Windows 8.1 Update 1 is here

If you have Windows 8, the new update has arrived. Wait I should clarify, if you have Windows 8.1 you have a new update. Anyone still on Windows 8 cannot get the new update until they go to the Windows Store and update from there to 8.1 and then proceed to update to Update 1.

Win 8.1 Update 1 Start Screen

Win 8.1 Update 1 Start Screen

For the update, you will need at least two sessions of updates. Even though I keep my pc and tablet fully updated, the first set of updates was fairly small, but included several parts. Once that reboot was completed I ran Update again and discovered the larger update (about 427mb on 32-bit, its higher on 64-bit). It took a bit longer and completed a reboot. If you have a tablet for Windows, much of the below will not be an issue since it is only desktops that are affected my most of the changes.

The main change you will notice right away is there is a power button and a search button near your picture in the upper right. There is more functionality added in the update (of which I won’t be touching on all of it) but visually this is the first thing you will notice. I am not a big fan of these two additions.

A power button is NOT needed. I don’t shut down the computer, it hibernates and wakes up when I need it. Saves power and is easy. But people complained that it was a little too hidden in the charms menu and so here it is on my Start Screen with no way currently to remove it (see update at end of article – you can now do it). There is also a redundant Search icon since to search in Windows 8.1 you only needed type when you are on the Start Screen – something that Microsoft didn’t do a good job of explaining to people so they thought Search wasn’t available. All the icon does is open the charm to allow you to then type in to search – an extra step! Another button I wish was gone.

You can interact more with the desktop and the Modern interface by pinning apps to the start menu and even see the taskbar show up from hiding in the Modern environment. I like the addition EXCEPT it doesn’t work when you have the taskbar at the top of the screen like I do. In fact I feel it is the more logical placement (due to most controls for windows being at the top of the screen I cut down on mouse movement) but the majority of users have it down at the bottom (though maybe due to that being the default location and not realizing it moves). I don’t really mind that the taskbar doesn’t show up for me, but it is poor design to not consider the taskbar being placed there. Incidentally I did get the taskbar to appear once at the top of the screen when in a Modern app, but I was unable to duplicate it after several tries. This is why I consider it broken.

The reason it doesn’t work correctly is because Modern apps now have a titlebar  similar to regular desktop programs that appears from hiding when your mouse moves up there. It allows you to minimize or close the app on the right and on the left, click the app icon and you can snap the app using the mouse instead. Another feature I don’t think is needed, but people apparently need to be coddled by the comfort of the desktop – unable to learn new ways of doing things.

Finally one last portion of the update to mention. It will show you when you have installed new apps on the Start Screen with a little message down in the lower left. It is helpful, BUT it doesn’t go away unless you find the app and click on it. (Perhaps it will go away after a day, I haven’t tested that yet, but clicking on the message and returning to the Start Screen did not remove it). The reason it was added is because people, I guess, were installing apps and then forgetting about them. Why did they forget? Because Microsoft took away the original behavior of pinning the apps to the Start Screen. This was BETTER! It was so easy to drag apps into your groups and/or unpin the app when it showed up automatically, PLUS you didn’t forget about it. I cannot stand having to go into All Apps and locate the new app and pin it, AND THEN move it where I want.

Nearly every single update has appeased people who struggled with Windows 8.1, when in fact it was better the way it was. Now it takes many more steps to get some things done than it did before, even on a desktop. There are improvements like the right-click on Start Screen for mouse users that is a nice addition, but overall things are being dumbed down too much. This is my initial opinion of using the update and I am open to changes, but this update is a step backwards far more than it is a step towards fixing Windows 8’s shortcomings.


Update: You can remove the Power button. Thanks for the WinSupersite. < Click Link. At least that takes care of one of my complaints.

Alternatively you can download this file (Do NOT open it) and rename it with a .reg extension and run it. Remove Power Button


51-yr-old father of 3, work in telemarketing, like computers and technology

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Posted in Start Screen, Windows 8

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