The time came to finally say goodbye to my beloved Windows 7 and say hello to Windows 8.1. Although it was exciting to get a new computer, I was slightly hesitant to dive into the new UI because of some of the negative reviews I’d read.
I can say that setup was a breeze and that there’s a bit of a learning curve, even for a tech enthusiast like myself. Changing the wallpaper was easy, but it took some swiping around and a Google search to figure out how to change the background on my lock screen. It also took a bit to figure out that the power button was hidden under Settings in the charms bar. Another hurdle I had was finding my programs on the start screen once they were installed. And yes, I felt very stupid once I figured out they were a simple upward swipe from the bottom of the screen.
I like how Microsoft incorporated the new ribbons into Windows 8.1. If you use Office, using the ribbon in the folders is intuitive. If you don’t use Office, it might take some hunting to figure out how to view the ribbon. I also have to give Microsoft kudos for making it easy to show file extensions for the old time users like myself. I’ll never understand why people wouldn’t want to show file extensions, but I’m old school.
So, once I had everything configured to meet my needs, I had to figure out that damn start screen. The first few times I looked at it, it felt kind of gimmicky, then I started to think of it as the home screen on my Android phone and tablet and it clicked, this is all the information you want to see when you first turn your computer on. So I started to move tiles around, resize some and remove others. I set up a tile to keep track of my stocks, one to display my Google calendar (I had to go to the Windows Store for the free Google app), show my Photos, Facebook, etc… The other section was for work, so it has my Adobe CC apps, Office apps, my business folder, etc… I’m telling you, if you give the start screen some thought, it will be your friend. Customization is a simple tap and hold, just like on your phone.
Now that I’ve been working with Windows 8.1 for about a week, I have to say that I really like it. I’m glad that I spent a little extra and got a touch screen, which is where computing is going anyhow, and it really didn’t take all that long to figure out where everything is.
The new Windows is very different. I like where it’s going and am more than willing to go along for the ride. It’s not going to win me over to a Windows phone, but I’m getting used to the start screen and find myself using it more and more every day. I now wonder how long it will be before we say goodbye to the desktop portion of Windows.