back to article Windows 8.1 Update: Throws desktop drones a bone but still as TOUCHY as ever

After months of slowly inflating expectations, Microsoft recently released its follow-up act to Windows 8.1 – the Windows 8.1 Update. It’s a transitional release, with the destination being a substantial reworking of the original concept. The problem for Microsoft is that it based Windows 8 around a new touch-friendly app …


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  1. bigtimehustler

    I can't say I truly understand Microsoft strategy these days. One of the things that kept business users in the Windows OS ecosystem was the office application suite. I am not a Windows user, but in the past I always run Windows in a VM just to use Outlook for its exchange features. These days with Office 365, I simply have a browser window open with Outlook open, LibreOffice is good enough for all my other document editing needs. So ultimately if users get more familiar with Office 365 as a whole, this could mean businesses having to do less retraining to move a user off Windows...surely making Office work so well finally in the Web has started the decline in market share of Windows.

    1. GrumpyMiddleAgedGuy

      Absolutely - just the same way Java cannibalised Sun.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Yes and no.

      Office 365 web apps are getting better, but it is like the difference between a Mercedes C Class with the base engine and no extras and a fully loaded AMG C Class, they look vaguely similar, but one is underpowered and lacks a lot of features.

      It depends on how many of those optional extras you can shift onto the web platform and how good the browser experience becomes. The web apps aren't bad, for when I am not working on one of my PCs, but I wouldn't swap my Office 2013 installation for them. At least not yet.

    3. scopesoft

      The Data Centre returns

      We seem to be going back to the early days of computing when the data centre existed. We now store all our files in the cloud (as per the data centre) and get charged for the storage, we now can pay a subscription to run an application (as per the data centre), and we now have to get permission to run our apps (as per the data centre) and pay to do this. LOL

    4. Avatar of They


      Microsoft and other cloud storage companies don't understand real world situations. (ignoring PRISM and Snowdon and the NSA for a moment)

      The DPA and safe harbour are a joke and yet companies must obey them, so having all your data in someone elses hands and in a place you can't control and don't trust is not legal. So all this talk of clouds and azure and rubbish MS infrastructure is pie in the sky for most businesses.

      Never mind that 1000 people suddenly trying to use a web interface in the UK when BT and virgin can't give 100% uptime means you are relying on your 100/1000 network being massively crushed (not just throttled) when you get to the pavement interface.

      You can't run a company like that. A decent company has control of its data, and so MS miss the point yet again.

      The problem with Win8 is they did all this and didn't consider what people actually do, merely what MS think they should be doing. Which is working, on a machine, at their desk, on a legacy app, that was developed or paid for to be as the customer wants. (not shiny, not fancy, not via a the app store and certainly not as MS demand.)

      Not as MS believe us all to be doing, playing apps, or surfing the web or arguing with touch screens and horrible interfaces.

      Until MS realise they are not targeting the right people, the workers, then they won't get the take up they need. Afterall IT bosses and Directors decide what a company spends money on, not some sad teenager that wants angry birds on a surface tablet.

      We took fifteen minutes to turn our backs on Windows 8 from a works point of view, because we don't have 3 million pounds spare for development costs and because we can't afford to replace 1000 monitors for touch screen.

      Silly Micro$oft.

      1. Hooksie

        Re: Except

        Wow, you gave it a whole 1 minutes? Really evaluated all the pros and cons there didn't you?

        What do you think the desktop in Windows 8 is? There for a laugh? No, it's the desktop, just like you've always known it and doing the same things as Windows 7 except better and more efficiently. On top of that you get a sandboxed environment that employees can use at lunch time to play about with or, heaven forfend they actually use its multi-tasking capabilities and have more than one app running.

        I've been running Windows 8 since it came out and I have to say that the most recent update is my least favourite since it drags us back to Windows 7 by making the desktop prominent rather than a legacy interface. But I recognise that not everyone is up to speed with the modern world and some people know either Desktop or IPad and that's about it. Windows 8 is a best of both worlds OS and if spent longer than 15 minutes getting to know it you might have made a better decision.

        Nobody says you NEED a touchscreen. And the testing department are lying to you because that's how they make their money. If it works on Windows 7, it will work on Windows 8.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Touch or no touch

    People like long term transitions. Windows 95 still allowed the Program Manager to be ran, for example.

    The Windows 8 default desktop with all the boxes just feels too much like a mix of MS Bob and Xbox 360 (where it was difficult to find things at the best of times!)

  3. Roger Stenning

    Touchscreen is fine and dandy...

    ... for a mobile device like a PDA, mobile (Cellular) phone, and phablets, but NOT, say again NOT for a desktop machine, where keyboard shortcuts, F keys, etcetera are often in regular usage; the Win8 environment is just not keyed up (sorry, couldn't help it) for this at all.

    I appreciate that they wanted to keep it effectively to something like "one system to rule them all", but in the real world that's just not going to happen. Two versions, minimum, was what they should have aimed at; Mobile and desktop.

    The end result: They've pissed off a fair slice of their formerly loyal following.

    My new notebook came with In8 as standard. It took some modding (OK, a quick search and a simple download and installation of IOBit's "Start menu 8") to add the functionality of the windows key and start bar (3rd party application), but I've got it to where it's usable.

    But the next upgrade I have in hardware WILL be for a Linux machine, and the hell with Windoze.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Hooksie

      Re: Touchscreen is fine and dandy...

      Utter bollocks. I wish I could come to see you buy your next machine with Linux on it and see just how long before you chuck the thing out the window. (no pun intended)

      I've used Windows 8 in a non-touch screen laptop, non-touch desktop, Surface and touchscreen laptop. The fact that it's versatile is its greatest asset and depending on which version I'm using and which input method I have available I can work in different ways. When I have a physical keyboard I can do things with keyboard shortcuts that would normally take several clicks of a mouse.

      What you did was buy a new machine with a new OS and instead of taking the time to get to know it you whined, moaned, poo'd your pants and went out to make it look like the old one. That's like trading in your wife for a younger model then making her wear the old ones clothes.

      If you or the countless others like you out there, (and I don't mean any of this as a personal attack, you're by no means alone, tech journalists, especially the Register have been the worst at it) had taken the time to watch a 5 minute YouTube video or actually learned anything about your new OS you would have found it a more rewarding experience.

      Why do you need a frikken start menu? You've got a personalised Start screen, a taskbar, a desktop, charms and a start key on your keyboard. How many more ways do you need to get to a program? Going through a hierarchical tree structure vs hitting start and clicking on the thing or typing the first three letters then click. Hmmm.

      Learn Windows 8 before you moan about it and I assure you, if you can't figure out Windows 8 you've got feck all chance with Linux

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 8 was built for one reason only

    The 30% margin on everything sold through the store.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

      This. I'll not even post Anon. I'll put my name to it. There was one "clear and concise mission" for Windows 8. As a consumer, it missed my needs, but only the accountants/sales people will know if it was successful on their account.

      As Windows 8.1.1(or whatever) is getting long awaited features that consumers were asking for, I'd assume that 30% cut was not enough with low uptake in either apps made, sold or user adoption.

      1. David Webb

        Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

        Personally I think the Win 8 touch screen style is too far into the future, it may be a required feature in the future (maybe 5 or so years) but currently it's stuck between a rock and a hard place. Windows 7 is pretty unusable from a touchscreen perspective, it's developed for mice, Windows Metro is great for touchscreen but poor for mice.

        As demographics move away from traditional beige boxes to portable, touchscreen, the Windows Metro interface becomes more and more understandable, but at the cost of usability for people with mice.

        I've bought an Acer W500 to use Windows 8 on (full fat, not RT) and I'm looking forward to playing with Metro interface when it arrives, with the touchscreen it's going to make a lot more sense to use the Start Screen rather than traditional keyboard/mouse style, my desktop (Windows 8 too) will continue to use the normal desktop interface and I'll use it for stuff that the W500 isn't suitable for (especially games).

        So that is my reasoning as to why Windows Metro (I know it's not metro anymore but meh) is poor, it's caught between desktop and touchscreen and maybe went too far over to the touchscreen side at the cost of desktop usability which garners the irk of traditional users.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

          "Personally I think the Win 8 touch screen style is too far into the future"

          They should just develop it as a Linux desktop, then anyone who wants to use it can and the rest of us can use something useful

          1. nematoad Silver badge

            Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

            I think that Canonical have more or less beaten you to it on that idea.

            Just take a look at the Distrowatch hit page rankings to see how well that has worked out.


            Remember, Ubuntu was *the* most popular distro until that Unity nonsense was rolled out.

            Lead balloons, both MS and Canonical have managed to launch one of these.

        2. Tom 35

          Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

          It's not even very good with a touch screen. I have a surface RT and if I am doing anything more then watching Netflex it's kind of crap. If you want to use office or even IE you need the floppy keyboard. The on screen keyboard is crap compared to what I can get for my Nexus 7 as you don't get a choice. You can download a better one as MS will not allow it in their lets pretend to be Apple world.

          Without the keyboard you don't have the "It's Windows" advantage, you have something like android except crappier with almost no apps. I could have got a playbook for $99.

          1. Hooksie

            Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

            Again, more lies and FUD. I have a Surface my friend and you're talking pish. I have run my entire week on the Surface including support emails, VPN in to client's systems and remote desktop to any server I need to fix. All snappy, all smooth and all gravy. I do have the flappy keyboard but I could just as easily have any full size keyboard plugged in to the USB port or attach a hub and have a keyboard/mouse. Stick in the £35 adapter and it can attach to a monitor through HDMI or VGA giving you a dual screen PC. I just gave my uncle this very set up to replace his hulking great PC.

            So utterly sick of people bashing Windows 8 or RT when they've not bothered to use it.

            What's wrong with the on-screen keyboard and the 4 configurations it has or the fact you can move it anywhere on the screen?

        3. tabman

          Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

          Exactly, horses for courses.

          Use Metro or TIFKAM on touchscreen devices, especially handhelds. Makes alot of sense.

          Use the desktop for desktop oriented software (like games) but also in my case Office 2013 and VS2013.

          The only problem is that I have to use middleware to achieve this. Start8 boots me to desktop which is where I want to be on my Win 8 desktop. If the next major update of windows (8.2) allows me to remove Start8, all the better.

          1. mmeier

            Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

            Actually Win8.1 had "boot to desktop" as an option. And this "Servicepack" adds a detection and will boot to desktop if it does not detect touch hardware (see another post for a problem with two synced devices) so if that is what you use Start8 for you can ditch it.

            1. Hooksie

              Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

              @mmeier Shhhhhh! What are you doing man!? Don't you know that positive stories about Windows 8 aren't allowed in the comments section? Are you mad? Suggesting that actual users like the thing where people who've worked in IT for 30 years don't? Heresy!


        4. Hooksie

          Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

          hold on; you're "looking forward" to using it but you're complaining that it's stuck between two OS's? How about you use it first before making that judgment?

          Until you've used it with a mouse and keyboard I don't see how you can comment on that aspect of it. I assure you that using a mouse and keyboard with Windows8 is by no means a chore and if you set it to boot to desktop you rarely even need to see the Start Screen (though I would encourage you to do so)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

        "As Windows 8.1.1(or whatever) is getting long awaited features that consumers were asking for..."

        Where? As I read it MS have continued to do what THEY want, not what I want, and not what WORLD + DOG want. They are promising that the next version might get things we want, but as they've serially not given people what they openly asked for I'm not hopeful.

        This weekend the XP laptop at home is being treated to a dose of Ubuntu. If it works then that's good, if it doesn't then a large Android slab will replace it. I could buy a new version of Windows, but that's expensive, and as a matter or principle I'm not giving my money to a company that simply refuses to listen.

        1. Vociferous

          Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

          > This weekend the XP laptop at home is being treated to a dose of Ubuntu.

          Oh, uh... Ubuntu Desktop uses Unity, a touch-first interface not all that dissimilar to Windows 8, and sucks nearly as hairy goat balls. For a non-touchy computer, consider Mint with the interface of your choice (I'd suggest XFCE for weak hardware, Cinnamon or MATE for everything else).

          1. janimal

            Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

            I assume you can install ubuntu & replace unity with something that isn't crap though? Or have they stopped all that sensible nonsense?

            1. frank ly

              @janimal Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

              You can install and then use any DE you like (selected on a button at the login screen). If you're used to Windows, I'd go for MATE, XFCE or LXDE in that order of decreasing 'power'. (They have pop-out toolbars, just like XP did, but which Win7 got rid of.) Try Cinnamon if you like; they are all free apart from the cost of your time and a bit of disk space. If you want a truly 'futuristic' experience, try KDE.

              1. janimal

                Re: @janimal Windows 8 was built for one reason only

                I personally use mint on my laptop, the only thing that annoys me about that though is the upgrade process (at least the last time I updated).

                The funny thing about that is that it is an HP Elitebook i5 supposedly designed for W7, but with W7 on it and the correct drivers it doesn't recognise the hardware buttons or even the software fn buttons.

                I put Mint on it & everything works like a charm, bloody quick too.

                1. clriis

                  Re: @janimal Windows 8 was built for one reason only

                  I also use Mint (Cinnamon) for my old HP dv2 and it works well for general purpose tasks BUT there are still problems with Bluetooth and HDMI.

                  With the risk of being flamed I would like to state that I am quite happy using Win 8.1 on my Yoga 13 hybrid and using VMware for other OS's. IMHO nothing still beats the amount and quality of software developed for Windows.

                2. AceRimmer

                  Re: @janimal Windows 8 was built for one reason only

                  "I personally use mint on my laptop, the only thing that annoys me about that though is the upgrade process (at least the last time I updated)."

                  I have Mint too and although I love it I can see the lack of a clear upgrade method being a major issue for a lot of people who decide to ditch windows for Linux.

                  In my (very humble) opinion, every linux distro I've seen still lacks the completeness of product you get with Windows or OSX and they just aren't yet ready for the very casual user who wants something that works. Even I, a reasonably competent IT pro, managed to completely break my first Mint installation and had to reinstall from scratch.

                  FWIW here's the upgrade path from windows 1 upwards


                  1. Vociferous

                    Re: @janimal Windows 8 was built for one reason only

                    > I have Mint too and although I love it I can see the lack of a clear upgrade method being a major issue for a lot of people

                    Upgrade from what? Windows? Yeah, Windows doesn't really play nice with that kind of thing, see e.g. the secureboot DRM problem, you can dualboot, but usually it's best to reformat the disk.

                    If you mean upgrading Mint: sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

              2. keithpeter Silver badge

                Re: @janimal Windows 8 was built for one reason only

                "If you want a truly 'futuristic' experience, try KDE."

                And if you want something well outside the box, try DWM/dmenu.

                Not your father's UI. :twisted:

            2. smot

              Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

              "I assume you can install ubuntu & replace unity with something that isn't crap though? Or have they stopped all that sensible nonsense?"

              I use Ubuntu Gnome for all my dev work, with Win 7 in a VM when I need to use Win-specific stuff. I rejected Unity after struggling with the global menus and the annoying launcher which needs to be scrolled far too often. Some of these issues have been resolved, and Unity is starting to look a bit better.

              But it won't take me away from Gnome Shell yet - this is the desktop for people who don't like clutter. If you're someone who likes a raft of icons, folders and docs liberally scattered over the desktop, choose Cinnamon or KDE. If, like me, you prefer a clean desktop, go Gnome Shell. Whichever you try, give it some time before you give in - these desktops are not like Windows or Mac even if superficially they resemble them. And the beauty is, you CAN change!

            3. Vociferous

              Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

              > I assume you can install ubuntu & replace unity with something that isn't crap

              Yes, you can, BUT in my experience changing Unity for something else is highly likely to lead to problems. I've tried it three or four times, with different replacement GUIs, it has never worked right for me, it has always resulted in weird crashes and UI glitches (e.g. missing menus).

              Mint is based on Ubuntu -- everything which works on Ubuntu works on Mint and the other way around, so if you're going to use any of the interfaces available on Mint, I'd strongly suggest using Mint instead of retrofitting that GUI on Ubuntu.

        2. mmeier

          Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

          World and Dog or some screaming minority und click baiting "journalists"? Most users do not care about start menu and it's features. They have their 10 programs pinned to the desktop or taskbar and use the menu to shut down the box. For them Modern work just fine.

          1. Kiwi

            Feeding the trolls works best with rat poison...

            " For them Modern work just fine."

            If that were true, then why do so many of them complain bitterly about how horrible TIFKAM is?

            I only say this as someone at the coal face of IT.

            Still.. I personally love TIFKAM, it's really helping me get people to switch to Linux with the sensible (and optional) UI's, faster and more stable system, and no more need for AV... Old folks especially love Linux as it makes their computers easy for them to use! :)

            Yes that's right.. Elderly grandmothers find Mint easier than TIFKAM, and say Linux makes their comptuers enjoyable!

          2. kiwimuso
            Thumb Down

            Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

            @ mmeier

            Really? What research have you uncovered that suggests that. Or is this just a case of you opening your mouth (figuratively speaking) and spewing any old garbage out into the ether to justify your own personal choice.

            Personally, I don't even like the Win 7 Start menu. Mainly because I no longer can find the things I want to use, easily and quickly, as they have renamed some functions or buried them as a sub-task under some other name which doesn't bear any resemblance to what I am looking for and I don't like the concept of pinning stuff to the desktop or taskbar.

            Call me old fashioned if you like, but I still use MS Office Toollbar on my old XP laptop as that is the way I have organised my stuff. I have several customised toolbars in there so I can go to the stuff I use most of the time in 2 mouse clicks. And that can be programs or folders or even specific web pages, and having got myself organised I don't really feel inclined to change my organisation just to suit you or Microsoft.

            For the rest I resort to the normal program list.

            How I organise my computer is surely up to me, not to you, not to MS nor anybody else.

            The search facility in Win7 sucks as far as I am concerned. I still prefer the 'right click menu' Search as being far more usable.

            I have yet to meet anyone in the real world who actually prefers Metro versus a Start menu, so can I use that fact in saying you are talking crap.

            Perhaps you should leave it to other people to voice their own opinions, rather than trying to foist yours on them.

            You don't have to like my opinions or agree with them, but perhaps you would be good enough to allow us to have them.

            Incidentally, for the record I have been in IT since the early 60's, writing software using Assembler as well as higher level languages, through mainframes and pcs, and all the various guises of Windows. I have never had any problem transitioning from one version to the next until we got to Vista, which fortunately I only had a fleeting look at and disliked at first sight. I am now retired and simply can't be bothered trying to learn something I have no interest in other than a system which works for me.

            There used to be a saying that 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' now seemingly replaced by 'change for changes sake.'

            1. mmeier

              Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

              Well let's see. We rolled out a three digit number of Win8 tablet pc in 2013. Choosen by our customers after they evaluated the three options. The units are well liked by the end user that have ten big icons on the Modern UI and touch them when needed. Typical sales users and engineers (non IT) in the field

              By now 30+ Win8(.1) boxes in family and friends, desktop, notebooks and some tablet pc (S/P2s and Ativs). And again most users pin their commonly used programs to the Modern screen and thats it. Depending on what one wants there may be a few more items (30 in my case)

              The usage pattern on most customer pc (and the clone setup used by some customers). Small ones with 4 and 5 digit numbers of clients.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ledswinger

          My apologies, it's getting one or two features that were somewhat desperately needed... but I agree it's mainly what MS want. :)

    2. janimal

      Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

      I agree completely.

      They are trying to transition the Operating System into a Consumption System.

      A consumption system is great for tablets & phones, but a general purpose computing device needs a customisable, configurable, general purpose operating system.

      1. JohnMcL

        Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

        Windows 8 was aimed at the idiot social media market, the market that thinks the world want to know every time someone, not even a Kardashian, sneezes. Businesses don't need or want this rubbish, nor do people who actually use their PCs for something more than email and browsing (twits using twitter and ??? using faecesbook). Microsoft should split their products into a "Lite" version for the idiots and a "Classic" version for serious users, then let the product streams diverge but share what is reasonably shareable.

    3. Splodger

      Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

      Well as someone still on Win8 (not 8.1), using classic shell, has deleted all the MS noddy apps, refuses to sign up for the app store experience and hates 'charms', is there a compelling reason to get this update?

      1. Champ

        Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

        >Well as someone still on Win8 (not 8.1), using classic shell, has deleted all the MS noddy apps, refuses to sign up for the app store experience and hates 'charms', is there a compelling reason to get this update?

        I've got 8.1 on two machines, and yesterday put the update on one of them. It certainly makes it easier to have a more traditional experience, and I even spent some time customising and configuring the start menu, so I might be going over to the dark side. To be honest, when set to boot into desktop, and with my desktop wallpaper persisted under the start menu, and the task bar there too, it doesn't feel schizophrenic any more.

        So, to answer the question: yes

      2. Chris T Almighty

        Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

        "is there a compelling reason to get this update"

        I think we'll stop getting updates for 8.1 if we don't upgrade. But for those of us with Classic Shell I doubt upgrading will do any harm.

        For those who havn't tried it, Windows 8 with Classic Shell is better than Windows 7, in my opinion at least.

    4. John Tserkezis

      Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

      "The 30% margin on everything sold through the store."

      Not to mention the fee for allowing sideloading... If you don't want to play in their store, you still have to pay.

      Just another nail in the win8 coffin.

    5. pirithous

      Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

      I think MS is going to eventually kill off Win32 in favor of RT-only applications. They are keeping silent about it, but how many times has the kleptocratic Microsoft been silent about something before killing off a technology? Windows is less expensive than it used to be and may be even less so in the future (free?), so MS is betting big on the store taking off. The problem is, I have to pay $100 to do what I want to do with _my_ machine to side load _my_ own application? Screw that! Many developers are resenting this, and the level of alienation is getting higher and higher by the day! These idiots are out of their minds. Comments written by paid shills on the internet don't make a valid case for what's happening in the world. The current mindset MS has isn't what made Windows flourish in the past, and I've talked to many developers that are shunning Windows because of this locked down nature. Microsoft is really truly clueless.

    6. mmeier

      Re: Windows 8 was built for one reason only

      In that case they failed since most Win8 licences sold are x86 versions and there they left the option in to install standard software the old fashioned way.

  5. Zog_but_not_the_first

    Vox Pop

    Give Apple their due, their OS makes you want to play with it. My experience, and that of several friends who have bought new PCs and laptops, is that you just want the "new stuff" to go away.

    I think the chap on the right will be the ultimate beneficiary of this continuing madness on MS's part.

    1. Kristian Walsh

      Re: Vox Pop

      " My experience, and that of several friends who have bought new PCs and laptops, is that you just want the "new stuff" to go away "

      If I may suggest: You only think MacOS X is better in this respect because you're not a long-time OS X user. I've been using OS X since early 2000 (and of my own free will since 2002), and frankly, I could do without every single "UI Improvement" Apple has added in the last five years of releases, from Spaces to Exposé to Launch Control and now the insanely irritating Notification Centre (I can't be the last Mac user who needs to do work on their computer that requires concentration, can I?).

      And, deciding to suddenly autocorrect my text by default without asking me first? That's a whole barrel of laughs the first time you try to tell someone what to type into their Terminal over an IM session.

      Yes, I know all of this can be turned off, and I've done all the "defaults" stuff to make sure it doesn't come back, but surely it's a waste of everyone's time (and don't start me on assigning every easily mis-hit function key to a different kind of disorientating window-juggle).

      In short, what I'm saying is that the grass isn't greener; it's only that the cowpats are in different places than you're used to seeing them.

      More relevant to this article, I quite like Windows8.1, but I'll qualify that by saying that I run it on a Surface 2 (yes, the RT one), which is exactly the kind of device I think it was intended for.. it certainly kicks an iPad's ass in terms of usefulness. On a destkop system, though, I go straight into, well, the desktop. I'm amazed that it has taken so long to suggest running Metro (whatever) apps in a desktop window - after all, Visual Studio's simulator does this, and it would have provided the best of both worlds (there are times when it's very useful to have nothing else on screen except the application you're working in)

  6. Tannin


    “It is surprising how conservative Windows users have turned out to be” says a Microsoft executive. Spot on! I couldn't agree more. In fact, most of them are so blindly and rigidly conservative that they still want to do useful, productive work on a Windows computer, using real programs and ignoring toy-store apps. Blind fools! Don't they know that Metro is the future?

    1. T_o_u_f_ma_n

      Re: Conservative

      Actually wasn't that comment about being "conservative" made by the interviewer ?

      No matter how "passionate" users might be about the interface they were forced to use for nearly 20 years (!), one could hardly expect them to suddenly welcome such a sharp learning curve when they're trying to get their daily job done. Very few people care about the OS version they run on their computer as long as it doesn't get in the way of simple tasks: sadly getting in the way is exactly what Metro does. And please do not tell me to amend the registry or install an add on to disable parts of the interface. How does that even make sense to people who use mostly MS Office and Internet Explorer at work and have been doing so (by no choice of their own) for years ?

      I tried installing "Dropbox" on Windows 8.1 after downloading the installer from the Dropbox website. It would get stuck on "Initialising" for several minutes... Only after I searched on Google did I learn that one had to install it from the Windows Store. Would Microsoft expect all users to figure that one out ? If it has to be installed a specific way, maybe signalling that to the user would help...

  7. southpacificpom


    It looks like you're trying to write an operating system...

  8. Baron Ebaneezer Wanktrollop III

    'and if you need sideloading keys, you can purchase an unlimited number for around $100.'

    My outright hatred for anything Windows 8 is obviously clouding my judgement - surely that line doesn't mean what I think it does?

    Not even MS would charge for that - surely????

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'and if you need sideloading keys, you can purchase an unlimited number for around $100.'

      Apple doesn't let you sideload at all. Android lets anyone. MS charges a nominal fee.

      Problem here is...?

      1. janimal

        Re: 'and if you need sideloading keys, you can purchase an unlimited number for around $100.'

        The problem is the concept of

        "Please sir, would you possibly allow me to run my own code that I have written on my operating system that I bought, which is running on my hardware that I bought, please? please? pretty please?"

        1. NumptyScrub

          Re: 'and if you need sideloading keys, you can purchase an unlimited number for around $100.'

          quote: "The problem is the concept of

          "Please sir, would you possibly allow me to run my own code that I have written on my operating system that I bought, which is running on my hardware that I bought, please? please? pretty please?""

          The problem is that you have not purchased an operating system. You have purchased a license to use the operating system, pursuant to the terms and conditions you agreed to via the EULA. These are not the same thing at all.

          We all know nobody ever reads EULAs, but that is why they put clauses like "you agree not to sideload without our express authorisation" in there knowing full well that you'll be clicking Yes without realising. The only way you'll get them to stop is by voting with your wallet.

          1. janimal

            Re: 'and if you need sideloading keys, you can purchase an unlimited number for around $100.'

            Indeed I didn't read the EULA, because I haven't bought win 8(8.1, 8.1.1) and won't be doing so. Even if they stopped trying to force everyone into their ecosystem and fixed metro, and bring back a start menu etc... etc...

            Just the aesthetics of the desktop alone are hideous. I don't want to be staring at that 18 hours a day.

          2. John Tserkezis

            Re: 'and if you need sideloading keys, you can purchase an unlimited number for around $100.'

            "The only way you'll get them to stop is by voting with your wallet."

            Or by rooting your OS.

            You think it's just a freak accident that so many are rooting their phones for this reason? Once the desktop has reached the same level of "closedness" it's only a matter of time.

            1. Hooksie

              Re: 'and if you need sideloading keys, you can purchase an unlimited number for around $100.'

              Ah, if only that were true my friend. What you, I and the rest of the commentards here seem to forget is that you are NOT the general trend. Yes, all YOUR friends might root their phone but if you know what TCP/IP stands for and can read HTTP code then I've got news for you, you're the 1%.

              The VAST, and I do mean VAST majority of users neither know nor care - they want something that works. I've rooted phones, in fact I've rooted many and when things go wrong you need to know what you're doing to do fix it - most people don't. But I wouldn't root my Lumia or my HTC 8X and I happen to prefer Windows RT over Android but that's not to say Android doesn't have its uses.

              The benefit of Windows RT over a rooted Android device is that it's secure. That apps can't be sideloaded means my Uncle can use his Surface without worrying about viruses and I can help him remotely when he does have problems. Can't say the same for Android.

        2. Bod

          Re: 'and if you need sideloading keys, you can purchase an unlimited number for around $100.'

          The problem is the concept of

          "Please sir, would you possibly allow me to run my own code that I have written on my operating system that I bought, which is running on my hardware that I bought, please? please? pretty please?"

          Might be an RT only issue, but on full fat Win 8.1, if you're just running your own 'Store' code, Visual Studio does all this for you without having to pay for a sideloading key. I've had a brief play and knocked up simple app and it deploys and runs without payment required on my Dell Venue Pro (full fat Win 8 tablet with really nice keyboard options that makes far more sense out of Win 8. Metro for tablet mode, and it is quite nice to use, slap the keyboard in for desktop apps).

          Of course if I want to distribute apps that's another matter. Buy keys for corporate deploy, or stick in the store and let MS take a slice. It's a fair enough business model really. Apple do the same and everyone thinks the sun shines out of their arse.

          "Ah but Android does it all for free". Yes, that's why there are thousands of clones of the same apps, each increasingly more crappy, bug ridden and most likely full of malware. 99% of Android apps are utter junk. The 1% are really nice though. Microsoft's problem is not so much the lack of apps, which is good if most will be crap, but what they've got is lacking key apps the majority use. Which is an issue not with the interface or APIs (which are much nicer than Android's), but with the image of Win 8 that's putting off companies from porting their apps. Sadly, by making 8.1 more desktop friendly, while it keeps the loyal base happy(er), it shoves the Store further into nothingness.

        3. Hooksie

          Re: 'and if you need sideloading keys, you can purchase an unlimited number for around $100.'

          Oh, and if it happens to fuck the machine entirely can I still claim under warranty??


      2. Baron Ebaneezer Wanktrollop III

        Re: 'and if you need sideloading keys, you can purchase an unlimited number for around $100.'

        The problem is that an Enterprise doesn't want to have to download an App from the MS CRAPP store for each and every PC they have so they want to sideload naturally.

        I just don't agree with the bloody fee - problem here is?

        Oh - you said Apple will not let you sideload - you 100% about that?

        1. Kristian Walsh

          Re: 'and if you need sideloading keys, you can purchase an unlimited number for around $100.'

          "I just don't agree with the bloody fee"

          If you're a personal user, and it's own software you want to run, on your own machine (and remember this restriction is only for Metro/new/whatever apps), then you can get a developer key for nothing.

          If you're a business, it's likely the fee won't apply:

          "As of May 1, 2014 customers in the following Volume Licensing programs (regardless of what product they purchase) will be granted Enterprise Sideloading Rights and provided with a sideload key at no additional license cost: Enterprise Agreement, Enterprise Subscription Agreement, Enrollment for Education Solutions (under a Campus and School Agreement), School Enrollment, Select and Select Plus.

          "other customers who want to enable sideloading will be able to purchase an Enterprise Sideloading key for $100 through the Open License program. An unlimited number of devices can be enabled for sideloading using this key."

          [ source: ]

          The $100 is most likely there to dissuade malware authors from conning you into allowing side-loading of their shite over the phone, and also to allow MS to automatically kill such shite if it does get there.

          Your learned colleague is indeed wrong about Apple: they do allow enterprise customers to sideload to iOS devices, but only as part of a $299 a year Enterprise Developer programme, and it's open only to registered businesses, not individuals (a reasonable restriction, I think, given the intended use case). Although that figure does include some dev support hours, it's not clear what happens to your ability to install apps when you stop paying Apple... It's still a better deal than the original programme, where you had to prove to Apple that you had enough employees and, obviously, iOS devices to be "worthy" of a sideloading key... pricks.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Copying Google

    Good to see MS is getting their head on straight and copying how the Google ecosystem works. With Google, I can have the same apps on Chrome that I do on my Android phone and Android tablet. I can download things to my phone or tablet from my PC on the web. The apps are relatively unified across platforms. I can use Google Hangouts for everything from gtalk to voice to text across devices.

    What Microsoft really needs to do is embrace the fragmentation. If I wanted to go all in on MS, I'd want to have one MS account. That would have my Xbox Live in it. It would have my phone and tablet info. I could download Pandora on Windows 8.1 and send the same app to my phone, tablet and xbox, along with my account information. I could listen to music on my phone, get home and swap it to my xbox/media center without missing a beat. If I buy office on PC, I get office on my phone and tablet. My files are cloud stored or have the cloud storage option to be available across devices. I can do RDP from my phone and tablet when something is only on my PC.

    I have a little bit of hope that MS may be on the right track here. Usually when that happens we get something soul crushing like Vista, but hey, it is a new world with a new CEO for them.

  10. LDS Silver badge

    The issue with WiNRT is its "consumer-oriented" API

    The main issue with the WinRT subsystem is it was designed for the "tablet consumer app" with a lot of restrictions. Security is OK, but many big, complex, expensive apps developed for the desktop needs to access the full Windows (or .NET) API - those that don't are probably already moved to some kind of web application which doesn't need WinRT already.

    Unless WinRT becomes a real alternative to the full WinAPI, developers are forced to decide if their applications can be made working in the less powerful subsystem and within its restrictions - moreover those restrictions means only MS tools can often be used.

    MS has to get out of the "consumerapps" hangover, and remember many Windows system are used by professional users for complex tasks, and developers needs to fulfill their needs, not only churn out instagram- or whatapps-like applications.

  11. M_W

    Authenticated Proxy Issue for Modern Apps

    Is still not fixed in 8.1 Update. If you're using some full screen modern apps (see eBay or Yammer as an example) and you're on a corporate network behind an ISA or TMG proxy which requires AD authentication, they just don't work.

    In 8 - many Metro apps weren't even proxy aware - in 8.1 they added proxy support for metro apps, but didn't support ISA/TMG auth proxy and told us they were 'working on it'.

    They promised this fix for 8.1 Update but still not there. It's down to some modern apps (in the main) not using the IE back end for proxy like Outlook and other normal Apps do. It's not an app developer thing to fix, though - it's for Microsoft to fix and they know that.

    If you wireshark the conversation - you can see the client trying to use the proxy, the proxy request user authentication and immediately the app goes 'pop' and complains about network connection. Dur.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They do seem to be finally getting their act together on their Windows strategy. How they let everything get so far off the rails in the first place is baffling. Sinofsky has a lot to answer for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And what is their strategy?

      1. Vociferous

        >And what is their strategy?

        The same it's always been: unifying all windows to something which looks and behaves like Windows RT (the OS); moving all 3rd party software sales to Microsoft Store; gradually switching Microsoft from selling software to selling hardware and renting out software on a per-use or per-time basis.

        The difference is that they've discovered one could not screw over desktop sheepleusers all in one go, and have switched to screwing them a little at a time, with vaseline.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "moving all 3rd party software sales to Microsoft Store; gradually switching Microsoft from selling software to selling hardware and renting out software on a per-use or per-time basis"

          So what do the MS fans say about all this?

          Are you all welcoming it with open arms??

          1. Vociferous

            > So what do the MS fans say about all this?

            I was a MS fanboi, since Windows 95. Does that answer your question?

            1. Anonymous Bullard

              Same here, as it happens.

  13. janimal

    Time to change the metaphor

    The good thing about desks is that you can put whatever you want on it.

    The metro interface is like having a desk (say from ikea) but you can only place other items (cups, pencils, post-it notes, fluff etc...) approved by ikea on it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Time to change the metaphor

      The cup has a non-spill baby cap on it, the pencil keeps snapping, and you can only see one post-it at a time.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Time to change the metaphor

        And the 'desk' is really a luncheon tray, with built in compartments, to guarantee that you keep everything where they want it.

  14. M Gale

    Microsoft might think the Store is the future.

    However, I bet there's quite a few developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers who might not like the idea of Microsoft doing a Microsoft on the means of buying (and selling) software.

    Ballmer was right about one thing, even if wrong about everything else.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: Microsoft might think the Store is the future.

      >developers who might not like the idea of Microsoft doing a Microsoft on the means of buying (and selling) software

      Hell yes. That's what the whole SteamOS thing is about: software distributors Valve and Origin and a bunch of large hardware vendors* are moving to Linux because Microsoft is trying to take their place.

      * yeah, Microsoft also intends to get Apple-like control of the hardware.

  15. Buzzword

    Bring the App Store to Windows 7!

    As a developer, I want to target as many potential customers as possible. If the app store were available on Windows 7, and had been from the start, then we'd have seen a much greater uptake.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Bring the App Store to Windows 7!

      Please stop posting sense. Otherwise Microsoft may have to come out with all kinds of marketing-speak technobabble as to why that just isn't possible and never will be even though they own both the OS and the application layer on top of it.

      1. Chika

        Re: Bring the App Store to Windows 7!

        You want the real reason?

        "Microsoft cannot be bothered to add this functionality to an older operating system because we are finding it hard enough to get users off Windows XP and don't fancy the idea of having the same trouble when Windows 7 superannuates!"

  16. wilber

    Am I the only one...

    Who thinks Windows 8 is just fine?

    Installed it the day of release, tried to use Metro for a few minutes and installed Start8 and set it to 'Boot to desktop' and haven't looked back.

    Most of the h8 that I read everywhere just confuses me and makes me believe they have not even tried it.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only one...

      You've neatly summarised just why it isn't fine... because it's not usable as is and you have to alter its initial behavior to make it useful.

      The underlying Windows 8 OS part is good, the awful "not-metro" interface kludged on top of it is not - it's acceptable for a hand held touch screen device, nothing else. Unfortunately users are generally forced into the "not-metro" interface far too often even with the "Boot to desktop" option found and checked.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Am I the only one...

        "You've neatly summarised just why it isn't fine... because it's not usable as is and you have to alter its initial behavior to make it useful."

        And yet Ubuntu's OK because you can install something other than Unity, no doubt. You guys really need to stop with the specious arguments - they aren't gaining any credibility with repeated usage. Can't comment either way about your boot to desktop statement.

        1. M Gale

          Re: Am I the only one...

          And yet Ubuntu's OK because you can install something other than Unity

          I guess you haven't seen the various comment-storms on that one then.

          I guess you've also not heard of Kubuntu or Xubuntu, neither of which come with Unity and both of which are official Canonical products.

          Or you could just put a red hat or a shiny fedora on and be done with it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Am I the only one...

            I believe that AC was saying, if you think Win8 is OK without Metro, then also Ubuntu is OK without Unity.

            Metro to Windows is what Unity is to Ubuntu... although, I found Unity to be "OK" and Metro to be appalling.

            [Fanboyism/bias: I'm a Windows user]

    2. Tannin

      Re: Am I the only one...

      No you are not the only one, Wilber. Pretty much everyone with a technical clue regards the underlying Windows 8 system as somewhere between good and excellent. In essence, the Windows 8 fundamentals do to Windows 7 what Windows 7 did to Vista. Most of it is the same code, but there has been a great deal of attention to detail and a lot of effort put into performance and efficiency enhancements. The Windows 8 file system is the most obvious example: it is easily faster than Windows 7, just as 7 was a big upgrade on the appalling Vista.

      Alas, Sinofsky's Metro disaster grafted the worst windows user interface of all time onto the top of the best Windows code yet written. The dreadful interface is only one small part of a massive code base, but It only takes one spoon of dog poo to taint a whole gallon of cream.

      At this point, there are two schools of thought. Many (probably most) throw the whole sorry mess away and return to Windows 7 (or 'nix, or some other alternative, including even XP, but many others discover that it is very easy indeed to replace the terrible Metro front end with any of several well-crafted third-party shell replacements or enhancements - the excellent Classic Shell is just one example. It costs you three minutes to install Start8 or Classic Shell, plus a few weeks of occasional frustration while you learn to tame a few random other stupidities, or at least find workarounds.

      Mostly you won't see these issues, just now and again you discover something that worked fine on XP or 7 has to be done a different way on 8 and you'll waste 20 minutes figuring it out. There is some downright brain-dead weirdness in the interaction between NTFS and networking file permissions, for example, that can be devilishly difficult to diagnose and fix if it applies to you, but once understood, hacked into submission, and appropriately sworn at is no problem at all. Note that this type of issue is not by any means unique to Windows 8, there were similar hurdles to overcome with 7, and a great big stack of them with Vista. You can guarantee there will be more with 9. Microsoft, I sometimes think, just like to break things.)

      Are you the only one who thinks Win 8 is fine? No, I agree with you. It's the best Windows ever, and by a fair margin. It is also the worst Windows ever, and that by an even bigger margin, which is really saying something when you remember it has to outdo the horrors of ME and Vista and even the truly dreadful 3.0.

      EDIT: As an afterthought, it's perhaps sensible to regard Windows 8 as a sort of hacker's Windows. Like Linux back in the day - say a decade ago - or various Italian cars, it can be excellent but only if you are happy to have to hack it around and beat it into submission first. If you want it to work properly straight out of the box, buy Windows 7 instead, or jump ship to a non-Windows system.

    3. mmeier

      Re: Am I the only one...

      Actually used it even in Beta, installed it on all boxes at home on release day. Never used stuff like Start8. Will look into the way the 8.1FP1 treats a desktop this evening (1). System works fine and stable on a wide spread of 2010/2011 (and newer) systems and I actually LIKE Modern and the death of the candy color UI / show effect elements like Aero,

      (1)IIRC this FP "boots to desktop" per default if it does not detect touch/pen hardware. Company DT is a convertible so it's seen as "tablet"

  17. Spoonsinger

    The thing is...

    now they allow the TIFKAM apps to reside in the desktop space, (abet when launched going full screen), it does allow the pleb user to see how utterly crap they are in comparison to existing applications - with the disadvantage, from MS's point of view, when saying that "it's a different paradigm so you should expect them to be less functional and basically rubbish because the "technology" hasn't matured".(paraphrased - but you know what I mean).

    1. mmeier

      Re: The thing is...

      What Modern apps with a comparable desktop version does the average "pleb" use? Either he uses a company computer that most likely has the standard set of desktop programs and no "apps" at all. Or a privat box where it is "either/or".

      Even if I use Outlook or Notes on the company box, I do not use the Modern Mail App (That is actually a bit better than the famous K9 on Android) there and the other way round on the privat unit(1)

  18. Anonymous Coward


    Windows Vista was basically reborn into Win7 (which is what Vista SHOULD have been).

    Windows 9 will be Windows 8 but with all these "ommisions" built back into it.

    They wont dare admit 8 is a humongeous ballsed up cluster fuck of royal proportion.

    No, just release a new version....Then the shareholder see we are doing something.

    Me? Loyal MS man but struggling more and more with that persona...

    1. keithpeter Silver badge

      Re: *Sigh*

      Me? Loyal MS man but struggling more and more with that persona...

      Getting the job done for the customers... I'm assuming we are talking about clients/endpoints here.

      Would Office365 on agnostic client be OK for them?

      OTOH try a CentOS live CD. Stable, easy, works on older hardware. RDP sesson into real Windows when needed.

      Or just keep taking the blue pill.

      I think my point is: does MS deserve your loyalty? Or should you be doing a Potts and trying to find what is best for your customers/self?

  19. Vociferous


    > "Why did not Microsoft do it this way first time around?"

    Because Windows Desktop users have no where to run, we've not got any realistic alternatives to Windows. Microsoft felt they could screw us as hard as they wanted, and there was nothing the desktop users could do about it except buy Windows 8 and suck it up... Bitches.

    That's why it pleases me to no end that Desktop users simply refused, and to see Microsoft floundering about like this. Look at this ugly kludge of an OS they're presenting. A "transitional" OS, haha, yeah, that's one way of putting it.

    I really resent Microsoft's strategy wrt Windows 8. Really, really, resent it. Unless Windows 9 is a massive upgrade and farts rainbows I honestly doubt I will ever upgrade to a new Windows ever again. For now, Windows 7 and Linux is good enough, and if Microsoft is right and the future is ultra-thin clients, cellphones and slabs, then I'll go with the market leader: Android.

  20. Robert Grant Silver badge

    How to fix all IE compatibility issues

    Call it something else.

    Then all the quirks mode stuff will still work for legacy browsers (i.e. IE), and you can start with a new user agent string. That's how you walk the line of negative width, Joel.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How to fix all IE compatibility issues

      Karma has definitely come around to bite Microsoft in the ass with the problems they have with websites that equate "IE" with "IE6" and present the quirky version that is broken in a modern IE. That's how IE6 rose to such dominance and made it so difficult for other browsers to get traction. Had Microsoft been smarter and kept updating IE instead of deciding IE6 was "good enough" since it had 95% market share, web developers wouldn't have grown tired of the lack of updates and started creating standards based web pages.

      The average person knows nothing about User Agent strings and how to fix this, so they'll assume IE is broken and switch to Firefox or Chrome. Microsoft has no one to blame but themselves, had they followed standards instead following the "extend" part of their recipe for dominance to kill Netscape (which was such a bag of crap by the end it would have collapsed under its own weight without Microsoft's help)

      1. Robert Grant Silver badge

        Re: How to fix all IE compatibility issues

        Thanks for hitting reply, but I'm not sure you were replying to my post :)

  21. Dr U Mour

    Snared on a thin thread...

    As a Win8.0 hold out I take it this means

    1) downloading it again for each and every pc

    2) no way of making straight to 8.1.1 installation media

    cos I've bugger all else to do with my restricted bandwidth

    PS and what about nfs support...

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Snared on a thin thread...

      1) downloading it again for each and every pc

      You sure can do that if you want. If you have several computers to update, I'd recommend downloading it separately.

      2) no way of making straight to 8.1.1 installation media

      Windows 8.1 itself can be downloaded as an ISO file from Microsoft and updates can be "slipstreamed" on the media.

      BTW, this update isn't "v8.1.1", it's just another update on top of 8.1. Windows doesn't report itself as 8.1.1 after the update and neither does Microsoft refer to it as such.

      1. Dr U Mour

        Re: Snared on a thin thread...

        Thanks for the useful info and link...

        As it is a compulsory upgrade, will the 8.1 iso available via Microsoft Store include it by default pretty soon?

        If so could you download the 8.1 iso from the store, use a generic 8.1 key to install it and then use an original key to authenticate? Updating numerous pc's at a fraction of the bandwidth...

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge

          Re: Snared on a thin thread... @Dr

          will the 8.1 iso available via Microsoft Store include it by default pretty soon?

          I don't know.

          If so could you download the 8.1 iso from the store, use a generic 8.1 key to install it and then use an original key to authenticate? Updating numerous pc's at a fraction of the bandwidth...

          I've made my own Win8.1 USB installation media with these instructions. The USB stick works with Win8 licensed computers (with the Win8 license burned into BIOS) and with OEM installations as well.

  22. MJI Silver badge

    Windows 9

    Just add in support for legacy applications as well.

    Even if a VM, remember that we use OS to run OUR applications.

    My tests would be a VGA mode DOS graphics application, using 16 bit DOS mode NETBIOS to communicate to a 32bit windows program.

    Just want to be able to run without messing with compatabiltiy modes.

    Now the above software worked with IPX on 6.22, Real/32, WFW, W95, 98, NT4, 2000, XP. With NETBIOS and IP on 2000 and XP, and got as far as loading but locked up when it tried to change video mode in Vista.

    But with MS the question is always from Vista and on, what will they remove this time?

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Windows 9

      To the down voter, sometime this old software is needed. I used it to repair a database last week, nothing else would touch it. Did a copy from one database driver to another, site working again.

      Corrupted by server less Peer to peer networking.

  23. Chika


    while building smart bridges to the new modern user experience and ensuring customers can get access to all your great apps in the Windows Store.

    This is where the trouble lies, I suspect.

    "Great apps"? To quote a certain Internet celebrity; "You know what's BUUUUULSH*T?"

    As I said in a previous comment, Microsoft need to swallow their pride, admit that they are wrong and do what they should have done in the first place. My own opinion on this is that they should have left the touch stuff on its own platform separate from the more traditional version until its coverage was big enough to put the two together. If at all. And as for "Apps" stores, they are likely to be as popular as Adobe's "software rental" model. Now here's the real "vulnerability" of the Windows Vista/7 gadgets - Microsoft's envisioned bank balance!

  24. Longrod_von_Hugendong


    All M$ need to do is give the user the option of running in which ever mode they want, if people want TIFKAM model then fine, if they want a start button and no TIFKAM, then let them work like that.

    I mean *How hard can it be???* There is software out there that does it, what don't M$ get????

    Maybe now the sweating monkey man on the way out maybe M$ can get there shit together now.

  25. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    Bet they will never fix the UI borkage caused by the new flat look

    ... with the stupid fat windows borders with no visible resize points, no proper title bar.

    Oh, and crap font rendering.

    And "Segoe UI" which looks lovely when it's 1 inch high, but is unreadable in small sizes.

    And Bl***dy window snapping, which keeps happening even though I've turned it off.

    And the helpful pause when you hover over a taskbar button that represents several open windows before the titles come up.

    And the useless Explorer UI.....


    1. janimal

      Re: Bet they will never fix the UI borkage caused by the new flat look

      well said +100 points for you.

      They need to spend their time making the UI as configurable as possible, you should be able to change all these things from defaults to something useable.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh I'm passionate allright

    waiting for Windows 9, passionately. Maybe.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: oh I'm passionate allright

      How passionate will you be when MS make you upgrade to from 8.0 with 8.1 , 8.1.1 and 8.1.2 as mandatory upgrades in the middle?

      Think I'm joking? Well maybe but just don't hold out thinking that 9.0 will be the panacea you might hope it to be.

  27. Stevie Silver badge


    Personally, I see apps as a means useful only on a primarily consumer-mode device.

    My laptop is primarily a creative engine and you can keep you apps and the whole "app tile look", which wastes space and time and hurts my eyes with it's ugliness.

    Funnily enough I was wavering over my continued patronage of McAfee's suite of products. On the one hand things get past McAfee on my wife's and daughter's machines, but not so much on mine (happens though). If the machine is used sensibly the software can cope it would seem. On the other hand it slows down everything bigtime.

    So I'm on the fence and then they downloaded an "upgrade" which changed the tabbed McAfee User Interface for a less feature-rich, more space-wasting "App Tile Look" and, well, scored minus ten billion points on every front. So they are gone. All that's left is to leave them feedback telling them why.

    I'll forward a copy to Microsoft, who can't tell the difference between a smartphone and a desktop any more. Because unless things change, Windows 7 is the last Windows iteration I'll use.

  28. Clyde

    No more security updates if you don't version update

    Have I missed something on El Reg today ?

    Copied from :


    "Forced To Update

    In a radical break from the past, Microsoft is now requiring users to update their software to the latest updates. If they don't, then they will no longer receive any future updates--including security patches.

    In October 2013 Windows 8.1 was released to address the lackluster adoption of Windows 8. The first major update to Windows 8.1 was released today (Apr 8 2014), confusingly called Windows 8.1 Update (why couldn't they call it Windows 8.11 or Windows 8.2?). Yesterday (Apr 7 2014) Microsoft confirmed that Windows 8.1 users are required to update to Windows 8.1 Update before next month's Patch Tuesday {Chapter 5 Security+ 4ed} on May 13, 2014. What happens if you don't? Then no more "bug fixes, security patches and feature enhancements" for you, according to Microsoft.

    And to make matters even a little more confusing, users running Windows 8 do not have to update to Windows 8.1 Update to continue getting patches. If they do want to update, then there is a multistep process: users must first update from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 and then to Windows 8.1 Update (8-> 8.1 -> 8.1 Update). And there's a deadline for Windows 8 users as well: they must migrate to Windows 8.1 by January 12, 2016 or else they will no longer receive "bug fixes, security patches and feature enhancements".

    This is a radical departure from how Microsoft has handled its updates in the past, when users had the choice of accepting or declining a service pack but they could still receive security patches. Starting today that is no longer the case. Let's hope that the word gets out by Microsoft or else there could be many unprotected Windows 8.1 users out there.

    Stay secure!


    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: No more security updates if you don't version update @Clyde

      Repeating disinformation doesn't make it true, you know. Apparently that Mark Ciampa (you're referring to) is spouting ignorant bullshit.

      Go check the Windows life cycle page:

      When a Service Pack for Windows is released, the previous Service Pack level still gets around 24 months of love from Microsoft. XP SP1 lost support in 2006, SP2 in 2010 and SP3...this week. Likewise, Vista SP1 or Win 7 (RTM) are no longer supported.

  29. Michael Jarve

    800MB and all I got

    Downloaded an 800+ MB patch expecting the triumphant return of the Start Menu, and all I got was the Store app pinned to my taskbar. Well done, M$, well done...

    1. mmeier

      Re: 800MB and all I got

      Read better tech sources. It was actually quite clear that this FeaturePack would not add the new menue

  30. Frank N. Stein

    It's understandable that Microsoft would want to create a unified app architecture for Desktop Windows and Windows Phone, but the way they went about it was flawed. Microsoft can't have done usability testing with real world users outside of the Microsoft campus staff, because if they had, they wouldn't have tried to force the Metro UI on everyone. Perhaps Microsoft figured that they could pull an "Apple" strategy and force users to accept Metro UI. Clearly, that hasn't worked. I wonder how many users will avoid the Windows 8.1 Update until the Start button and programs menu is available?

    1. Michael Jarve

      Well, even Apple's transition from Classic to OS X was not as abrupt. You still had the conventions of the desktop, hard drive, applications folder, etc. Changes were largely cosmetic, not functional, much the same way that Windows 7 is different from XP. Then, when iOS was released, they didn't force the same thing on the desktop- the contemporary OS X at the time was largely the same as the previous versions. 10.8 is closer to iOS, but it's been a more gradual transition, and I dare say that Apple recognized (and continues to recognize) that while iOS is a great touchy OS for phones and tablet, it would be frustrating bordering on useless on a keyboard/mouse based desktop or laptop system, and vice versa.

      Microsoft, in their zeal to not only catch up, but appear as a leader just went too far, and certainly too quickly; further, they never even accomplished the goal of unifying WinPhone/DeskWin/Win RT, which is the only reason that makes sense to force TIFNAM on desktop users. They put the cart before the horse, and are now trying to drive backwards in the hopes of fixing the situation without admitting that they screwed up (royally) to begin with.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They stopped WET from working

    The dipshi*s removed the function of using Windows easy transfer from Vista to 8.1 so you cant transfer a user to a new machine or upgrade old one. you cant use USMT to do it but its not worth it on single machines time wise,and it doesn't always work.

    They want you to use SKYdrive and i think get a sniff at your stuff.

    WHY>> why did they make such a bad product.. How do you or why should you have to retrain all your users. Try explaining that to a bunch of call takers in their 50's who have been using windows 95+ interface for nearly 20 years..

  32. joed


    Not really a worthwhile update (besides locking out user from any future updates) but surely MS used opportunity to plaster their Store app/logo onto my taskbar.

    Already removed (no plans to venture in there), nice try MS.

  33. Greg D

    Can we please bring back the start menu in Server 2012?

    Seriously, who thought that a touch interface on a SERVER OS was a good idea?

    Take a bow whoever that was.

  34. Fihart

    Win8 or 8.1, it's a dead duck.

    Witness the call I had on Tuesday. Administrator at the charity I volunteer for to say that he's replacing XP on all computers because he's heard XP is now a security risk (?). He's bought copies of Win 7. Not Win8, note. Because he's heard that it's like Vista (that all those years ago he had to wipe and replace with XP at extra cost) .

    I suspect that until Microsoft back-pedal and bring out Win 9 without touchscreeniness this sort of reaction will continue.

  35. ElNumbre

    8.1 Useable

    I was an 8.1 neigh-sayer until I installed it onto my machine as another OS, and I have to say, its okay. I did have to take a deep breath, leave my Windows perceptions at the door and use it for 4 or 5 hours to learn 'the new way' but actually, its usable and functional. Its still a bit off-putting when some apps load to the desktop, and others load into Metro, but once you learn that Alt+Tab is your friend and the split screen thing can let you see the apps side-by-side it's actually perfectly functional.

    From my multi-boot, Win7, Win8, ChromeOS and Debian laptop, Windows 8 ends up being the OS of choice most of the time.

  36. DrXym Silver badge

    Windows needs a start menu replacement

    I don't understand why Microsoft is so resistant to hooking up the start button (which they finally reinstated) to a mini metro which serves the same purpose as the old start menu did. It doesn't have to function exactly the same but it should provide something analogous to the old behaviour, i.e. a place for people launch apps and access services and settings from a single place rather than functionality smeared over different screens and slide-ins.

  37. Chairo

    All of you said it cannot be done

    but Microsoft went ahead and proved you wrong.

    They polished a toad!

  38. kitekrazy

    I hate the CrApp Store.

    Some apps are terrible for W8 like Zinio Reader using a laptop. I went to the dark side of the force by getting an iPad. Zinio and Netflix work much better.

  39. Bob Camp

    Third time's the charm

    This is the version that should have been initially released for Windows 8. It's actually usable with a mouse and keyboard, with the only main difference being that the start MENU has been replaced with a start SCREEN (a.k.a. Metro a.k.a. Modern a.k.a. whatever other supposedly "cool" name the marketing dept. comes up with). Modern apps. behave more like traditional apps -- they have a minimize & close button and appear on the task bar. And the power button (how could they screw up something so simple) is now right on the start screen in the upper-right corner. And it boots to the desktop by default if it detects you have a PC instead of a tablet (I switched this back since I have a touchscreen notebook).

    This is the version I might install over Windows 7, but I'd still have to be pretty drunk before you could convince me to do it.

    1. mmeier

      Re: Third time's the charm

      Well, they fouled up one thing. If you have a desktop and a tablet pc using the same MS Live account (my privat boxes do) AND update the desktop - the tablet pc behaves like one as well (booting to desktop).

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