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Print 114 comment(s) - last by lexluthermiest.. on Oct 23 at 1:20 AM

It's a free download if you already have Windows 8

Microsoft unleashed its new Windows 8.1 operating system today, which promises deeper customization, updated apps and more. 

Microsoft has made Windows 8.1 available for download starting at 7 a.m. EST today, and it will roll out around the globe over the next 24 hours. The boxed version will be available in retail stores starting tomorrow, as well as brand-new devices that already have the OS pre-installed. 

Those with Windows 8 will see various changes in the move to 8.1, such as greater customization. Windows 8.1 brings new background color options as well as different sizing of live tiles. 

If you've been missing the familiar and ever-beloved Start button in the lower lefthand corner of your taskbar, fear not: Windows 8.1 brought it back. But it doesn't function in the traditional sense -- it just sends you back to the tile-based Windows 8 Start environment. But if you want to avoid the live tiles altogether, Windows 8.1 will let you boot up in Desktop mode instead. 


Microsoft said multitasking is also easier in Windows 8.1, as users can now have up to four apps side by side and adjust the window size of each one to their specifications. 

Other changes include a better-integrated Sky Drive, where smart files can can be created, edited, saved and shared at anytime; the updated Bing Smart Search, which has two new apps called "Food & Drink" and "Health & Fitness"; built-in support for 3D printing; updates to built-in apps like Mail, News, Weather, Finance, Sports and Travel, and a Windows Store redesign (it now has a "New & Rising" section). 

Microsoft is celebrating its new OS with a Twitter contest, if any DT readers would care to join. Simply take a screenshot of your new Start screen in Windows 8.1 after updating, and tweet it with the hashtag "MyStart." Microsoft will choose 810 winners per day for the next eight days, and each winner will receive a $10 promotional Windows Store gift card.

Many say Windows 8.1 is a must if you've already bought Windows 8, as it offers improvements over the original. But if you're still running Windows 7 and previous, and still aren't comfortable with the new UI in the Windows 8 ecosystem, it's still a pretty big shift from the traditional UI. 

The Windows 8.1 download is free if you already have a licensed copy of Windows 8 installed. Otherwise, it'll cost you $120 for the standard version and $200 for Windows 8.1 Pro. You can grab the free download here on your Windows 8 device. 

Source: Windows Blog



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RE: Some nice new features
By Jeffk464 on 10/17/2013 3:31:48 PM , Rating: -1
The start screen is fine, I think people are just locked into the old way of navigating through setting and control panel. Booting into the desktop is pretty cool so if you want the desktop experience you have it and if you want a tablet experience you can have that. Just don't install desktop apps on a tablet or tablet apps on your desktop.


RE: Some nice new features
By Jeffk464 on 10/17/13, Rating: -1
RE: Some nice new features
By lexluthermiester on 10/18/2013 10:52:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think people are just locked into the old way of navigating through setting and control panel.


Yup! Exactly right! And why is it we don't want to use microsoft's new way of doing things? Ohhh THATS right, because it's cumbersome, time-consuming and annoying. The classic way is easy, intuitive and well refined. Hmmm... Ever heard the phrase; "If it's not broken, don't fix it!"? Don't break anything thinking too hard about that...


RE: Some nice new features
By Paj on 10/21/2013 8:50:15 AM , Rating: 2
New ways of doing things in OSs are not a new development. The Start button was a new way of doing things, which people traditionally had difficulty adapting to until it became second nature.

There's a phenomenon in UI design called 'baby duck syndrome' - basically it means that once users learn how to use an interface, they become resistant to changes. Consider the uproar that Facebook encountered early on whenever they updated their interface, only to be forgotten weeks later when users adapted.

quote:
If it's not broken, don't fix it!


The problem with this attitude is that it is completely incompatible with the idea of progress and innovation. Windows 3.1 was perfectly fine for everyone's tasks at the time - according to this doctrine it was therefore perfect and unimprovable, which clearly isn't the case.

Innovation is about taking risks, doing things that haven't been done before. Often, the first implementations of an idea aren't as successful as subsequent refinements to that original idea - hence the updates to Windows 8.


RE: Some nice new features
By lexluthermiester on 10/22/2013 11:22:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There's a phenomenon in UI design called 'baby duck syndrome' - basically it means that once users learn how to use an interface, they become resistant to changes.


Really? I think it has more to do with whether or not such changes enhance/IMPROVE or not[in the case of Windows 8/8.1] the usability and capabilities of a given piece of software/hardware. Prime example; Android. 2x was universally loved. 3x was not. Google learned why and improved. 4x is universally loved. Google tried a few changes with Android, people had problems and didn't like it. Windows is no different. Windows 3x was well liked. It had it's issues, but was good. People grumbled about the step up to 9x, but after learning a bit people likely it and clamored for more. 9x to XP, more grumbling but people liked it and adapted. XP to Vista? Train wreck. Vista to 7, microsoft somewhat listened, somewhat learned and people love 7. 7 to 8? Here is where microsoft screwed the literal pooch. 8 was a hurried, half-asred, pathetic ATTEMPT to play catch up with Android and iOS. It has failed colossally. If microsoft is wise they will keep Windows Phone for phones and tablets[they still need to improve GREATLY on the putrid looking UI] and go back to 7 for desktops/laptops and refine from there. Windows 8 is EASILY microsoft biggest failure. It's their own fault. They need to publicly own up to it and try again.

quote:
Windows 3.1 was perfectly fine for everyone's tasks at the time - according to this doctrine it was therefore perfect and unimprovable, which clearly isn't the case.


Wow, twice in one article! I'm glad you brought up Windows 3.1. Because that is EXACTLY what I was reminded of when I first saw the MetroUI. For it's day Windows 3x was good and relatively easy to use. In fact Windows 3x is in some ways EASIER to use than 8. The point most detractors are trying to make in opposition to Windows 8/8.1 UI is that it was NOT a step forward, nor a step in the right direction. It is less intuitive and arduous to use than ANY version of Windows before it, including the aforementioned Windows 3.1.

The point is, some things are great and well loved. Some changes are great and well loved. Some things/changes are not. Windows 8 is clearly not! Quit defending an undefendable position. Windows 8/8.1/Phone = FAIL. Full stop. Get the frak over it!


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