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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They've moved stuff about and changed names. Again.
Easier to install than earlier versions because it supports wireless mouse and keyboard from the word go, you don't have to break off the installation to dig out your old wired kit to plug back in.

The is the full retail version and the best version if you are installing clean on your own existing computer, or one you have just built for yourself. There are a...
Published 1 month ago by F. M. Havicon

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ATTENTION Vista users....
WARNING - if you are running VISTA (-32 or -64 bit) it does not matter that your PC is capable of running Windows 8.1 this disc will not install it. The online product spec. makes no mention of this fact. The software packaging states clearly "Windows 8.1 is not designed for installation on devices running Windows XP or Windows Vista." It would have been useful to...
Published 8 days ago by S. Thomas


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They've moved stuff about and changed names. Again., 19 Sep 2014
By 
F. M. Havicon (Brighton, East Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
Easier to install than earlier versions because it supports wireless mouse and keyboard from the word go, you don't have to break off the installation to dig out your old wired kit to plug back in.

The is the full retail version and the best version if you are installing clean on your own existing computer, or one you have just built for yourself. There are a confusing number of other versions available, but they are mostly just discs taken from laptops or pcs before sale by companies looking to max out on profit, and you often have trouble using the provided security codes, as it has already been given to somebody else. The only other version you need consider is the official OEM version, which is meant for computer builders, so they can install windows on the machines they sell. All the rest are something of a dodgy deal, although technically not fake or illegal.

Windows 8 takes a bit of getting used to as they've changed names and moved thing around quite arbitrarily it seems, and attempted once again to lock you out of your own files on your own computer (security gone mad). But sadly you need to keep upgraded to the latest version to make use of new programs and the latest games, which older versions won't run. The downside is that any software bought specifically for older versions often doesn't run on the newest windows (Nero and stuff like that has to be repurchased EVERY time) so my advice is always to go on using your existing version till it absolutely won't go any further, then upgrade. Don't just upgrade because it looks good and the guy next door has it on his pc.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ATTENTION Vista users...., 23 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
WARNING - if you are running VISTA (-32 or -64 bit) it does not matter that your PC is capable of running Windows 8.1 this disc will not install it. The online product spec. makes no mention of this fact. The software packaging states clearly "Windows 8.1 is not designed for installation on devices running Windows XP or Windows Vista." It would have been useful to have that piece of information somewhere prominent in the online description. I went through the FAQ and the various online compatibility diagnostics but though my hardware spec. passed all the tests the product will not install. A pretty poor situation.
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229 of 259 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Significant Improvement Over Windows 8.0, 20 Oct 2013
By 
Kaio (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
[2014-04-02 read my added comments re Windows 8.1 Update at the end of this review]

Nearly a year ago (on 2012-10-26 to be exact) I made a review of Windows 8 under a title "Will Windows 8 Flop or Fly?". As a Windows user for many years, I was baffled by what Microsoft was up to and I chose an eye-catching title to express my bewilderment of how Microsoft got itself into alienating a significant part of its loyal customers. One year on and now we know the truth and the [self-inflicted] damage done to Microsoft.

My review then didn't catch much attention - it was lost under the very bottom pile of reviews with a tiny 22 helpful votes from 32 people who bothered to read it, despite the fact that that review was one of the first two or three to appear on Amazon on the day Windows 8 was released.

As I said before, and repeating it now, Windows 8 (and the updated version 8.1) has so many desirable features, most importantly it is fast and refined in many respects. The only major trouble is making the User Interface the same for desktop/laptop and mobile computers. The fact is that touchscreen is well suited to tablets and mobile phones (i.e., hand-held mobile computers), while non-mobile computers such as desktops and laptops need to be supported by a navigational menu system as existed in Windows 7 and its predecessors (a.k.a. Start Menu). Imagine visually sifting through randomly placed square icons to locate an App on a Start Page, as opposed to a navigation based on alphabetical order and logical organisation-by-folders of program shortcuts. That was the Start Menu provided since the launch of the then more mature Windows 95 and that is what Microsoft managed to kill off for no justifiable reason other than what appears to be a totally misplaced obsession with a provision of one-fits-all OS User Interface for Windows Phone, Windows tablets, and Windows PCs. It is simple common-sense to realise that mobile and non-mobile computers call for different User Interfaces.

If I attempt to sum up what is wrong with Windows 8 (or 8.1 for that matter), the phrase "Flat and Disconnected" comes to mind. Imagine a set of logically organised office folders, take out all the papers from all the folders and lay them on the floor. Or, think of a database system logically organised in data tables, and flatten all the data into one spreadsheet. Yes, these are crude examples but easily illustrate changing organised data to flat data. With the Start Page, Microsoft just managed to make Windows flat. Disconnected? Yes, because Windows 8.x presents itself as two disconnected [bipolar?] personalities in one: a disconnected Desktop style and Metro style.

What Microsoft should have done (this is not an after-thought - see my review a year ago) was keep the Start Menu for non-mobile computers but provide the touchscreen interface as an option; this would have avoided the needless alienation Windows 8 caused to PC users to whom productivity is key (in which case the learning curve with touchscreen, at best, was unwelcome, in the worst case, the touchscreen interface was not fit for a serious job productivity demands).

Where are we with Windows 8.1?

Windows 8.1 is definitely an improvement over Windows 8.0. The Start button is back, but the Start Menu is still absent. The Start button brings top level command shortcuts that would please many users; right-click on Start button and you'll find numerous 'power commands' you wished you had at your fingertips (say, a click or two away), such as control panel, device manager, disk management, power options, shutdown options, et cetera.

Another significant improvement - more so than the Start button - is that you can now directly boot into the Desktop bypassing the Start Page. A navigation option you set via taskbar right-click will enable this feature. You can also choose the same background for Desktop Page and Start Page to slightly improve the visual intimacy between the old Desktop and the so called modern metro look.

If you want your Start Menu back, you can actually get it back free of charge. There are now software houses coming up to fill in the void created by Microsoft. Classic Shell (classicshell.net) and Pokki for Windows (pokki.com) are the frontrunners in providing a free patch that restores the Start Menu . I haven't evaluated these Start Menu patch programs but the endorsement made by Lenovo (the new brand name for IBM PCs after sell off) speaks volumes: Lenovo's Windows 8 PCs and laptops now come pre-installed with Pokki to restore the Start Menu.

As an alternative to Start Menu, I have used Bins (from 1upindustries.com) for organising shortcuts of commonly used programs on the desktop taskbar - not a replacement for Start Menu but provides an acceptable solution for program shortcuts used very frequently. And this is not a freeware but costs around £5, and I am not endorsing this program but only indicating its existence as some users may find it as a suitable option.

In addition to the welcome return of the Start button (sadly not Start Menu!) and direct boot into Desktop, there are also notable features shown below, but by no means exhaustive or in any logical order -- just what come to mind as significant:

1. Snap View which allows multiple Apps to be viewed at the same time is one of the good features you'll notice with 8.1. The catch is that you must have a high resolution monitor for the full benefit of Snap View.
2. Skype - I like Skype - and now it's part of the Windows OS and no more an add-on program.
3. I am not a big fan of SkyDrive but deeper integration than with the original Windows 8 is now apparent with 8.1.
4. Dozens of new and overhauled Apps such as Movie Moments, Fresh Paint, Health & Fitness, etc., are all welcome additions.
5. A more consolidated Search system is now more user-friendly than before.
6. Yes, with 8.1 now you can resize the live tiles and thereby optimise your screen space.

Time to Upgrade to 8.1 from Windows 7 and before?

Yes. Now there are more compelling reasons to upgrade to 8.1 than was the case for Windows 8. Of course, upgrade from Windows 8 comes for free and with much improved user experience, so no one needs much convincing here.

With direct booting into the Desktop, reinstating the Start Button, and providing numerous power commands via the Start Button right-click, Microsoft is nearly there to give in to the Start Menu it is stubbornly refusing to restore. My bet is that Start Menu will eventually return as the sound at the cash-tills and buy-clicks start to recede for Windows and Microsoft comes to its senses.

[Update 2014-01-20] Latest rumours indicate that Microsoft is moving away from the ill-fated Windows 8 branding and what was assumed as Windows 8.2 will actually be Windows 9, and slated for early 2015. Update 1 is however expected sooner for Windows 8.1 but not clear if the Start Menu will be part of this Update (and more likely not).

[Update 2013-11-30] Rumours are already flying that the "Start Menu" may come back in spring 2014 or early 2015 as 8.2 update (or even as Windows 9 as some suggest). Google or Bing for "Windows 8.2" and the rumours will be revealed.

In my rating I am withholding 1-star for Microsoft's stubbornness.

I now love Windows 8.1! I would have done even more with the Start Menu.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[2014-04-02]

As MSDN subscriber, I have access to Windows 8.1 Update a bit earlier than the general release (from today 2nd April) and I've already installed Windows 8.1 Update this evening and here are the notable changes after the Update:

- The modern apps window now has Minimise and Close controls to the top right edge (revealed when mouse moved up) just as for conventional application window. Furthermore the App icon to the top left reveals menu commands that, in addition to Minimise and Close just mentioned, Split Left and Split Right for positioning the App window. A welcome change for mouse and keyboard users!

- While on Start Page, moving the mouse down now reveals the Taskbar. You'll never feel lost as you can easily jump to your application pinned to the Taskbar. Another welcome update.

- Just like other desktop applications, you can now pin modern apps to the Taskbar. In fact, when your update is complete, you'll notice the Microsoft Store app icon pinned to the Taskbar.

- Modern apps now have Context Menu; right clicking an App reveals useful commands such as Pin to Taskbar, Unpin from Start Page, Resize tile, and Turn Live Tile On or Off.

- PC Settings and Powers Options have now been promoted to the Start Page for easy access. The Power Option is now sitting side by side with User and Search icons at the top right of the Start Page. Your Top right Start Page now is therefore the focal point for controlling your computer with such power commands as Lock, Sign Out, Shutdown, Restart, Hibernate, etc. and Search whatever needs to be searched on the computer.

Okay, not an earth-shattering update Microsoft have come up with in nearly six months, nonetheless a welcome improvement for those of us clinging on to our mouse and keyboard interface. No doubt that there are other welcome improvements under-the-hood and hopefully we'll see and feel these improvements (or lack thereof) through usage over some time. One interesting point with regard to the Update is that Windows 8.1 is now touted to be streamlined and optimised to run with 1GB RAM memory; does this mean leaner and faster Windows? Only time will tell.

Listed below are what Windows 8.1 (as well as Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows RT 8.1) Update contains for 64-bit computers (listed in the order of installation).

Windows8.1-KB2919442-x64.msu
Windows8.1-KB2919355-x64.msu
Windows8.1-KB2932046-x64.msu
Windows8.1-KB2937592-x64.msu
Windows8.1-KB2938439-x64.msu
Windows8.1-KB2949621-v2-x64.msu

For 32-bit computers, the file names change slightly with -x64 replaced with -x86 and the last file for x64 (KB2949621) not included for x86.

Windows8.1-KB2919442-x86.msu
Windows8.1-KB2919355-x86.msu
Windows8.1-KB2932046-x86.msu
Windows8.1-KB2937592-x86.msu
Windows8.1-KB2938439-x86.msu

Note that normally you don't even need to know the above file details as the Update is made automatically through Windows Update. The one useful point to take away from this information is to make sure that the above updates appear in your Windows Update History in the same order as shown above. These are listed in the Update History as the KB numbers as KB2919442, KB2919355, and so on.

Final Words

With Windows 8.1 Update installed, Windows 8/8.1 is starting to feel more sensible and useful with less impediment to my workflow. With Metro Apps window now resembling a bit more like that of their old Desktop cousins, Windows is starting to become more familiar with improved harmony between Metro and Desktop. Windows 8.1 Update is what Windows 8 should have been on day one. Let's hope the long-awaited Start Menu will show up in Windows 9 about the same time next year.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must or not?, 10 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
I went for 8.1 straight from XP skipping the intermediate steps.
It's not a bad piece but like anything new, one needs to get used to it.
The most I miss a little user manual. It is nowhere stated that you need to uninstall the product key if you want or must have the software on another PC. This has cost me 20 minutes plus on the phone with the helpdesk.
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79 of 91 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Start button is back (sort of); other Windows 8 awkwardness remains (and not Linux-friendly), 15 Nov 2013
By 
North American Technology Consumer (Mid Atlantic, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
The initial portion of this review addresses the final stage of an progressive upgrade from Windows 7 with an intermediate step --lasting one year-- at Windows 8 before progressing to Windows 8.1.

Bottom line up front: If you are a power user of Windows 7, and you can keep running your current hardware with a Windows 7 variant: I can't offer a single compelling reason to make this change. If you're already using Windows 8, proceeding with the evolution to Windows 8.1 will provide a marginal improvement to the user experience due to the return --sort of-- of the Start button (with much less functionality than in earlier versions of Windows) and the option to boot directly into the desktop (bypassing the clunky "Charms" Metro start page).

I've made this upgrade to two computers. For a desktop computer that met the full Windows Store system requirements, I proceeded with the upgrade from Windows 8 from the Store. A netbook I installed Windows 8 on did not have sufficient display resolution to install 8.1 directly from the Windows Store, so I had to run the installation separately via a downloadable 8.1 installer application.

The good news: In both installation cases, The Windows 8 to 8.1 upgrade was issue free (which mirrored the earlier Windows 7 to Windows 8 upgrade experience for both machines). It retained all of my previously installed OS settings, data files and applications. For the netbook upgrade via the installer program I had to enter my Windows 8 activation key (you still have yours, right?); the upgrade via the Store either trusted me or examined the registry for validity of my install.

The not so good news: once Windows 8.1 was in place, the user interface remains fundamentally the same Windows 8 experience that is kindly described as "awkward at best". After more than a year of using this operating system, I still feel like I'm working at half speed whenever I interact with it.

Most of the 8.1 improvements over Windows 8 are under the hood. The biggest user interface change is the return --sort of-- of the Start button. It is rather non-intuitive in that you have to right mouse click to reveal it. Once you do, you'll learn that it is more like a cousin than a brother to the Start button from pre-Windows 8 versions. You will encounter an utter lack of customizing (no pinning programs you use most often, no recent documents listing, no dragging items from the task bar to the Star menu). While you can now boot directly into the desktop, 8.1 still forces you to its Metro/Charms "alternate" desktop for any real power-user functions. Yes, it's an improvement over Windows 8 for simpler navigation to start/shutdown options. For those used to a high degree of start menu customization, this will not slake your thirst (although you'll feel less like you're crawling through a desert towards a mirage than under Windows 8).

Like Windows 8, Windows 8.1 would really, really like you to establish an online log-in with Microsoft. It would also really, really like for you to permit Microsoft to "improve your search and other user experiences" (or something similar; if I were talking to you face-to-face, those would be big old "air quotes", because a cynical user might think Microsoft had another interest in compiling vast amounts of user data to improve marketing opportunity and revenue streams). You can bypass all this and establish your login via with a more traditional --and more private-- local user account, which is my preference. But the interface does not make this option highly visible.

Finally, prior to the installation of Windows 8.1, I had a nicely functioning dual-boot (Windows and Ubuntu) machine. No longer. The boot loader appears after POST, but the Windows/Ubuntu boot loader is non-responsive to either keyboard or mouse commands, and it simply pauses for the programmed delay (4 seconds in my case) and the goes to Windows. Since my Linux is a hobby, this is not a show-stopper, but this could be a deal-breaker for a user with a non-negotiable need for a multi-OS machine.

The remainder of this review addresses the earlier Windows 7 to Windows 8 "upgrade" that preceded the move to 8.1. If you are proceeding to Windows 8.1 directly from Windows 7, this is what you can expect.

---------

This review separates the Windows 8 upgrade/installation experience from the user interface experience. While I consider myself a power user of Windows 7, this didn't come only in its use since upgrading to that OS three years ago . Any proficiency I enjoyed as a Windows 7 user evolved from much longer experience acquired during the evolution of its predecessors (going back to Windows 95). Windows 8 offers a much different user interface (at least to "start" with...pun intended) that relies less on on your prior expertise with earlier Windows operating systems. Much of it will be familiar to users of earlier Windows versions, but it has enough differences to remind you frequently that this is *not* the Windows OS you've become --for better or worse-- familiar with. Because of this, I'm going easy on assessing it until I've had a more time using it for my normal productivity tasks (but so far, I'm lukewarm on the interface).

Since this is an *upgrade* version of Windows 8, this review emphasizes the *upgrade* process, which is not the same as a review focused on the overall user experience. So far, I'm neutral on the interface changes. Lets just say I won't be in a hurry to upgrade all of my existing Windows 7 machines to Windows 8.

Bottom line: This was by far the easiest, most intuitive Windows upgrade I've performed. This is compared with many Windows upgrades and fresh installs going back to 98, ME, Vista and 7. It took less than an hour and successfully retained my existing applications and data files.

What's in the box?
(1) 32-bit installation DVD
(2) 64-bit installation DVD
(3) a product key card
(4) a single page getting started guide

Windows 8 system requirements are essentially the same as Windows 7 (which were generally LESS demanding than Vista and XP requirements). I installed Windows 8 over Windows 7 on a 5-year old Dell XPS 420 with a 32-bit 3 GHZ Intel Core2 Duo processor, 4 GB RAM and an ATI Radeon HD 2600 video processor. Total upgrade time took less than an hour.

The installation process went as follows after inserting the installation DVD:
(1) "Preparing": took about 3 minutes to check for and download updates online.

(2) Windows 8 offered to either preserve your existing applications data files (and some settings) or do a fresh install. I chose to retain my applications and data. In either case, you'll want save --and have access to-- backup copies of your data files and application media/files BEFORE you go through the upgrade and installation.

(3) The install processes ran on my machine for about 28 minutes, then went through a series of restarts. During this time a "percentage complete" message ran on the monitor.

(4) After a final, farewell appearance of a Windows 7 desktop and another restart, Windows 8 went into a "getting ready" process. At this point it presented options for:
-personalization
-wireless network connections
-express or custom setup
-some privacy-related settings and registration options with Microsoft (these defaulted to not sharing or not required...which is good!)

(5) It then proceeded to a "finalizing" process. At this point is when the upgrade process really shined: it recognized an existing Linux/Ubuntu 12.04 partition on my hard drive and the existing Windows/Ubuntu dual-boot options. It not only preserved Ubuntu functionality, but offered options for selecting your default OS and delay options for the boot loader display.

After finalizing and restarting, Windows 8 recognized all my existing peripherals. All of my existing data and applications were available with no problem. Boot time is about 45 seconds and shutdown time is about 21 seconds.

Comments on the interface experience:
I understand some of the initial hostility this OS has received. While the familiar desktop metaphor lives on (and once you are there, the differences between this and previous Windows user experiences are minimal), before you get there, you have to learn to live with a separate "Start" page. Out of the box this page heavily populated with many online services that Microsoft would clearly be interested in driving your attention (and your wallet!) to. The good news is these are easily removable.

Your keyboard's Windows key will become a powerful tool, as it allows rapid switching between the desktop and start screens. If you have a Windows 8 compatible touchpad (like the Logitech T650), then its "gestures" also permit rapid switching.

At this point, I consider myself still learning the new interface. Some features seem less than intuitive (like how to shut down, for example), but look how we've grown accustomed to the "Start" button being the place to go to stop working!

As I write this, I'm learning to master both the new interface and use of a touchpad instead of a mouse. While I'm not yet working as intuitively as I was with Windows 7, the learning curve hasn't been a deal breaker. The start screen seems mostly an invitation to hook users into use of applications tied to a registered Microsoft account, and the cynical (and privacy-minded) part of me doesn't see great value added in this. It also a place to display your frequently used applications, files, folders and system controls for rapid access.

Bottom line: EASY upgrade process, Ubuntu-friendly and a little learning curve. We've certainly had worse new operating systems from Microsoft in the past...

Note: I've since performed a second install on a netbook that did not have sufficient video resolution to display Windows 8 tiled apps that run on its Start screen. Otherwise, this upgrade path was similarly problem free, and similarly retained existing applications and data present under Windows 7.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't keep your old PC, 2 May 2014
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
I reluctantly took my 12 year old XP desktop offline when support ended. I bought a laptop with Windows 8 and upgraded to 8.1. It isn't terrible, but it's such a mess. I've tried customising it, but there is only so much you can do. I really want a proper XP start menu. I never want to see the Metro UI or run any Metro Apps. I don't like the Charms bar. I don't want the OneDrive (SkyDrive) and was not impressed that the original setup used the OneDrive as my default file storage location. The existence of a 'Documents' folder on the OneDrive confused me for a while until I realised what was going on and turned off the default option. It turned itself back on after an update too, which was annoying. I bought a new copy of Office so I'm doubly not-smiley but that's another story.

If you keep your old PC to use offline you will be constantly reminded of how much better the interface was, and how much better Office used to be, so in the interests of progress you should recycle it. I haven't.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why did Microsoft think that a mobile phone OS would ..., 4 Aug 2014
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
Why did Microsoft think that a mobile phone OS would transfer successfully to a desktop or laptop computer as an update to an old OS. -- Total failure. -- Nobody I know likes it.
Everything you want is hidden at a corner or edge and very difficult to end an App.
Nothing seems to make sense anymore. Where is the logic?
Intuitive it is NOT!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stick with Windows 7 until this is sorted out., 30 Aug 2014
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
Oh dear, what a mistake. I thought I would upgrade to Windows 8.1 but so many of my applications don't work, plus the stupid user interface that is so not needed, I ended up reverting back to Windows 7.
If you do decide to stick with this OS then be prepared to sign up to a Microsoft account in order to do anything. No thank you.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Desktop users thrown under the bus, 5 April 2014
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
If my laptop had come with win 7, I'd already have been working on it for three days. As it is, I'm forced to spend days addressing deficiencies deliberately introduced by microsoft (classic shell, file defaults, etc). White flat windows and scrollbars are hard to use and headache inducing; old proven user interface paradigms aren't available; my desktop experience is disrupted when I open files by taking me to the modal, unnecessary, hard to avoid modern interface. I'm happy to try new things - I'm left wishing the new thing I'd tried is a mac, and considering taking the extra time to upgrade to win 7 despite the time already lost. I always avoided things like linux on my laptop because I didn't want to spend time tinkering, I want to work. Win 8/8.1 forces that on you anyway, for no upside whatsoever.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new O.S. but you must install classic shell., 18 Jun 2014
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
I won't bore you with negatives, it's all been said.
All you need to do is download and install classic shell ( free open source software) and Hey Presto ! you have full windows menu interface so you get full control of windows 8 with all its benefits.
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Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version)
Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) by Microsoft Software (Windows)
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