Now that the world has moved on from CRT monitors to flat, touchscreen laptops, it's only right for Microsoft to develop a fitting operating system. In 2013, the company introduced Windows 8 to do just that. Unfortunately, it didn't get as many fans as it fell short, especially in the UI department. Then came its biggest update, Windows 8.1.
Is bigger better?
Microsoft listened to their woes and delivered Windows 8.1 in the hopes of making this version more accepted by the public.
Fans of Windows 7 & Vista weren't exactly thrilled about Windows 8. Firstly, it differs so much from the interface users have gone accustomed to and loved. Their biggest complaint, where in the world is the start button? Microsoft listened to their woes and delivered Windows 8.1 in the hopes of making this version more accepted by the public. You also have the ability to hide the start screen or be directed to the app list instead. This list is basically a full screen start menu which you can organize into a number of different categories. It's not the same as that of Windows 7, but it's definitely not as bad as Windows 8. Windows 8.1 also improved its personalization features on your start screen. You now have to option to create smaller or larger screen tiles to your heart's desire. Use smaller tiles to make your start screen more productive as you can see more apps all at once. Bigger tiles show more up to date details. You can glance at the weather forecast without actually opening the application. The start screen can also adjust to larger resolutions so you have more rows of tiles without needing a huge empty space. The varying sizes of tile apps allow for more convenience in using your mouse or trackpad to navigate. More options to suit you Microsoft also included over 100 different color combinations you can use to personalize your desktop. Windows 8.1 comes with a number of pre-installed starts screen patterns or you can even use your own desktop wallpaper as its background. Desktop apps color coordinate themselves to match the most dominant color in its logo. You can easily see changes on your desktop without jumping in and out of the PC settings app. Just simply go to the personalization panel in the Charms bar and try to change your wallpaper and see if it looks nice.
Search and multitasking
The updated search function goes beyond the ordinary OS search engine. It's now a platform built right unto your computer's system that allows you to search locally and on the internet for whatever you need. Locating a document using this feature will not only lead you to the file but will also offer you search results from the internet and on your app settings. Multitasking is also made easier in Windows 8.1. Switch from one app to the other by simply moving your cursor all the way into the left hand corner, hit click and it leads you to the last app you used.
Where can you run this program?
Computers running on Windows 8 can get a free update to Windows 8.1. You simply have to go to the Windows store and follow the steps to upgrade manually. Windows 8.1 requires your machine to have at least a 1 GHz processor or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2. You will also need at least 1 GB of RAM if you're running on a 32-bit processor or 2 GB RAM for those on 64-bit, and hard disk space of 16 GB or 20 GB respectively. For optimal performance, Windows requires a Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver.
Is there a better alternative?
If you want to stick to a Windows operating system, then Windows 10 would be the wisest choice. It has better security measures and is more reliable and efficient compared to its predecessors. Developers made its recent update less frustrating by reducing clutter, especially in the start menu. You may also customize it by adding applications to suit your needs. This OS also allows you to remove built-in apps you don't think you'll use like Movies & TV, Groove Music, Paint 3D, and more. macOS 10.14 Mojave is the latest operating system for Apple machines. It offers several features that help improve the aesthetic of your computer. Save your eyes from damage by switching to Dark Mode. Organize random content in your desktop through Stacks. Quick Look allows you to perform actions on files without actually opening any application. There are so many useful features to check out.
Windows 8.1 is definitely an improvement from Windows 8's underwhelming performance. You may take a little more time to get used to it but you have more options to customize this operating system. It's best for laptops with touch screen capabilities. It's a relief that the start button is back, but its interface still feels a little bit awkward. However, if you didn't enjoy Windows 8, this update isn't going to change your opinion about it.
Should you download it?
Yes. If you're still on Windows 8, it's high time for you to get an upgrade to 8.1. But if you have the option to get Windows 10, it's best to grab the opportunity as it would definitely be the wiser choice.
- Impressive search functionality
- Interface takes time to get used to