On April 8, 2014, all Windows 8 users could officially upgrade to Windows 8.1, but are the changes enough to win over the critics? It’s designed to make Windows 8 more appealing to mouse and keyboard users as well as seriously increase security. It’s a crucial move for Microsoft, which is requiring all Windows 8.1 consumers to have the update installed if they want to keep downloading updates and security measures on the OS. According to Microsoft’s Premier Field Engineering blog, “Failure to install Windows 8.1. Update will prevent Windows Update from patching your system with any future updates starting with Updates released in May 2014 (get busy!).”
That little memo had a cold response from users who are tired of being shouldering the responsibility of dealing with bugs and subpar software. Windows 8 was received with very mixed reviews in 2013. Consumers either loved it or hated it with little room for middle ground. In fact, there were so many people desperate for older Windows versions that a number of hacks have been developed to make Windows 8 look like Windows 7 or another user-friendly interface.
However, if you haven’t upgraded to 8.1 (and are still using the original Windows 8), you’re not required to get the update. Mark Morowycynski of Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 8 will continue to be supported until at least January 2016. At that point, you’ll be required to upgrade to 8.1 or any other future Windows releases in order to keep receiving Microsoft support. The latest update includes every released update to date, and requires the running of Windows 8.1 (so if you want the upgrade and use Windows 8, you’ll need a two-part upgrade).
For some users who are also MSDN/TechNet subscribers, they got he update early on April 2, 2014. Early reports show that the updates help tremendously, especially for mouse users, and movement between desktops and “modern” is a lot smoother. However, you might still get a Desktop boot via default, but can change this in the start menu if you like.
Good to know
Whether you simply check your email on a tablet, do extensive research on how to get better sleep, or only use your computer for gaming, it’s crucial to know the benefits of the upgrade. The 8.1 Update is made up of many individual updates, and each are designed to slipstream into the upgrade “in the near term” according to Microsoft. If you’re not happy with your current OS, give the upgrade a try.