Six Things I Really Like About Windows 8.1

laptop23380839I have been working with Microsoft Windows 8 since its earliest Beta version, and I simply love it. I fully understand some of the resistance and end user rejection to it. In fact, the perception of Windows 8 reminds me of how unreceptive people were to the changes in Windows Vista and the slight learning curve of the new platform. Enterprise organizations’ need for backward compatibility with existing applications was a major stumbling block to full deployment. This need was addressed with Windows 7 and is now perfected in Windows 8.x and more so in Windows 8.1. Consider the following reasons to move forward:

1. It’s “Refreshing” Enterprise organizations and Windows users sometimes have a need to reinstall Windows, and the Windows 8 family of operating systems includes easy-to-use Refresh and Reset options that quickly restore Windows to a fresh, factory default configuration. Refresh preserves your files and installs Modern Programs on the start menu, while Reset removes everything on your system.

2. “NT Version” and Why It’s Important With every release of a Windows operating system, out comes a security-enhanced, performance-optimized, and more fully featured OS than its previous release. This is true for the built-in anti-malware, anti-virus, and anti-spyware application called Windows Defender. The Windows 8 family combines these security tools into one built-in suite to defend the operating system from attack. And how about the secure boot environment? Secure Boot, also referred to as Trusted Boot, is a new security feature in Windows 8 that uses the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) to block loading and operation of any program or driver that has not been signed by an OS-provided key. Trusted Boot thus protects the integrity of the kernel, system files, boot-critical drivers and even anti-malware software.

3. The Start Menu The Start Menu that we’ve become used to, also known as the Classic Start Menu, is no longer needed; the Windows 8 family’s start menu is spread across the entire display. Windows 8.1 includes a Start Button that serves as a single-click way to access the MUI Tiles, as well as a “Classic Style” way to shut down the system. This new start menu optionally allows a system boot directly to the desktop. It’s available as a download for Windows 8 systems.

4. Client Hyper-V Hyper-V, also known as PC-Virtualization or Client Hyper-V, is a Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 feature that can be installed from the Control Panel and is available with Windows 8 Pro or higher versions. Client Hyper-V, like the Hyper-V on the Windows Server products, supports a broad range of virtualized hardware, snapshotting, dynamic allocation of memory, support for multiple virtual processors and so on. There is even a Virtual Network Switch to set up VLANs to virtual or physical networking. Plus, Client Hyper-V should give better performance, thanks to its architecture, especially when working with Microsoft operating systems as the guests.

5. “Wow, Task Manager!” One of Windows 8 features that has undergone a massive overhaul is the unassuming Windows Task Manager, that modest window that helps you bail out of trouble whenever you hit a brick wall with a stalled application. To launch it, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Esc, or type “task manager” in search, or right-click the task bar and select Task Manager. The old combo Ctrl+Alt+Del will get you there, but that’s the long way.

6. File Explorer View The Windows Explorer has undergone an overhaul as well; it has been renamed File Explorer. With the new name comes a new interface. The Ribbon Bar is now in File Explorer. Most users are fairly familiar with the Microsoft Office suite of applications. Since Office 2007, Microsoft has standardized the Ribbon Bar to be a common interface to all applications. Now, Windows 8 users can feel comfortable with the different menu bar options and tabs that show different ribbons and tabs.

This white paper is excerpted from the Global Knowledge white paper Making the Case for Windows 8.1.

Related Courses

Supporting Windows 8.1 (M20688)

Configuring Windows 8.1 (M20687)

Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows 8 (M20689)

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  1. Lou Reply

    I would hesitate to do business with a site that posts such fairy tales.


  2. Paul Rinear Reply

    These are completely unimpressive reasons.

  3. Eric K Reply

    1. The fact that Windows is so poor at maintaining itself, that it often needs to be “refreshed” or “reinstalled” is a problem- not something that needs to be facilitated and then hyped!

    2. “Trusted boot” is the ultimate oxymoron- it prevents loading other OSes included Windows 7- operating systems trusted by more people than Windows 8

    3. Replacing something that works well for millions is a repetition of the “New Coke” fiasco- the smart screen should have been offered as a user-selectable OPTION- if it were really “better”, most would have chosen to use it without being forced.

    4. I have not purchased a “Professional or better” version, so I have no comment on this.

    5. While some aspects of the task manager may have been improved, one has been made HORRIBLY worse- it used to come up on top by default whereas now it doesn’t. When you bring up the task manager to kill a runaway program (which is often on top), having it appear hidden underneath is completely worthless.

    6. This is another case of Microsoft assuming one size (or feature or OS) fits all applications, when it clearly does not. The ribbon adds nice functionality to things like Word or Excel where one can preview potential changes, but file explorer just does not have that kind (or that much) functionality. This is obvious they way they added unrelated items to fill out some of the ribbons (open control panel, uninstall or change a program, system properties, etc.). Again, screwing with what works for millions of people may make the few who like senseless change happy, but will alienate the majority.

  4. ajaz Reply

    For me the issue is not if people are unreceptive or receptive to new interfaces, my main grudge is that Microsoft doesnt provide users the option to choose the classic mode or the new mode. People generally want better and improved software without having the need to relearn the interface.

  5. Ron Reply

    Folks, this is an article designed to capture your curiosity and to push you to explore their training courses. It is a regularly used web marketing technique . I know it from my experience. So, take it with a large grain of salt. 🙂
    I did not meet even one person who would “love” Windows 8/8.1. Everyone hates it, even the non-technical users for whom it was essentially designed.
    One size does not fit all for sure…

  6. Ron Wen Reply

    Thanks for the feedback everyone. Agreed that Windows 8.1 could have been stronger out of the gate and that Microsoft did try to make an evolutionary leap with the interface for PC’s, laptops, tablets and more which may have fallen a bit short.

    But I think this post revolves around some of the potential benefits (entirely subjective) for Windows 8. I mean, even Vista had some good things about it, didn’t it?

    But again, thanks for all the comments…