A Windows 8.1 Review might sound quite untimely now because it has been almost a year since the OS was released and the world is now looking forward to the release of the upcoming Windows 9 or Windows Threshold, which is predicted to be released by the end of this year or beginning of 2015. Microsoft hasn’t yet given any clues regarding when the release of Windows 9 would take place. As long as Windows 9 is not out, it is better to keep quiet about it and focus our attention on operating systems which are available already.
When Windows 8 was out, many found its features, the so called Windows 8 features, somewhat confusing. But, the update that followed, Windows 8.1, addressed most of issues with Windows 8 and made the operating system an appealing one. Well, let’s see here what makes Windows 8.1 an operating system that is worthy of installing.
A general outlook of Windows 8.1
From a positive perspective, Windows 8.1 is an evolutionary operating system. Although critics say that both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 skipped traditional Windows features, the truth is that Windows 8 came out of the traditional Windows shell, integrating brand new features such as Metro User Interface and Start Screen. If you denounce Windows 8 for its lack of Start button, I remind you that the Start Screen that has replaced the Start button works much better than the latter.
Windows 8.1 stands out from older Windows versions in several ways; in terms of performance, appearance, ease of use, etc. The Windows 8.1 update gives even better impression with its streamlined Windows 8 features. In fact, Windows 8.1 differs from Windows 8 in terms of its streamlined features.
Windows 8.1 for personalized Windows Experience
Using Windows 8.1, you have better chances for having a personalized Windows experience. There are several options for customizing your operating system. Other major advantages of the operating system include better integration with SkyDrive and better performance.
Windows 8 users are allowed to upgrade their OS to Windows 8.1 for free. This is the first time that Microsoft is extending a free offer of the sort. It is said that the offer is given out to avert people’s attention from Windows 8 problems. Whatever it be, Windows 8.1 has enough features to appeal to users. It is an operating system that meets the needs and demands of today’s generation. Actually, it is the best operating system from Microsoft we have today.
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Windows 8 is considered as one of the best operating systems for computers. The OS was developed by Microsoft. It is quite interesting to know that Microsoft began to develop Windows 8 OS much before the launch of its predecessor, which is Windows 7 that was launched in the year of 2009. Read along to know more about the advanced operating system from the house of Microsoft.
The operating system introduced remarkable changes to the user interface and the platform for improving the user experience on computers, laptops and tablets. The operating system was launched to a mixed reception from the customers. The improved technical support for touch screens, security features and enhanced performance was highly acclaimed by the customers. At the same time, the user interface of the operating system was vehemently criticized by the users from all over. This was mainly because unlike the user interfaces of the previous operating systems, the technical features were hard to learn and not at all user friendly.
On the starting day of the Build Conference that took place on September 13, 2011, more enhanced technical features of the operating system were unveiled by Microsoft. It was during this event that the initial public beta build of the operating system was released. It was on the month of February 2012 that Microsoft revealed the logo for the new operating system. The official logo was designed by Paula Scher who happened to be the Pentagram partner. The original logo for Windows was modified in order for resembling the four Windows pane.
The computer giant started a major advertisement campaign that was primarily focused on the operating system and the Surface tablet in the year of 2012. Following that, there was a television advertisement that was premiered on October 14, 2012. The latest functional features of the operating system were inclusive of a faster startup facility. This was made possible through the technically advanced Hybrid Boot mode and the UEFI integration. Windows explorer was renamed as File Explorer and now has a ribbon at the place of a command bar. The dialog boxes for the File Operations were updated for providing statistics that are more precise.
The security features of the OS is now inclusive of two latest authentication modes that are tailor made for picture passwords and PINs. Advanced Parental controls and Family Safety options are features of the new OS that requires special mentioning.
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We always put off our system upgrade to a later date considering different factors like cost, inconvenience, time involved, etc. As far as Windows 8 is concerned though, it is now clear that Microsoft has no plans to slash down the OS prices any time soon. So, there is no point in putting off Windows 8 installation hoping to see a reduction in price in the near future.
Upgrade to Windows 8 before the end of Windows 7 mainstream support
Your favourite Windows 7 OS now has only a few months of mainstream support left. After this date, Windows 7 will only get the periodic security patches for the operating system. So, it is time you considered upgrading to Windows 8. However, you need to take care of a few things before heading for Windows 8 installation.
First, backup all your important data. For this, you can use an external hard disk, a few blank DVDs, or just use your online cloud storage account, if you have enough free storage space left in your account, of course. The best option for this is Microsoft’s own OneDrive cloud service, which will integrate smoothly with your new Windows 8 OS.
When done, use the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant by Microsoft for facilitating a smooth upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8. You have to use this app to reduce the chances of any unnecessary installation errors. This app will scan your system resources and check if they meet with the requirements of Windows 8 platform. If not, a detailed report will displayed on your screen, which will tell you what all changes you have to make in order to install Windows 8.
Next step is to purchase the OS online. There are two different Windows 8 editions available, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. The Upgrade Assistant app will recommend the most suitable Windows 8 edition for your system, and you can just click on the relevant link to go to the purchase site.
Once you make this payment, you will receive the product key for activating your Windows 8 OS. This key will also be sent to your registered email account. Download the OS installation files, and use the product key for activating your copy of the OS. When done, you will land on the new Metro UI Start Screen.
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If you have been expecting the return of Start button to your Windows 8.1 machine via the upcoming Windows Update, what I am going to say here might disappoint you. It was reported lately that Microsoft has decided not to include the Start button in its upcoming Windows Update, codenamed Windows 8.1 Update 2. Nonetheless, the tech giant hasn’t dropped the idea of a Windows 7 like Start menu. Rumour has it that the Start menu will be returned to the next major Windows Upgrade codenamed Windows 9 or Windows Threshold.
Partial rectification of Start screen in Windows 8.1 disappoints users
It is said that Microsoft released Windows 8.1 less than a year after the release of a Windows 8 with a purpose of overcoming the much reported Windows 8 problems. Despite some unique Windows 8 features, the operating system suffered major drawbacks like the absence of Start button. Moreover, Windows 8 featured a Start Screen, quite similar to how applications are displayed in smartphones.
The brand new look of Windows 8 with a Metro User interface and without the Start button made traditional Windows users upset. It badly affected the adoption of Windows 8. If you compare a few Windows 8 reviews, you would realize the gravity of Windows 8 problems, which Microsoft could have avoided. The Windows 8.1 update, which was released to overcome Windows 8 problems, too suffered major downsides.
When Windows 8.1 was announced, Microsoft had said that it would address all the serious Windows 8 problems. No doubt, some of the problems were addressed effectively. Nevertheless, the most important issue, the absence of a sophisticated Start button, remains. Unlike Windows 8, Windows 8.1 features a Start screen. Users are also given an option called boot-to-desktop, which allows users to switch to Windows 7 mode.
Naysayers find that the option to switch to Windows 7 mode is not a solution to the Windows 8 problems. The question that Microsoft has to find answer for is, if it is to switch to Windows 7 mode from Windows 8.1, why should one ever upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.
Customers worldwide want Microsoft to streamline Windows 8 in a better way now, adding brand new Windows 8 features in addition to retaining the traditional Windows features. In this context, therefore, the release of Windows 8.1 Update 2 has greater significance.
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I am planning to test the upgrade process on Windows 7 computer, which I put to daily use. There is loads of stuff installed, including the Office 2013 preview, iTunes and iCloud for Windows, some games, and the likes. There must be around 40 GB of data, a web browser, and an antivirus (I use Microsoft Security Essentials). This is probably what the PC will still be holding onto when I try the upgrade.
Here is what some more detail into the current system setup. I have a single local account, which is password-protected. There are also some changes, which I made earlier on to the operating system settings. One of the new developments is that the screen locks when you activate the sleep mode, or when the screensaver kicks in. Also, since you can use a network bridge to connect a desk phone to a home network using the Wi-Fi on the PC, I have done that too.
My computer is a custom-built machine with 64-bit Windows 7 installed, with the latest versions of drivers and software. In my opinion, this would be an ideal rig to run an upgrade on. Often you have people trying to install Windows 8 on computers brimming with bloatware and needless settings, not to mention loads of redundant, fragmented data. However, this computer right here is used daily, and I keep it running clean and smooth.
If you are still new to Windows 8 and are looking to upgrade, you will need to know a few things before you start. The first is a valid product key, for the exact edition of the OS that you are going to install. Next is to make sure that your hardware specs match with the minimum requirements as shown on Microsoft Windows 8 page. You might be upgrading from Windows 7, in which case, you have the following options.
I am looking forward to the Windows 8 Pro pack. You can contact experts to learn which one of the new OS versions will suit your system the best.
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