The mighty keyboard and mouse have roared and Microsoft has listened. Windows 8.1 Update 1 is out and has some (some!) nice changes for content creators and other non touch screen users. Most notable is that instead of forking the OS into mobile/touch & desktop/mouse + keyboard versions they’re detecting the hardware and adapting the experience appropriately. This is what should have happened from day one but I’ll assume ship dates and probably some star crossed marketing folks who hallucinated a pot of gold at the end of the Metro Rainbow prevented logical decisions and implementations. Windows 8.1 was a glimmer of hope, Update 1 is a start, lets hope it continues.
This update requires windows 8.1 and the the install takes about 30 minutes. Available April 8th 2014 via Windows Update or download now: KB2919355
The update contains cumulative patches and other changes, but we’re here for these:
- Default boot to desktop for non touch devices. 8.1 introduced boot to desktop as an option, update 1 detects your hardware and default boots to the desktop for non touch. Worked perfectly on my 4 year old Lenovo test laptop.
- Desktop actions wont open Modern apps – YES!!! Now when you open an image you won’t be whisked off to a faraway land with no idea how to get back nor ability to navigate to the next image.
- Other changes for desktop users – faster startup, improved battery life for laptops, better security (including Trusted Boot for UEFI systems), the File History automated backup and versioning utility, clearer task manager and file move dialogs, and the ability to mount disk image files as virtual drives.
What’s lacking and still needed? Here’s some reasons why Windows 7 is still gaining OS market share 18 months after the release of Windows 8.
- Start Menu. Rumors are this is coming as a blend of Windows 7 and Windows 8 features and functionality. For now I still use Classic Shell and it rocks.
- A rich UI for the desktop. I have a 24″ LED display and a gigabyte graphics card but I’m staring at horrid Windows 3.1 style dialog boxes, windows and applications. No rounded corners, no transparency, giant kludgy widgets, options and menus.