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Microsoft Gets Down to Business with Windows 8.1

One year ago, Microsoft took a big gamble when they released Windows 8 with a new user interface that strayed from their successful twenty year-old template. Throughout the year, Microsoft has been listening to user feedback and they have recently addressed the biggest issues with Windows 8.1, the first major upgrade to Microsoft’s newest OS.

What’s Fixed with 8.1?

Windows 8.1 is a significant upgrade because it addresses the most common gripes with Windows 8. Here are four of the biggest issues Microsoft remedies with Windows 8.1.

  • Fixed: No Start button.
  • Fixed: The touch screen user interface was viewed as counterintuitive to navigate with a mouse and keyboard.
  • Fixed: Toggling between the new UI and the Windows 7-like desktop felt clunky.
  • Fixed: Windows 8 did not allow for a direct boot into the traditional desktop interface which gave access to legacy programs like Microsoft Office.

While Microsoft has done a lot with Windows 8.1 to make their product easier to navigate, Windows 8.1 is actually much more than a cosmetic upgrade. One of the most attractive selling points with the Windows 8.1 download is that many of its features have been improved with the needs of modern businesses in mind.

  • The Power User menu: Makes it easier to shut down, restart, or put your PC/device to sleep.
  • Search: Improved search capabilities include both results from your local network and the Internet.
  • Search Hero: A new feature that takes search results from your device and the web, and presents the results to you in the form of an easy-to-read page containing graphics and videos.
  • Top settings: A new feature that conveniently displays the settings you adjust the most so you don’t have dig into the menu for every adjustment.
  • Windows Store: A list of apps relating to the app you’re currently viewing is now along the side of what you’re shopping for.

In addition to these upgrades, Microsoft has also improved Windows 8.1 with better IT controls, security features, and device management capabilities, making it a solid product for businesses that should be taken seriously by any network administrator.

Is Windows 8.1 Right for Your Business?

These enterprise-level improvements will go a long way to dispel the image that Windows 8 is a consumer product meant only for mobile devices. This is a stigma that Microsoft has battled since the release of Windows 8, and their situation is not helped by the fact that workstations are still preferred by businesses over mobile devices, and Windows RT (the mobile version of Windows 8) has done little to put a dent in the iOS and Android domination in the mobile marketplace.

The timing of the Windows 8.1 release is a bit peculiar considering everything that Microsoft has going on right now. With the end of support date for Microsoft XP fast approaching this April, there are still hundreds of millions of users still in need of an upgrade from XP. More times than not, a business finally letting go of XP will gravitate towards Windows 7 for its reliability and familiarity, but now that Microsoft has addressed several of the biggest Windows 8 concerns with 8.1, it may make businesses think twice about choosing Window 8 over 7.
With all of the different Microsoft operating systems, you have to ask yourself, “What about Windows 9?” Currently, Windows 9 is unavailable because 7 ate 9.

For assistance upgrading your operating system on all the workstations and devices supported on your company’s network, give New England Network Solutions a call at (781) 933-9300.

Client Feedback

“We are about 60% more effective, since we contracted with NENS. The new IT structure helped our office work more efficiently and NENS was able to help make our performance faster. NENS was able to diagnose issues quickly and fix them in a timely manner.”

—Kristen Hammond
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