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Windows 8.1 does it do anything interesting?

#1 User is offline doc eggfan 

Posted 06 April 2014 - 08:49 AM

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I've finally started mucking about with it recently on my tablet. I've had it dual booting with ubuntu, but never bothered to explore it much. After browsing the apps on the start menu, I pretty much unpinned all of them except weather, maps and camera. I really like the weather app... and that's pretty much all I like about W8. I can see what they are trying to do, and I kind of don't mind the art style, but most of the stuff isn't aimed at me, and I don't like them pushing me to buy their shit (that I can get for free via ubuntu, cos I'm a dirty stinking pirate).

Anybody found any good uses for it? Any reason to boot into it other than for the rare occasion I need to run something that won't work in wine?

#2 User is offline Miles Prower 

Posted 06 April 2014 - 11:06 AM

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Well, it displays interesting BSODs with smileys.

#3 User is offline ICEknight 

Posted 06 April 2014 - 11:45 AM

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It seems to delete all my default fonts, so everything on screen becomes an unreadable mess unless I copy and paste the text into Notepad.

It also adds a Start button that just acts like the Windows button in your keyboard (no Start menu until it's done).

#4 User is offline Overlord 

Posted 06 April 2014 - 11:45 AM

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Well the good news is now that Ballmer is gone, MS seems to have finally seen some sense and the useless-on-a-desktop Start Screen is now going to be able to be removed entirely on Windows 8.1 as of April 8th, with Metro apps being able to be opened in desktop windows too:

Posted Image

This should have been an option from the launch of 8.0.

#5 User is offline King 

Posted 06 April 2014 - 11:48 AM

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The start menu update won't be released with Windows 8.1 Update 1 on the 8th - it'll be released later in the year perhaps as Update 2.

#6 User is offline Overlord 

Posted 06 April 2014 - 11:52 AM

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Oh. I was under the impression that it was, that's lame. Well, wait until Service Pack Update 2 then.

#7 User is offline Covarr 

Posted 06 April 2014 - 12:01 PM

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Uh, those features are coming in a later update, and I highly doubt the start screen is being removed entirely (I suspect you will have a choice between it and start menu). The April 8 update will have the following:
  • Boots to desktop by default
  • Taskbar can be accessed from Modern UI apps (same as desktop, but with auto-hide always on)
  • Modern UI apps pinnable to taskbar (Windows Store pinned by default)
  • New auto-hiding "title bar" in MUI apps to easily close/minimize them.
  • Search and Power buttons added to start screen (no more hidden behind swipe)
  • PC Settings tile added to start screen
  • Right click on start screen tiles now brings up context menu (multi-select has been reassigned to Ctrl+Click)
  • Multi-selected tiles can be dragged/moved as a group
  • Windows Store apps can be found right from start screen search


Still a solid update for Windows 8.1 owners, and a definite step in the right direction. A lot of it will be necessary when their "bring back the start menu" update is ready, so I can't help but think the goal here is to push out the bits that are already finished to tide us over until the new start menu is 100% ready to go.
This post has been edited by Covarr: 06 April 2014 - 12:05 PM

#8 User is offline Billy 

Posted 06 April 2014 - 03:29 PM

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I'm liking these Windows 8 updates. I got it when it first came out on the cheap, and it was a mess. Windows 8 as it stands right now requires you to re-learn how to use a computer, so I'm glad they're fixing it. I personally have no problems re-learning things (this is half the fun of trying out linux distros), but understandably regular users and offices don't want to have to do that. That's why XP was so popular.

#9 User is offline doc eggfan 

Posted 06 April 2014 - 03:48 PM

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Do the Music, Video and Games apps do anything other that hock stuff at you to buy. I took one look at them and unpinned them from the start menu.

The News app also looks like it could be useful, but it kept showing me stuff I don't care about. I started to look at customising it, but gave up quickly. Is it worth perservering with?

#10 User is offline Covarr 

Posted 06 April 2014 - 03:58 PM

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View Postdoc eggfan, on 06 April 2014 - 03:48 PM, said:

Do the Music, Video and Games apps do anything other that hock stuff at you to buy.

The Music and Video apps also act as players for local media. Games app shows your xbox live stats, and I think acts as a launcher for Live-enabled Win8 games.

#11 User is offline Techokami 

Posted 07 April 2014 - 12:11 PM

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The Games app basically brings the Xbox side of gaming to Windows. You log in with your XBL account, can configure your avatar, manage friend lists, see achievements, and launch games.

#12 User is offline doc eggfan 

Posted 24 April 2014 - 08:38 PM

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I'll tell you what it does do, it fucks up my dual boot everytime windows gets a major update, which conveniently co-incides with the 14.04 update to ubuntu :argh:

And you wonder why we hate you M$

Also not pleased with the obvious ugliness attributed to the chrome button on the start page and that only IE can be used in full screen and only if it is set to the default browser (which can be circumvented by a free google app from the windows store, but still it shitted me).

#13 User is offline winterhell 

Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:52 AM

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Again, why do you need/want Windows 8 over 7?

#14 User is offline Josh 

Posted 25 April 2014 - 08:04 AM

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I got 8.1 back at the beginning of February, installed Start8, and basically made it so I never even have to see Metro unless I select it from the start menu. No swiping in, no corner charms, nothing. It's not that I don't like change. I agree - messing around with software and figuring it out is half the fun. And Metro would be a pretty awesome interface... if I was using it on a touchscreen. That was the intention behind its design, and making it THE unavoidable face on Windows 8 for everyone was very, very foolish.

Regardless of the updates they do from here on, 8 is going to have the same stigma around it that Vista did.

With all that said, I'm really enjoying Windows 8. Boot times are faster, I see increased performance in games and load times seem to be down overall. I like the deeper customization options, they've finally done away with that tinny soundscape introduced in Vista and SkyDrive is nice. The only things I don't like:

  • "Restore previous versions" can't be backed up to the local disk, and is off by default. Apparantly not many people used it, but it saved me a time or two.
  • It seems to make streaming music to my Xbox 360 weird. I use custom soundtracks, and the game will just HANG for like a minute every time it has to load one since I switched.


#15 User is offline Covarr 

Posted 25 April 2014 - 11:11 AM

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I've got a touchscreen netbook, and I can say from experience that the start screen is pretty nice for it. Hell, I even use it instead of Steam for launching what few games will actually run on this thing, even though the games themselves use Steam. But yeah, on desktops, it pretty much NEEDS Start8.

That said, it's almost not worth buying Start8 at this point, not with MS's own Start Menu coming (Mary Jo Foley says they're aiming for August for the next big Win8.1 update; she usually knows what MS is up to).

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