Windows 8.1 Features–Enough to make a Difference?

The new features for Windows 8.1 are a nice gesture, but some of the opinions I’m seeing online, some very heated, are saying that’s not enough. I am sure there are still those that want a Windows 95-7 style Start Menu to return, but that will not happen without third party tools. Program Manager (the desktop UI from Windows 3/NT) will not be returning, either, no matter how much people want it to.

I can admit that the new Modern UI interface takes some getting used to, and has some issues (I can name quite a few, depending on the platform). Microsoft is doing their best to improve the interface and make it easier for people with problems. Love it or hate it, Modern UI is sticking around. At least there are some notable changes with Windows 8.1, but will they be enough to sway those that detest Windows 8 and the new interface?

What’s different with Windows 8.1? The Verge has a nice write up on some of the changes. Some of the major ones that I know I’ll like – improved lock screen (picture frame style image rotation, similar to iPad), updated Live Tiles, Start button (not a Start Menu, just the visual cue to take you to the Start Screen), more personalization on the Start Screen…. A good bit of changes, and they are very welcome by me.

Microsoft is also borrowing some more ideas from Windows Phone 8, introducing new large and small Live Tiles — the animated app icons that appear on the Start Screen — in Windows 8.1. On the Weather Tile you can now see the weather in three different cities and three days of forecasts displayed at the same time. For apps like Calendar, it will display your entire calendar for the day, and third-party apps like Twitter will be able to display additional information. "You still get notifications, you still get posts, you still get counts on them, but they take up one-quarter of the space of the tiles we had with Windows 8," explains Jensen Harris, a director of the Windows User Experience Team at Microsoft. Desktop apps will also use colorful tiles by default, and developers will have the option to create richer versions.