Windows 8.1 Review

Software Development and IT Support in Tameside

Windows 8.1 Review

I’ve been playing with the Windows 8.1 Preview (i.e. Pre-release software), and I’ve got to say I’m still massively disappointed. Agreed, we now have a start button, but all it does is get you back to the metro screen if you left-click it, and if you right click it, you get various options for configuration – a help I agree – but no list of installed programs.

Boot into desktop is an interesting – and quite deeply hidden – option, and works as expected, however booting to a desktop which contains nothing is no real improvement for your standard user – and I’m thinking about the 90%+ of my customers who are used to Windows XP and Windows 7, and are looking for the next version of Windows to offer a reason to upgrade.

A blank look

So, what should I install on this Windows 8.1 Preview – I’ll install Office 2013 Professional Plus (from my Microsoft Action Pack).  I’m sure 100% of my customers will want this installing and all of them will expect to find it on their start menus, or via an icon on the desktop.

The installation went very smoothly, and using the custom installation, I chose what I wanted installing, and where I wanted it installing (i.e. which folder). What do you think happened next? NOTHING!!!

Hide and Seek

Imagine I’m an end user, and I’ve just spent £300+ on a shiny new Office 2013 disk, installed it on my new Windows 8.1 Pro laptop, look at the desktop and find nothing relating to Office.  Silly me, I forgot, Programs install themselves as tiles on the new Start Screen (Metro interface).  A quick click of the start button, and I’m whizzed to the Start Screen with all those lovely til… hang on, no office icons here either???


This is not the end-user experience that *I* think people are looking for.  A game of hide and seek to try and find my software.  I didn’t do anything unusual, didn’t deliberately choose any obscure settings whilst installing Office 2013, yet sure enough, there is no *obvious* trace of Office 2013 having been installed on the system.

As an IT Professional with over 25 years experience of IT systems, I know – because I’ve researched –  that I simply start typing on the Start Screen and a list of matching programs will be displayed- or I can click the downward pointing arrow, and then scroll to the right to find the icons for the various programs –  at which point I can Pin to the Start Screen, or Pin to the Taskbar therefore making my Office 2013 programs easily accessible.  Hang on – I thought the new Windows 8.1 interface was supposed to make thing easier!

Has anyone thought of the guesswork that now has to go on?  Suppose I’ve just installed Sage Taxation Suite Client – What the heck do I type to get that to show up?  Is it sage?  Is it Taxation?

Sorry guys, but for normal business users, and home users who want an easy-to-use familiar environment, I will continue to source and supply PCs and Laptops with Windows 7 Pro installed as the operating system.

What a mess!