Windows 8 arrived in 2012 to a barrage of controversy. Microsoft decided to change things up considerably for its latest operating system, mostly as a result of the changing needs of consumers. With touchscreen tablets and monitors becoming the norm Microsoft clearly felt it had to evolve or risk dying. Hence the desktop-friendly Windows 8 being overlaid with the Modern UI (read Metro UI) geared towards that sector.
The Windows 8 sales figures have been solid so far, but the criticism from users hasn’t stopped since day one. Thankfully a major update, titled Windows 8.1 (formerly codenamed Windows Blue), is being released by the end of 2013. No one is yet sure what changes Windows 8.1 will bring, but we thought it was a good idea to seek your thoughts on the subject ahead of time.
We asked you, What Changes Do You Want To See In Windows 8.1? A good number of you weighed in on the debate, suggesting changes Microsoft should be making in order to turn Windows 8 into an unstoppable force. Some made it clear that they were already happy with the OS, but even they conceded it wasn’t perfect.
Having scoured the comments it’s possible to see some trends emerging from the mist. These are improvements or changes Microsoft could make to Windows 8 with the Windows 8.1 update which were suggested/requested by multiple MakeUseOf readers.
- A unification of the various app stores.
- The Aero effects from Windows 7 to return.
- Better customization options for individual users.
- An option to turn off the Start Screen.
- Bring back the Start button on the desktop.
- More support for games/older programs.
Comment Of The Week
We had great input from the likes of Nevzat A, Bern, and Rahul Chatterjee, to name just a few. Comment Of The Week goes to likefunbutnot, who receives the respect of myself and hopefully everybody reading this:
I’d like to see a greater degree of unification in the Settings Charm and the standard Control Panel (control.exe). I’m deeply annoyed that some but not all the tools contained in those places are duplicated and/or have multiple interfaces.
The Share Charm needs to be made WAY more useful. I want it to work like it does on Android. Even if they’d just expose something so that I can figure out how to add entries to it myself, that would be very helpful, but even some basic things like “Share via Google Talk” or “Put this on my Tumblr” would be nice.
Put a goddamned textbox at the bottom of the Start Screen so that people will know they can type. *I* don’t have a problem, but I know far too many people who struggle with how the Start Screen works.
I also think that it’s completely reasonable for the default search to include all of Programs, Settings and Files. That’s how searching from the start menu worked in Windows 7. It’s obnoxious that if I do take the time to search for a Setting that I have to change the context for the search.
Start button on the Desktop.
Start Screen customization needs to happen. It’s VERY “blah” right now. I’d like to be able to make some things much bigger (Desktop, Control Panel) and other things very small but not eliminate completely. As things stand there’s almost no customization at all.
Storage Spaces need to be a lot smarter than they are. That’s more of a Server 2012 complaint, but I didn’t really like having to pull everything off a 36TB array to get my server to re-balance duplicated files after I expanded to 72TB.
Give me a way to associate non-Metro apps with my Microsoft account so that I can download them automatically. When I sign in to a new Win8 machine with my Microsoft account, I get Plex and IM+ and a couple other things automatically. Can’t I get Firefox, Thunderbird, 7zip and Paint.net the same way?
How about a “Cloud Storage Center?” There’s a pretty simple flag to establish a default web browser and default media player, but at this point my main laptop has three different cloud storage apps installed. I’d love to have one location that’s sync’d or an easy way to distribute my cloud data rather than having to manually decide what goes where.
Windows 8 does not have a Metro-style file manager.
Many of the Metro-style apps don’t have a way to manage files or folders.
The ability to exclude data from Live Tiles on the Start screen and/or underlying Metro-style apps is essential and completely missing. Yes, I want those lovely private pictures of my special lady in my Pictures library. No, I don’t want them occasionally making a starring appearance on my Start Screen. Particularly not on a machine I might occasionally put in front of clients. I wound up creating a different user account to use to get around this deficiency.
Likewise, network administrators should probably be given some ability to control Windows 8?s magical ability to find and install network printers. I found out about that the hard way after deploying some new notebooks in an office and finding that they really like printing banner-size pictures of Grumpy Cat on an LPR-accessible Plotter. Yes, most network printers have some kind of ACL, but those are not terribly consistent in interface or capability.
Windows 8 will not read data from a hosts file by default, which Microsoft is a security feature of Windows Defender. Since I deploy hosts files for all sorts of things (e.g. client-based ad-blocking), this is a huge misfeature.
Not only is this an epic comment in terms of length, some great points are made about how Microsoft could improve Windows 8. A lot of the same gripes many others have with Windows 8 are brought up, but with a passionate turn of phrase that makes the whole thing entertaining to read.
We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps for your fellow MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.
Image Credit: Jon Fingas