Windows 8.1 New Perspective

The past few weeks, hearing about the quality control issues, with Windows 10 updates. I decided to try Windows 8.1 again, on an old Core 2 Duo laptop I have. Windows 8, is the modern Windows, people have generally shunned for it’s dueling UI. Windows 8 is not perfect in the UI, but definitely makes up, under the hood!

After painstakingly installing Windows 8.1, for 20 minutes, formatting the hard drive, entering the product key, and then waiting through the changing colors. I was actually pleasantly surprised, how not bad Windows 8.1 is. Sure, it has the start screen, and some of the desktop elements are dated, like the clock and the calculator. It behaves, just like Windows 10 currently does.

Windows 8.1, boots up very fast, it has built in anti-virus, it is very stable, and generally fast. The only downsides with Windows 8.1, is obviously the start screen, and missing the modern UI elements like the clock, and others.

Generally, going back to Windows 8.1, is truly not a bad experience. I actually like the start screen now, more than I did, back then. Windows 8.1 did not install the drivers, as smoothly at Windows 10 does.

Overall, it is a pretty good experience.

What are your thoughts on Windows 8.1?

Conversation 42 comments

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    26 October, 2018 - 10:24 am

    <p>I like 8.1 back then and we still have a number of VMs running it today. It is fine, although I much prefer Windows 10 – and I have 1809 installed on all my devices and haven't suffered any problems so far.</p>

  • Tony Barrett

    26 October, 2018 - 10:28 am

    <p>If you replace the start screen with a 3rd part start menu replacement (eg Start8), Win8.1 is actually very good. Bypassing the terrible start screen, it's actually quite similar to Win7 in many respects (the good!) and without all the terrible stability issues, telemetry collection, ads, bi-annual updates and useless features of Win10 (the bad!)- maybe the best of both worlds. You can be sure MS will be happy to end support for this OS as soon as they possibly can though.</p>

    • epguy40

      26 October, 2018 - 11:36 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#356806">In reply to ghostrider:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I use Classic Shell for Win8.1 instead of Start8 since Start8 is not free.</p><p>and support for Win8.1 ends sometime in 2023</p>

  • bharris

    26 October, 2018 - 11:00 am

    <p>I helped a small business before retiring and they refused to go to 10, staying on 8.1. Not what I would have done but so be it. They love it. I think what Microsoft doesn't get is most people couldn't give a damn about Windows. Can they get to the web &amp; run Word/Excel…..For most people, if the answer is yes, they are happy and really would rather leave it alone</p>

  • epguy40

    26 October, 2018 - 11:40 am

    <p>my father's Toshiba Satellite C55Dt-A touchscreen laptop we bought near the end of 2013 came with pre-installed Win8.1 and it has been running very well for almost 5 years now. I have Win8.1 fully patched and w/ using Update 3</p>

  • justme

    Premium Member
    26 October, 2018 - 11:57 am

    <p>It took me quite a while to come to terms with 8.1. But after much research, tweaking, and adding Start8, it is my daily driver – which it will continue to be until I am forced by a hardware change to adopt Windows 10 or I switch to Linux (currently VM'd). For work I have to use Windows 10, and quite honestly, simply don't care for it (for way too many reasons to get into here.)</p>

  • Lauren Glenn

    26 October, 2018 - 1:10 pm

    <p>I still think the best part about Windows 8.1 is the recovery option if you change a motherboard or boot component and it can't boot. That's really about it.</p><p><br></p><p>I find the Start Menu far more annoying now especially when I remote into Server 2012 machines at work. The Windows 10 one is annoying too and I wish they'd let me turn off those live tiles. The only time these tiles are useful to me is on Windows Phone. Otherwise, it just causes issues and slows down opening it for little benefit.</p><p><br></p><p>But the recovery option and the updated activation are the highlights for me. And that's about it. It's like Vista before SP1 came out. Windows 7 is basically Vista SP2.</p>

    • jimchamplin

      Premium Member
      26 October, 2018 - 5:15 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#356872">In reply to alissa914:</a></em></blockquote><p>The tiles slow down opening… what? Applications? The Start menu itself?</p>

  • hrlngrv

    Premium Member
    26 October, 2018 - 2:57 pm

    <p>I have 8.1 Update 1 (couldn't have been 8.2?) on a VM along with Office 2013 as well as Windows 7 on another VM along with Office 2010 in order to see what breaks in Excel going from version to version. These are on my home office PC.</p><p>In some ways 8.1U1 is the ideal, lighter in system resources usage than 7 or 10, faster at some operations. I use Classic Shell in all 3 to have an XP-like Start menu with search box, so MSFT's bundled launchers don't matter to me. For me, the only thing wrong with 8.x is the Start screen. I realize others like it, but not me. A very good thing Windows remains so customizable that 3rd parties can provide replacement launchers.</p><p>OTOH, Windows 7 began some changes which now require 3rd party utilities to tweak rather than just registry hacks. In some ways I miss the relative simplicity of XP when it comes to tweaking file associations, eliminating icon overlays, other UI tweaking. Why MSFT had to remove the UI for setting desktop icon spacing so that it's now necessary to use REGEDIT . . .</p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    26 October, 2018 - 5:20 pm

    <p>8.x really wasn't that bad at all. I always got a good chuckle out of people calling the Start screen "jarring" when<em> invoking it explicitly, one should expect it to appear.</em></p><p><br></p><p>Maybe the first time it's a little surprising but… so what? There are more complicated things in modern life.</p>

  • Winner

    26 October, 2018 - 11:32 pm

    <p>Guess what? Windows 7 has all of the mentioned except the Jekyll/Hyde UI. It doesn't have the auto OS restore feature. </p><p>I find Win 7 excellent, only it will die, forced by Microsoft when they quit supporting it.</p><p><br></p><p>I agree that Win 8.1 would come in second for me. While I don't like the UI, it beats an OS that delivers ads, advertising ID, little control over updates, popup notifications including pushes for other Microsoft products, and yet another byzantine UI.</p>

    • hrlngrv

      Premium Member
      27 October, 2018 - 6:39 pm

      <p><a href="https://www.thurrott.com/forums/microsoft/windows/thread/windows-8-1-new-perspectiv#356984&quot; target="_blank"><em>In reply to Winner:</em></a></p><p>Credit to MSFT: it's possible to excise the unliked parts of Windows 8.1 and replace them with 3rd party alternatives. With Classic Shell or Start8 it's possible to make Windows 8.1 look quite close to Windows 7. At that point you get the real behind-the-scenes benefits of Windows 8.1 vs Windows 7 without having to endure its UI.</p>

    • evox81

      Premium Member
      29 October, 2018 - 9:46 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#356984">In reply to Winner:</a></em></blockquote><p>Windows 7 was great. But, user interface aside, Windows 8 was better under the hood. In my experience, it was faster and more stable. </p>

  • jules_wombat

    28 October, 2018 - 10:35 am

    <p>Windows 8.1 was a great Touch based OS for Tablets and Mobile devices. Much better than Windows 10 Tablet experience.</p><p>Obviously Microsoft are no longer interested in modern touch and mobile devices, as they now want to stick with legacy desktop, because of all the whining from all traditional Windows Users. </p>

  • plettza

    28 October, 2018 - 6:58 pm

    <p>I too am considering a rethink of Windows 10 and going back to 8/8.1. I have about 6 PCs (a laptop of which was shipped with Windows 7). I still have some Windows 8 licences and I bought a brand-new Windows 8 Pro upgrade on ebay in case I want to upgrade the laptop to 8.</p><p><br></p><p>Not only are Microsoft delivering a poor quality OS on Windows 10, riding the Windows 10 train opens me up to being stuck with how Microsoft move Windows 10 forward. For example, they've removed HomeGroup recently. Whilst there are workarounds, I found HomeGroup so much easier to use especially for my Windows 7 Media Center and Windows Home Server 2011 PCs. I'm at Microsoft's mercy. This, coupled with sloppy workmanship, ads, and useless little apps which should be store-based, not delivered out of the box, has me looking to upgrade to Windows 8 for stability. I was never that confused by the Start Screen. </p><p><br></p><p>On my Surface 3, I reinstalled the Windows 8 factory image and then downgraded it Windows 10. Windows 8 just runs so much better on Surface 3</p>

  • Illusive_Man

    29 October, 2018 - 6:23 am

    <p>The tile thing was stupid then and is still stupid now.</p>

    • jimchamplin

      Premium Member
      31 October, 2018 - 12:53 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#357595">In reply to Illusive_Man:</a></em></blockquote><p>This sounds like an opinion.</p>

      • boots

        01 November, 2018 - 5:43 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#358416">In reply to jimchamplin:</a></em></blockquote><p>I don't think the Tiles were stupid, but I think they were very overrated. The above screenshot is a good example of how the Tiles were never really that useful. Of the 42 Tiles in this Startscreen only 4 of them have more information than a static icon, and the Weather Tile is the only one displaying anything useful enough to not need to open the app. Also, the 16 small Tiles are actually showing less information than a static icon by not displaying any text. You would need to remember the icon of every app that has a small Tile.</p>

  • wolters

    Premium Member
    29 October, 2018 - 8:35 am

    <p>When Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 was at it's height, I truly liked it…a lot. Windows 8.1 fixed a lot of the bad things about 8 and it was quite usable. I actually liked my Dell Venue 8 Pro but sadly, it had a lot of QC issues and after my third exchange, I decided to just get money back. I still like the swipe options of 8.1…it was intuitive. </p>

  • Tony Barrett

    29 October, 2018 - 11:05 am

    <p>Thinking about this a bit more now, and I don't want Windows 10, so I may just upgrade my Win7 box to Win8.1, and get another couple of years grace. I'd rather run 8.1 than 10 any day and THATS saying something!</p>

    • plettza

      30 October, 2018 - 9:15 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#357661">In reply to ghostrider:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p><br></p><p>Yeah, I'm just having an issue with these subscription services in terms of software. Granted, Microsoft doesn't charge me a fee each year/month to use Windows 10 but they can simply chop and change what they like. With Windows 8, you got a product, you got security updates and feature updates. There was a known constant with Windows 8.</p>

    • NT6.1

      01 November, 2018 - 12:06 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#357661">In reply to ghostrider:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Windows 8.1 is a great OS. It would be even greater if it behaved like Windows 7, with no "modern" crap. Only performance improvements and the new Task Manager.</p>

      • Kevin Costa

        01 November, 2018 - 12:14 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#359349">In reply to NT6.1:</a></em></blockquote><p>Install Classic Shell and delete the Modern Start Menu shortcut from it. Then uninstall all Modern apps with powershell. There you have it, an improved Windows 7.</p>

  • Salvador Jesús Romero Castellano

    29 October, 2018 - 1:00 pm

    <p>I like the start screen. Everything is organized (with a bit of work) and easier to reach in just one click. Live tiles are helpful. I use it in Windows10, and I don't find any advantage of the start menu over it, hiding tiles and forcing you to navigate through menus. The SS was jarring and overcrowded back 8.0, but not anymore. Am I alone on this?</p>

    • ErichK

      Premium Member
      29 October, 2018 - 3:14 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#357675">In reply to Salvador Romero:</a></em></blockquote><p>On all three of my personal Windows 10 machines, I use the full-screen Start experience, and prefer it that way. Although, I definitely do think the option should be there for people to use the traditional Start menu if they want it.</p>

    • Jason Paul

      01 November, 2018 - 3:16 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#357675">In reply to Salvador Romero:</a></em></blockquote><p>You're not alone, especially when using my Surface as a tablet (back on Surface RT with 8.1 or now on a Pro 2017 with 10). Even in desktop mode I use full size start screen. 8.1 wasn't perfect but it was the right direction. I wish 10 allowed a full 8.1-like experience with the desktop and tablet modes separated. </p>

  • cassiegriffin

    29 October, 2018 - 5:57 pm

    <p>It is true that Windows 8.1 is good version of Microsoft that run very fast and application work well but gaming purpose is not compatible in this version. </p>

    • plettza

      30 October, 2018 - 9:28 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#357807">In reply to cassiegriffin:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I thought Windows 8 was better for games as they released DirectX12 with Windows 8.</p>

      • Kevin Costa

        01 November, 2018 - 12:11 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#358372">In reply to plettza:</a></em></blockquote><p class="inserted">No, DirectX 12 was released with Windows 10. Windows 8/8.1 is stuck with DirectX 11.</p>

  • Kevin Costa

    30 October, 2018 - 3:42 pm

    <p>Windows 8.x is the last (and only) OS with many of the <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">(under-the-hood)</span> advantages of Windows 10, keeping the solid stability and visual consistency from Windows 7. I truly love Windows 10, but is undeniable the problems that each version creates, 1607, 1803 and 1809 being the famous examples so far. Although has solid perfomance and good stability, it does a poor job in consistency and reliability sometimes.</p>

  • plettza

    30 October, 2018 - 9:17 pm

    <p>Can anyone confirm, before I reload Windows 8, if Win32 Centennial bridge apps are available in the Windows 8/8.1 store?</p>

    • Kevin Costa

      31 October, 2018 - 7:37 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#358369">In reply to plettza:</a></em></blockquote><p>No, Centennial Bridge is available only in Windows 10 v1607 onwards.</p>

      • plettza

        31 October, 2018 - 4:12 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#358498">In reply to Kevin_Costa:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Thanks. I was hoping there may have been store support for Centennial added since I last used 8.</p>

  • dab2kab

    31 October, 2018 - 1:20 am

    <p>Windows 8.1 is the last OS in which media center is officially supported. This alone is enough to keep it as my daily OS.</p>

  • hrlngrv

    Premium Member
    01 November, 2018 - 1:56 pm

    <p>This isn't spam?</p>

  • epguy40

    09 November, 2018 - 3:06 pm

    <p>check out this recent blog from the Askwoody.com site</p><p>www.askwoody.com/2018/windows-8-1-is-an-excellent-choice/</p>

  • Tony Barrett

    10 November, 2018 - 5:11 am

    <p>Well, I bit the bullet last weekend, and upgraded my homebrew Win7 box to…. Win 8.1, and I have to say, once I added Start8, it's great. Fast, reliable, consistent. No Cortana or Edge to annoy me (yay!), no ads or 'promoted applications'. I'm not patching and rebooting every 10 mins either, which is a relief, and there are no nags or other annoying cr*p to bother me. I have control of the updates via 'old school' Windows Update, and I'm logging on with a local account (I have no interest in Windows apps), and all my win32 programs run fine. Best of all, I don't have to go through the pain of Microsoft's bi-annual 'upgrade' hamster wheel sh*t show, and all the risks that involves. All in all, I should now be good until Jan 2023.</p>

    • SherlockHolmes

      Premium Member
      10 November, 2018 - 5:15 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#364891">In reply to ghostrider:</a></em></blockquote><p>I actually thinking about the same thing of going back to Windows 8.1. I had an on and off love/hate-affair with Windows 10. But this last fiasco was too much. </p>

      • Tony Barrett

        10 November, 2018 - 5:26 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#364892">In reply to SherlockHolmes:</a></em></blockquote><p>Just do it. I was a little hesitant, but knew that with the right add-ons, 8.1 is a very good OS. I never see the 'start screen' – thankfully – but everything else is rock solid. Microsoft's monolithic 3 year dev cycles really did produce some stable platforms – unlike now.</p>

        • SherlockHolmes

          Premium Member
          11 November, 2018 - 12:35 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#364893">In reply to ghostrider:</a></em></blockquote><p>The sad thing about this is that I see no sign that Microsoft will learn something from the past fiascos. And before that happens I dont see a safe use scenario for Windows 10 anymore. </p>

        • SherlockHolmes

          Premium Member
          11 November, 2018 - 9:33 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#364893">In reply to ghostrider:</a></em></blockquote><p>I did it: </p><p><br></p><p><img src="https://i.imgur.com/swLssuc.jpg"></p><p><br></p><p>And guess what? It didnt hurt :-D</p>

    • NT6.1

      12 November, 2018 - 3:53 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#364891">In reply to ghostrider:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I'm doing the same with my desktop when Windows 7 is no longer supported.</p>

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