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

#1
FX-GMC
trickson said:
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!
You see things for what they are to you.

I see Windows 7 as a bloated, less efficient Windows 8. Sure I loved it when I ran it, but going back to it would slow down my work flow.
Posted on Reply
#2
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
FX-GMC said:
You see things for what they are to you.

I see Windows 7 as a bloated, less efficient Windows 8. Sure I loved it when I ran it, but going back to it would slow down my work flow.
That is only because you do not know how to run an os because it is fast and flows like melted butter. And my CPU is older than DIRT too! LMAO!
Posted on Reply
#3
FX-GMC
trickson said:
That is only because you do not know how to run an os because it is fast and flows like melted butter. And my CPU is older than DIRT too! LMAO!
#RunsBetterOn8
Posted on Reply
#4
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
#CouldCareless
Posted on Reply
#5
FX-GMC
trickson said:
#CouldCareLess
Fixed that for you.
Posted on Reply
#6
Slizzo
FX-GMC said:
Fixed that for you.
#Couldn'tCareLess

Fixed it for both of you.

One thing I truly like much better about 8/8.1 over 7, is that I don't get that damned color/theme warning that Windows 7 ALWAYS GAVE ME no matter WHAT I DID to try to turn it off when playing Battlefield 3/4.

I use Start8, and love my Windows 8/8.1. Yes, I spent $3 to get a proper start menu back. But now I have a desktop that looks like Windows 7 but gives me all the additional benefits of running the much better Windows 8 kernel.
Posted on Reply
#7
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
Slizzo said:
#Couldn'tCareLess

Fixed it for both of you.

One thing I truly like much better about 8/8.1 over 7, is that I don't get that damned color/theme warning that Windows 7 ALWAYS GAVE ME no matter WHAT I DID to try to turn it off when playing Battlefield 3/4.

I use Start8, and love my Windows 8/8.1. Yes, I spent $3 to get a proper start menu back. But now I have a desktop that looks like Windows 7 but gives me all the additional benefits of running the much better Windows 8 kernel.
Never seen this ever! I run BF3 and 4 and still do not see what you are babbling about! Oh yeah and on the only desktop I have too the old trusty Q9650. I bet my system is so bad to you as well.
I hated the fact that Windows 8 always wanted to connect to the internet even when I wanted it NOT TO!
Posted on Reply
#8
Slizzo
trickson said:
Never seen this ever! I run BF3 and 4 and still do not see what you are babbling about! Oh yeah and on the only desktop I have too the old trusty Q9650. I bet my system is so bad to you as well.
I hated the fact that Windows 8 always wanted to connect to the internet even when I wanted it NOT TO!
Not quite sure why you are saying that Win 8 always wanted to connect to the internet. I haven't seen that at all. Made my profile and offline profile and I'm all set.


And below is what I'm talking about for the color warning. No matter how many times I went through and disabled warnings about this, it STILL popped up all the time while playing Battlefield3/4. That's actually one major reason why I upgraded.

Posted on Reply
#9
TRWOV
For any people running FX processors, moving to 8.1 seems to be a sensible choice:



Caveat: These figures are from BOINC, so not every program will necessarily exhibit the same gains.

- W7 x64 and W8.1 machines have identical hardware (Asrock 970 Extreme 3, 8GB 1600 CL9 RAM)
- W7 x86 and Linux x64 machines have identical hardware (Gigabyte 880GM-USB3, 4GB 1333 CL9 RAM)
- None of the CPUs have been overclocked. Running stock speeds with CnQ and Turbo disabled.


If you don't like the Start screen just get an start button app (Start8 is my personal recommendation). After setting up the default programs to the desktop variants I haven't seen a metro app ever.
Posted on Reply
#10
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
It could be 10 times faster but as long as the UI remains trash, I still won't use it. Even corporations are keeping a lot of distance between them and Windows 8. I hope Microsoft got the message this time and fired all the assholes that thought...that...was a good idea (you know what I'm talking about).
Posted on Reply
#11
Blín D'ñero
btarunr said:

Windows 8.1, and Why You Should Let Go of Windows 7
[...].
I should not, and no-one should.
I'll wait for Windows 9 before upgrading...


Edit: oh i see, this thread is almost a year old... LOL.
Posted on Reply
#12
TRWOV
FordGT90Concept said:
It could be 10 times faster but as long as the UI remains trash, I still won't use it. Even corporations are keeping a lot of distance between them and Windows 8. I hope Microsoft got the message this time and fired all the assholes that thought...that...was a good idea (you know what I'm talking about).
There are programs that restore the start menu and they aren't harder to install than a driver. I've seen people say "why should I install an start menu?" but it's not different from, say, installing 7-zip to open RAR files. I really don't see why people bitch about the GUI, it's not like you can't change it. Heck, in XP I used to install hacked themes all the time and in 98SE I always changed the loading screen, this isn't that different.

I've used W8 since it came out and after setting everything up (a 10 minute task at most) I've never seen a metro app, except for the Windows Store when I upgraded to 8.1 (you can't get 8.1 through Windows update).
Posted on Reply
#13
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
It's not your job or any hacker's job to fix Windows 8; it is Microsoft's job. Until they do it, steer clear. If they refuse to do it, Linux is going to get big in the next 10 years.

Everyone that buys Windows 8 supports Microsoft's poor decisions so they make more of them. I strongly advise against that.
Posted on Reply
#14
TRWOV
Fix? It's not broken, it just has a different paint job, that's like saying that you don't like it because of the stock wallpaper. People can change it and they don't even have to spend a dime if they choose not to.

Then again it might just be my mindset as I'm always modding things (physical and otherwise) so if I find something not up to my liking I just change it and get over it.
Posted on Reply
#15
FX-GMC
TRWOV said:
Fix? It's not broken, it just has a different paint job, that's like saying that you don't like it because of the stock wallpaper. People can change it and they don't even have to spend a dime if they choose not to.

Then again it might just be my mindset as I'm always modding things (physical and otherwise) so if I find something not up to my liking I just change it and get over it.
I agree. There is nothing wrong or broken about Windows 8.

I'd like to see a Windows 7 start menu with this many shortcuts and level of organization

Posted on Reply
#16
TRWOV
Those game tiles are sweet. :rockout:
Posted on Reply
#17
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
FordGT90Concept said:
It's not your job or any hacker's job to fix Windows 8; it is Microsoft's job. Until they do it, steer clear. If they refuse to do it, Linux is going to get big in the next 10 years.

Everyone that buys Windows 8 supports Microsoft's poor decisions so they make more of them. I strongly advise against that.
I know right! Every one says HACK it! LMFAO! I have to HACK windows 8.1 just so it LOOKS good? Microsoft did this before there will be a "NEW Improved" OS soon. Hell 8.1 is a HOT FIX from the crack every one was using in the first place to make it look more like windows 7 !!!! LMFAO! SUCKERS!!!!! LMFAO!!!
Posted on Reply
#18
TRWOV
It's not hacking, you just install a program. As I said, nothing different from installing any other program to add functionality to the OS: want to open RAR files? Install 7-zip. Want to overclock your GPU? Install Afterburner. Want to play H265 files? Install a codec. Want to do spreadsheets? Install an office suite. Want to edit pictures? Install an image editor. Want a classic start menu? Install one of the many apps that do so.

Now, if you're content with W7, that's all fine and dandy. Some of my rigs have W7 on them (as noted in the uploaded picture) and I've never thought "Man, I wish I was running W8 instead", there's nothing W7 can't do that W8 can (although that'll change with DX12), what I'm arguing about is that turning down W8 just because of the totally modifiable UI doesn't make sense. If you want to stay on W7 forever be my guest, W7 is an excellent OS, but spreading the mantra of "W8 sucks because it has a different UI" is where I don't concur with you.
Posted on Reply
#19
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
FX-GMC said:
I'd like to see a Windows 7 start menu with this many shortcuts and level of organization
You do realize that's 1920x1080. It is massive. You know what Microsoft could have done and should have done? Make metro function exactly like the Start Menu when you click on it and only take up about 1/4 of that size like the real deal. That way you get the advantages of metro without being completely alien to Windows.

Better yet, Microsoft should just maintain an NT-style UI option and do whatever they want in a separate UI so people can choose. Getting rid of something that has been a staple of the operating system for almost two decades is foolish. Windows 8 (and 8.1) will go down in history as a failure like Vista:
http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0
Windows 7: 47.52%
Windows XP: 28.98%
Windows 8: 6.89%
Windows Vista: 3.61%
Windows 8.1: 3.60%


I'm not content with Windows 7. Windows XP is still the best as far as UI is concerned. If they made XP UI available in Windows 9, I would be a happy camper and buy it. Until then, I'm sticking with Windows 7 because it at least isn't atrocious.
Posted on Reply
#20
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
FordGT90Concept said:
You do realize that's 1920x1080. It is massive. You know what Microsoft could have done and should have done? Make metro function exactly like the Start Menu when you click on it and only take up about 1/4 of that size like the real deal. That way you get the advantages of metro without being completely alien to Windows.

Better yet, Microsoft should just maintain an NT-style UI option and do whatever they want in a separate UI so people can choose. Getting rid of something that has been a staple of the operating system for almost two decades is foolish. Windows 8 (and 8.1) will go down in history as a failure like Vista:
http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0
Windows 7: 47.52%
Windows XP: 28.98%
Windows 8: 6.89%
Windows Vista: 3.61%
Windows 8.1: 3.60%


I'm not content with Windows 7. Windows XP is still the best as far as UI is concerned. If they made XP UI available in Windows 9, I would be a happy camper and buy it. Until then, I'm sticking with Windows 7 because it at least isn't atrocious.
I so agree. Why all the sudden the change to make things look more like Apple Icrap? I really do not understand the Johnny come lately shit coming from Microsoft and the removal of some thing that has been a part for almost 2 decades is just plain bullshit to me. I am NOT going to give up so easily windows 7 FTW!
Posted on Reply
#21
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
FordGT90Concept said:
You do realize that's 1920x1080. It is massive. You know what Microsoft could have done and should have done? Make metro function exactly like the Start Menu when you click on it and only take up about 1/4 of that size like the real deal. That way you get the advantages of metro without being completely alien to Windows.

Better yet, Microsoft should just maintain an NT-style UI option and do whatever they want in a separate UI so people can choose. Getting rid of something that has been a staple of the operating system for almost two decades is foolish. Windows 8 (and 8.1) will go down in history as a failure like Vista:
http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0
Windows 7: 47.52%
Windows XP: 28.98%
Windows 8: 6.89%
Windows Vista: 3.61%
Windows 8.1: 3.60%


I'm not content with Windows 7. Windows XP is still the best as far as UI is concerned. If they made XP UI available in Windows 9, I would be a happy camper and buy it. Until then, I'm sticking with Windows 7 because it at least isn't atrocious.
Holly crap! Now I see and I hope they do too at Microsoft! WINDOWS 7 FOR THE WIN!!!
Posted on Reply
#22
FX-GMC
FordGT90Concept said:
You do realize that's 1920x1080. It is massive. You know what Microsoft could have done and should have done? Make metro function exactly like the Start Menu when you click on it and only take up about 1/4 of that size like the real deal. That way you get the advantages of metro without being completely alien to Windows.
What's so alien about it? I used the windows 7 start menu to search and open something. I use the Windows 8 start screen for the same thing, but now I have more room for commonly used programs. It's not like you could interact with the desktop when the w7 start menu was open.

If you really just have to see your desktop the whole time:

Posted on Reply
#24
trickson
OH, I have such a headache
FX-GMC said:
What's so alien about it? I used the windows 7 start menu to search and open something. I use the Windows 8 start screen for the same thing, but now I have more room for commonly used programs. It's not like you could interact with the desktop when the w7 start menu was open.

If you really just have to see your desktop the whole time:


FYI that is not a start menu!
Posted on Reply
#25
FX-GMC
trickson said:
FYI that is not a start menu!
That's a reading fail on your part.

My post says Windows 8 start screen.

Please keep it up with your thought invoking posts.
Posted on Reply
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