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Hands-On With Windows 8.1 Preview

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the solid-color-rectangles-redux dept.

Microsoft 505

adeelarshad82 writes "Microsoft launched the preview version of Windows 8.1 at the company's Build conference in San Francisco and early signs show that Microsoft heard the criticisms, and has responded with improvements. The new OS includes a number of changes starting with the return of the Start button and the ability to boot directly to the desktop. However, Microsoft hasn't given up on making the new-style tile and full-screen more usable for all users. If anything, the tile-based Start screen has gotten more flexible, with new smaller and larger tile options. Windows 8.1 also drastically improves built-in search, SkyDrive cloud syncing, mail and Microsoft Music." Microsoft also released a preview of Visual Studio 2013 and .NET 4.5.1, and there's a program that will give developers early access to the PC version of the Kinect sensor. Other tidbits: Windows 8.1 will use a standard driver model for 3-D printers, and it's getting better support for both high-res displays and using multiple displays with different resolutions.

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the return of the Start button (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116647)

That's the phrase everyone has wanted to hear, including myself. Microsoft may have backpedaled, but that was the right thing to do.

Re:the return of the Start button (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116691)

Windows 8.1, or Windows 180?

Re:the return of the Start button (4, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about a year ago | (#44116837)

It'll be a real improvement (a 180) if there's something as simple as a checkbox that says "Suppress Metro interface".

I still don't think MSFT gets it. No one wants to see Metro, ever.

Re:the return of the Start button (3, Informative)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about a year ago | (#44116871)

I was actually waiting on 8.1 to see if I would stick with Windows 8 on a laptop I bought. I was hoping for the start menu and an option to suppress metro totally.

Since it looks like MSFT isn't going to let you do those things, I'll be formatting and going back to Windows 7

Re:the return of the Start button (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117131)

Why don't you just install one of the many pieces Start Menu replacements?

If you install all the software that you would have installed on 7 (with a handful of exceptions), Metro / Metro Apps would never start.

(Replacing start menu, MAYBE a media player, and a desktop PDF reader will get you all the efficiency improvements in Win8 without any of the metro.)

Re:the return of the Start button (3, Informative)

prelelat (201821) | about a year ago | (#44117283)

Why not just give windows 8.1 a try. While it doesn't suppress the metro screen completely I see no reason why you would have to use it now if you didn't want to. You can boot directly to the desktop which is basically windows 7. Plus you get all the new feature that windows 8 offers. Also the new Metro screen looks quite nice actually, though the metro apps don't seem to get any love with this update so blah.

If I were you and still rocking windows 8 I would check out 8.1 it looks pretty nice. I've been using window 8 as well for awhile and I must say outside of the metro stuff it's very nice. But that's personal preference so all the power to you.

Re:the return of the Start button (3, Interesting)

rahvin112 (446269) | about a year ago | (#44117263)

I wouldn't mind metro if they'd let me put them in a fucking desktop window, then you could have separate interfaces (as god intended) and STILL leverage metro into phones/tablets.

Re:the return of the Start button (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116703)

Too bad it wasn't in Windows 8.0.
Their arrogance is not remedied by the return of the Start Button. (How about the Start Menu?)
This change does not erase that fact that M$ really does believe in its "heart of hearts" that they know what we need and what is best for us.

Re:the return of the Start button (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116973)

Too bad it wasn't in Windows 8.0

<pedanticdickweed>

How do you know? Are you from the future?

"Windows 8" is just a marketing name for Windows (NT) 6.2 [microsoft.com] . "Windows 8.1" is a marketing name for "Windows 8" SP1, which is likely to share the 6.2 version number. Since 4.0 came out in 1996, and 6.0 (Vista) came out in 2007, that means it can take 11 years to go two full version releases. A simple extrapolation would estimate Windows 8.0 to be released around 2018. A more thorough analysis would note that the length of time between the releases of 4.0 and 5.0 is less than that between the releases of 6.0 and 6.2, thus it will likely take much longer to reach 8.0.

</pedanticdickweed>

Re:the return of the Start button (5, Insightful)

Entropy98 (1340659) | about a year ago | (#44116721)

That's the phrase everyone has wanted to hear, including myself. Microsoft may have backpedaled, but that was the right thing to do.

What good is a start button without a start menu?

Re:the return of the Start button (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116787)

What good is a start button without a start menu?

Works great in my car.

So by analogy, it'll work great in a computer.

Re:the return of the Start button (5, Insightful)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#44116815)

I was going to say, the start button isn't what people wanted, they wanted the start menu. METRO sucks on the desktop, I don't want it and I don't want to see it. Tablet or phone sure it makes sense.

Now we're probably going to have to sit through hundreds of posts for "I've been using windows 8.1 for 10 years and it's just so awesome with the new start button, just what everyone wanted. MS is such a great company that listens to their customers."

Re:the return of the Start button (4, Interesting)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about a year ago | (#44116853)

MS is such a great company that listens to their customers... after their market share erodes, after they miserably fail in mobile and tablet spaces, and after they face the prospect of another Vista-like iteration of an OS that business customers will skip altogether.

Re:the return of the Start button (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117193)

Now we're probably going to have to sit through hundreds of posts for "I've been using windows 8.1 for 10 years and it's just so awesome with the new start button, just what everyone wanted. MS is such a great company that listens to their customers."

The fun part will be cross-referencing those people with the ones who claimed they had been using Windows 8 for 10 years and it's just so awesome that the start button was gone, and that MS will bravely stick to their guns rather than listen to a few disgruntled users.

Re:the return of the Start button (2)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#44117239)

You shouldn't have posted AC, that's a pretty insightful comment. I think it might actually be kind of fun to use that to hashout shills.

Re:the return of the Start button (4, Insightful)

andrewa (18630) | about a year ago | (#44117253)

I haven't really used the start menu in Windows 7 in a long time. My typical workflow is to hit the Windows key then type the first few letters of the application I want to start, and then hit enter. As long as Windows 8 allows that easily now with booting to desktop and a start button, then it works for me at least. Admittedly I haven't really played with Windows 8 much.

Re:the return of the Start button (5, Informative)

SoCalChris (573049) | about a year ago | (#44116789)

Except that they totally missed the point of what everyone wanted.

Yes, there is a start button there now. But all it does is bring up the start screen, the same as pressing the Windows key. The start menu, which is what most people really want back, is still missing from the OS.

Re:the return of the Start button (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#44116949)

Yes, there is a start button there now. But all it does is bring up the start screen, the same as pressing the Windows key. The start menu, which is what most people really want back, is still missing from the OS.

I disagree. Most people were just confused by the lack of a physical button to click on to do anything.

A MUCH smaller subset actually wanted the old start menu back. I know I don't. There are elements of the old start menu that I liked, but most of it was a bad idea. Start -> All Programs was a complete disaster -- lets put a hierarchy of everything installed on your computer in a small non-resizable popup menu. Sorry that was just awful. For anything you need the start MENU for, the start screen is a LOT better.

Pinned aps on the start menu? Use a toolbar if you want a popup menu for those on the taskbar.

The only real loss is the search box that many power users use as a quick launcher - the start screen works for this, and is better if you are actually doing any sort of real search. But a desktop widget would be more appropriate for the "quick launch task of things we already know about."

But this is a power user function / feature not something "most users" do. Personally I'm looking for good 3rd party options, that just address this small shortcoming, rather than try to recreate the disaster that the old start menu was.

Re:the return of the Start button (3, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#44117197)

lets put a hierarchy of everything installed on your computer in a small non-resizable popup menu.

That's funny. I kind of like that Start ->All Programs menu. There are a lot of programs that I don't use every day that I don't need anywhere near a first level.

I want them in that menu.

Re:the return of the Start button (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116983)

Personally I have no idea why people would want the old start menu back. On a large monitor it was a pain to use, while the new start screen has all of the same features and then some with a much larger and easier-to-use area for icons. If someone could accurately describe all of the legitimate downsides (not "it looks like a tablet, therefore it sucks"), I would appreciate that a lot because all I hear is "they changed it therefore it sucks"-type whining.

Re:the return of the Start button (3, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44117005)

I dont want METRO forced into the system. The way Apple handles their equivalent feature (Launchpad) on OSX is how it should work. Its there is you want it, never if you dont.

Re:the return of the Start button (3, Insightful)

Luthair (847766) | about a year ago | (#44117051)

Because we don't need an entire screen when searching for one application? I frequently will continue reading/looking at something while using the start menu to open a command prompt or similar.

Re:the return of the Start button (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117159)

You mean search like this?

http://zapt5.staticworld.net/images/article/2013/06/windows-8-file-explorer-search-100040091-large.jpg

Re:the return of the Start button (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116895)

I don't need a new way to get to the metro screen.
This new start button is just taking up space.

Re:the return of the Start button (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116917)

All it does is pull up the "start screen" The perfectly designed start menu from Win 7 is gone for good.

Microsoft: Fuck you

Re:the return of the Start button (5, Funny)

rot26 (240034) | about a year ago | (#44116975)

This is not the start button you were looking for.

Re:the return of the Start button (4, Informative)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about a year ago | (#44117303)

That's the phrase everyone has wanted to hear, including myself. Microsoft may have backpedaled, but that was the right thing to do.

This is so disingenuous that it qualifies as an outright lie.

Windows Sucks! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116663)

I bought a Windows Vista 5 years ago. The first one exploded to blew my hand off. The next one killed my dog. It wouldn't support my joystick from 1986. The wifi screwed up and sterilized my nuts.

Overall I was left with a really bad feeling about all Microsoft products, which obviously must all have similar defects. Anecdotes by unverifiable semi-anonymous internet posters prove that to be true.

Re:Windows Sucks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116737)

Shills gonna shill.

But still (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116665)

no start menu.

However (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116677)

It is still not enough to convince Windows XP/7 users to upgrade. If they hope that the improvements are going to cause the OS to become a sellout, or even compare to 7, they are fooling themselves.

Re:However (4, Interesting)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about a year ago | (#44116711)

No, I am going to test it out again. Spent nearly a year with the 8 preview, and dropped it. To many tasks took too many steps. Will try this again to see if it is ready for prime time.

Re:However (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116921)

this sounds like the corporate response when microsoft goes around to large companies ( there usually is always an enterprise version but its the general version with extra settings)

Re:However (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | about a year ago | (#44117073)

Out of curiosity, which tasks took too many steps as compared to Windows 7?

I found that once I installed StartIsBack, there was only one single task I did which took longer, and that was launching a control panel thing (it took one extra keystroke now than it did in Windows 7)

Re:However (3, Informative)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#44117275)

Ironically, launching Control Panel on Win8 is actually faster than on Win7 (by default). Right-click the Start button (yes it exists; it was just hidden by default) or hit Win+X, and select "Control Panel" from the menu that appears. Easy and straightforward.

My biggest gripe with Win8 is the Start search segregation. I don't want to need to use different keystrokes when searching for a "Setting" instead of an "App". Aside from the BS about which is which ("Disk Management" or "Create and format hard disk partitions" is under Settings, but if you type "diskmgmt.msc" it shows under Apps even though it's exactly the same thing), I just don't want to have to deal with switching result pools. This is fixed in 8.1, which is a big enough improvement to make me happy, personally.

Good Changes All Around (4, Insightful)

Secret Agent Man (915574) | about a year ago | (#44116687)

The biggest thing is the fact that you can search all sections (Apps, Settings, Files) with a single search bar now. No more having to type, mouse-move, click, and then find the option I want! Plus, you can disable the "also search Bing" nonsense, thankfully.

I already run using 0 Metro apps, and live mostly in the Desktop space (truth be told, due to my Windows Key + type letters + hit 'enter' style of start menu usage, the start screen doesn't bother me). I'm glad I'll be able to boot straight to desktop, which will further distance myself from the Metro experience.

Re:Good Changes All Around (5, Insightful)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about a year ago | (#44116729)

I have all that too it's called Windows 7.

Re:Good Changes All Around (1)

Secret Agent Man (915574) | about a year ago | (#44116859)

Agreed, taking steps backwards is never a good thing. I still really can't recommend anyone do an upgrade to Windows 8. However, when getting a new machine and planning to put a Windows OS on it? I'd say 8 (the performance and under-the-hood buffs are nothing to sneeze at, in my experience).

Re:Good Changes All Around (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117201)

taking steps backwards is never a good thing.

It is when you've things worse than they were before.

Re:Good Changes All Around (1)

The Raven (30575) | about a year ago | (#44117031)

True. But us Windows 8 users have some nice things, like the much improved copy file dialog and the improved task manager. I still prefer Windows 7 (I use Win8 because I do technical support, and I have to be able to support users with 8), but to dismiss everything new as bad is to be a luddite. Even Windows ME had some... um... maybe I won't go that far.

Re:Good Changes All Around (1)

EvanED (569694) | about a year ago | (#44116735)

The biggest thing is the fact that you can search all sections (Apps, Settings, Files) with a single search bar now. No more having to type, mouse-move, click, and then find the option I want!

For a while that was actually my biggest complaint about metro actually, and then I learned about Win-W, which will open the search interface set to settings (like if you pressed Win then clicked settings). Presumably there's one for files too but I never use that anyway so don't know what it is.

It's still kinda annoying and I'm glad to see that they're going back, but it's a lot better than having to mouse.

Re:Good Changes All Around (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#44117287)

Win+F for files (that one's actually legacy, going back at least as far as Vista).

Just because it was possible doesn't mean it wasn't a total hassle. You could actually move between search result pools by keyboard, but it was a total pain. Now I won't have to do it again... thank goodness.

Re:Good Changes All Around (4, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#44116799)

Plus, you can disable the "also search Bing" nonsense, thankfully.

Good, I was concerned this would be a gaping privacy hole. On the original Windows 8.1 post on the Windows Blog, I asked the Microsoft rep several times whether this would be optional and he said he didn't know yet and that an answer would be forthcoming. (Not usually an encouraging sign.) Having *local* searches automatically send a http request to Bing (and, presumably, the NSA) isn't something that I think most Windows users want.

Re:Good Changes All Around (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116867)

Having *local* searches automatically send a http request to Bing (and, presumably, the NSA) isn't something that I think most Windows users want.

Interestingly, apparently Canonical thinks it's something that most Ubuntu users want.

Re:Good Changes All Around (4, Informative)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#44116911)

Interestingly, apparently Canonical thinks it's something that most Ubuntu users want.

And most of us on Slashdot thought it was a bad idea there, as well.

Re:Good Changes All Around (1)

game kid (805301) | about a year ago | (#44117079)

Fortunately, there are even more choices [distrowatch.com] .

No Aero then? (3, Insightful)

Twinbee (767046) | about a year ago | (#44116693)

I was hoping for Aero, or at least the option of Aero. I dislike the 'flatland' look for clarity reasons (distinguishing elements from one another).

Re:No Aero then? (3, Insightful)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44117087)

It's odd that they removed Aero as it worked fine and looked good for the most part. Just the right amount of eye candy and good performance. I guess they had to create something to match the ugly look of Start screen and Modern UI. :P

Re:No Aero then? (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year ago | (#44117249)

I was hoping for Aero, or at least the option of Aero. I dislike the 'flatland' look for clarity reasons (distinguishing elements from one another).

I'm going to have to disagree with your reason there. The flatland brings a lot more distinguishing one element from another than what Aero did with skinnier, translucent/blurry boarders.

Don't be fooled (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116701)

This release is actually just a re-branding of Windows 98 SE. If you previously purchased Windows 98 SE I strongly suggest you use that.

Grid layouts (4, Insightful)

Reapy (688651) | about a year ago | (#44116705)

I really hate them. It is some modern UI koolaid everyone has been drinking apparently. The multsized grids are really hard for me to locate information. The only thing they seem to be good at is forcing me to scan over advertisements before I find what I want to get to, which might be the point, and the reason I hate them.

Microsoft considers desktop applications obsolete (3, Informative)

Myria (562655) | about a year ago | (#44117111)

It's pretty clear that Microsoft considers desktop applications - and the accompanying Win32 API - to be obsolete. Windows 8 effectively is telling developers "my way or the highway", but seriously, people generally dislike Metro applications. Could you imagine PhotoShop having to be a Metro application?

Microsoft Windows 8 and 8.1 should have been renamed Microsoft Window.

The Start screen, even in 8.1, is effectively keyboard-based for me. I run programs in 8 by hitting control-escape to bring up the Start screen, then start typing the name of the program I want. To search through the icons is just about impossible.

Speaking as someone... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116707)

...who views Microsoft as a corporation with disgust due to all the immoral, illegal and downright reprehensible acts they have committed over the years to maintain their monopoly position, I'd just like to thank them for Windows 8.x, which will probably do more to damage them than the toothless DoJ ever could.

Re:Speaking as someone... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44117103)

I still cringe a bit how they made a really good product with Windows 7 and immediately after that started to go downhill with the next Windows.

Why would anyone want Windows 8.1? (2, Insightful)

kawabago (551139) | about a year ago | (#44116715)

Why do people 'want' to be abused by a monopoly that does everything to make your computer cost you more? Where is the value proposition for windows 8.1? There is so much software available for so many different platforms, that Microsoft having 'the' platform no longer matters. Developers no longer need Microsoft. Better open source tools are available. Anyone buying into Windows 8.1 is buying into a niche product. Why would anyone do that?

Re:Why would anyone want Windows 8.1? (5, Insightful)

atlasdropperofworlds (888683) | about a year ago | (#44116765)

They want it because they can use things like office or the creative suite. They want it because it allows for far cheaper systems than their one main competitor (the other greedy, immoral company), they want it because games are written for it and it runs without issue on their gaming rigs.

Re:Why would anyone want Windows 8.1? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44117171)

Microsoft Office is certainly the biggest thing. I mean, you can game on consoles now and various games are coming to Linux through Steam. But Office is required very often at the workplace and the education world and, products like LibreOffice do still not offer good enough real-world compatibility. Even the official Mac version of Office is not as punchy as the real McCoy. You can do many of the traditional tasks even on cheap Android tablets these days, but Office is the last big island which still keeps people quite nicely glued to Windows.

Re:Why would anyone want Windows 8.1? (0)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#44116767)

Windows works.

Windows is cheap.

Windows has the largest collection of software available for it.

Re:Why would anyone want Windows 8.1? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116857)

You had a few typo's in your post. Here are the corrections:

Windows hardly works.

Windows isn't cheap.

Windows used to have the largest collection of software available for it.

Re:Why would anyone want Windows 8.1? (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#44116905)

Outside of N. America, most people pirate Windows so yes, it's cheap. (just go to anywhere in Asia or Africa and try to find a computer running a legit copy of Windows)

Re:Why would anyone want Windows 8.1? (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#44116959)

It's also cheap to use. No need for an expensive Unix person to maintain.

Re:Why would anyone want Windows 8.1? (1)

DrGamez (1134281) | about a year ago | (#44117203)

Did you know that if you steal most things, they are free?

Re:Why would anyone want Windows 8.1? (2)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#44116985)

Windows still has the largest collection of software. Oh, you mean "apps" (whatever that means)? Man, naming one feature as a "app" does not count as a program, you know it, right?

Re:Why would anyone want Windows 8.1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116845)

Why do people 'want' to be abused by a monopoly that does everything to make your computer cost you more?

And why are you stuck in 1999?

HELLO - APPLE - [insert condescending remark here.} I'm trying to be a better person. OK. I won't abuse you.

Re:Why would anyone want Windows 8.1? (3, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | about a year ago | (#44116889)

As someone who uses Windows at home, there are two main reasons:

1.) Games
2.) I use Linux at work, and it's nice to have my OS piss me off in different ways depending on where I am

Games are Cross platform (0)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44116925)

As someone who uses Windows at home, there are two main reasons:

1.) Games
2.) I use Linux at work, and it's nice to have my OS piss me off in different ways depending on where I am

Increasingly the games I buy are cross platform and DRM free. Tying myself down to one platform is something I won't do.

Re:Games are Cross platform (3, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | about a year ago | (#44116971)

"Increasingly", true, and I do try to support cross-platform games and will do so even more in the future, even if I primarily or only play on Windows. But it's still a looong way off from being the norm unless you're willing to restrict your game choices a lot.

Wine would open up a lot of options, but I don't really feel like messing around with it when I can just run Windows and be done with things, especially considering that some of the games I play aren't even rated all that highly on the appdb.

Re:Games are Cross platform (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44117143)

I have a gaming rig with swappable SSD bay(i like the 'cartridge' feel of it). I have both Ubuntu Steam Linux and win 7 OS on different SSDs.

The Ubuntu setup is perfect, it installed with no problem from USB, and all hardware works down to on-board bluetooth (Asus P8Z77-I + 570 GTX). I maintain the Linux setup for gaming because i really want it to succeed, but i almost always PLAY on my Win 7 install.

TF2 plays flawlessly, but the mouse is a bit off, which i figure is natural in cross-platform translation, considering how attuned i am to TF2 on Win7.

Re:Why would anyone want Windows 8.1? (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#44117133)

Better open source tools are available.

No, they aren't. Really. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid. I *wish* that what you were saying is true, but it isn't.

As long as the FOSS movement keeps lying to itself by pretending that GIMP is as good as Photoshop and LibreOffice is as good as MS Office, we won't get applications that really are competitive. And as long as the Linux desktop movement is dominated by CLI-loving misanthropes and X11 "network transparency" obsessives, Linux on the desktop will continue to be a joke.

GIMP is not even close to being competitive with Photoshop and it probably never will be. A decent Photoshop competitor would have to be written from scratch; there's nothing in GIMP worth saving. LibreOffice isn't as good as MS Office, if only because it can't run the collections of hacked-together VBA scripts that 90% of the workplaces in America depend upon. And no Linux desktop has font rendering worth a damn.

Can you upgrade from preview to final later? (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about a year ago | (#44116749)

or do you have to wipe the machine clean to install the actual Windows 8.1?

Re:Can you upgrade from preview to final later? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116819)

I heard that you'll need a reinstall when RTM launches. Same went for windows 8 (And windows 7 as well, I think)

So how does it work? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44116793)

Can anybody find anything useful on how exactly this 'driver model' works? Microsoft's page [microsoft.com] could hardly be less informative.

What's the intermediate format that software interacts with to define the print job before sending it off? What interface does the device-specific driver interact with, etc, etc?

Obviously, not having 3d printers be handled entirely by a specific application is a noble goal; but there are, even after years and years of polishing and development, some truly horrible things living in the 2d printing process. What can we expect from the details of the 3d-print path?

It's still a pig! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116809)

Nothing fundemental changes no matter how much lipstick you use. It's still a pig!

Standard Driver for 3D printers (4, Interesting)

Guano_Jim (157555) | about a year ago | (#44116825)

That's pretty cool. One of the things that needs to happen for 3D printing to become commonplace is to take it out of the realm of specialized software and just make it a mundane action one does with a computer.

Click, print. Heads up Apple, Microsoft is preparing to drink your milkshake on this one.

Re:Standard Driver for 3D printers (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about a year ago | (#44117129)

Have you seen this? [arstechnica.com]

Just what we need! Microsoft wedges themselves into the 3D printing chain and then they can start to block certain things from being printed.

Still no Start Menu - Pass! (5, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | about a year ago | (#44116843)

Sorry, but until I'm able to completely deactivate the context-destroying, time and scren real-estate wasting Start Screen altogether, Windows 8 (sans 3rd party Start Menu add-ons), is nothing more than a toy.

Yes, I understand that menus are an creeping problem when adding functionality.
Yes, I understand that they're limited when implementing touch interfaces.

I DON'T GIVE A SHIT!

I don't use touch interfaces on anything larger than my phone, and even then, my current phone has a fallback to a physical keyboard. I have no use for them on a desktop or even a laptop. NONE.
I'm concerned about productivity FULL STOP. A menu system enables me to do more, faster. Especially with keyboard shortcuts (many of which were completely annihilated when they removed menus altogether in 8).
Managing systems remotely with the Win8/Server2012 interface is a complete pain in the balls, as the "hot corner" functionality for pulling up the various charms bars and other crap have a strong tendency to just not work, or work extremely sporadically in remote management situations. Yes yes. I could learn all the goofy new keyboard shortcuts. A menu system would still be more straightforward and functional.

Microsoft is acting like a kid who's been told to clean his room.
They've basically put it off as long as they can.
Now they're just going to kick some stuff under the bed and other general half-assery and hope it's sufficient.

It isn't. Period.

Just do Windows9 ffs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116887)

Metro will *never* work. No one wants it. Give it up. Delete it.

Take Win7, and remove some junk and call it Windows9. Everyone wins.

Good, bad, and ugly (5, Interesting)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#44116901)

The good:

  • The Start button is available again.
  • Hot corners can be turned off.
  • You can now boot straight to the desktop.
  • The context menu for the Start button now has shutdown options.
  • High-DPI support is supposed to be better now (though third-party developers will still figure out ways to break this).

The bad:

  • The real start menu still isn't back, and the Metro start screen is nowhere near as good – it's more obtrusive and less functional.
  • The window titlebar text is still centered, with no supported way to put it back to left-justified. For those of us who have been using Windows for years, this is a very annoying change since it breaks the muscle memory of our eyes. When I've tried Windows 8, I always find myself looking at the wrong place to see a window title.
  • There's still no supported way to get back the Aero theme. I understand why people with tablets or low-powered laptops might want an interface that doesn't stress the GPU as much, but why should desktop users have to suffer through something that looks like it's straight out of 1995? The Windows 8 theme is the UI equivalent of brutalism – those ugly bare concrete buildings that architects were putting up in the 1970s.

The ugly:

  • Metro. Or, as I call it, the Knots Landing user interface [youtube.com] . Seriously, you shouldn't be looking to the theme songs of 1980s soap operas as your inspiration for UI design...

Still don't want... (4, Interesting)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#44116923)

Well, in my usual attempt to stay current despite my greying neckbeard, I was prepared to tryout this regardless of the hatestorm regarding the new UI. Hell, maybe I could work around that in exchange for the alleged increased performance?

Downloaded the "upgrade assistant" which helpfully informed me that my nicely-tuned Windows 7 PCs (both 32 and 64 bit) would require shitloads of work, (some hardware 'might not work' and several screenfuls of software would 'not function' or 'require an upgrade').

Oh yes, and all of this for the modest sum of Euros 250-plus...
Per PC.

So, no thanks...

(I keeping trying to "like" the latest versions of Linux too - Mint is OK- but am sticking with BSD for my severs...maybe I'm not hip enough, or maybe I've finally realised there's more to life than fucking around with stuff when what you have works fine.)

Re:Still don't want... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117029)

Downloaded the "upgrade assistant" which helpfully informed me that my nicely-tuned Windows 7 PCs (both 32 and 64 bit) would require shitloads of work, (some hardware 'might not work' and several screenfuls of software would 'not function' or 'require an upgrade').

Oh yes, and all of this for the modest sum of Euros 250-plus...
Per PC.

You're better off with a cheap laptop to try it out. I just picked up an i3 laptop for $420, with a $100 store credit; it has Win 8. With no touchscreen, the start screen is certainly annoying, but once you're in a browser or mail it's fine & it's pretty snappy.

I would not run it on a desktop machine at this point, nor with the 8.1 changes either; what I want to do on a laptop I can deal with the issues, but if I need to actually work it would piss me off too much.

Luckily Windows 7 EOL isn't until 2015.

Re:Still don't want... (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#44117145)

Luckily Windows 7 EOL isn't until 2015.

Windows 7 extended support (i.e. security patches) continues until Jan. 14, 2020. (source [microsoft.com] )

Start8 - saved my parents... (1)

jzarling (600712) | about a year ago | (#44116929)

My parents bought a Win8 AIO monstrosity, it was nightly support calls.
I bought them a copy of Start8 and showed them how to get to the desktop - now all is better.

Re:Start8 - saved my parents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116991)

Why would anyone pay for start8 when classic shell is free?

Re:Start8 - saved my parents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117241)

Nightly support calls about what?

Worst case, just tape the word "Start" over your keyboard's windows key, and you've got exact same functionality as Win 7 lol

Start button? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44116933)

Does anyone here actually use the start button/start menu still? The new start menu is much better. In my months of using it I have never once thought 'Windows 7 is WAY better.'
Also the 'start button' was never missing. It was just invisible. Can some one explain the difference between 'putting your mouse in the bottom left corner and clicking' and 'putting the mouse in the bottom left corner and clicking?'

Re:Start button? (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44117117)

To be fair, the start menu was never that great. It was just better than what came before and went through a couple of improvements (and several worsenings) over its lifetime.

What it was though was better than not having it there at all.

And no, this making the less useful "start button" visual is not much of an improvement (though it will be for some).

who needs Windows 8.1? (3, Informative)

amoeba1911 (978485) | about a year ago | (#44116939)

You don't need Windows 8.1 to fix the problems in Windows 8.
What you need is three programs:

I had to get Windows 8 for work and there wasn't much choice. I struggled with it until I found those. I don't need Windows 8.1, Microsoft can go to hell.

Re:who needs Windows 8.1? (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#44117047)

I've heard lots of good things about Start8. As for WindowBlinds, support for Windows 8 was only added quite recently. What I'd like to know is if it lets you left-justify the window title (as was the case by default in all other versions of Windows going back to Win95). I can live without Aero if I have to, but the centered window titles completely mess me up.

Re:who needs Windows 8.1? (1)

Pausanias (681077) | about a year ago | (#44117285)

Is there a tweak that brings back Aero?

Click (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44116963)

It occurs to me the Quicklaunch Bar is kind of like a tiny tile area -- I have about 2 dozen programs and reference documents there, move mouse down to hidden task bar, it pops up, boom.

The problem with tiles is the combination of tiny screens and relatively giant icons aka tiles to press with not a mouse but giant fumble fingers adds a multiplicative effect to ugliness. You are boosting clickee size while shrinking room for arrays of clickies.

Mail and music? (2)

Deep Esophagus (686515) | about a year ago | (#44116987)

Seriously? Why on earth would anybody consider those an intrinsic part of the operating system? If I want to access mail from my computer, I either pull up an application that handles mail (for POP3) or a web browser. If I want to play or edit or do whatever with music, I install an application designed to do those things.

How about if my operating system just sticks to the job of system operations?

Update description tampered? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44116993)

Have a look at the Windows 8.1 Preview thread at Reddit [reddit.com] and over there NormalDefault's comment with the image link "Is THIS normal?" It seems that at some point the description of the update in Windows Store has been modified to look like leetspeak by somebody. Was this a prank by somebody inside the company or was the server cracked, I don't know.

I'll wait for 8.11 (5, Funny)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year ago | (#44117061)

I need my workgroups.

Spoilers (1)

DrGamez (1134281) | about a year ago | (#44117095)

It really hasn't changed.

It truly is just a ".1" update. This update is made to get people to sign up with a Microsoft account (it's a pain to set up Windows 8 without one starting with 8.1) to get it via the store.

Search (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#44117153)

Windows 8.1 also drastically improves built-in search,

Does this mean that they are going to be adding even nire indexing programs to Linux? It seems like every hour on my laptop another indexing program starts up, locking the machine up until it finishes.. Whenever I disable or remove one, the updates will quickly replace it, and add two more. Why do we need so blasted many indexing programs? And why do they need to runh so frequently?

Lipstick on a Pig (3, Interesting)

Luthair (847766) | about a year ago | (#44117173)

Unfortunately these are largely cosmetic changes and won't fix what many users (particularly those of us found on slashdot) actually have an issue with. There are a few concessions to regular users who need visual hints like a start button, however for the power user virtually everything wrong with Windows 8 is wrong with Windows 8.1. An OS designed for touch devices shoehorned onto everything in a vain attempt to make users familiar with it so they'll choose Microsoft for the phone and tablet purchases.

Not to mention they're introducing a search behaviour which sends terms out to the Internet, just like Canonical has done with Ubuntu. I'm surprised about the lack of outcry about the privacy implications.

Now that I've angered the Windows-8 fanbase I'll irritate everyone else - unfortunately in my estimation the only desktop alternative is KDE while still clunky it is superior to OSX (design predicated on a stupid user), Unity (OSX clone), Gnome (also predicated on a dumb user) while the remainder are missing modern features.

Requirements (0)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#44117227)

Is the next version of Windows going to require network access in order to start up, like the newest Xbox is supposed to? Seems like a Microsofty idea.

Re:Requirements (2, Informative)

DrGamez (1134281) | about a year ago | (#44117281)

If you have a network connection, you MUST connect your log-in with a Microsoft account. There is no option to avoid doing this short of unplugging your landline or refusing to connect to a wifi point during setup.

I can imagine the "net required" aspect is coming in Windows Red.

Icon jungle (3, Interesting)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44117277)

I hate this trend with Windows 8 and Unity where instead of having your apps and files nicely organized in their respective folders, you have this chaotic jumble of icons which you have to be searching through all the time.

Windows 8 taught me one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44117295)

I don't need Windows. Thanks Microsoft!

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