Quite a few people have written to me expressing surprise at, and in many cases, support for, my rather blunt outburst against Windows 8.1, posted earlier in the week. To recap, here is what I posted on 3 September 2013, on the front page of my site:
Over the last few days I've been quite busy installing and exploring the Windows 8.1 RTM ISO that was recently leaked. I don't normally condone the use of leaked software, but in this case, given it's ultimately a free upgrade, and the fact that I need to get across the changes as soon as possible so I can update the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion for Windows 8, I thought it justified.
My impression of Windows 8.1 can be summed up in two words: extremely disappointing. The march towards tabletizing a Desktop OS continues, as Windows 8.1 hides or completely removes several potentially useful Desktop features, while gussying up the Metro interface. If you're also not vigilant during installation, you will automatically be opted into using Bing ad-driven searches, SkyDrive integration and a Microsoft Account. The only unambiguously positive changes are the addition of options to boot straight to Desktop, and disable the hot corners, neatly hidden away under the Taskbar Properties>Navigation tab I might add. Fortunately, workarounds exist for some of the changes, and of course Start Menu replacement utilities, along with other Windows 8 customization tools, will provide further options.
I don't normally like to post opinions, especially negative ones, on the front page. In this case, I can't resist, as this *******ization of Windows makes me quite angry. Having used every version of Microsoft's operating systems since 1988 (MS-DOS 5.0), this is the first time I truly believe that Microsoft has lost its way. To put it bluntly, Windows 8.1 is a mish-mash of interfaces, and in some cases borderline deceptive options, mainly to serve Microsoft's dubious ambitions in the mobile device arena, rather than consumers and businesses. It will only serve to further confuse and alienate the average PC user, and hasten the PC's demise. I've used Windows 8 as my daily OS since the Preview back in June 2012, and I can honestly say it seems like one step forward, four steps back when compared to Windows 7.
In any case, I am currently detailing all of the changes and attempting to provide revised best practice usage recommendations in an update to the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion for Windows 8. I will release the updated version shortly after the official release of Windows 8.1.