General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

What is your review of Windows 8.1?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (25799 points ) March 1st, 2014

My daughter will graduate from high school this year, and she will get a new PC as a gift from her aunt and grandparents.

The new PC we’ve told them to look at has Windows 8.1 for its operating system. She will be transitioning from a PC using Windows 7.

Do you use it or have you used it?

What do you think of Windows 8.1?

For the record, we are not Apple fans, so she won’t be getting a Mac.

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29 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I used windows 8 for a while, until it completely and irrecoverably dismantled itself in a massive crash.
I transitioned back to windows 7. MS can go to hell.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

This question is about Windows 8.1 specifically and not about Windows 8.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I’ve been using W8 since shortly after it came out. I hate the “modern” look, which was supposedly its major selling point. But I can’t stand that, so I installed Classic Shell, which brings me straight to the traditional desktop.

8.1 is nothing special when compared to 8.0. Neither of them are that much different from 7 or for that matter, Vista.

I haven’t had any total meltdowns with my machine. It operates. Nothing negative nothing positive. It’s an operating system, not a cyborg.

jerv's avatar

From what little I’ve putzed around on it, the desktop mode is slightly more polished and there’s some nice “under the hood” tweaks, but they still haven’t figured a few driver and stability things out. It’s comparable to Vista SP1 that way, so I’m sticking with Win7 until the bitter end. My next OS will be either Win9 or Linux.

Us gamers are more likely to run into issues than normal users, and I value compatibility and stability.

XOIIO's avatar

@ragingloli “microsoft can go to hell”

Still uses a microsoft product.

lol

@jerv Main reason why I didn’t upgrade to windows 8 is gaming and other program comparability, and it’s a pain. windows 7 is far superior.

Cruiser's avatar

I got a laptop with W8 on it and hated it and was told to upgrade to 8.1 and still hate it. The pop-out side bar is archaic at best but once you know where the desktop you were familiar with in Win7 (top left corner) you can get used to the differences. I have been told Win 8.1 is supposed to be super functional, so is my Droid phone and the dashboard of my new car….I just need someone to show me how the f#ck it all is supposed to work!

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Only played with it a bit in the store,and didn’t like it,still have windows7, on one and XP on the other but a while back bought a Mac mini and now really like that and at first Mrs Squeeky didn’t care much for the Mac but now really likes it as well.

bolwerk's avatar

I think you’d be best to get your daughter’s opinion, or be prepared to pop for a Win7 downgrade. A lot of people hate Win8x and think it’s a piece of shit. If she isn’t a gamer and doesn’t need legacy software, she probably won’t have any software problems – so if you can discount those things, maybe it’s just a question of what she likes?

@XOIIO: a lot of people use M$ products because they have to, not because they like to.

jaytkay's avatar

I’m running WIndows 8.1 on both my desktop and laptop. It’s not better than Windows 7 in any way.

The Metro interface is a pain in the ass if you aren’t using a tablet. Meaning it’s designed for pointing and clicking.

So avoid the Metro interface and learn how to boot to desktop mode in Windows 8.1 .

All else being equal, I would choose a Win 7 laptop over Win 8.

But if the Win 8 laptop is otherwise a better deal, it’s OK. She’ll adjust.

Seek's avatar

I have never used Win7.

My lappy came with Win8 about 1½ years ago, just recently upgraded to 8.1

I was fine with 8, 8.1 seems pretty much the same, to be honest. My daily usage consists of mostly Google Chrome, Microsoft Office, and GIMP. I’m not much of a gamer, safe for the odd PSX ROM now and again.

My husband – who isn’t particularly computer literate – likes that they put a start button at the bottom in 8.1, instead of making him hover in the corner. He kept accidentally opening his documents folder when he was trying to sign out from the desktop.

The metro interface is good for my 5 year old. Everything he wants is right in front of his face, and anything he shouldn’t be touching is safely out of sight.

jerv's avatar

Two things to note here:

1) One of the big names in laptops (HP) brought back Win7 by demand last month.

2) Microsoft is putting out a Bing-powered free version of Win8; they can’t sell it, so they’re trying to give it away.

antimatter's avatar

I don’t like it, I find it a bit confusing…No start button is quite a pain!

bolwerk's avatar

Windows 8 = Mac OS 11. Apple hasn’t “upgraded” yet. :(

But @Seek_Kolinahr probably raises a good point. If one’s computer habits aren’t set, s/he for the most part probably won’t care that much whether s/he starts with Win8x, Win7, MacOS X. It’s when you’ve been using Windows since Windows XP or before that radical changes like Metro actually bother you.

Cruiser's avatar

Thank you @jaytkay Much lurve for that tip! I also unclicked that right corner bastard!

jerv's avatar

@bolwerk True as far as you go, but the ones having the biggest issues are the ones who do more with their computers than simply surf the web, watch videos, and such. Basically, the people that couldn’t use a computer at all 20 years ago but now can because the features people like me need are either buried or removed. It’s like driving a car that has had all the controls replaced with a single button that says “Go”; simpler for the unskilled but annoying and restrictive to those that know how to drive.

bolwerk's avatar

@jerv: That’s who the OP is presumably talking about. You’ll note I didn’t suggest loading Debian or something. I almost mentioned Ubuntu or Linux Mint in my “wouldn’t know the difference” list, but then I decided maybe not because finding helpful support[ive people] might be harder. There is almost always an experienced Windows or even Mac user near at hand.

IMHO Windows always hid the useful stuff – even in the 3.1 days. This was in contrast to the traditional Apple/Mac strategy of simply not having extra useful features to hide. Starting with OS X, they adopted M$‘s strategy. However, at least most dumber feature losses were reparable nuisances until Win8. I can give them the benefit of the doubt on some things, like dumping WinFile or “Start Menu Classic.” Those were very superficial and people could adjust to other tools. But menus? Network tools? A lot of backward compatibility? Just why?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

A few users answered the question about Windows 8.1 and did not simply voice their frustration with Windows 8. I am very grateful for those few helpful answers.

The OP specifically asks for information about the user’s experience with Windows 8.1.

My daughter is going to university. It’s not hard to guess what she’ll be using her new computer for. She’ll be using MS Office a lot to write papers and prepare presentations. She will not be studying computer science, so she will not be coding. She will, of course, be doing all the normal things people do with computers, such as surf the Internet, watch movies and shorter videos, and listen to music, etc. She is not a serious gamer. In fact, I’ve never seen her play a game on her computer. She plays games on her phone.

I want to especially thank @jaytkay for the very useful link. If my daughter does not like the new Metro interface, then your link will be invaluable. I have seen this mentioned on other places I’ve read about Windows 8.1, and having this link is very handy.

My daughter is very bright. She will figure out how to make the best use of her new machine quickly. I have done my own research about Windows 8.1, and I believe it will serve her well.

I asked this question to get useful tips about how other people have used Windows 8.1. It was not my intention to start a thread bashing any particular company or their product. Complaining about Windows 8 is not useful here.

XOIIO's avatar

@jerv Lol, making windows 8 bing powered, that’s just making it worse

bolwerk's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake: You did ask for a review, which is going to garner some negative criticisms. Most of the bashers would probably have ignored it if you asked for usage tips. For the scenario you mentioned, a move from Win7 to Win8.1, the two problems I mentioned were pretty objective: gamers and legacy software users beware. I sincerely think almost anything else really is a matter of taste or habit for the type of person you described.

My diversion about usability wasn’t until an irrelevancy until you mentioned exactly what your daughter does with it.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@bolwerk Thank you. I did not mean to come across as shrill.

What I read in many of the posts here were criticisms of Windows 8, and they did not address whether the person has even used the newer Windows 8.1, which is what I was asking for.

bolwerk's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake: they’re pretty similar. Been a couple of months since I used either, and nothing stands out to me as a major problem that applies to 8.0 but not 8.1 when compared to 7. Most of the differences between 8.0 and 8.1 are going to affect 8.0 users who upgrade – for instance, the apps have more sizing options in 8.1. But that probably doesn’t mean anything to a Win7 user.

jerv's avatar

The differences between 8 and 8.1 are either minor cosmetic things, or things so obscure that even I don’t care. Unless your daughter is doing stuff with NFC devices or has a need for BitLocker encryption (I prefer TrueCrypt myself), she won’t notice a difference between 8 and 8.1 either. It really is an x.1 tweak rather than a real upgrade. For all practical purposes, there’s no real difference between them for most users. They didn’t fix any major flaws, or add much functionality.

Seek's avatar

^ Truth.

Honestly, I only upgraded so the damned notification would stop popping up every time I turned on the computer.

arronflem's avatar

It was so much not comfortable, it took me so long to get used to the interface, I changed it to 7 after like a couple of weeks because it was unbearable.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I’m using Window 8 and so far I’m quite pleased with it except for the fact that it isn’t compatible with some old games that run earlier Window versions and any attempt to trick my laptop into running them using earlier versions is useless. I hear that Window 8.1 is not very different from Window 8, with the addition of making my laptop more compatible with older Window versions. I haven’t installed Window 8.1 yet, but I really love to.

catherineconley's avatar

Window’s 8 working perfectly for me. Recently downloaded 8.1 and happy with windows.

jerv's avatar

So, it seems like the concensus is that the less you need from a computer, the more satisfactory Win8.1 is, and vice versa.

reijinni's avatar

Win 8 does irk me a little bit. No multiple windows on the screen is probably my biggest beef. This is coming from someone who started out on win 3.0

talljasperman's avatar

Windows 8.1 needs to be reloaded (f5) every time I load another page about 75% – 100% of the time.

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