Microsoft Tribe


Windows 8.1 Spring Update Thoughts


I recently updated my test computer running Windows 8.1 using the Spring Update, and I have some thoughts concerning the changes.

1. Windows overall feels a bit snappier. "Metro" apps load a good deal faster as well.

2. If you are strictly and non-touch Desktop user, this update allows you to strip out practically any hint of "Metro." That said, even if you disable access to app switching in the upper-left corner and the charms bar in the upper-right corner, you'll still trigger the Charms bar in the lower-right corner if your cursor hovers a bit too close when showing the Desktop. Still obnoxious, but there are plenty of alternate ways to show the Desktop.

3. Should you bring up the Start screen, you can pull up the Desktop task bar just by dragging your cursor to the bottom of the screen. Combined with the option to match the Start screen background to the Desktop, this provides a much more cohesive experience. If you also have Windows set to list Desktop apps first and foremost, then the Start screen feels more like an extended Start menu, which should be enough to sate all but the most recalcitrant Windows 7 users.

4. You can close "Metro" apps by using the moving the cursor to the upper right corner, which causes minimize and close icons to appear. Again, a nice nod to Desktop users than really only appears if you user a mouse.

5. I'm not sure if this was an issue before, but you can't seem to close "Metro" apps completely. Dragging them to the bottom of the screen or clicking the new "X" button in the upper right merely changes their status to "Suspended" under Processes in Task Manager. You have to manually End Task there if you really want the app gone.

6. A new green Windows Store icon appears at the end of the Desktop task bar. Too bad this pulls up the "Metro" environment as well. Maybe it's just to get people more used to thinking of Desktop and "Metro" as two sides of the same OS (since you can now pin both kinds to the task bar). Still, I would prefer if when you open Store on the Desktop that it default to showing Desktop apps that you can download.

With all that having been said, what do you (well, those who have updated early) think of the Spring Update so far? What else do you wish to see implemented going forward?