Windows 8.1 is coming out soon and Microsoft is detailing some of the changes that are going to be present. One of the most looked for changes is a return of the start button. This one feature is so missed by users that a booming trade in third party software for add-in start buttons has developed. The problem is that the start button Microsoft is putting back does not mean the start menu is back. Instead clicking this button will only get you back to the Modern UI. This makes the change cosmetic in nature and does not actually address the issue that most people have with Windows 8 and the Modern UI. This is the same as the option to boot to the desktop, if you do not have a real start menu, what is the point. People were not looking just to get the start button back, but the actual start menu with the ease of access that it brought. The rest of the improvements all appear to be related to the Modern UI and show that Microsoft is simply not read to listen to reason or even the consumer.
Today marked the day that Microsoft released Windows 8 to the general public. We have tinkered with several builds of Windows 8, but so far we have not been all that impressed with what the guys in Redmond have come up with. Our big issue has been the lack of functionality and usability in the new MetroUI. In our last public coverage we had to switch back to Windows 7 after only three days or testing. So now let’s take another stab at getting Windows 8 running on current hardware, namely our Asus EEE Slate EP121.
Last week a flurry of articles popped up showing that Microsoft had sent improper DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) take down notices claiming infringing material on sites that criticized their new Metro (or not Metro) UI. The move appeared to be done in order to directly harm these sites search rating. Some of the sites affected were Betanews.com, ngohq.com, gHacks.com, Hardware Canuck.com Technize.com and more. It was a very unusual move, but one that we predicted after Google changed their search algorithm to reduce site’s search rankings after “valid” DMCA takedown notices were received.
Microsoft is no stranger to controversy and throughout its history has made some pretty bad decisions that still come back to haunt them. Now, it seems that Microsoft might be getting ready to make an error that will trump all of the others in its past. We are talking about Windows 8 and the say that Microsoft appears to be closing in its ecosystem and also the platform as a whole. This move to a closed system has not only raised concerns with end users, but also with developers who see the move as a serious issue.
Apple is in an interesting position right now and it is one that we are not sure will work out to their benefit. Although Apple is following other smart phone manufacturers and catching up to where they were 2 years ago they are also working very hard to patent items that should NEVER be allowed. Because of this we have a feeling that Apple will be pushing their legal battle on the smartphone and tablet front even harder than before. The problem is that they will only come out looking bad in the end especially overseas where some of the courts are starting to wake up to Apple’s pattern of broad “attack” patents meant for use against competitors.
So after our look at the installation of Windows 8 on our Asus EEE Slate EP 121 we have gotten through the mess of installing drivers that are not meant for our device and getting some basic applications installed. We are now ready to take a look at the Metro UI and some of the features built into the Windows 8 platform. Let’s kick off with how fast this new OS starts up from a cold boot.
Microsoft has finally released a driver that allows you to use the Xbox One Controller on a PC. For some this is big news and they have been waiting for it since shortly after the release of Microsoft’s latest console. For others this might not be such a big deal as you can simply use the older Xbox 360 controllers or buy a PC game controller if you really need to get your PC gaming fix (many PC gamers still use a keyboard and mouse).
So Microsoft is on a push to get out as much information as they can about Windows 8. This new operating system represents a massive change for Microsoft and not just in the way the new OS will function, but also in the manner they are interacting with the public. This is evident in almost everything they are doing, from the building Windows 8 Blog to the public statements, demos and interviews that are happening frequently.
As we have been working with Windows 8 and Windows 2012 server we have become increasingly concerned about security. Although Microsoft has claimed that they have improved security through items like the locked UEFI boot process there are still glaring omissions in security that keep popping up very recently it was noted that despite the claims from Microsoft of a more secure login process the password hint is exposed in the SID database and easily recovered remotely. We also found that users’ contact lists are also left in the open (and in plain text) and available to anyone that can gain remote elevated privileges; which is what almost all Viruses and Malware try to do.
If you have been on the internet then you have heard about the possibility of Microsoft releasing a new “fix” to Windows in the form of Window 8.2 This new release is supposed to be an extension of their work to revamp Windows 8 into something that consumers will actually want. Now, most people will acknowledge that Microsoft needs to make a large number of changes to Windows 8 to make it more palatable (and usable), but are they really working on an 8.2 release when they just pushed out 8.1?