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272 of 311 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Significant Improvement Over Windows 8.0
[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...
Published 19 months ago by Kaio

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wait for Windows 10
Following the installation of 8.1 it completely corrupted my boot.ini file sending the PC into a boot loop and totally crashed the BIOS. Reading up about it and reading through TechNet comments it appears this is a common problem with 8.1. (Google "Windows 8.1 boot loop" and you'll see). There doesn't even appear to be any attempt at a fix from Microsoft...
Published 2 months ago by Ben Neale


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wait for Windows 10, 3 Mar. 2015
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
Following the installation of 8.1 it completely corrupted my boot.ini file sending the PC into a boot loop and totally crashed the BIOS. Reading up about it and reading through TechNet comments it appears this is a common problem with 8.1. (Google "Windows 8.1 boot loop" and you'll see). There doesn't even appear to be any attempt at a fix from Microsoft.
Following my having to update the BIOS, restore to a system restore, re-install Windows, and restore from a system image, the problem was still there. I even had to pull my CMOS battery from the motherboard and still no joy.

Eventually I gave up and re-installed Windows 7 and the problem is fixed.

When it did work, the GUI was pretty much the same as Windows 8 but with a Start menu (hooray!).

My advice is to wait for Windows 10. If you've purchased this then you get a free upgrade to Windows 10 anyway, my only saving grace after purchasing this, as it took me two days to fix the issues I had with it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Run away from windows 8.1. Bugs galore!, 17 May 2015
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
I really, really hate this software. I got it pre-installed with a new laptop and its awful.

To put it simply- nothing on this software is easy. The side bar pops up 24/7 if you go anywhere near the right hand side, it randomly switches from desktop view to that other weird app version without clicking anything.

I paid for Microsoft 2010 and couldn't use it as it 'isn't compatible' so was forced to buy the new one included with the laptop.
And the most annoying thing for me is the PDF/Photo viewer! You can only view 1 PDF at a time which is absolutely horrendous for a uni student, and what makes it worse is the fact that you cant click it into place on the Desktop next to a word document- it has to be full screen which makes copying and referencing infuriating.

I had to download photo 'apps' to edit and look at photos as windows picture viewer/editor doesn't work on it. and it also keeps randomly uninstalling my anti-virus, so I have to check whether i'm protected 24/7.
It also freezes the task bar when you click it for the very first time when you switch into desktop mode and has to reset the screen before you can use it again.

Bearing in mind I have only had this laptop for a couple of weeks and its annoyed me this much.

This software is for tablets, not computers. Windows massively messed up when they tried to make computers app friendly- i have a tablet for that. STOP changing things that don't need to be changed! Windows 7 was fab.

Definitely would NOT recommend.
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272 of 311 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 [sorry, Windows 10, it is!) about the same time next year.

[Update 2014-10-20]
Well, Windows 9 not to be, and Microsoft is skipping the number 9, and the next version will be Windows 10 -- as if this will make us forget all the debacle with the ill-fated [but gradually recovered] Windows 8. The Start Menu is definitely back in Windows 10 (which you may get your hands on the beta version).
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92 of 106 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 
Long-Suffering 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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Downgrade to Windows 8 today!, 1 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
I consider this to be a massive down grade from windows 7 - it takes twice as long to do most tasks now, you have less control over some of the features and I feel that its not as intuitive as Win 7.

Where MS has replaced older features - it has in most cases failed miserably. Microsoft just can't make up its mind what horse to saddle and Win 8 is IMO a hastily scrabbled together amalgamation of knee-jerk reactions to what the other OS' are bringing out.

I will admit that I don't use the touch screen facility as I don't see the point with a desk top - but I fail to see how Win 8 would be any better, even if I was using it as a touch screen interface - with the possible exceptions of a tablet style set-up. But Win 8 is far too bloated to do that successfully anyway.

So I'm off to get an OEM copy of Win 7 asap - retrograding will be worth every penny.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Roll on Windows 10!, 7 Dec. 2014
By 
Silvester (Sheffield, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
Pro's
---------

*** More advanced recovery options ***

Windows 8 has 2 recovery options for when Windows needs to be reinstalled & less intrusive options like a system restore haven't helped (for example when Windows won't load).

Reset - This option to reset allows you to completely set Windows to factory settings removing all data and settings. So this option is very similar to the recovery options found with most Windows 7 machines. The Windows 8 has an extra feature however which allows you to securely clean the machine to prevent any data being recoverable after the recovery has been performed. Be warned however this tool extends the recovery time from about 25 minutes to a few hours.

Refresh - This option allows you to reinstall Windows while keeping your files in tact. This works by rescuing any files stored within your usual user areas (Documents, Picture, Music, Videos, etc). This feature will often allow you to save your files even when you are unable to load into Windows to save them yourself. Although some Windows 7 machines have a feature where you can back up files before a recovery, they generally require some temporary external storage to store the files on and this feature is normally a tool provided within the manufacturers own recovery tool rather than built into Windows.

*** Integration of Microsoft Account ***

Some people will argue that this should actually be in the con's section as it can sometimes be a bit confusing for people who are not overly confident with computers, however it does have its advantages.

A Microsoft Account is basically an online account which can be used as an email address, to store contacts, calendar events, etc). Windows 8 allows you to tie this account unto Windows offering a number of benefits.

Having your Microsoft Account tied into Windows synchronises information stored on your Microsoft Account. This means that contacts, calendar events, etc are stored on your online account. This means all this information can easily be recovered in the event of your PC breaking down, you having to perform a reset to factory settings or the PC being lost or stolen.

Another benefit is that if you completely tie your Microsoft Account into Windows you can then use the password for your email in order to log into Windows. The major advantage to this is that if you forget your password, you can simply reset it through another PC, mobile phone or tablet that has internet access.

Con's
---------

*** No native support for DVD playback ***

Unlike Windows 7 and its other predecessors, Windows 8 won't play DVDs natively. In previous versions of Windows, microsoft had to have a fee in order to package codecs into Windows. Codecs allow Windows to understand different types of myriad. In order to try and reduce the cost of Windows 8, Microsoft have stripped these out. As such if you want to play shop bought DVD’s, you will need to either purchase the Windows Media Centre pack or download an alternative media player such as VLC player which already has the facility to play DVD’s for free.

*** Not as easy to navigate around ***

Many people argue that Windows 8 is not as easy to navigate around compared to previous versions of Windows. I feel the reason for this is that Windows have developed an Operating System where the User Interface is the same for desktop/laptop and mobile computers.

Many people struggle to access the Charm bar for example as this involves taking your cursor to the top right hand corner of your screen and gently bringing it down the side of your screen to display the menu. Where as on a tablet you can simple swipe in from the side of your screen with your finger.

As such, many people think Windows 8 is only really suitable for tablets and touch screen PC’s.

*** Completely different for Windows XP users ***

If you’ve been using Windows XP years, Windows 8 will probably take a lot of getting use to. I generally find that users who have jumped from Windows XP to Windows 8 often struggle to navigate around at first more than anyone. I simply put this down to Windows XP being so basic and straight forward in comparison.

*** Not compatible with some older Software ***

Don’t assume that all your old software will run in Windows 8. Windows 8 may not understand older programs where it was designed for previous versions of Windows. The tricky problem here is that it can be difficult to tell if older software will run in Windows 8 apart from through trial and error or a little research online.

*** Not compatible with some older Printers ***

Lots of people often assume that if they upgrade Windows their printer will work, no matter how ancient it is. This is not always the case as your printer relies on drivers which may not be supported by Windows 8.

The best way to check is to go to the manufacturers website for your printer. For most printers going back a few years the manufacturer will have drivers available for most operating systems - even if Windows 8 hadn't been released when you purchased your printer.

Many people also make the assumption that if they can't install their printer using the original disk it won't work either. However if the printer is a few years old there drivers on the disk may just be a bit outdated, so again its worth checking the website.

What’s the difference between Windows 8 and Windows 8.1?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Windows 8.1 is simply an update for Windows 8. You don’t have to pay for it - it was previously a free optional update for Windows 8, however Microsoft recently changed it to one that installs automatically.

Windows 8.1 is definitely an improvement over Windows 8, however at first glance, many users might not actually notice the difference between the 2 versions of Windows as most of the changes are subtle and superficial.

The main differences are as follows:

✓ The start button is back, however all this does is takes you to the standard Windows 8 start screen.
✓ Depending on your screen size, it's possible to split the screen between 3 or more apps instead of just two. Users also have more control in how much screen space an app takes.
✓ There is now an option to boot directly to the desktop upon sign in.
✓ The Search charm has changed a bit. It now searches the "Everywhere" category by default which also includes Bing, Microsoft's search engine. Instead of full screen, the search pane pops open from the right of the screen. Really handy if one is trying to follow on screen instruction displayed in a web browser or something.
✓ Additional integration of Skydrive/OneDrive.
✓ App updates are now installed automatically.

Is it true Windows 10 is already on its way?
--------------------------------------------------------

Microsoft have already released information about the next version of Windows which will be called Windows 10 (Windows 9 seems to have got lost along the way). It is currently expected to be available from late 2015 onwards.

This is worth considering for 2 reasons. Microsoft have announced that customers with a copy of Windows 8 will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for no additional charge. So you could purchase Windows 8 with the of mind that if Windows 8 becomes outdated you can simply upgrade.

The other reason is that when Windows 8 was first released, many retailers offered it relatively cheap for a few months before the price went up. We may find that a similar thing happens when Windows 10 comes out if they want a big push to get everyone using their latest version of Windows.

Conclusion
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I personally use Windows 7 on my laptop and Windows 8 on my desktop. The only reason I upgraded to Windows 8 was because I managed to get it through my employer at a significantly discount rate.

I wouldn't personally pay to upgrade to Windows 8 at the moment as I don’t think it is worth it for the benefits it offers. I personally think I would hold out until Windows 10 arrives if I had to purchase a new PC or wanted to update my Operating System.

For me the fact that Windows are already talking about releasing a new Operating System suggests they know Windows 8 was a mistake.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knew it would be rubbish....wow was I so wrong, it is the best I have used, 28 July 2014
By 
M. Fairman - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
Since Windows 8 came out I have been reading reviews and the one thing I learned was I totally would hate it. It seemed to be touch screen based, it seemed to be going against all the good things that made Windows 7 the best OS I had used. (I started with 95).

However the day came when I wanted to build a new computer...so or windows 7 at the end of it's life almost or take the plunge? I got Windows 8.1.

I use the computer around 4 hours a day on weekdays and about a lot more at weekends. I do an awful lot of photography work on it. I told people I would probably be tearing my hair out with the new OS as everything I heard said it was rubbish. But I had noticed some reviewers saying 'no it isn't....people just don't like change'.

First impression when it loaded.

Looked great. No clue as to what I was supposed to do, but a few hours in I had got the basics. Some things were smart, some things hard. It looked and moved so much better then anything before, a plus, but finding stuff was a pain, and yes it slowed me down.

TWO DAYS IN

Was now actually preferring the new tile screen, especially as the all apps one was basically a lovely laid out start menu that didn't mean I had to scoll and then click an item to get the menu of that application....no here it was all laid out rather nicely. Quicker to find. Beginning to like this new system.

TWO WEEKS IN...i.e. NOW

Love it. The start screen has my six most used photo applications on, so most of the time I don't have to go there. The full tile screen as everything else. Desktop....hardly use it. Amazing as I assumed |I'd download one of those applications to make windows 8 back to windows 7. No way now. Totally sold on the new interface. And NO....I do not have touch screen. I do photography, and no photographer would want a touch screen. You need to see details, colour; can't do that looking through a load of seamy finger marks. No I love windows 8.1 with a keyboard and mouse and it works beautifully.

Everything is so easy. And so many choices. Before I could limit my son's access to certain times. Now I can do that and put an overall block of a set number of hours as well. I can see what he has been doing, where he has gone on the web.

Applications, only one didn't work, a keyworder no longer supported by On-Asia...no business going there again as they said no to a part refund of my sub taken in April. Everything else worked straight out of the tin. Speed, quicker then windows 7 even with the same solid state harddrive. Aconis Back up software, 2010 version, worked with no problems.

Getting around Windows 8.1 is easy, fast. It all feels totally natural. The tile system works so well and is so adaptable. Spell check kicks in without you noticing on most things.

FINAL THOUGHTS

A lot of people find the change difficult. I did, but on reading several reviews that dared to suggest most of the problems were down to user's attitudes rather then a rubbish operating system, I opened my mind to give it a go, and so grateful to them for changing my mind on that. Shoot me for saying it but Windows 8.1 is the best OS I have used. It's sexy. It's fast. It's natural.

UPDATE 4 weeks in

Just cannot get used to how smooth and quick it is. It never falls over, and feels so natural to use. I really really wish I had got this months ago. I thought 7 was the best but now that's on my son's computer and even he is asking if he can have windows 8.1. If you are able to take change, and 8.1 is a big change, then it's is well worth it. I am a power user, but it really is quicker and easier to do things on here then in 7. I can't see why anyone would want to go back to the start menu when all your applications shows on the second title screen and you simply click on them, as opposed to scolling up, finding the app, opening that to reveal the options and then opening. Enough said, it's the best. Well done MS.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The homepage and tiles are a complete waste of time, 7 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
Windows 8.1 is very frustrating and is not user friendly. The latest update has completely wiped all my saved settings that took weeks to set up. The homepage and tiles are a complete waste of time, I go straight to the Desktop and ignore what should be an asset, but is actually overdeveloped and unusable.

I did write a lengthy list of issues, but feel that it has already been covered by other users.

All I can say is that the system is seriously flawed and needs to be sorted out.
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19 of 22 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Replacing vista - no go, 8 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) (CD-ROM)
Spent ages trying to get a 5 year old vista machine up to date with windows 8. It seemed worthwhile because this machine was spec'd better than most current machines.
Vista was a dog. Slow and getting slower.
W8 was supposed to be much faster.
Reasons why i will never buy windows again:
1. Used up days of my time with no result.
2. I found the windows 8 interface totally non intuitive and an utter pain to configure. Btw, im no novice, ive been designing computers and using computers since msdos 2.
3. Windows 8 refused to work with half the laptop hardware, citing driver issues. Even if the laptop manufacturer wont gaurantee compatibility with future os, new os's should work with standard hw of a recent vintage.
4. Brought a mac air. It cost alot more but was zero hassle, runs like a rocket and looks great.

A refund would be slight compensation for time wasted.
So don't do as i did and trust those other positive windows 8 reviews.
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Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version)
Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version) by Microsoft Software (Windows)
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