Oct 17 2013

Windows 8.1

Published by at 5:38 pm under Software,Windows

Windows 8.1 has hit the Microsoft Store. And yes, if you are on Windows 8, you definitely want to upgrade to 8.1. It’s free for existing Windows 8 users. Windows 8.1 is the Service Pack you have been waiting for. It’s to Windows 8 what Windows 7 was to Windows Vista – it’s Windows 8 “done right”, if you want to put it that way.

You can now boot directly to the desktop environment and if you don’t want to, you don’t have to spend any time in the “Modern UI”, formerly known as Metro. The OS feels faster than Windows 7, it is stable and very usable. It even has a start button again, although all it is does on a left-click is bringing you to the Modern UI start screen. Right-clicking it is more useful, because that shows you a lot of options that you actually want to use – at least when you are a developer or administrator.

Should you upgrade to Windows 8.1 from Windows 7? Not if you have to pay for the upgrade, no. Windows 7 might feel a tick slower than Windows 8.1, but it’s an established and stable platform that is going to be supported for several more years and it is an excellent desktop platform. 8.1 has a bunch of nice new features on the desktop side of things, but they are not compelling enough to pay for an upgrade.

Should you upgrade to Windows 8.1 from Vista or XP? Absolutely. In April 2014, Microsoft will drop the support for Windows XP. Every XP machine that is connected to the Internet will then sooner or later turn into a malware zombie and should be shot on sight. Vista was nothing but a too early released alpha version of Windows 7. It is still my opinion that Microsoft should have released Windows 7 as a free upgrade/service pack for Vista users, just like they now released Windows 8.1 as a free upgrade for Windows 8 users. But they haven’t, so if you’re still on Vista, you should do yourself a favor and buy the upgrade.

Windows 8.1 (alone) will not convince users of other platforms to switch (back) to Windows. It won’t cure cancer. It won’t bring peace on Earth for everybody. It’s also not the devil or a complete disaster as many voices on the Internet claim it is. It’s just the next evolutionary step of the world’s most widely used desktop and notebook operating system. It’s not a must-have upgrade, it doesn’t come with any killer features unless you use a touch screen device and with the NSA and GCHQ spying on everybody in the Internet, all those new – but still optional – “cloud” features in Windows 8.1 might not make you very comfortable. But just to mention it, neither will Ubuntu’s or OS X’s online features make you sleep better – the NSA doesn’t care what platform you use.

Too long to read? 8.1 is an optional upgrade for Windows 7 users, but an awesome upgrade for Windows XP, Vista and 8.0 users.

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