Skip to comments.Goodbye Windows 8, hello Windows 8.1
Posted on 07/30/2013 11:15:24 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Consider the following: Internet Explorer 11 is available as a preview for Windows 7 or as part of the Windows 8.1 preview, but not for Windows 8. Similarly, PowerShell 4 will run on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, but not Windows 8 even though it will be available for Windows Server 2012, which is the same core code as Windows 8.
So does this mean Microsoft giving up on Windows 8? Um, no.
Windows 8.1 is Windows 8, as far as Microsoft is concerned. It's an update to Windows 8 that will be available in the Windows Store, free of charge. It has new APIs that aren't in Windows 8 that Internet Explorer can use.
Microsoft will port some but not all of those back to Windows 7 for IE 11; as we understand it, the HTML5 Media Source Extensions and Encrypted Media Extensions support that lets you stream Netflix in IE 11 without needing a plugin won't make it to Windows 7.
It has new versions of the controls developers built apps with too; the new alarms and timer app in Windows 8.1 uses the Windows 8.1 version of a control that's three times faster than the Windows 8 control on a low-end PC. "We could have done a lot of profiling of data, a lot of tweaking or we could just upgrade to the version 8.1 control," program manager Steven Abrams said at the Build conference.
Couldn't Microsoft just port those APIs and controls to Windows 8 as well? Well, it already has that's Windows 8.1.
Microsoft is betting that if you're prepared to install a new version of the browser and the updates to make it work, you'll be willing to do that as part of an update that also gives you the Start button so many people have been asking for and a bunch of new features.
Microsoft is also trying to put out a 'new version' of Windows in a year, rather than three, with a new version of the browser in a year rather than 18 months (which is how long it took to get from IE 9 to IE 10) and as part of a continuous development schedule that put the usual SP1 contents into Windows 8 before it went on sale and has given us 700 improvements to Windows 8 since then.
Given that there are only so many hours in the day and only so many engineers on the team, it makes sense that Microsoft has decided to prioritise resources for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 and create, test and support two versions of the IE 11 preview rather than three.
Keeping up with a continuous development cadence is going to require Microsoft to make a lot of rational decisions that don't make everyone feel warm and fuzzy. Similarly, when IE 12 comes along, I expect it to only run on Windows 7 and Windows 8.2.
You can also expect to see a significant push to get you to upgrade to Windows 8.1. The way Microsoft is trying to make that acceptable to end users and businesses alike is by making upgrading easier and promising compatibility. "Upgrading to Windows 8.1 is simple as the update does not introduce any new hardware requirements and all existing Windows Store apps are compatible," says Erwin Visser, the Windows general manager who handles the business side of the market.
That means that all Windows 8 devices will run Windows 8.1, that all Windows 8 Windows Store apps will run on Windows 8.1 (something they're working on but that isn't true in the preview), that drivers and desktop applications will work in the same way. And that upgrading to Windows 8.1 won't mean wiping systems and installing a corporate image and reloading your applications and data. Visser calls upgrading to Windows 8.1 much more like running updates or installing a service pack. And if you were planning on switching to Windows 8, just plan to switch to 8.1 instead.
To use the car metaphor that's so popular, in a year, the Windows team isn't rebuilding the car or even fitting a new engine; it's changing the tyres, swapping out the instruments on the dashboards, fitting a new car radio and tuning the engine control software.
It's worth noting that it's different for servers. A server upgrade is a major task and Microsoft doesn't expect anyone to upgrade their servers every year; the best they can hope for is that any new servers you put in place will run the latest version of Windows Server. Also, Windows Server 2012 R2 is a major upgrade from Server 2012, with a significant number of new features it's a much more impressive and compelling update than Windows 8.1, ironically. Windows Server 2012 systems will be around for a long time so they need PowerShell 4 and its major management improvements like Desired State Configuration.
Microsoft hopes that Windows 8 won't be around for long after Windows 8.1 comes out. It hopes everyone using Windows 8 will upgrade, just as it hopes we're all using automatic updates to keep our PCs up to date. After all, we're telling Microsoft to keep up with Apple and Android; surely we want the new, improved stuff, especially as it's free with better features why wouldn't you want that, thinks Microsoft. And if it can just get us to keep updating our PCs year after year, it will never have to deal with a decade of XP again.
With that combination of incentive and what we're telling Microsoft we want, why would it make sense for it to give us any reason to stay on Windows 8 when we've been so vocal about telling Microsoft to change it?
Hubby says every other OS is OK, you need the odd numbered ones.
I actually bought a lap top this year because i realized if I waited I’d be stuck with windows 8.
What are you running, Enterprise Preview?
Windows-D and it's gone. Big whoop. Takes half a second.
Nope. Just the standard 8.1 preview.
i've had the same problem with Flash Player on OpenSUSE 12.3. It's not just a Windows issue. Flash is just a piece of garbage.
I run windows 7 at work. I have at least 3 program crashes a day.
I guess I should be happy that it is no longer the entire system crash that I used to get with XP.
Apple has gone to yearly updates of OS X - not as large as previous "point" releases, but it ensures the OS evolves as a reasonable rate. I'd think a shorter OS cycle for Microsoft would help them prioritize what they need to be doing rather than the complete UI overhauls they insist on putting in every release.
Firefox's "new public release version every 32 hours or so" schedule is indeed insane, however.
I love XP but the first thing I did was switch over to the classic set up so I could find everything I needed. Make that default with the new as an option and products may catch on faster. Oh and Touch Screen Desktop W-8? Come on MS get real and practical. That one should not have made it past their first level supervisor's desk.
It won’t cause the fury Win8 did but the damage is done: this product cycle was a complete disaster for and by them.
And they’re on-track to make things worse: they’ve got some seriously pissed off IT staffs looking straight at them and they don’t look like they’re backing down from the push to make a Core/Powershell server install ‘Best Practice’.
All of the tech companies in the Seattle region are getting hit hard - but, Microsoft the hardest - by someone they don’t even compete with: Amazon.com.
They’ve become a talent black hole, sucking in everyone they can get their hands on and it’s causing pain everywhere....
You wouldn’t believe how much my view of South Lake Union has changed in the last two years. To give you an idea of how bad/awesome it is, I took a look at the Amazon career page a couple weeks ago, submitting a search for “Manager” in “WA - Seattle”.....
I got 72 pages with 20 hits per page. lol
Your IT staff is the problem, there...or you have a vendor who’s failed to properly debug their software.
I yanked them off the Trusted/Preferred Vendors list for the BS they pulled this product cycle. They’re barely competent, scamming, and their responses to the problems they’ve created have been nothing less than insulting.
If you work in enterprise licensing at MS, you’re going to have a rather annoying year.
I’ve had to run the MAP tool three times for true up, and leadership is livid over the numbers they’re getting. I’m just an engineer, but I can see the writing on the wall. I’ve been pushing for Ubuntu server since it’s supported cheaper than RHEL.
The general consumer wouldn’t see the real problems with Win8: those are coming up in the workplace and are exasperated by nonsense Microsoft has thrown into other products.
They’ve tossed a ton of SMB IT staffs under the bus. You wouldn’t believe how infuriating it is to pay tens of thousands of dollars for “Software Assurance” licensing, only to have MS kick the training back 10 years. Now, instead of a few regulars calling about having forgotten a password every week or two, training and procedure docs have to be re-written, then classes have to be conducted and then we’re looking at 6 months of tapering-off questions and complaints.
Which is sort of fine if you don’t have any Access Data Projects in your domain AND YOU WERE TOLD A COUPLE YEARS AGO TO GET READY FOR THE CHANGE but, ADPs with SQL Server was a SMB best practice for almost 10 years: and MS yanked that data provider from Office 2013. It’s going to cost a minimum of $100,000 to fix that problem at my work. And you can’t wait around because copies of 2010 are getting snapped up all over by the suckers in the same boat as you.
With the economy the way it is, 25 million dollar companies can’t afford to get hit with unnecessary $100,000 IT expenses. Especially if there’s zero gain.
And there’s a lot more...like, this whole situation gets worse when looking at what MS wants to do with Server: or, what they don’t want to do....”work”. They’re grooming everyone for making a Core/PowerShell install of Server, the Best Practice and that means a living hell for SMB IT.
MS’s belief that overworked IT staffs aren’t going to have a problem admining a modern network via a “DOS” prompt, is insane at face value. There were what, 100 DOS commands in 6.22? MS just passed 500 PowerShell commands and applets/scripts.
Who has time to memorize that crap? And the only time you’re really going to need it is the worst time to have anything other than expertise in it: servers are down. So you’ll be sitting in a server-room, hunting through tech forums, on your cell phone (because those a-holes at MS don’t bother with help files, anymore), looking for a script someone said fixed a problem like yours, while the entire company is breathing down your neck.
Is that not enough reason for a little whining? If not, here’s some icing on the Eight Cake. it’s a scam. It’s Windows 7 with some functionality removed to speed it up, a Service Pack installed AND an alpha release of about a third of Windows 9 shoved in there: that’s Metro.
MS is getting their ass beaten by Apple and Google in the “App” marketplace and they have no product capable of producing the demand they need to catch up. Metro is their attempt to force that demand. There was no business reason, at all, to remove the Start Menu: zero. They didn’t even pull it until right before the RTM release of 8.
Touchscreens? No. Who’s dumb enough to deploy touchscreens anywhere other than tablets, laptops, POS/Retail outlets and kiosks? The ergonomic damage to the wrists 40+ hours a week can do is nothing compared to the suits that would start floating in over repetitive stress to the shoulder, neck and back, caused by the average office worker having a touchscreen
MS had to have known that: they aren’t pushing businesses to “go touch”. They were only concerned with forcing customers into the their App Store, and the only way they could do that was by removing the Start Menu: you don’t have to go into Metro if you have a Start Menu.
Oh...sorry. I didn’t mean to go off. I’m pretty pissed right now....lol
Anyway, the correct way to have pulled the Start Menu would have been to make it optional for Windows 8 and mandatory for Windows 9.