specifically in their current operating system and would take issue with any change in their workflow, even if it would have no effect on productivity after he or she got used to it. This is really the same as the Mac OS vs Windows argument; experienced users of each OS can do the same things in the same amount of time (games being the only real exception) but the methods to complete tasks are different and are largely not transferable. This makes any users who try to switch complain the alternative is not intuitive when in reality they are approaching the new OS with preconceptions that cloud their experience.

As far as my experience with Windows 8, I am very happy due to the minor tweaks added (improved copy dialog, Hyper-V, improved task manager, multiple desktop taskbars ala UltraMon) and the increased focus on search (for example the new Start menu).

Whether people like it or not, search is the future and folder tree structures are the past. We are getting to the point where computers will manage everything in our lives, and that means there will an ever increasing number of applications and files on them. Folder trees just become inefficient after a certain number of objects are stored, and the new Start menu is just another transition to a search-based UI. When you think of a keyboard as a mouse with a hundred buttons, you begin to realize the power of using the keyboard to search rather than the two button mouse to point and click a folder tree.
Posted on Reply
#2
neliz
MSI Rep
by: The Von Matrices
Whether people like it or not, search is the future and folder tree structures are the past.
What exactly was broken in start bar search in Vista&7?
Posted on Reply
#3
MxPhenom 216
Corsair Fanboy
by: c12038
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....
Not at all. I think a lot of people are forgetting where Microsoft is going with this. They are looking for the new best GUI and OS that can be seamlessly streamlined and integrated along all their devices. (Phones, tablets, desktops) This is something Apple has been doing for the last few years, and Microsoft is following. Makes the end users experience much easier.

Now obviously its a bit of an abrupt change on desktop, since obviously we still use mouse and keyboard, but it is a start to the new future of Microsoft products, and its not going to change. It'll keep progressing and hardware and the way we use our devices will adapt. Right now we all have a choice, either to use Windows 8, or 7. I don't care what people use, but most of the time I see BS about it, and arguing about which is better, people are missing the point.

by: neliz
What exactly was broken in start bar search in Vista&7?
I don't recall him saying it was broken. Windows 8 expands on the search function from Vista and 7, while also making it a bit more intuitive.
Posted on Reply
#4
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: MxPhenom 216
Not at all. I think a lot of people are forgetting where Microsoft is going with this. They are looking for the new best GUI and OS that can be seamlessly streamlined and integrated along all their devices. (Phones, tablets, desktops) This is something Apple has been doing for the last few years, and Microsoft is following. Makes the end users experience much easier.
Except Apple's desktop OS looks and acts nothing like the OS on their phones and tablets. Apple is smart enough to realize that a GUI that works on a phone and tablet doesn't translate to the desktop.
Posted on Reply
#5
The Von Matrices
by: newtekie1
Except Apple's desktop OS looks and acts nothing like the OS on their phones and tablets. Apple is smart enough to realize that a GUI that works on a phone and tablet doesn't translate to the desktop.
For now, that's true. But it's also clear that Apple is moving the same direction as Microsoft. It's inevitable that Apple's two operating systems will merge in the future.
Posted on Reply
#6
Ketxxx
Heedless Psychic
How people can still argue if the removal (yes it was a removal) of the start menu is a good or bad thing the mind simply boggles. To a extent (I'm unsure of how far MS will go), MS have totally backtracked and am themselves putting the start menu back in with Windows 8.1, so there is your answer people, the gay teletubby-like tiles of the start screen are a horrifically bad idea for non-touchscreen users. Its not a case of people unable to adapt if after a year or more people are still complaining about it - it means the start screen was a poorly thought out, poorly designed, poorly implemented new addition. If the start screen had functioned more like the start menu (much smaller tiles, thus you can see a lot more on one screen) I doubt too many people would of had a huge issue with it - this was not the case though. I've always said as far as touchscreen devices go W8 isn't bad but as far as ANY non-touchscreen device goes W8 is a abomination. All of these problems could of been solved in one easy step; offer 2 options during W8 setup which could of been described as so;

User Interface Options:

Metro UI - Recommended for touchscreen devices
Windows 7 UI - Recommended for non-touchscreen devices.

See how easy that was? All I can say is thank god for Classic Shell :D
Posted on Reply
#7
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: The Von Matrices
For now, that's true. But it's also clear that Apple is moving the same direction as Microsoft. It's inevitable that Apple's two operating systems will merge in the future.
I don't see OSX UI moving towards the iOS UI at all. I seem them integrating features and apps from iOS, but I don't see the UI moving towards the iOS look and feel. The UI is remaining pretty much the same really, looking at 10.9 it is very difficult to tell the difference from Mountain Lion. And I don't see them ditching the dock in favor of pages full of app icons, I don't even see a hint of that.
Posted on Reply
#8
Ikaruga
by: D007
Win 8 offers virtually no performance increase at all, does nothing for games and pays little attention to who is actually using the PC.
To be objective and fair, there are certain areas which are worth to mention, where Win8 indeed offers improvements over win7. For example, it boots faster, and yes it doesn't really matter in the morning if takes 10 or only 7 seconds to get to the desktop, but it's still faster which is good. Another example could be a new feature in DX11.2 called "Frame buffer scaling" (also mostly thanks to Carmack iirc) which is basically dynamic resolution changing on the fly to maintain a certain FPS. This feature could (and probably will) help casual gamers with medium/low end hardware to get a better experience out of their systems (even if it will be one of the things I will definitely and immediately disable in the drivers as soon as will get there).
Posted on Reply
#9
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: Ikaruga
To be objective and fair, there are certain areas which are worth to mention, where Win8 indeed offers improvements over win7. For example, it boots faster, and yes it doesn't really matter in the morning if takes 10 or only 7 seconds to get to the desktop, but it's still faster which is good. Another example could be a new feature in DX11.2 called "Frame buffer scaling" (also mostly thanks to Carmack iirc) which is basically dynamic resolution changing on the fly to maintain a certain FPS. This feature could (and probably will) help casual gamers with medium/low end hardware to get a better experience out of their systems (even if it will be one of the things I will definitely and immediately disable in the drivers as soon as will get there).
Yes, but also to be fair, the game is going to have to support DX11.2 and the likelyhood of that is slim to none. DX11.1 has been out for almost a year and a total of 1 game uses it. DX11.2 isn't going to be any different because Microsoft is making DX11.2 Windows 8.1 only. And since the overwhelming majority of users still run Win7, and more people use OSX than use Win8, game developers aren't going to be willing to put the time into coding for DX11.2 and DX11. In fact that time would be much better spent working on running the game in OpenGL, since that would open up the game to run on OSX and Linux, and since they are probably going to have to port the game to OpenGL anyway to run it on the PS4. So they can either spend the time and money to support DX11.2, which doesn't actually add any new potential customers, or they can support OpenGL which adds PS4 users, OSX users, and Linus users as potential customers.
Posted on Reply
#10
puma99dk|
by: Ketxxx
How people can still argue if the removal (yes it was a removal) of the start menu is a good or bad thing the mind simply boggles. To a extent (I'm unsure of how far MS will go), MS have totally backtracked and am themselves putting the start menu back in with Windows 8.1, so there is your answer people, the gay teletubby-like tiles of the start screen are a horrifically bad idea for non-touchscreen users. Its not a case of people unable to adapt if after a year or more people are still complaining about it - it means the start screen was a poorly thought out, poorly designed, poorly implemented new addition. If the start screen had functioned more like the start menu (much smaller tiles, thus you can see a lot more on one screen) I doubt too many people would of had a huge issue with it - this was not the case though. I've always said as far as touchscreen devices go W8 isn't bad but as far as ANY non-touchscreen device goes W8 is a abomination. All of these problems could of been solved in one easy step; offer 2 options during W8 setup which could of been described as so;

User Interface Options:

Metro UI - Recommended for touchscreen devices
Windows 7 UI - Recommended for non-touchscreen devices.

See how easy that was? All I can say is thank god for Classic Shell :D
i tried Classicshell but with no way to disable the original Windows 8.1 start button it will just be in the background and that looks ugly, if i may say so, or did i miss something about hidding or disable start button?
Posted on Reply
#11
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
by: puma99dk|
i tried Classicshell but with no way to disable the original Windows 8.1 start button it will just be in the background and that looks ugly, if i may say so, or did i miss something about hidding or disable start button?
When I installed ClassicShell on 8.1 the original start button disappeared, I didn't have to do anything special.
Posted on Reply
#12
puma99dk|
by: newtekie1
When I installed ClassicShell on 8.1 the original start button disappeared, I didn't have to do anything special.
not to be mean newtekie1 but mine didn't i can still see it through the blue squares here lookie:



i tried with an old version i had from ninite and ClassicShellSetup_3_6_7.exe i downloaded yesterday or 2days ago...
Posted on Reply
#13
Prima.Vera
The ONLY thing I like about Win 8 is the status display when you are copying files. Is really good info when copying large amount of files from external drives for example. Love that. But that's about it. Anyone know about some 3rd party program that does the same thing in Win 7? I would love that.
Posted on Reply
#14
puma99dk|
by: Prima.Vera
The ONLY thing I like about Win 8 is the status display when you are copying files. Is really good info when copying large amount of files from external drives for example. Love that. But that's about it. Anyone know about some 3rd party program that does the same thing in Win 7? I would love that.
that i agree with and the Task Manager i luv that one soo much more information then Windows 7 ^^;
Posted on Reply
#15
tigger
I'm the only one
I know you can put the 8 task manager on 7, dunno about the file transfer thing though.
Posted on Reply
#16
puma99dk|
by: tigger
I know you can put the 8 task manager on 7, dunno about the file transfer thing though.
nice, but i was hoping to get this:



not just this:



and clicking on "More Details" button just opens the original windows 7 task manager :(
Posted on Reply
#17
random
I'm actually quite happy with Windows 8. I am just a general user though so I can't say the same for everyone since my PC is just for media and games. Work-wise we're still unable to use it at our PC retail store since we use old MYOB software for our POS and can't get the damn thing to work in Win 8.

I don't see the big deal about the start menu since all you need to do to find the things you want is press the windows key button and start typing for what you're after which I still find alot quicker than navigating through the old start menu. And moving on was really painless, I literally only needed to put in the CD and click install and my OS turned into Windows 8 from 7 after a few mins wait with all my settings and games still in-tact, even my icons still had the same arrangements.

So for me personally I'm glad I let go of 7 and working as a technician in a PC store, it's also made my life alot easier building/repairing PC's since all the drivers for the motherboard are already installed with the OS apart from some really high-end gaming PCs and the Windows 8 Refresh does a great job in getting rid of OS corruptions while keeping all your data in tact.
Posted on Reply
#18
BarbaricSoul
WTMF IS THIS SHIT?



A fucking advertisement? That shit aggravates the shit out of me. If I wanted something from that restaurant, I'd go there. I don't want to see a fucking commercial trying to sell me something. It's bad enough I get that shit every fucking place I go and every web site I visit, now my computer it's self has them? Yeah, I'm about ready to put the 7 disk back in the drive and reboot.
Posted on Reply
#19
random
by: BarbaricSoul
WTMF IS THIS SHIT?

http://img.techpowerup.org/130630/wtf.jpg

A fucking advertisement? That shit aggravates the shit out of me. If I wanted something from that restaurant, I'd go there. I don't want to see a fucking commercial trying to sell me something. It's bad enough I get that shit every fucking place I go and every web site I visit, now my computer it's self has them? Yeah, I'm about ready to put the 7 disk back in the drive and reboot.
Well you are using a Bing Weather app for free O_o....
Posted on Reply
#20
acerace
by: Prima.Vera
The ONLY thing I like about Win 8 is the status display when you are copying files. Is really good info when copying large amount of files from external drives for example. Love that. But that's about it. Anyone know about some 3rd party program that does the same thing in Win 7? I would love that.
Try TeraCopy. It help me a lot when transferring files from drive to drive. http://codesector.com/downloads
Posted on Reply
#21
BarbaricSoul
by: random
Well you are using a Bing Weather app for free O_o....
not true if I buy 8.1. If I was to buy 8.1, and Microshaft (been a while since I used that term) includes that app with the OS, then I'm paying for that app in the cost of the OS IMHO. I feel I should not have to deal with commercals embedded in the OS.
Posted on Reply
#22
Arctucas
by: c12038
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....
Perhaps, but I see Microsoft trying to become Apple.

If I want Apple, I will buy and use Apple, not Microsoft's version of Apple.

Sad days, sad days indeed.
Posted on Reply
#23
rtwjunkie
by: The Von Matrices
Whether people like it or not, search is the future and folder tree structures are the past.
And how is that a good thing? There are many, many people, including myself who install many programs. There are always a few you don't use for awhile, but filed away in your mind you know what it does. Then comes the day you need it....but you can't remember the name of it. As we hit our mid 40s, it's not uncommon to not have as good a memory (and what about senior citizens? They are downright out of luck trying to find that program name they can't remember!). Fear not, folder tree view in Start Menu to the rescue!.....in W7 and below!!

Please tell me how a keyboard search function is going to help me find something I cannot remember the name of? How does that save me time? How does that make me enjoy my windows experience? With a start menu in a couple clicks I have actually found the program listing and my memory is jogged, allowing me to continue the task quickly I was about to embark on.
Posted on Reply
#24
CiTay
I'll just post this:

Posted on Reply
Add your own comment