Windows 8.1 now available

First major update to operating system adds boot-to-desktop option.

by

Microsoft today released Windows 8.1, the first major update to Microsoft's latest operating system, which was originally released in October 2012.

Windows 8.1 incorporates a "variety" of new features and "improvements" to Windows 8, including the ability to boot directly to the desktop instead of the Start screen.

"We listened to your feedback and are delivering many of the improvements you asked for," Microsoft said.

The free update is now available through the Windows Store and will be available as a packaged DVD starting tomorrow, October 18.

Microsoft advised that users who plan to download the Windows 8.1 update read the company's FAQ ahead of time.

Windows 8.1 introduces a new Start screen that is described as "more customizable than ever," featuring new tile sizes and new background designs and colors. In addition, with the update applied, users can have up to four apps side by side on the screen at once.

For more, check out Microsoft's blog post on Windows 8.1.

Windows 8 launched in October 2012 and has sold more than 100 million licenses to date. CNET found Windows 8.1 to have new features but the same problems of Windows 8.

Discussion

556 comments
LE5LO
LE5LO

How about a downgrade to Windows 7 and my cash back? I'll be the first in line.

eternaldragoonx
eternaldragoonx

Just got an Windows 8 Lenovo Yoga and I'm going to be honest here. I hated the idea of the new windows as I love my Windows 7 PC. Windows 8 is probably the best of the bunch to be honest. And much more stable than the android operating system I've been using for years with my mobile devices. Only downfall is the windows app store is very limited in comparison to the google play store and abysmal in comparison to the apple app store.

arqe
arqe

I still cant see any reasonable statement from haters. All they got "METRO UI SUCKS" thats all. Probably they didnt even tried it , just saw it.

eloymym
eloymym

I would say that Windows Blue has just a few changes:

- Start Button (no classic, just a link to Metro)

- Minor Gui / Interface improvements / changes

- Internet Explorer 11

- New & improved Store

It's a nice update in my opinion, but not a major one as I expected.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

i have Windows 8 , ive yet to have a single issue with it. Plus the whole boot to desktop thing....BIG DEAL..seriously. The desktop option is RIGHT On THE START SCREEN...ITS really really easy to click. Like simple. it doesnt even take 1 second to click it. Only issue ive had with it so far, is Ports closing on me and weird invalid IP configs for some reason, that i didnt get on XP.


The menus for search apps and options etc on the start screen is kind of annoying and it should be catagorised, unless i can catagorise it and dont know how. But then most of my time im on desktop, i barely go to start screen. I do if i want to click a game or something.

Adenosine
Adenosine

Classic Shell.

I really hope Microsoft would stop trying to transform the pc into something like the common tablet/phone whatever. Have you ever tried working on multiple files (image/video/text/other proprietary stuff) that require a lot of back and forth switching on the default Windows 8? What a nightmare!

You know your product just made a horrible choice when it takes an external source to fix your problem and their solution is to revert your design into something that closely resembles an old version of your product.

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

I actually am liking the new improvements on my surface pro. Its definitely a big improvement I am not sure if I would want it on my desktop however.

I am to lazy to try it out.

Runar Jenssen
Runar Jenssen

Windows 8.1. Microsoft's latest desperate attempt at driving PC gamers away from the PC and towards their own "next" generation console instead.

ohjtbehaaave
ohjtbehaaave

How to fix Windows 8.   Go back to Windows 7.

Mathew Stark
Mathew Stark

Windows 8 is an amazing operating system, and anyone who thinks differently without a valid reason is just an idiot.

RPG_Fan_I_Am
RPG_Fan_I_Am

How to fix windows 8.... install a start menu....

PoofMaester
PoofMaester

I haven't had any problems with Windows 8.. just minor annoyances. Now, win8.1 i haven't noticed anything different, except for the fact that every now and then my key's turn into hotkeys when i'm surfing the web.. i'll try to type in an address or somthing and windows start to pop up lol... Anyone else have this issue?

eva02langley
eva02langley

Windows 8 didn't fail because of faster loading time, better software efficiency or better look... it fails because the User Interface is a mess and will make anyone go crazy!
 It takes more time to deal with simple tasks than any other Windows.

Starsailor_IT
Starsailor_IT

I didnt like this update. It has several things that need to be fixed... e.g. IE11 google results all messed up and the lack of compatibility with Bitdefender and with Catalyst driver for switchable graphics. Improvement? None that I could notice. Keep Windows 8 or 7.

JustArtificial
JustArtificial

Damn Unity Player doesn't work with Win8.1 at the moment, AND I CAN'T PLAY ATTACK ON TITAN!

ATTACK ON MICROSOFT!

Ayebang
Ayebang

Here is the conclusion of Win 8:

1. Faster boost: with any kind of hardisks, you will find it. Some claim just 3 seconds to open.

2. Noticeably faster performance as a whole: With notebook, tablets and traditional PCs, you will find that it is surprisingly faster without compromising in performance.

3. Backward compatibility: You will gonna run on your previous software. Nearly all of them. It is so hard to identify that what software that can runs on Win 7 but not in Win 8.

4. Lower power consumption: It is noticeable and it is good news for tablets and notebook, even PCs. This improvement is nothing to complain, more or less.

5. Less hardware hungry: With new encryption technology from Intel and Microsoft, make Win 8 consume less resource of your computers. It is clear that Microsoft cares more about notebook and PCs get some benefits, too. Maybe they will find no need to upgrade their PC to run this Win 8 and found it is faster.

6. Reliable: With latest code in Win 8, in theory it more reliable. It is save to say it need time to prove this. Just today, it is ok.

7. Powerful: This OS is the most powerful and the most flexible for developer to develop their software on Earth.


croxus
croxus

I bought windows 8 when it was promoted and was dirty cheap, looking upon the future, when a new direct X wont be supported by win7 anymore. I was never thrilled about the tiles or the market and the first thing i did, was a workaround to open automatically to the desktop, logged in.

I can live with minor annoyances and adapt to changes without hussles, BUT as a gamer the transition completed a lot of problems and many of the serious. As a result the performance of my i7 rg was significantly affected and where there wasnt any lag with graphical options selected in win7, there was a visible one even at medioum->with at win 8.

Eventually i upgraded my GPU and the initial drivers got better updates, however for the dedicated gamer win7 remains the optimal choice atm!


Persoanlly, i cant wait for the 8.1, hoping this time they got it right!

z4r3k
z4r3k

Thanks but no thank you. By the time they release W9 or whatever, games on Linux won't be a problem anymore. I'll simply stick to W7 till then. In other words: Windows Upgrade ? I don't thinks so.

LE5LO
LE5LO

@eternaldragoonxThe biggest downfall to me is that everything on 8 is designed with a touch screen in mind, the mouse seems like an after-thought, it looks like the OS was designed solely for SurfaceRT, having to swipe corners of the screen, with massive icons on the start menu for sausage thumbs, compared to having everything compressed but right in front of you, on the old start bar. :/

The only thing I feel this OS has going for it was how customizable that start area is with dragging those fat tiles around, now 8.1 has improved this a little with sizing, etc, but this OS is still nowhere near essential for the casual PC user, especially one with generations of experience on older OS's with traditional interfaces.

In hindsight, I wish I'd stuck with 7. I couldn't give a crap about the new touchscreen controls or changes to the start menu. Why would I want to look and interact with my PC like it's a tablet or a phone when I have a mouse plugged in? -_-

TheLordsbeacon
TheLordsbeacon

@arqe I disagree.   Windows 8 to me looks like a child's toy operating system with its giant tiles and dumbed down look.  It is also very jarring to have it completely take you out of one screen and into another when you click on the start screen.  Before, you had access to everything in one screen with the desktop/start menu setup.  I'm working on my mac right now and I can always see every program open on my desktop.  With Windows 8, you have to alt-tab from one program to another.  Maybe there is an option somewhere like the mac expose' key where you can shrink every app to where you can see it, but that is still a pain if you have to use it every time you want to remember what you are running.  Overall, it makes the whole computing experience less seamless and more confusing.  It may make your computer run more efficiently, but other than that, I don't see why so many defend it.

LE5LO
LE5LO

@nyran125tk"i have Windows 8 , ive yet to have a single issue with it...." "...The menus for search apps and options etc on the start screen is kind of annoying and it should be catagorised."

lol

Supersayian007
Supersayian007

@nyran125tk the point is that i know that i want to go on my desktop every time i boot up, but i am forced to go to the crappy metro. Now that Win 8.1 ( 3 gig) is out  i dont need to see that metro thing. 

roganth
roganth

@guitarist1980 No it is only good for tablets.  It forces touchscreen apps and interface on desktop users.  Absolutely hate it.  Touchscreen is fine for mobile devices, but real work is done with a keyboard and mouse.

eternaldragoonx
eternaldragoonx

@PoofMaester you can change the hot keys. I noticed mine changed after 8.1 also but I had to change them in my video card control panel oddly enough.

IAMTYLERDURDEN
IAMTYLERDURDEN

@PoofMaester  I haven't had that problem even during the beta. Try placing a ticket with customer support along with your specs.

IAMTYLERDURDEN
IAMTYLERDURDEN

@eva02langley  I found it annoying at first just simply because I wasn't expecting them to change windows so much. Once I got used to it the changes I grew to like it better. Still not a fan of the metro interface. Thankfully you can ignore it completely. 

Savoritias
Savoritias

@Ayebang 8. Aging: As always you need to reinstall windows every 3-4 months because the performance is getting slower and slower.

                      9. Damage. The boot of Windows 8 is faster because the made it to suspend every time you shut down. That is why is you search google you will find thousands of pages and programs devoted to truly shutdown Windows 8.

RT-XD
RT-XD

@Ayebang and people still complain about the UI (which doesn't take long to get used to). Oh the shame...

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

Linux will never be able to play most Windows games and they won't be getting ports. A few new games might come however. Piracy will be even worse in Linux because users expect free stuff.

LE5LO
LE5LO

@TheLordsbeacon Same here, love OS X and will happily use it for years to come. Wish it was compatible to run more Windows software / Direct X though. Sadly, to me, that's the only area Microsoft has the advantage.

eternaldragoonx
eternaldragoonx

@roganth @guitarist1980 Its great for tablets like the surface but yeah pc its kind of useless. Best use so far I've seen is for the Lenovo Yoga....Laptop when you need it for work and tablet when you want it on the go. Windows 8 if perfect for the Yoga.

Starsailor_IT
Starsailor_IT

@groowagon @Starsailor_IT because it worked for me better than Chrome on Windows 8. I liked it. Anyway thats no argument, even if I never used it, its still unacceptable.

RT-XD
RT-XD

@Savoritias @Ayebang I've had windows 8 for half a year now. Runs just as fast as it did when I installed (well, ok, maybe a tiny bit slower as it always goes, but it's hardly noticeable),

As for Damage...what?? I'm pretty sure there is no data loss due to windows 8. As for the suspend shut down thing - you can turn it off. That's what I did, and it still boots up faster than windows 7.

Ayebang
Ayebang

Aging? Take a look and try win8.1, you will see latest codes from Microsoft that make it very stable. If u do not install pirate software, u will be no problem at all now.

Damage ? Win 8 will be deployed by enterprise which a very careful on data loss.

No any complain on any damages from users, both consumers and enterprise.

IAMTYLERDURDEN
IAMTYLERDURDEN

@RT-XD @Ayebang Agreed. Again I think people are quick to jump on the "windows 8 sucks" bandwagon because it's popular to think that. It's not bad at all and the speed improvement over windows 7 is greatly appreciated.

EcksTheory
EcksTheory

@Kryptonbornson Depends how the steamos ends up being. If it becomes popular, you can expect to see a massive shift towards linux.

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

@IAMTYLERDURDEN @RT-XD @Ayebang I am liking it on the surface pro. In fact I really like it a lot. I am noticing a lot of nice improvements. Its not that I have anything against windows 8 on my desktop, its just that I really like Windows 7.

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

@EcksTheory @Kryptonbornson I think that's the whole point of these steam boxes is to get Linux or Ubuntu or whatever and make it a big player in the gaming market. But that's just my guess.