Will the Windows 8.1 update make me feel better about Windows?

So how do you feel about the current version of Windows, Windows 8?

Be honest.  Don’t hold back.  You can shout if you want; you can curl you fingers into a tight fist and pound your desk in a hysterical rage.

You can stand in the middle of the street cursing, clawing, heeing and hawing, with your laptop over your head threatening to smash it into the street…

Okay – wait don’t do that last bit but I’m sure, if you’ve actually used Windows 8 for at least 60 seconds, whatever you end up doing will include mumbling invective that would make your Sunday school teacher question your faith.

Let me tell you how Microsoft feels about Windows 8 and then I’ll tell you how I feel about it.  You can tell me how you feel in the comment block below.

First, On May 14th 2013 at the JP Morgan Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Boston, MA, Tami Reller, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer, made an official announcement (her announcement starts at 02:40 in the audio clip) that over 100 million Windows 8 licenses had been sold. That prodigious figure included new PCs and tablets that shipped with Windows 8 pre-installed as well as user initiated upgrades.

Secondly, Windows 8 sales are tracking with Windows 7 sales for the same period of the prior year.  In other words, Microsoft has sold as many Windows 8 licenses after the first six months of its October 26th 2012 release as it sold Windows 7 licenses after the first six months of its October 22nd 2009 release.

Microsoft really feels Windows 8 is a success because sales are strong and continue to rise.  With over 70,000 Apps in the Microsoft store, over 250 million Skydrive users, and over 700 million active Microsoft accounts, Microsoft is feeling good. And with plans to roll out a major Windows 8 update later this year, known as Windows 8.1 (formerly Windows Blue), Microsoft is really feeling sanguine.

A public preview of Windows 8.1 will be freely available on June 26th 2013 then it will be generally available to the public sometime before year end, probably near the beginning of Q4.

But despite the evidence for popularity and these hopes of change, I still feel a general malaise about Windows 8.  Why?  Well because I still have personal issues with Windows. You know, gripes that I just can’t ignore.

  • I hate the Start Screen: who cares about colorful live tiles? I’m a working professional not a teething infant.
  • I miss not having a Start Button: it’s been with Windows since its inception, why take it away now?
  • I hate not being able to boot to Desktop: Just get on with it, why make me swipe off a lock screen?
  • I shun the Charms bar: there’s nothing charming about this silly flyout menu.
  • I dread having to drag my mouse into screen corners to make hidden option bars fade into view
  • And I despise the onerous process of hunting down the Shutdown button just to turn the computer off.

When I told my dad about the elusive Shutdown button he joshed, “Yeah, Vonnie that’s because they don’t want you to shut the damn thing down!”

We’re just going to have to wait and see if Windows 8.1 addresses the litany of complaints everyone has about this nascent operating system.

I’ve been a loyal Microsoft customer since Windows 3.1.  I really like Microsoft.

Even though it’s a monolithic company and its ubiquity sometimes feels like a giant machine extending its digital tentacles into ever facet of my digital life (Tablets with the Microsoft Surface, Music with XBox Music, formerly Zune, entertainment with XBox One, cell phones with the Windows Phone, and even my freggin car with Windows Embedded Automotive), yet – despite all these things, I still like Microsoft because I think, generally speaking, it makes good stuff and I’ve seen it make ardent strides toward improvement.

I just hope the executive team at Microsoft makes the right decision here.  Because if they mess this update up I might just jump to a Mac.

Dogmatic PC enthusiasts know this is tantamount to anathema but I might just abjure my allegiance to Microsoft if they flub this update.

Microsoft just has to get it right this time.


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  • Me? I love it – But I still cannot convince a single one of my 100+ customers to try it out. I have one guy, I told I would instal it to his Acer Touchscreen system for free, I had re-installed his Windows 8 and I installed LCARSx32 which is designed for Touchscreen, so he could get a feel for opening and closing apps using the TS. This hasn’t happened yet, but it will. Once I get Windows 8 installed to ONE Touchscreen workstation or laptop, I WILL become desirable, if the right customers see it.

    I myself am still Keyboard/Mouse oriented, but if I had a TS computer, I would start using the tiles more. and there is LCARSx32 in case I want to use that TS interface instead – It works great in Windows 8 despite the Starfleet Logo screen not working.

    • Hi XweAponX, thanks for your reply. I actually haven’t used LCARSx32 but it sounds neat. We have a few Touchscreens, Dell XPS One 27s to be exact, at my job and I have say that these are a sight to behold. These systems are beautifully manufactured, are very responsive, and are reasonably priced. I too am a keyboard/mouse oriented person but I think touch is going to claim the day. Almost everything is touch now and I only see that trend growing in the years to come.