We’ve been using Windows 8 since it was first released to developers in September of 2011, but we have a confession to make. Like many of you, we’ve shied away from the “Metro style” modern features of Windows 8 and used it mainly as an uber-Windows 7. We’ve ignored the Start Screen as much as possible, passed on the apps, and continued to use Windows the way we always have.
However with some recent improvements to the core Windows apps, and the promise of more improvements to come with Windows 8.1, and the acquisition of a Surface RT, we’ve decided to give the “real” Windows 8 a go, with, surprisingly, mostly positive results. Yes, there are problems, both with the apps and operating system themselves, and with our inability to get past our somewhat ingrained way of doing things. But especially as we’re planning to travel to Build armed only with a Surface RT, it’s time to dig in and make the switch.
Microsoft is well aware of the problems facing users like ourselves, and Windows 8, while it won’t fix every problem, is listening to user complaints and attempting to fix some of the most annoying issues. Today, Microsoft released a video previewing some of the changes coming to Windows 8.1. It’s worth a look:
Microsoft still hasn’t shown how they’re going to address the return of the Start button, or a “boot directly to desktop” scenario, but we do get to see for the first time what the new Bing-integrated search will look like, see some of resizeable snap window features, and the new ways to manipulate apps on the Start Screen, including two new sizes of app icons and a new way to group and move icons.
What hasn’t been shown, besides the Start button, is how Windows 8.1 will work on multi-monitor setups (the way it works now is exasperating, to say the least), or any of the new apps coming along with Windows 8.1, including Xbox Music and Video, and new versions of the core Windows 8 apps, including some new ones. Also still not known is what if anything Microsoft will do about replacing Windows Live Writer, the one app from Windows Live Essentials that we’re really, really missing.
Are you using Windows 8 in a “modern” way? Or do you get on to the desktop as soon as possible and stay there? Is Windows 8 growing on you, and do you think Windows 8.1 will help? Let us know in the comments.