So, the latest somewhat hyped update for Windows 8.1 have arrived and have been installed on both my desktop PC and my tablets and it does indeed contain some features that makes the OS more usable on a desktop PC with a mouse and keyboard. Having said that, it also has to be said that none of these features are very impressive in themselves and, more importantly, all of them should have been there from the start. Actually, at few of them is rather disappointing and half-assed in their implementation.
I still have a hard time getting over how Microsoft really botched up the introduction of Windows 8. It is a great tablet-OS and could have been a great OS on desktops as well if some outright morons at Microsoft had not allowed it to be released before it was finished and thus alienating all us PC-users that actually use our computers for real work and not just for playing around with. At least I hope this utter clusterfuck was due to the OS being released prematurely because if the 8.0 version was meant to be released like that and someone thought they could push that new UI down all the users throats then Microsoft either have hired outright idiots or some saboteurs from Apple.
Anyway, as I wrote, the features are indeed welcome, even though they should have been there from the start. Here are some of the most noteworthy and my impression of them.
Right-clicking on a tile in the start menu now gives you a proper context menu. Although the way it worked before was not really a problem for me this is more consistent with a mouse interface and a totally obvious feature that should never have come like this as afterthought.
A mouse user now have a shutdown button at the top of the start menu. I guess some people like that although I have to say that I was never really bothered by the placement of shutdown in the ordinary Windows 8 corner menu.
You get what looks like a traditional title bar on Modern UI apps when you hover the mouse close to the top of the screen. Not much to write home about except that this gives you a traditional close button in the top right corner so mouse users do not have to perform the drag down maneuver, which is rather awkward with a mouse, when closing an application. Great, or so I thought. Unfortunately the close button do not really close the app but just hibernates it. Thus if you want to actually close an application you still have to do the drag down and hold maneuver. I quite dislike this hibernate nonsense. I want to decide myself when an app is closed or not.
The feature that I found most disappointing was the ability to pin Modern UI apps in the taskbar of the desktop. This was something that I was really looking forward to. The first thing I did was to pin the email app to the taskbar. Unfortunately my joy was rather quickly turned into disappointment. It turns out that icon in the taskbar is not a live one. Thus you still have no indication of whether or not you have new mails pending when you are in the desktop. At least none that I have found out. If I am mistaken I would love to be corrected. Otherwise, come one Microsoft! This is just crap.
It is obvious that these features seems to have been slapped on as an afterthought which is rather disappointing. I am sure that there a few more new features and the OS have also, reportedly, been trimmed down is memory requirements although I have not really verified if there are some noticeable differences. However, these were the ones that I was looking forward to. Unfortunately Microsoft have been in the habit of disappointing me lately and so also this time. I do welcome these features but they where not what I hoped for.