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BryanC (RIP)

Installing Windows 8.1 Preview - 4: Summary

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If you have followed along through the first three parts regarding the installation of Windows 8.1 Preview and worked through all the steps I have outlined, you now have a working copy of Windows 8.1 installed and set up for working in a desktop environment.
The steps I have documented are exactly the same steps I followed when doing my install.

In this entry I will discuss Windows 8.1 as I see it. There will be no attempt to cover every aspect of the new OS; in fact, the new Metro/Modern interface will only get mentioned in passing, if then.

Since installing Windows 8.1 Preview I have experienced no problems whatsoever and have only rarely found a need to return to Windows 8. The biggest issue, for me, is keeping track of the files I have been using!

Yes the files listed under the various drive letters in File Explorer are readily available to users of all partitions. Problem is that others are not so easily available. I am speaking of the desktop files and folders. This covers everything shown under Favorites and Desktop. Only the stuff listed under This PC is accessible to all users. An external hard drive can also help in keeping track of things.

As has been said before, Windows 8 is fast! In fact, 8 is probably a little faster than 8.1! The speed is in the startup and the loading of executables.

All of the work I do on my PC is in the desktop environment. There are no Windows Store apps that even come close to satisfying my needs. Those that do make an attempt run on the desktop anyway! I have read that MS Office will make an appearance in the Store before too long. That will be a good start but what about image processing programs and all the other specialized applications? How will the clipboard be handled?

If the ultimate goal of Microsoft is to kill off the desktop it will be a long time before it happens; if ever! In the mean time they really need to recognize that most users are going to use the desktop and this wonít change for quite a while. I believe that 8.1 was a start in this direction and is probably what 8 should have been from the start!

So far as Internet Explorer goes, version 11 comes with 8.1 but I have not checked it out at all. Itís only usage was to download Chrome! As with Win 8 there are, apparently, two versions of IE 11. The main one used in the desktop and a somewhat stripped down one for use in the Metro environment. However, if you select another browser as your default browser, the Metro version of IE 11 is no longer made available to you! Since I use Chrome for all my browsing efforts I canít say too much about IE 11!

You may already know that I installed the third party package Classic Shell on my Windows 8 system to get the Start Menu back. Naturally, I wondered how this might work with 8.1 given the return of the Start Button. As things have turned out, I havenít even bothered with it! The new Start Button with its left-click going to the All Apps screen and its right-click producing the ďwanna-beĒ Start Menu I have found that I have all that I need!

For those who may still desire the comfort of a Windows 7 style Start Menu I highly recommend the Classic Shell package. The company has also announced an update to make it fully compatible with Windows 8.1.

In the meantime, donít turn your nose up at Windows 8. With a few tweaks you can set it up to function just the way you want it to! It is probably the best version of Windows yet Ė embrace it!
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