Windows 8.1

Initial impressions

For a while Alt-F4 was getting a real workout; I couldn’t find any other way to quit some programs. One of the updates seems to have fixed this, and most everything again has an X at the top right. There’s no Start menu, but I never used it much. The menu that comes up from WindowsKey-X is good enough. Most of the keyboard shortcuts still work. WindowsKey toggles back and forth between the desktop and that useless Start screen. Speaking of useless, Bing weather is that.

Powershell is good.

The computer is a generic Dell, bought off the shelf. So far I haven’t been able to get it to boot from anything but the hard drive, even though other options are there. They really don’t want you booting anything but Windows. It looks like it can be done if I turn off SecureBoot, but there are dire warnings. I want to read a bit more. Windows 8 Hacks by Preston Gralla has been helpful, though nothing there about SecureBoot; not that there needs to be, since that isn’t unique to Windows 8.

The whole environment does feel very intrusive and pushy. Give us your phone number; buy this; link that with your email account; is that your cellphone I’m detecting? You’ll want to link that to your email, right?

They’ve managed to screw up solitaire, which is now an over-animated mess that wants me to buy an X-box and subscribe to something.

But overall, it’s mostly harmless. Read a less favorable impression here. I understand if you pay more you can have Windows 7.

UPDATE: An update added window controls to “apps” like solitaire, mail, and the Kindle reader so they can be closed with the mouse by clicking on the X in the upper right corner of the window. But it turns out that clicking the X makes it disappear, but it’s still running according to the task manager. Alt-f4 does kill it. I don’t care for this. The computer belongs to me, not to Microsoft, or some consortium of corporate partners. If close a program, I want it to stop running, not to go hide behind a curtain. So, back to Alt-f4.


2 Replies to “Windows 8.1”

  1. Their desperation to have me link things is the main reason I’m against it. My tablet is awful about this. I had to create a whole other email account just for that, and I’m constantly trying to prevent my real amazon account from finding out about my amazon/kindle/tablet account. Why? Well, because they want to know so bad — it can’t be to my advantage if it’s to theirs. I’m about to lose hotmail altogether because they demand my real phone number.

    It’s perhaps not a sound analysis, but I blame facebook for successfully starting social media and the idea that we ought to have an online identity. I don’t want to be a person online. I just want to use the internet.

    Now I’ll just fill in my e-mail and my name and post this comment ;-)

    1. Right there with you. I’ve got to get this SecureBoot scheme figured out, so I can boot up what I want.

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