• Sign in to Neowin Faster!

    Create an account on Neowin to contribute and support the site.

Sign in to follow this  

Your observations on Windows 8.1 update 1 (a.k.a. Feature Pack)

Recommended Posts

TrickyDickie    284

I love the changes. And I agree that it is the vocal few that they are now trying to appease.

Saying that, the new close button on Modern apps is cool, as are all the other changes I've found so far.

I just found the taskbar in Modern UI thing after reading it here lol

 

The only thing that bugs me is that when I close a Modern app with the new 'X', I get taken back to the Desktop rather than the Start Screen.

I can't find a setting to change this - Anyone help...? I know the Start screen is only a tap / click away, but still...lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
zhangm    1,345

I love the changes. And I agree that it is the vocal few that they are now trying to appease.

Saying that, the new close button on Modern apps is cool, as are all the other changes I've found so far.

I just found the taskbar in Modern UI thing after reading it here lol

 

The only thing that bugs me is that when I close a Modern app with the new 'X', I get taken back to the Desktop rather than the Start Screen.

I can't find a setting to change this - Anyone help...? I know the Start screen is only a tap / click away, but still...lol

Do you have this setting ticked (Taskbar > Properties > Navigation)?

post-17075-0-48785900-1394388062.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PGHammer    1,611

Why wasn't improving the desktop apps an option? 

That is a question for Microsoft (not me) - however, only Photo Viewer has gotten any post-XP improvements - WMP certainly hasn't, and the biggest use I have for MSPAINT is screencap editing.  Also, there HAS been the matter of those consent decrees that have (like it or not) been hobbling Microsoft since XP's launch - how do you know what's going to cause a regulator - anywhere - to pick up the pen (or the phone) and commence whacking?

 

And there IS that codec problem - most of the wrappers for those codecs are deliberately designed to be incompatible with Windwos Media Player (look at the MKV and FLV file formats, for example).  In some areas, Microsoft fumbled things - however, in others, Microsoft got just as whipsawed as everyone else.

 

I'm not saying that the desktop is legacy - only those looking to create a debate are.  What a majority of the critics despise is that a superset OS  (which Windows 8 is) is the default; however, there is a reason WHY the superset is the default (and it has nothing to do with OEMs, oddly) - it's called "purchasing patterns".  What has been the best-selling SKU of every version of Windows since (and including) XP?  Users typically only buy lower-end versions of Windows with PCs; when they buy to upgade an existing (or BYO) PC, they typically buy the highest-end SKU they can get - for XP, it was Professional, and for Vista and 7, it was Ultimate.  (Have Windows 8 sales been broken out by SKU yet?)  Even more telling, there are only three SKUs of 8/8.1 - Core, Pro, and Pro with Media Center.  (Enterprise as a retail SKU will launch simultaneously with the Feature Pack - hence, it doesn't count.)  Heck, back in the XP era, Microsoft was castigated for NOT making Media Center Edition a retail SKU (it was initially OEM-only, and only as of MCE 2005 was it even available through System Builder).  The biggest reason 8+ is, in fact, a "superset OS" has to do with the add-on (third-party peripheral) market - how much have those that upgraded their own hardware complained about the seemingly-endless hunt for updated or even new drivers for hardware add-ons or upgrades?  While the process improved a bit with Windows 7, Windows 7 also introduced a new problem - upgrades that can radically change how the system as a whole works (plug-in hardware such as LeapMotion, or even pluggable-touch-screen displays, etc.).  Do those despising the multimodal nature of Windows 8 EVER upgrade their hardware?

The PC's biggest strength is the near-limitless modifiability - it's where *fish* can become *fowl*.  Linux distributions are the closest any OS (pre-8+) has come to being able to keep up with the lack of limits inherent in the platform - however, those same dstributions have so nichified themselves that Linux is significantly under even OS X in terms of PC desktops.  Windows 8+, on the other hand, can grow as the hardware does, keep up with the changes, and adapt to the user - not forcing the user to adapt to it.

 

I really have to ask - what SKU of Windwos 7 did you purchase, and why that SKU in particular?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HawkMan    5,232

That is a question for Microsoft (not me) - however, only Photo Viewer has gotten any post-XP improvements - WMP certainly hasn't, and the biggest use I have for MSPAINT is screencap editing.  Also, there HAS been the matter of those consent decrees that have (like it or not) been hobbling Microsoft since XP's launch - how do you know what's going to cause a regulator - anywhere - to pick up the pen (or the phone) and commence whacking?

 

 

ummm.... Windows (Live) Mail, Writer, movie maker got completely changed(though arguably not for the better since they dropped the timeline, but it makes it a lot easier for the regular users who don't have any interest in heavy editing).

 

There hasn't been any big changes since windows 8, but a lot of these apps didn't even exist back in the XP days but came with Vista and 7 so...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
zhangm    1,345

ummm.... Windows (Live) Mail, Writer, movie maker got completely changed(though arguably not for the better since they dropped the timeline, but it makes it a lot easier for the regular users who don't have any interest in heavy editing).

These have improved, but they're not included in the OS. They have always been something that a user downloads and installs, and then sets as default in accordance with their preferences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dot Matrix    7,438

Metro is simply not a viable alternative unless Microsoft decides to drop all the draconian restrictions (taking a cut of revenue, requiring it be distributed through the Microsoft Store, requiring apps be run in fullscreen, etc) and substantially improves it for use with mouse and keyboard. I'd much rather see Microsoft shift its focus to developing the desktop, even if that involves legacy breaking changes and an entirely new design scheme. I'm not averse to change but there has to be a clear benefit. Metro is all style and no substance, with no regard for usability for mouse and keyboard users.

 

At the moment Metro is simply a nuisance, with the exception of the Start Screen. That for me is an improvement over the Start Menu as it takes advantage of large, high resolution displays, though there is still substantial room for improvement.

How is charging rent "draconian"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
theyarecomingforyou    10,427

How is charging rent "draconian"?

Forcing Metro apps to be distributed via the Windows Store and taking a 30% cut of every sale is draconian, especially when no such restrictions exist for the desktop. Fortunately there has been a lot of resistance to Microsoft's attempt to corner the market and it's not gone as smoothly as the company would have liked. I don't have any problem with Microsoft operating a digital distribution service but preventing other companies from being able to sell Metro apps is fundamentally anti-competitive, though hardly surprising given the company's history.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Romero    93

I hope you call all the other app stores "draconian" too. I'm fine with it and hope it leads to them lowering the cost of Windows in future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dot Matrix    7,438

Forcing Metro apps to be distributed via the Windows Store and taking a 30% cut of every sale is draconian, especially when no such restrictions exist for the desktop. Fortunately there has been a lot of resistance to Microsoft's attempt to corner the market and it's not gone as smoothly as the company would have liked. I don't have any problem with Microsoft operating a digital distribution service but preventing other companies from being able to sell Metro apps is fundamentally anti-competitive, though hardly surprising given the company's history.

Tell Apple and Google that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+Fahim S.    1,093

Forcing Metro apps to be distributed via the Windows Store and taking a 30% cut of every sale is draconian, especially when no such restrictions exist for the desktop. Fortunately there has been a lot of resistance to Microsoft's attempt to corner the market and it's not gone as smoothly as the company would have liked. I don't have any problem with Microsoft operating a digital distribution service but preventing other companies from being able to sell Metro apps is fundamentally anti-competitive, though hardly surprising given the company's history.

 

That's certainly one of way of looking at it.  But another way to look at it is that Joe Average has a mechanism for discovering software which is comparatively simple than looking for and trying to verify stuff online.

 

The future for operating system makers is this as their primary source of revenue. Microsoft recognise that this is so important.  Google even give their operating systems away for free on the basis of the importance of this.  Apple also earn a large chunk of change from the apps on their app store.

 

It's the future....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dadwen    119

Tell Apple and Google that.

personally one reason I would never own a Iphone or windows Phone is no ability to side load apps, only reason I have a Android over a old flip is the ability to install APK's on the side or even pick other stores, like amazon.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
theyarecomingforyou    10,427

Tell Apple and Google that.

Android allows you to use others stores, like the Amazon Appstore. And my criticism wasn't limited to Microsoft, as I'm just as critical of Apple doing it.

 

That's certainly one of way of looking at it.  But another way to look at it is that Joe Average has a mechanism for discovering software which is comparatively simple than looking for and trying to verify stuff online.

I don't have a problem with Microsoft having their own digital distribution service, nor that it's built into Windows. My issue is that Metro apps can't be installed from any other source, which is a major issue when Microsoft gets a 30% cut of all revenue.

 

The important thing to consider here is that Windows has always been an open platform and I strongly object to Microsoft attempting to force its own DD service upon people, especially given the anticompetitive nature of the company. Microsoft has proved it can't be trusted.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
chrisj1968    1,417

The MS store is a complete MS controlled space. It seems to me that, you can only get apps for the modern UI through MSFT's store. I'm surprised that the EU hasn't hammered MSFT at this point.

 

it is not so much "dracoinian" as it is MSFT forcing a "captured audience". MSFT has put themselves right in the middle between developers and users. It is NOT in the name of making sure apps are well designed.. it is all about control over that market

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
snaphat (Myles Landwehr)    414

Go back and re-read my original post. I added more to it after you quoted it, it looks like. But I find Win32 largely legacy because the marketplace is moving on from it. Your most common applications today are either web apps, or modern, "mobile" applications built for iOS, Android, and Microsoft's Metro platforms. People are pushing for platforms that can scale, and Windows' old Win32 environment does not in the slightest.

Perhaps, I don't understand your context here. In my field, scaling refers to the ability to utilize more and more cores effectively and see benefits in terms of a given application. In those terms, the scalability of Win32 is not different from the metro platform. In fact, from an SMP perspective (as a shared memory kernel) it is really no different than Linux in terms of scalability.

 

But, like I said before, a shifting of consumer market more and more to mobile platforms doesn't mean the desktop is being phased out unless MS chooses to abandon corporate customers because there are numerous industries that are entrenched in the desktop in terms of their application usage. If for example, home consumers stopped using desktop completely, MS would still choose to keep the desktop for corporate use unless they wanted to abandon the corporate sector.

 

What I mean by that is that Windows' desktop UI is severely dated. Much like the Start Menu, it was built for a different time, and was largely ignored. It's been left to gather weeds, and because of that has bits and pieces of only God knows what left over, and is completely archaic to use most days. People have been asking Microsoft to streamline the Windows interface for years, and finally, they are doing just that - with Metro.

This talk of the UI (Window managers, menus, etc.) being dated and ignored is just an unsubstantiated opinion. WIMP style interfaces have been around for decades now and they do change between versions of OSes regardless of whether it is Windows we are talking about or some other OS (with various Windows managers). It seems to me that this is more that you just don't like the paradigm itself. Regardless of like or dislike, it is a sufficient paradigm for desktop (arguably the best there is) and that's why it continues to exist as a desktop UI in and outside of Windows.

 

As anecdotal as it may be, you cannot deny the platform has been bleeding developers. Back when I was younger, everything ran on Windows. Games, educational applications, office applications, etc. Today, that's not the case anymore.

The consumer market has started to shift away from desktop as new mobile markets emerge. Of course, the platform is losing developers: it is losing consumers. Or to say it another way, it is a shrinking market. That isn't to say it is a dead market or a dying market though. As I said before, there are things that are heavily entrenched in it.

 

The fact that Windows has all this legacy and bad karma built up, wasn't going to allow Microsoft to capture those markets until changes were made. Windows 7 proved to be a failure for Microsoft after they shoehorned it onto devices where it didn't belong. Like I said above, Windows' legacy came back and bit them hard here. Thanks to Win32's inability to scale, Microsoft was finally forced to clean up, and re-do Windows in order to move into additional markets.

This is exactly what I'm talking about: shoe-horning doesn't work. This wasn't an issue of "legacy", this was an issue of bolting a desktop UI onto a mobile platform. It doesn't make sense and MS found that out much later in the game than anyone else. Similarly, you can't bolt a metro interface onto all problems and call it a day and this is the reason why Desktop isn't legacy or going to die unless the areas that require it die.

 

Again, I don't know what you mean by scale here.

 

If Microsoft can't let go of this, it's going to sink their ship. They'll join IBM on the fringes of the tech market.

IBM hasn't been on the fringes of the tech market, they are just not part of the consumer sphere really. They've always been huge in HPC. See the Top500 for BlueGene based systems. They also active in the development of custom architectures like Cell and Cyclops64. These days they are more of systems and services company. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Microsoft BOB™ 10    1,076

Looks like Start Menu programs will have to be updated to work with Metro apps with Taskbar showing so left click etc behaves predictably.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dot Matrix    7,438

This is what MS should be doing with Windows 8... Working to transform the desktop with the Metro UX.

 

post-420821-0-20322000-1394398543.png

 

post-420821-0-85271700-1394398549.png

 

  • The taskbar would be killed off completely, and the functionality moved to the Metro task switcher. The Metro task switcher can be resized just like the taskbar can now, if unlocked and docked to the left side of the screen.
  • Apps can be pinned/unpinned as per user desire. The arrows indicate windows with multiple tabs open, and the user could select a desired tab, like they can do now with Windows 7/8 desktop (a la open browser on the taskbar).
  • The active tabs would get a highlight color per developer's code, or the icon, just like they do now on the Windows 7/8 desktop taskbar.
  • Traditional icons are removed in favor of customizable and resizable live tiles.
  • Pure Metro applications would continue to be fullscreen and snappable applications, and feature the titlebar if used on the desktop. They would also be able to open up automatically snapped, if desired.
  • Desktop applications would be resizable, and continue to run like they do now, now relying on the Metro Switcher for Maximize/minimize functions.
  • Explorer would be transformed for the Metro UX. It would feature the titlebar only if used with the desktop. On other devices, it would function the same, however feature whitespace instead of a titlebar for finger/stylus functionality. The address bar would function similar to Metro IE, and can be hidden, if desired.
  • The Classic Control Panel, and all classic Control Panel applets have been removed and replaced with the Metro Settings, and when invoked via the desktop, opens automatically in snapped view.
  • Instead of pop up windows, minor settings and options would open up via a fly-out menu (a la Network Settings, currently implemented in Windows 8).
  • The Charms Bar works just like it does now.
  • The Start Screen works just like it does now.
  • This new environment would be fully scalable, and would work to unify both sides of the OS across all devices.

 

This shoehorning Metro into the old, classic environment isn't going to work out, and will only cause more (already is, as of the Spring Update) issues. If this path continues for Windows 9, I feel Microsoft will be shooting themselves in the foot.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ViperAFK    797

This shoehorning Metro into the old, classic environment isn't going to work out, and will only cause more (already is, as of the Spring Update) issues. If this path continues for Windows 9, I feel Microsoft will be shooting themselves in the foot.

Agreed, this is what is killing windows 8. Trying to smash two interfaces together just doesn't work. Square peg, round hole.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BAV0    12

This should cover pretty much everything:  :D

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sdreamer    26

Took a quick search, but didn't see these mentioned yet, sorry if it has though. Here are some not rather obvious changes that happened.

  • Wireless networks can now be again be forgotten by long-tap/right click in the wireless list. It was there in Win8, disappeared in 8.1, but is now back.
  • App list spacing on the Start Screen has been tweaked. They removed header lines, and spaced out the groups more making different groups a little bit more apparent. Problem is without those lines it makes it a little more difficult to find the beginning of the group sort of. Probably just takes time to get used to.
  • App list spacing also has a setting if you go to Start > Charms > Settings > Personalize > Tiles. There's a setting to not only show more tiles (which came with 8.1) but now you also have the ability to show more apps in app list.
  • Clicking the App icon in the title bar in a Windows Store App gives you the choice of snapping. One less step I guess compared to pulling out the app tray on the left and doing the same.
  • For Surface users with keyboard covers, tap and drag is now available (at least on my Touch Cover 2 it is). Keyboard scrolling is really buggy after sleep though; workaround is to reattach the cover so far for me.

I think its a decent improvement for mouse uses, but almost feels like a step back. This now separates the Windows experience more for mouse and keyboard users vs touch users. Instead of having similar gestures to accomplish tasks, you have to remember how to do either in a sense (I know you can still do all the touch gestures with a mouse, but users don't have to know, thus will never learn). Sticking desktop elements into the ModernUI does seem akward at first, especially the taskbar. I wish they just went with a solid color for the taskbar like they did with the title bar, it just looks funny.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BoDEAN    68

This should cover pretty much everything:  :D

 

 

Thanks for the video post.  I installed the update, don't really have a much different view of Windows 8.1 that I had before the update.  Before and after the update, my desktop has run fine.  Nice to see improvements though, but I don't really use any metro apps except twitter and bing weather.  Rest I get off web pages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
theyarecomingforyou    10,427

This is what MS should be doing with Windows 8... Working to transform the desktop with the Metro UX.

Those concepts are simply horrible.

 

  • The taskbar would be killed off completely, and the functionality moved to the Metro task switcher. The Metro task switcher can be resized just like the taskbar can now, if unlocked and docked to the left side of the screen. [Disagree. The Metro Switcher should be merged with the Taskbar, which should remain visible at all times.]
  • Traditional icons are removed in favor of customizable and resizable live tiles.
  • Pure Metro applications would continue to be fullscreen and snappable applications, and feature the titlebar if used on the desktop. They would also be able to open up automatically snapped, if desired. [Disagree. Forcing apps to run fullscreen when they display very little information is extremely wasteful of screen real estate.]
  • Desktop applications would be resizable, and continue to run like they do now, now relying on the Metro Switcher for Maximize/minimize functions. [Pointless. The desktop works just fine as it is.]
  • Explorer would be transformed for the Metro UX. It would feature the titlebar only if used with the desktop. On other devices, it would function the same, however feature whitespace instead of a titlebar for finger/stylus functionality. The address bar would function similar to Metro IE, and can be hidden, if desired. [strongly disagree. There should be a Metro version of Explorer made for tablet users but there is no advantage to forcing users to run Explorer in fullscreen with Fisher Price? style large icons.]
  • The Classic Control Panel, and all classic Control Panel applets have been removed and replaced with the Metro Settings, and when invoked via the desktop, opens automatically in snapped view. [No thanks.]
  • Instead of pop up windows, minor settings and options would open up via a fly-out menu (a la Network Settings, currently implemented in Windows 8). [No thanks.]
  • The Charms Bar works just like it does now. [No thanks.]
  • The Start Screen works just like it does now. 
  • This new environment would be fully scalable, and would work to unify both sides of the OS across all devices.

Basically you're trying to take all the worst elements of Metro and force them onto the desktop. That isn't what desktop users want. I have a 30" monitor and the last thing I want is every app, from a calculator to a currency converter, taking up every inch of that space. That's not multi-tasking; that's mono-tasking. Forcing users to run apps in fullscreen without any chrome is great for tablets and smartphones where you need to use every pixel available but is poorly suited to desktops.

 

I would hate for Windows to go in the direction you're advocating. :no:

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dot Matrix    7,438

 

Those concepts are simply horrible.

 

Basically you're trying to take all the worst elements of Metro and force them onto the desktop. That isn't what desktop users want. I have a 30" monitor and the last thing I want is every app, from a calculator to a currency converter, taking up every inch of that space. That's not multi-tasking; that's mono-tasking. Forcing users to run apps in fullscreen without any chrome is great for tablets and smartphones where you need to use every pixel available but is poorly suited to desktops.

 

I would hate for Windows to go in the direction you're advocating. :no:

 

Manual window management is awful. Traditional desktop window paradigms are powerful but obsolete. Like it or not, Windows is working towards a new way of doing things. Shoehorning Metro back into the desktop isn't going to solve any problems. It'll be nothing but the same old stories over again, as Microsoft bleeds market share, and developers.

 

Microsoft needs to work to streamline the desktop - Bring the Metro UX and dynamics to the desktop side. Remove the kludgy, disoriented Control Panel widgets, remove all that garbage that's been around forever. The desktop has collected weeds, and has become overgrown. Nobody is buying into it anymore. Half the windows on the desktop below have yesteryear's appearance. It's time to change that. It's time to update the way we work.

 

post-420821-0-65200700-1394418010.png

A desktop full of assorted windows doesn't help anyone's productivity. I see this daily, and wonder how anyone can work in this mess. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i_was_here    49

Manual window management is awful.

I agree but Microsoft could just implement (a perhaps optional) automatic tiling and virtual desktops. Linux has many examples of tiling window managers (dwm, xmonad, awesome, spectrwm, etc) and most window managers have virtual desktops. Both features help with window management and you don't have to run applications fullscreen if you don't want them to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
trek    207

 

Those concepts are simply horrible.

 

Basically you're trying to take all the worst elements of Metro and force them onto the desktop. That isn't what desktop users want. I have a 30" monitor and the last thing I want is every app, from a calculator to a currency converter, taking up every inch of that space. That's not multi-tasking; that's mono-tasking. Forcing users to run apps in fullscreen without any chrome is great for tablets and smartphones where you need to use every pixel available but is poorly suited to desktops.

 

I would hate for Windows to go in the direction you're advocating. :no:

 

100% agree.  Pretty much whatever he suggests, MS should do the exact opposite and we should be fine.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
siah1214    1,528

Dot, for the record yours is the only windows 9 concept I've liked so far. Ignore the haters.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.