Friday, January 31, 2014


Please stop listening to all the Windows 8 haters. There are many of us who are perfectly happy with your new operating system and want you to stop backpedaling on things to the point when it's no longer the OS we've come to know and love. Sure, some minor tweaks here and there seem like good ideas, nothing is worse in the technology world than stagnation. But some of the rumored changes coming in Windows 8.1 Update 1 sound like you are giving too much to the very vocal detractors of all things Microsoft. Well, it's time for those of us who actually like your products to be heard. And I will do so by running through some of the changes and telling you what I think about them.

The first, and arguably the most significant change that may be coming is one that seems so small, but in fact would have major ramifications for the future of Windows. In the move from Windows 8 to 8.1, an option was provided to allow users to bypass the Start screen at boot and instead go right to the Desktop. In Update 1, this option will allegedly be selected by default [Source: The Verge]. This means that the Modern interface that Microsoft was originally touting as the future of the Windows OS, will instead be relegated to the sidelines. I think this is a huge mistake. Sure, the difference can initially be quite jarring to someone coming over from a previous version, but once they get used to it, most people seem to actually prefer it. Microsoft's reasoning for this switch is that most people are still using their OS with a mouse and keyboard rather than on a touchscreen, which I don't doubt to be true. That being said, I am one of those users and I am perfectly happy with it. The only use case in which I find it to be less than ideal is with a trackpad, but even those, when multi-touch enabled, are more than workable.

Another change would be to have the taskbar on the screen while Windows 8 apps are running [Source: WinBeta]. I can't say I like the idea, as I feel it ruins the big, beautiful, clean look of said apps, but I suppose I could ultimately adjust to this one. I still would rather it not be the case. Having the apps completely fill the screen without being cluttered with buttons and extra information was one of the big selling points for me.

The last change that I am going to touch on is the one that I also feel will be the ugliest, and perhaps the most jarring against the Modern UI; changing what happens when you right-click on an app in the Start screen. Currently, that action causes a menu of choices that can be taken to appear along the bottom of the screen (and allows you to right-click multiple apps to enact any choices in bulk). The rumored change would be to bring up an old-school context menu, which doesn't seem to add any real functionality, but does look completely out of place [Source: PCWorld]. See for yourself:

I am not sure how that is preferable to this:

So please Microsoft, I beg of you, stick to your guns on this one. Windows 8 really is an improvement. The detractors are wrong. Many of them are probably Apple die-hards who haven't even touched a Windows machine in years. Or ever. And others are simply just afraid of change. I know it can be hard to ignore the criticisms when they seem to be all over the internet, but remember, it's always the whiners and naysayers who make the biggest fuss. Far too often, those that actually like the product stay silent (perhaps because they are too busy using it to be bothered with posting all over the internet), but I am here to change that and let you know that I am using your product on a desktop, with a mouse and keyboard (actually 2 desktops) and I love Windows 8. While I liked Windows 7, I don't want to go back to it, so don't turn Windows 8 back into that.