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Customer Review

on 14 April 2014
This is going to be difficult; very big subject for us geeks. First thing I'll do, is guide you to two articles I've published on my small Facebook page, that I believe will aid in helping you make a decision:

[...]
If the link doesn't work, use "http", instead.

I plan on making a part 2, for both, but I'm generally just getting more familiar with the OS, learning more about it, before I make too many decisions on what I think about it.

Speed! It's what a lot of us love and strive for - we spend a lot of money on fancy bits 'n bobs to boost our computers' performance, and Windows 8.1, in the opinion of many, certainly delivers. Games, desktop programs, browsing, and general usage really is improved.

It's worth noting, however, that the new shiny performance comes with at least one cost, one of which I often see missed out: Aero Glass is gone. What is Aero Glass, you ask? Well, it's that really sleek, sexy style you know and love in Windows 7 and Vista; it keeps your windows and taskbar looking slightly transparent, with a nice, glassy effect; it also included nice, subtle effects, such as when you roll the mouse over the minimize, maximize, and close buttons, they would shine. Apparently Aero Glass "dated" and "cheesy", to quote Microsoft, but I beg to differ! I miss it, considerably, and have tried to get it back, to no avail. I can only hope Microsoft brings it back; things like this should always be an option, in my opinion - a good OS, is one of which a user can customize to his or her own tastes and requirements.

I use Linux Mint 16 KDE x64, alongside Windows, by using the Windows 8.1 bootloader, and getting it to point to my Linux boot partition; this works in Windows 7, and also, evidently, Windows 8.1, to which my brother can also attest. One reviewer has claimed Windows 8.1 is not Linux-friendly, or something along those lines, but I respectively, happily, and entirely disagree. Use the free and legitimate tool called FreeBSD,

[...]

You can download it through the above link, but note that it IS free, you just have to register (it's worth it, and I've yet to see or hear about any attached strings) in order to acquire a download link; I assume this is Nero's way of keeping track of the number of installations/uses. You might even find EasyBCD is worth having, generally, especially to get around the issue of Windows 8.1 not booting to safe mode with the keyboard shortcut; for some/all, it's "broken" in Windows 8.1, I'm afraid - big, clumsy diagnostic issue, in my opinion!

I loathe the store, and I loathe Microsoft's insistence on using a "Microsoft Account". I don't trust Microsoft, at least not that much, and I disagree with such changes made to the OS, however, ... these can be mostly ignored, by simply not using the MetroUI (or "Start") and ignoring the Store. After all, I expect most of you want this for you computer, not a mobile device. When you install Windows 8.1, you do NOT have to use an MS account; some people don't know this, so I thought I'd mention it.

Many, many people hate the MetroUI, and lack of a proper start-menu, that with which most of us are so familiar. You can download the free application called "ClassicShell"; there are no strings attached, no ads, no viruses, etc. Be sure to download the official, newest version. I've used it for a while, and had no problems, as with my brother.

Windows 8.1 currently has a widespread problem of USB devices disconnecting on certain hubs; unfortunately, I just happen to be a person with such a hub. I "solved" the problem, by changing the effected devices onto my USB3 hub. Oddly, many people have claimed issues with USB3 on Windows 8.1, as well. All I can suggest, is to check your USB hubs work on Windows 8.1, and, if possible, get a hold of a trial version, in order to test that. It was a while before I noticed the issues, however, presumably because of the devices I used. There are some fixes that sometimes work, such as disabling power-saving features, but, as with me, it doesn't always work. Hopefully, Microsoft will fix this.

The latest Skype, in my opinion, works wonders with WIndows 8.1, when it DOES actually work. My main gripe with the older Skype, is that there were annoying and ugly ads, and I felt the GUI needed a makeover, but the latest Skype seems to have made a few of my wishes come true!

I don't personally care for Internet Explorer, so I can't speak for its functionality on Windows 8 - I use Firefox, as it has brilliant security and some addons that I use a lot.

I've not tested several games on Windows 8.1, yet, but I have tried a few. I can comfortably say that loading times have improved on just about everything, but there is some graphical performance improvements, as well, as far as my keen (obsessive) eyes can see. It might be worth looking up some YouTube videos on this matter; perhaps look up some benchmarks between Windows 7 and 8/8.1, in order to get an idea of the performance increase. Unfortunately, Windows 8.1, didn't help the awkward stuttering issue on Metro 2033! - wishful thinking.

I'm not sure what else to share, but I'll keep you updated, should I come up with something new. Do note, by the way, that they are bringing the Start Menu back, at least, something like it.
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