I Love My New Computer. I Hate Windows 8.1

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I’m typing on the new computer I ‘built’ a few weeks ago. It’s ‘built,’ not built, because I didn’t actually put the components into their slots. That honor went to a tech at Fry’s. It was built with parts I specified after lots of research and angst. It is custom in every sense of the word.

In nearly every respect this box performs better than anticipated. Because its system drive is an SSD, instead of a mechanical hard drive, it boots in under 20 seconds. Photoshop, a major beast of a program, lights up in under three seconds!

The system was built to manipulate stills and videos while being quiet. It does both very well. High def video is often rendered faster than its realtime running length!

Having two 1920×1080 monitors (which I bought at BestBuy) has given me loads of desktop real estate, making nearly everything I do easier. Two, three, four or more programs can be open simultaneously. That’s a web design game changer.

All that being said, Windows 8.1 is the weakest link. For a longtime Windows user this latest Microsoft iteration is non-intuitive while adding extra steps and hoops to jump through.

What were they thinking?

The problem is Windows 8 was built to be used in touchscreen and keyboard scenarios. It comes up short when you are forced to use actions more suitable to a tablet on a keyboard and mouse computer. It is frustrating.

My friend Peter Mokover is in the final stages of building a similar computer. He asked which OS to use, Windows 7 or 8.1?¹ I’m not sure.

Windows 7 is a better bet right now. But, as a geek, it’s tough to not use the latest operating system which is still in active development. I won’t be surprised if he grits his teeth and goes with Windows 8.1, even knowing it’s bad.

For my purposes (and Peter’s) a Windows alternative is not an option. Too many of the specialized programs we need only run on this platform.

For most general users who basically surf and read email, Microsoft is shooting themselves in the foot! Nowadays web based apps are replacing OS specific programs. This debacle will only push more people to Android or Apple’s OSX and IOS.

Here’s my rundown:

  • Windows 8.1 (x64) (build 9600)
  • CPU: 3.50 gigahertz Intel Core i7-4770K
  • Motherboard: Z87-G45 GAMING (MS-7821) 1.0
  • RAM: 16328 Megabytes Usable Installed Memory
  • Drive: Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB [Hard drive] (250.06 GB) — drive 0
  • Drive: WDC WD2002FAEX-007BA0 [Hard drive] (2000.40 GB) — drive 1
  • Video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 [Display adapter]
  • Monitor (2): AOC 2367 [Monitor] (23.1″vis, s/n BEGD89A000462, August 2013)
  • Case: Thermaltake Soprano

¹ – Windows 8.1 is a free, service upgrade to Windows 8 after the original cry from users. It is a small, incremental improvement over the original.

11 Responses to “I Love My New Computer. I Hate Windows 8.1”

  1. Carla B says:

    So glad to hear I am not alone with my dislike of Windows 8. I find it totally counter intuitive for this long time Windows user and IT professional. I am not at all clear what to do with this ‘desktop’ and why I need it. Guess I’m stuck with it now – hoping it’ll grow on me.

  2. NancyB says:

    Never thought about it being designed for touch screen use. I find it very frustrating especially because it’s on my husband’s computer. It’s hard for me to just say “do this, do that” when I don’t know myself what’s going on! Makes me think Windows Vista.

  3. Bill W says:

    I work for a company that provides warranty work for Dell, IBM and Lenovo computers and I have yet to meet a customer that likes Windows 8. I am constantly being asked if its possible to downgrade to Windows 7.

  4. DAF says:

    My colleagues who work in the sciences (and need serious stuff unlike me…) HATE 8.

  5. Windows 8 is the reason I switched to Apple. The Apple computer is fast, you don’t get bombarded with ads, and they have a great support system.

  6. Anne says:

    I have a new Dell that came with Windows 8, which was upgraded to 8.1 within 4 hours of turning it on. While not perfect, 8.1 apparently fixed a bunch of things that people hated about 8. I’m surprised at how much I’m liking using 8.1 and the different UI. Takes some adjusting but I also have a touch screen, and so far, like it just fine.

  7. Donna says:

    I hate Windows too! I always switch over to the “desktop” when I’m on it.

  8. Try StartIsBack, it makes many of the Windows 8 pains go away.

  9. Penny says:

    Hi Geoff, I have never wrote to you before but I do follow your blog and could use some advice from you. I am looking for a very easy laptop. I just want mail, news, facebook and every day stuff like that. My computer right now freezes up on so many things so I thought I’d go shopping on Black Friday. Any ideas? Thanks.

    • Geoff Fox says:

      I don’t know enough about individual products to recommend. What I do is read lots of reviews, especially on Amazon. Nowadays, if you’re web surfing and sending email primarily ANY CURRENT CONFIGURATION should do the job. What you want is reliability and mechanical integrity.

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