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Windows 8.1 Operating System Review – solid performer

Posted on January 02, 2014 | Filed in Featured, PC Tips, Windows 8

I recently moved to a Lenovo laptop running Windows 8 with the 8.1 update.

I’d become rather comfortable using Windows XP but a move to better hardware and a better operating system was long overdue.

I have also been using Windows 7 and Windows Vista somewhat regularly. So my impressions of Windows 8.1 are objective.

I find that Windows 8.1 is really good. Its fast, very stable and runs all my applications especially Adobe Creative Cloud wonderfully.

During the last 3 weeks of use, I have not had a single crash. Security seems to be well integrated with the operating system.

I have also worked with a few people who seem to be really frustrated with Windows 8 in general.

Speaking with them, I realized a few things:

a) People do not like change – when there is a learning curve, many people get frustrated. They curse Microsoft and want to move to Linux or whatever.

b) Windows 8 is a like a desktop operating system with a table interface option built-in. Think your desktop PC and a tablet rolled into one where you can switch between the two depending on what you wish to do.

This organization makes sense because (for example) in your desktop, you can keep all your work applications, and on the tablet (Metro) interface keep all your apps and games. For example I have several news apps on the Metro interface. I also have the DOS Prompt short cut on the Metro interface. And getting to the Metro interface involves just hitting the “Windows” key on my keyboard.

The first thing to do if you are the type who would like to see your desktop view first (like Windows 7 or XP or Vista) is to update to Windows 8.1 and change your bootup setting to bring you to the desktop.

The Windows 8.1 update will not be available for download on the “Store” tile till you install all pending updates. Yes, understandably this is the kind of stuff that frustrates people.
But its no big deal if you can do a Google search on the subject.

c) One should also spend a little bit of time learning how to best use the operating system.
For example how to find applications and pin them to the taskbar, add application icons to the desktop and also to the Metro tile interface. All this takes is an afternoon at most. Just make some notes and force a new habit of using Windows 8.1 on yourself.

d) I find the Windows button on the keyboard a huge help and also the “ALT + Tab” shortcut to switch between applications. People should find a few shortcuts early on in their experience with an operating system that enhances their productivity.

e) Windows 8 works great on adequately powered systems. I would go for Window 8 on a new system with a Core i5 or i7 or better processor. Installing Windows 8 on an old system may work but will not give you an optimal experience. I have seen this first hand with people installing Windows 8 on an inadequately powered system and then blowing a fuse when the operating system experience is not suitable.

I think Microsoft has a winner here. I did not feel the same about Vista or Windows 7. Though Windows 7 was quite a solid performer, it was not a game changer.

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