Experimenting with Windows 8.1 RTM

Windows 8.1

Now that Windows 8.1 is in its final form and available on MSDN, I thought I would finally test the water and install it on my laptop. Even though I never installed the preview build, the installation never gave me the option to keep files, apps and settings. This is why I am hesitant putting it on my main desktop computer; it’s got a lot of important data that I don’t want to lose, and some programs and mods that would take a long time getting back to normal.

Anyway, my laptop has none of that so the decision was a lot easier. I have to say, I love Windows 8.1 so far. The new colours and tile sizes, the improved apps, the start button - all great. One annoyance is the Charms bar being off centred when using the corner navigation with the mouse. It’s supposed to make navigation quicker as there is less distance to travel with the cursor. This might be good with a laptop touch pad, but with a regular mouse this is annoying.  To open the Charms bar you go to a corner and move the cursor to the middle. By the time the Charms animation has finished my mouse is in the middle of the bar, ready to click on a feature. Now I have to backtrack. It’s also aesthetically less appealing and looks like a visual bug in the OS.

Another problem I have is the new search function. It doesn’t seem as fast as it used to as it has to load results from the internet. I used to use it loads to find an app quick. For example, to get the calculator I would just type ‘cal’ quick into the Start menu and press enter. Now it tries to autocomplete my search term. For example, I want to get to the power settings. I type ‘power’ and it auto-completed to ‘powershell’. I’ll just have to get used to it.

One of the things I really like in 8.1 is that desktop apps pinned to the Start menu are coloured depending on their icon. It works similarly to the task bar hover colour in Windows 7. It makes the Start menu much more colourful and colour coded apps are easier to pick out.

I’m really tempted to install 8.1 on my desktop now. We’ll see what happens. I’m going to install Visual Studio 2013, check out the new XAML controls and perhaps update my apps to 8.1 in time for public release on October 17th.