SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

My First Date with Windows 8.1

windows 8one networkI’ve always had a wandering eye for sexy user interfaces (UI). For it was I who worked on an early Apple Lisa computer when the IBM PC ruled. I quickly followed by purchasing an original Macintosh and salivated at the famous 1984 Super Bowl commercial reflecting the Orwellian “Big Brother” message of shattering conventional wisdom, and the MS-DOS view of the world. I raised the flag for the Windows NT Advanced Server release in the early 1990s when my fellow NetWare red heads sneered at the “comical” UI. We’re at the point again in our IT history. Windows 8.1 is here complete with the Start button the early “eight haters” missed so much.

Of course the safe choice is to continue as you are, running Windows 7. You’ve waited and waited to see what direction “Eight” would go. I’d offer its time to ask Windows 8.1 out on a date and see if there’s any “there, there.” I think you’ll find the three-date rule applies, and you’ll quickly forget all the negatives.

Last week, we covered the download availability of Windows 8.1 as occurring the day before it hit the retail shelves. I used the Thursday night NFL game featuring my beloved Seattle Seahawks to install the Windows 8.1 operating system from Windows Store on my production machine. I was a bit surprised that it took about 90-minutes to complete the process, which was more than half of the football game. A few reboots later, and I was happily computing again without drama. My applications were preserved, and my data was safe.

A couple of first-blush observations:

·    Too much emphasis on SkyDrive. While I see the merits of the SkyDrive storage, especially if you are using a Windows Phone and/or Windows Tablet, I’m getting annoyed that the default storage location always points to SkyDrive first. It feels like it’s added a few extra keystrokes to get back to My Documents on C: drive. I’ve been told you can change this--the SkyDrive order of operations--but I haven’t taken the time to educate myself yet on it.

·    This PC. The File Manager has changed its look and feel. You now poke around “The PC” in the right column to drill down into your document, pictures, etc. No biggie, but it wasn’t lost on me.

·    Airplane mode. As you can see in the accompanying figure, Windows 8.1 includes Airplane mode, just like my phone. If you look closely, I was actually on a flight when I wrote the previous sentence this morning (witness the GoGo service)! I like it, and it reflects Microsoft’s convergence strategy in its Devices and Services reorganization.

·    The Start button. To be honest, I don’t use it. I’m so aptly adjusted to the Windows key that I don’t need it. But I can appreciate that it’s there for the rest of us. But for a real good time, right-click the Start button and witness the magic secondary menu that appears providing in-demand selections such as Control Panel with a single mouse click. Nice.
Join me in my Windows 8.1 webinar this Thursday, October 24, 2013 at Noon (12:00pm) PDT (UTC-7). I will be joined by a panel of true experts as we introduce Windows 8.1 to the SMB IT Pro community. Sign up HERE.

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Monday, 18 December 2017