Mounting of ISOs is not really that of a big deal if you have freeware like 7-zip that can open ISOs anyway. But in another case, the taking away of Windows Media Center (and DVD support) as a separate purchasable bundle (which I personally use on Windows 7), the real native Start Button with Start Menu, the native drive imaging ability, WEI, GUI-based adhoc network management, making Safe Mode harder to find and the tearing down of the Library in place of Skydrive as default document saving location somewhat outweigh what was added on the desktop side of Windows 8.1. Disregarding the useless Start button on 8.1 and the boot to desktop option, there was more on the desktop side of 8 than 8.1. This is going backwards lol..
Windows 7 has features that Windows 8.1 didn't have because they were taken away.
The final final final RTM release of 8.1 was very very much anticipated by the tech community like this forum, but the average Joes who are sticking on an old XP, those still lounging on the reliable beauty of Windows 7 and those that have learned to live on Windows 8 that came preinstalled with the new machines they bought, mostly aren't aware of 8.1 or just didn't care. Now MS mandates updating Windows 8 machines to 8.1 which many non-techy people are not even aware of, making the sudden mandatory execution of this new update a bit of a flaw in procedure.
To me, the final RTM on 8.1 was quite late because its more than a year now since 8 had its initial release and most of the new bits on 8.1 were for the Metro side only and that there were even more bits on the desktop part of 8 that was stripped off on 8.1, making 8 even better on the desktop side than 8.1 is. If you don't care about the Metro side, there are almost no benefits from upgrading 8 to 8.1. In fact the only real benefit was the hidden option to boot directly to the desktop. It took them a year to do this little? What a shame..
Unless they were busy developing a beautiful Windows 9, I could let this pass, but if not, I'll now be 200% sure that something is in deed wrong inside Microsoft.
What actually does Windows 7 give that Windows 8.1 doesn't. - How many people really NEED to use a menu and what's wrong with a custom toolbar -- this gives an 'XP' like menu which is far better than the hideous W7 menu that occupies a lot of real screen estate especially on HUGE monitors.
I find also touch works very well on laptops - especially the on screen touch keyboard -- note I'm not a fan of touch for LARGE external monitors but I'm finding it very handy on more and more occasions on a 14 Inch LAPTOP - especially when surfing the net or reviewing various documents while in crowded places - e.g trains / planes etc. I'm not in any way a tablet lover. I started off like the vast majority thinking who would ever need Touch on a laptop - but I'm finding it great now - especially it's easy being able to have touch keyboards of multiple languages without physically having to connect them or remember weird key combinations when using a single physical keyboard and inputting a different character set.
I never liked Aero glass -- and the speed of Windows 8.1 is far superior to W7 which although great in its day is beginning to look decidedly dated now.
Most people I've shown a decent W8.1 system to on a touch laptop have definitely SIGNIFICANTLY changed their views both about Windows 8 (they want Windows 8.1) and the usefulness of touch screens on smaller laptops (as I have too -- before I tried and used one I was with the vast majority view on this forum --"a waste of time" but I'd actually HATE to give up the touch feature now having used it for a little while.
The big killer app for me was "Boot directly to desktop" - and the ability to have a separate applications screen which the start button can show instead of the Metro tile standard start screen in the previous version - W8.
W8.1 is so much better that I can't really see why so many people are mouthing the same complaints as with W8 -- seems to be they are just behaving like those Call Centre people - mouthing text from prepared scripts --W8.1 is a DIFFERENT ANIMAL to W8.
Even the metro stuff - especially IE11 has improved a lot and actually for casual surfing with touch on a laptop the Metro version of IE11 works great -- the standard desktop version is fine too.
Not 100% perfect yet but definitely VERY useable. I for one don't see W7 staying on my machines for much longer -- but strangely I STILL need to keep XP for a while !!!! so XP will outlast 7 -- who would have though that.
I always maintained that resistance to Win8 is psychologically/ esthetically based, without going any deeper because most users do not know/ do not care for anything else. To understand somebody / something is to know him(her)/it. All other is just intuition or guessing. As the time passes I can see less and less complaints about looks and more and more stuff about real issues. Even the lack of "real" Start Menu is less of a problem as far as I can see.
Windows 8 did have some real serious issues - however most (not all but enough) have been rectified in Windows 8.1 so that this is really a different OS to Windows 8 and should really be "Sold" as such. The Boot to desktop does away with a HUGE amount of complaints as well as being able to disable the "Charms bar" if you want to for people who find that it gets in the way when they use a mouse.
Seems such a stupidity that Ms didn't have these two options available in the original Windows 8 --this would probably have killed about 85% of the original complaints.
"Old guard" with MS would never let this happen, they were mostly programers first, salesman second, explorers, not pushers. Speak and think whatever of Bill Gates, nobody can deny him role in bringing PCs to an open era, where it is possible to be almost free from the clutches of HW/SW manufacturers. Otherwise we'll be still paying dearly for Apple-IBM war. The "New Guard" is again trying to close the market somewhat and tie OS to specific devices but luckily without too much restrictions for SW developers but suddenly putting them into unknown territory and looks like they'll need some time to do more than just mere porting of APPS from other systems.
So if you ask me, "Balmer, blame is thy name.)
My question for 8.1 is why was WEI, the Libraries and the native drive imaging utility were removed when they were still on Windows 8 when those are useful features that pose no harm? Otherwise 8.1 would in all aspects (except privacy because of the integrated Bing search feature) will be better than 8?