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OPINION: Windows 8.1 – Adding Insult to Injury

Windows 8.1 is a whole new beast and part of a new Microsoft strategy to fast track new operating systems to the public every year instead of every three years.


The failure of Windows 8 is old news now. Each day since the operating systems 2012 launch consumers have been told of the groundbreaking technology and forward thinking aspects of Windows 8 while at the same time the operating systems has underperformed at a level surpassing even Windows Vista and the personal computer market recently posted its 5th straight decline.

The death shroud of the personal computing market is now painted with the logo of Windows 8. But wait! Microsoft has seen the error of its ways and is rushing to market a new updated version called Windows 8.1 and all will be well in PC computing land.

Back to the Beginning

First, let's start from the beginning. Windows 8 is not a personal computer operating system. Windows 8 is designed and optimized for 10" tablets. Microsoft decided, during the construction of Windows 8, that the millions of personal computers that make up the vast market share of Windows operating system installations no longer mattered. Microsoft planned to push all of us in the PC world kicking and screaming into the tablet and touch screen future.

To make matters ever worse, the tablet that Windows 8 was designed to run on and that was built specifically to take advantage of Windows 8 functionality performed very poorly in almost all aspects of actual use. Honestly. What were they thinking?

Current State of Windows

Fast forward to today. The Windows 8 savior is on a fast track to manufacturers and all will be well. Windows 8.1 is scheduled to bring back the start button (but not the start menu). Windows 8.1 will now be optimized to run on screens that are larger and smaller than a 10" tablet. Windows 8.1 will have a new search system to assist keyboard and mouse users more easily move through the new Windows interface. Windows 8.1 is not considered to be an update or a service pack for Windows 8. Windows 8.1 is a whole new beast and part of a new Microsoft strategy to fast track new operating systems to the public every year instead of every three years. This news sounds great on the surface (pun intended). Microsoft has listened to the Windows 8 detractors and has moved swiftly and decisively in order to bring an updated and more effective Windows OS to the consumers. What could be wrong with that? Microsoft is the reason this is a bad idea.

Consider this; Microsoft normally spends 3-5 years getting a new operating system created, distributed, and patched before the OS is even remotely bug free and widely accepted. We, the computing public, are supposed to believe that Microsoft can buck the trend of bug-filled releases in a time frame 33% the normal size? Windows 8.1 has bugs. The current version that is touted as almost ready for RTM (release to manufacturers) experiences issues with lock screen bugs, the windows store and Internet Explorer not working, desktop icons being unmovable, and the new "search everything" feature hangs for seconds before becoming accessible. These issues are current to the testable version of Windows 8.1 and will be included with the operating system as it is disturbed to computer manufacturers.

Failure to communicate...

What we have here is Microsoft continuing to be the same company that has frustrated computer user for the last decade. This time, however, the ramifications could be much larger for the personal computing industry as a whole. Microsoft needs to realize the position that they and the industry are in and finally act accordingly by providing a stable and adequate desktop operating system.

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