Okay, so I decided to try the Windows 8.1 Preview over the weekend. I approached it from never using Windows 8 and this was done on purpose. I wouldn't say I was anti-Windows 8 from the beginning, but the things that I heard and read were enough for me to play the waiting game.
So when Windows 8.1 became available for testing and I heard the changes I felt it started to interest me enough to try. I have been using Windows 7 exclusively since it launched and have been, for the most part, happy.
To sum up everything about Windows 8.1 first, I will say: I both love and hate Windows 8.1. Read further.
Microsoft is so close with Windows 8.1. The idea behind it totally makes sense. An operating system that can streamline to mutliple devices and be consistant. And make everything easy to find on one screen, more depending how much you do. I love the idea behind Metro. A dynamic new start menu that can orgnaize exactly how I want. At first glance, this looks really good. Then, I open up the Task Manager app. Wait. Metro disappears and the old desktop is back. Did Windows make a mistake? Nope. So to display a small window it has to totally disable Metro and go to desktop to show what I want? And that makes sense to people? Why couldn't I have been shown the task manager in this beautiful dynamic Metro interface? Or why couldn't that small pop up window have displayed over Metro?
Next I try Firefox. Same thing. I am booted out of Metro and into the desktop. I close Firefox, instead of bringing me back to Metro it keeps me in the desktop. But I came here from Metro. Does that make sense? I compare it to Internet Explorer. Not quite the same, going from Metro to IE is much better, more fluid and consistant.
I have lots of little issues with Windows 8.1, but my big issue and what I feel the real problem with Windows 8.1 is it has a real identity crisis. It feels like two operating systems. Some will say yes but you can now choose the same identical backgrounds between Metro and Desktop so the transition isn't so jarring, but it still doesn't work. I shouldn't have to go to desktop for ANYTHING. I should be able to do everything from within Metro. And it should be smart enough to know if I use Metro to open something, that if it brings me to the desktop and I close out of that application I should be brought back to Metro. Or at least have an option for it. Also, keeping track of what applications are still running needs to be communicated better from within Metro. I lost count of how many applications were still running which I thought were closed when I left them, but were in fact still running.
Perhaps third time will be a charm? Here's hoping to you Windows 8.2