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Microsoft Reacts To Feedback But Did They Get Windows 8.1 Right? 543

Posted by samzenpus
from the trry-it-now dept.
MojoKid writes "Microsoft's Windows "Blue" 8.1 update has been long-awaited. Those who've been using the base OS since launch have no doubt been anticipating some of the enhancements that are coming. At the moment, Windows 8.1 is available only as a preview, and if you are looking to give it a try, there are a couple of things to be aware of. The most important is the fact that once you upgrade, you can't easily downgrade — so you may wish to try the update in a virtual machine or on a test machine if possible. In addition, your current product keys will not work, so you'll effectively be turning your activated OS into an evaluation (it's assumed that once 8.1 goes final, we'll be able to update using our original keys). That said, Microsoft's free update offers a slew of enhancements like a new Start Screen, the return of the Start Button, even quicker shutdown and restart, boot to desktop, quicker integrated search and Skydrive enhancements. All told, Microsoft's new OS release is a more than worthy successor for end users but now Microsoft really needs to work on getting developers on board."
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Microsoft Reacts To Feedback But Did They Get Windows 8.1 Right?

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  • Betteridge's law. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Titus Groan (2834723) on Monday July 01, 2013 @02:14PM (#44157529)
  • Yes and no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ErichTheRed (39327) on Monday July 01, 2013 @02:15PM (#44157559)

    It's pretty obvious that someone high enough in their business-customer focused product guys heard enough Start button complaints to get that put back. I know a lot of people wanted the menu to return, but that was doubtful given how much Microsoft wants to see the Store and the whole Apps thing succeed.

    They have made a lot of tweaks to make using Windows 8.1 on keyboard-and-mouse PCs much easier, and I'm happy for that. One thing that I desperately want back is the "themeable" user interface on the desktop. I'll even give up the Start Menu for that. I want to be able to choose between the new "Windows 2.0" desktop, the "dated and cheesy" Aero Glass theme I like in Win7, or even go all the way back to "Windows Classic" like I've been able to do since Win2K. That's just the in-box themes too -- lots of vendors used the theming code in the OS to completely transform the desktop. I was really hoping for Aero Glass to make a return (or even Aero without the Glass acceleration.) Unfortunately, it looks like they're still not listening to people on that front.

  • Re:Yes and no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JDG1980 (2438906) on Monday July 01, 2013 @02:19PM (#44157613)

    I really don't understand why MS insists on locking down the themes. The engine is fully capable of using whatever theme the user wants, but for unknown reasons this is restricted to the one included theme digitally signed by Microsoft. There is no good reason for that. Why should we have to hack a DLL to get a feature that the OS already supports?

    A lot of the issues with Win8 would go away if theming was permitted. (For instance, the one thing I find most annoying about Win8 is the centered title bar text – this breaks the way I've read window titles since Win95.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @02:20PM (#44157631)
    You still haven't figured it out yet?

    Newsflash: Microsoft doesn't give a flying fuck what is said about them on Slashdot. Microsoft could cure cancer, create a sustainable moonbase, and bring world peace, and people here would be whining that they really liked cancer, the moonbase wasn't 100% open source, and the world peace was going to be worse than Microsoft Bob.

    Those posts are trolls. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. And you people keep falling for them EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

    Even when it's patently obviously a troll, like the MyCleanPC bullcrap fake ads, people are ZOMG SHILL SHILL LOOK AT ME I CAUGHT THE SHILL.

    Which is exactly the response the trolls want.
  • by fallen1 (230220) on Monday July 01, 2013 @02:20PM (#44157633) Homepage

    Pretty much mirrors my own. Although I would add in an extra side of "fuck you"... []

  • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Monday July 01, 2013 @02:22PM (#44157655)

    Does the start button work like this: []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @02:28PM (#44157729)

    (1) You can't prove it is an ad agency rather than an obvious troll. You can sue Microsoft and try to use discovery to find out, but how much money are you willing to spend? That would bankrupt Slashdot. And then you'd probably find out it wasn't Microsoft.

    (2) The posts are irrelevant. In fact, you guys piling on by replying with your whining is much worse for the quality of discussion than the posts you object to. If you and the others had just shut up and moved on, the moderation system would have taken care of the problem and most people wouldn't have even noticed.

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Monday July 01, 2013 @02:31PM (#44157787)

    .. was naming it Windows 8, instead of Windows Tablet Edition, which could also be added to Windows 7 as a Tablet Mode.

    Uh, no.

    Windows 8 was a desperate attempt to get some kind of prescence on tablets and phones. To do that, they need apps. To get apps, they need to convince developers that they should develop apps for Windows 8. To do that, they had to push the tablet interface on the desktop.

    Of course the idea was retarded from the start, which is why it's come around to bite them in the ass. They threw their desktop users under the bus and gained only a minimal number of tablet and phone users.

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday July 01, 2013 @02:44PM (#44157995)

    You press start and type "cmd". Typing on the start screen initiates a search. Alternatively press win+s to open the search panel, and type "cmd". Alternatively right click on the start menu and click run, then type cmd.

    Thanks. Just what I've always wanted in a modern GUI - more typing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @02:45PM (#44158007)

    Fu*k all you pretentious assholes that think they speak for all technical savvy users.

    I have been supporting Windows since Windows 3.11 Snowball so you can guess that I am one of the elderly folks on Slashdot. I get paid by a university to support applications used on Windows, OS X, and mobile devices. Guess what, I really like Windows 8.

    Why are so many of you afraid of change? After spending a hole 5 minutes customizing the new 'Modern UI' Start screen, I can find the apps I want much faster and with less typing than I could with Win 7 style start menu. I have a huge number of shortcuts that I want old style access to so I add them as a toolbar on the task bar.

    Why is that so hard? And don't spew any crap about MS making the choice for you. Apple changes their UI all the time without letting you change it back and they still don't get the flak that MS does.

    I though it was us old folks that went around complaining about change and telling folks to 'get off my lawn'.


  • by CFBMoo1 (157453) on Monday July 01, 2013 @02:53PM (#44158139) Homepage
    I think you are confusing trolls with the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" crowd. My mother who is over 70 has had the same reactions people on Slashdot are having about the new Windows GUI. If she had her way she'd go back to Windows XP's interface cause she knew EXACTLY where everything was and didn't need anyone to change it. Windows 8.1 is just another mess for her to relearn how to do things. I'm sorry, as nice as Metro may be for phones and tablets, it has no place on the desktop.
  • by pla (258480) on Monday July 01, 2013 @02:56PM (#44158179) Journal
    What exactly do you want the start menu back for?

    Personally, I don't care so much about the formal start menu - I use either shortcut keys or just Win-R the program name for just about everything I don't have as an icon on my desktop. I suspect most people pining for the start menu really don't care about it specifically, but rather, the whole set of known OS behaviors that came with it:

    What do I (we?) want? I want the window manager to behave as a window manager. I want small, configurable iconic shortcuts that open programs for me in a window. I want a base desktop that doesn't look like Times Square at night (complete with its many flashing neon ads). I specifically do not want every program to open itself in a more-or-less-modal fullscreen style on my 30" WQXGA display. I have a monitor that big for a reason, and believe it or not, that reason has nothing to do with spending all day prettifying Word documents intended for a booklet layout. I want the "store" to mean I go to Amazon or Newegg in a non-MSIE browser. I do not, ever, want any attempt whatsoever at "upselling" by Microsoft, or worse, the few money-grubing OEM partners of theirs they haven't managed to alienate yet.

    In short, I want Windows 7. And if five years from now that means I have to run Linux to get it, I damned well will.
  • Re:Penny Arcade (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tnk1 (899206) on Monday July 01, 2013 @03:06PM (#44158279)

    The Metro UI is just fine... maybe even good... for a tablet.

    For a mouse driven desktop PC, it is still a pile of pastel colored shit.

    All they need to do is not force me to use it on PC and I'm good. I'm not offended that they did it, I just want them to get it out of my way in a place where it is not very efficient. It's not like I am demanding that they re-write the UI, they already had the Windows 7 UI for the desktop. Just slap that on top of your improvements and add the Metro option if you want or need it. Have Metro run on tablets by default and the normal Desktop run on PC's by default.

    I understand that sometimes you have to push things, but there is really no benefit to Metro for PC users. There might be one for Microsoft, in that they want everyone to think of Metro as the One and Only Operating System and parlay their desktop market share into tablet share, but that doesn't actually help me in any way.

    At this point, they're just being stubborn assholes. The comic got that much right.

  • by JohnFen (1641097) on Monday July 01, 2013 @03:13PM (#44158379)

    That's how people were using the old start menu too. That's how its supposed to be used.

    That's how some people were using it, but for a lot of people, that's the clunkiest possible way to do it. In what world does it make sense to have to remember the name of an application you don't use regularly?

  • by bluescrn (2120492) on Monday July 01, 2013 @03:24PM (#44158535)
    Amazed so few people notice/care about the real issue here. It's not about UI fails and touch/mobile focus - that's a minor issue.

    It's about Microsoft moving from a 'general purpose computing' model to an 'app store computing' model. Where everything has to be code-signed, approved/censored, and taxed at 30%+.

    They are doing this by gradually phasing out the desktop and applying pressure to users to use Metro, by making it harder to avoid - whilst the desktop gradually has functionality stripped out (first the Start menu, now the control panel)

    This is why we should absolutely reject Win8. Not because the new start screen is annoying.
  • by rtkluttz (244325) on Monday July 01, 2013 @03:28PM (#44158591) Homepage

    I can't believe I'm replying to the troll but heres a list. First and foremost. I don't and never will use a tablet or touch interface for real work so I don't want charms that are huge stealing my screen real estate, or windows that force full screen or any arbitrary size. I want windows that ** I ** can resize to any size I want and have multiples on the screen at one time. i want everything small and precise because I multitask... a LOT.... and with multiple large monitors. I DON'T want an app store that thinks it controls what I can and can't install on my own devices. I shouldn't have to be on a domain to bypass app store crippling of my machine. I say what software goes on and comes off of my own PC and no one else. For my users on the network, hierarchical menus for apps based on purpose is still superior when you are building systems for people so unsavvy they don't even know the name of an app to search for. I don't want cloud integrated into everything by default. As an add-on its just fine, but I don't trust other people and companies with most of my stuff and I surely didn't trust Microsoft even BEFORE this NSA mess. I also want things to work the same way every time. If I click on an icon I want it to start a new instance. Every. Time. I can manage my own windows and decide when I want new ones and when I want pre-existing ones. I don't want Windows trying to decide when I want to maximize a window by getting too close to the top. If I want it maximized, I'll click a button to do so and so on and so on and so on......

  • by geminidomino (614729) on Monday July 01, 2013 @03:31PM (#44158649) Journal

    In my experience, the Windows key's most suitable task seems to be to get accidentally bumped by the side of my hand and minimizing my games at the worst possible moment...

  • by jimshatt (1002452) on Monday July 01, 2013 @03:36PM (#44158709)
    You're confused. Science has always been by consensus. It's the thruth that isn't (on which I have nothing to say).
  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Monday July 01, 2013 @03:41PM (#44158783) Homepage Journal
    Yep. What a disappointment. "Oh, okay, here's your Start button back. What do you mean, menu? You just said "Start Button". There's your Start button, so shut up."
  • by osu-neko (2604) on Monday July 01, 2013 @04:11PM (#44159169)

    Why are so many of you afraid of change?

    Once you've completely misidentified the problem, you'll never find the solution. But I'm sure it makes it a lot easier to dismiss criticism if you can pretend it comes from somewhere unreasonable.

    The fact of the matter is, people love change... iff it's change with significant benefits. People like changes for the better. I've heard "I wish this worked that way" a hundred times, and people are ecstatic when you come back and give them an update that makes it work the way they said. People love change if it's a genuine improvement. People only hate change when they can't see any point to it. They may not be formal about it, but everyone runs a bit of a cost/benefit analysis in their minds, and when there's an obvious cost for no significant benefit, or to fix "problems" that they never saw as a problem to begin with, they react negatively, because that's the logical response to a change of that nature.

    Why is that so hard?

    Irrelevant question. The important question is, "why is that even necessary?" It might have a good answer, but if you can't make that answer clear to people, expect them to react negatively when you ask them to do what they see as unnecessary things for little apparent benefit.

  • by TsuruchiBrian (2731979) on Monday July 01, 2013 @05:15PM (#44159765)

    I totally favor fixing things that aint broke. Sometimes people don't know things are broke until you show them a better way.

    What I don't like is lack of options. I don;t even care if Metro is the default. I should be allowed to turn it off as an option. There is no reason to force me to use it if I don't like it. I don't think they should remove it either. I'm sure some people like it.

    If windows 8 had the ability to turn off metro, it would be just like windows 7 with a few improvements, rather than a disaster.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @05:26PM (#44159861)

    We developers as Microsoft definitely read Slashdot. Most of us, dare I say. And when there is blatant FUD and misinformation, I myself have stepped in and corrected it with links and citations. If I am giving an opinion piece, I usually post as AC and identify that I work at Microsoft.

    But I don't go racing for the first post with some normative statements with a username of JustANormalGuy. This guy is obviously trolling Slashdot by pretending to be a shill.

  • by malkavian (9512) on Monday July 01, 2013 @05:30PM (#44159891) Homepage

    Hey, guess what.. I've been using computers since the days of the Commodore Pet. I was using and supporting microsoft since the days of MSDOS 3... And I was using UNIX before that.
    The bones I've had to pick with MS were originally because they had pretty shoddy tools, compared to the UNIX (for DOS), and no multi-tasking. Through the Windows 3 era, I thought it compared poorly to the Apple UI, and it performed absolutely shoddily when compared to OS/2.. I saw MS's marketing engine fire up, and scare people (needlessly) into just using their product, not by dint of superiority, just because they had cash to throw around. Dirty tricks really were the name of the game.
    With the advent of Win95, Microsoft actually had a GUI which I had to admit was well thought out. It did what was wanted in a simple and no fuss way. Sure, it was still a layer above DOS, but it was definitely usable, and actually comfortable.. They'd done their homework on that..
    Fast forward to now. They force a UI that's pretty decent for a tablet (quite like how it handles on a tablet) onto a desktop.. And I hate it on the desktop.. The idea of using it for Servers is filling me with dread.. The ergonomics of it are atrocious in that use case; I'm just glad you can do everything in Powershell.. That really is going to be the start of a move to 'Core' install, and just run things via powershell. It's mostly how I do it these days, but I do enjoy the flexibility of the Win7 GUI (I think Win7 is the best OS MS have put out to date). I like the tech improvements behind the scenes in Win8, but after using it, I refuse to install it on my home workstation, and work is never going to move to that version (apart from tablets/kiosks, where it shines).
    In an attempt to grab the niche market, they seem to be eviscerating their core one.. Which I really just don't understand.. The strategy that would work would be to have an API that works across all the forms (tablet, kiosk, desktop) with a GUI that you can swap between depending on your needs.. If Android releases get the desktop done nicely (and optimised for desktops, not tablets), then MS could be in with a bigger fight than it expects..

    In short, it's a good OS ruined by changes that alienate most people. Not just because they "have to learn something new" (which was their big thing about not shifting to Linux), but because it makes changes with no advantage, and quite frequently to their detriment.

Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.