YOU CANNOT UPGRADE from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1 will wipe out your apps and settings, you will will have to reinstall everything.
Overall we find very little value in upgrading. We find no reason to give up Windows 7. You might also be interested in our Cloud Computing and Software as a Service Review. (Adobe is now cloud computing only. You rent and pay forever, you never own a license)
The start screen is NOT a window; it consumes the entire monitor. In Windows 8.1, the start button is just a faster way to get back to the start screen. Right click on the start button and you can get to PC management functions but not to programs (aka apps) If you have 2 monitors you'll see 'start screen' tiles across all your real estate. You cannot size and resize the start screen - you see it all or you don't
Answer: Make a version of Windows for the new world of tablets and smartphones. Build a Windows version as a marketing device and construct a food chain that you get locked into; like Apple's iOS and Google's Android. (both of these OS's are mobile / tablet centric).
The day is likely to come when you can only buy software from the Microsoft store. MS will take its 30% cut and apps will be more expensive, there will be no competitive pricing
It's been said that Steve Jobs once considered a "start screen" for OS X, similar to iOS (iPhones, iPad, tablets). Mr. Jobs nixed the 'start screen' realizing the different uses between productivity applications (desktop and laptops) versus media consumption and more limited purpose apps (tablets and smartphones)
Many Microsoft 'apps' on the Windows 8 initial start screen are permanent commercials to buy videos, music and applets from Microsoft.
Most PC vendors with earlier versions of Windows installed their own "apps", then known as crap ware (stuff you had to buy to get fully functioning versions, most of the these apps were useless). Microsoft is doing into the same act.
We all know that the start BUTTON is gone in Windows 8. (we think of the start button as a window in earlier versions). Windows 8 replaces it the start SCREEN.
Getting between the start screen and the applications you are working with requires a lot more pointing and clicking
At minimum, Win 8 might be better if the start screen could be windowed; but it cannot be. The same is true with other applet changes in Windows 8 such as Windows update, Windows personalization options and others. (They will not be detailed here)
It is a pain to get between these non-windowed 'apps' and the applications you are working with (more pointing and clicking)
The start screen might be fine on a touch screen; especially for consuming media, reading email and viewing internet sites. It is not fine for getting work done.
Even more functions in Windows 8.1 are not Windowed they take up the full screen.
We choose not to tax our shoulders and arms using touch on desktop and laptop machines. Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by keyboards and mouse use were once a lawyers cherry pick for lawsuits. Touchscreens might be the next cherry. Unfortunately, Windows 8 demands touch if you are going to use the OS as designed.
Widows 8 Standard does not include the Microsoft media center, DVD playback etc. These features in earlier versions of Windows were the reason we have 3 desktop and 2 laptops in this household. You must get Windows 8 Pro for Media Center to work at all and the buy Windows 8 Media Center Pack costing $9.99
Only one of our PC's now has Windows 8 (Our Home Theater Media Center - we upgraded to Windows 8 Pro.) We will only upgrade one of the other 4 machines (when one of the other 4 fails) to Windows 8.
We would prefer to have full function PCs when old PCs are retired but it won't happen with Windows 8. The replaced machine will probably not be Microsoft Windows
Our opinion is that MS is doing many things to NOT keep us MS 'fan boys'. We are amazed that Microsoft has given up on its Media Center playback options in Windows 8. Currently, we have many DVDs and many recorded movies and TV programs, all stored on one computer and network streamed to the other machines. You can not stream them to Win 8 without buying more expensive Windows 8 Pro, and buying the $10 Windows 8 Media Center Pro Pack
One new feature in Windows 8 might be a WOW (aka, added value making Windows 8 of interest to you): Social Media is easier; you can unify your accounts for easy access.
Windows 8 for desktops and laptops is of less value than every other version of Windows. Media center is gone without buying Windows Pro and then add-ons, the desktop is a pain to get to, the start button is gone and Windows 8 demands more pointing and clicking. It is an operating system that REDUCES productivity.
We actually purchased a (as yet unused) boxed version of Windows 7 so we have it when one our older machines die
Windows 8 and Windows 8.1? We hate them. We are amazed that MS is forcing us to consider other computing choices
We ask the question again: What was Microsoft Thinking? New Answer: Probably not enough.
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Security is the best of any operating system
There is a learning curve that might be difficult for casual users
Windows 8 is less productive on non-touch computers
The Start Button is gone, Widows will not boot directly to the desktop
Windows 8 is not "windowed" in many places
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