Improved Windows still torn between tablet future and PC past
19 March 2013
Summary: If you're a dedicated Windows 8 hater, the update to Windows 8.1 isn't going to change your mind. For everyone else, this collection of tweaks, fixes, and new features is useful, but everything here should have shipped in the original version last year.
Cons: The split between the touch-friendly tiles and throwback desktop mode is still awkward, and the OS is hard to use without a touch screen. While welcome, the new Start button doesn't behave like the classic version, and the Windows app store still lacks serious software, especially for gamers.
Summary: We can remember when we first started using Windows 7; the start-up sequence wasn't that different from Vista, which in turn wasn't unlike versions of Windows that came before that. The chain of start-up screens could be long, sometimes taking more than a minute to complete. Depending on how slow the system was, it could have taken a while longer for the desktop to fully load. Here, booting Windows feels like turning on an Android tablet, or some other mobile device.
Pros: Works well on tablets, traditional PCs, Deep integration with SkyDrive, Xbox, Free music streaming, Improved multi-monitor support
Cons: Steep learning curve, Frustrating to use with a mouse, Limited selection in Windows Store
Excerpt: Microsoft's Windows 8 is a bold innovation, melding the worlds of tablets and PCs. Its excellent touch input, an app store, and better performance are compelling, but the changes will be too drastic for some and as a completely new product, a few rough edges remain.