I’ve been playing with Windows 8.1 – what we used to call a Service Pack. So far, it what we have come to expect of modern Microsoft service packs – solid, incremental improvements, with little spectacular fireworks for the marketing people to get hold of.
The install is straightforward, but really does only 1 thing that most people care about – make it look more like Windows 7. You can boot straight into desktop mode (Which is a blessing for those without touch devices), and you have an icon masquerading as a Start Button in the left-hand corner. It’s not a start button, it just does what the Windows key on your keyboard does, and I’ve never really understood why people were so obsessed with a Start button anyway, but…well, there it is, if you want it.
Should you download it? There’s no great reason not to – it’s a 3.5 GB download, but only takes about an extra half-gig of your disk space when installed, and the process is very smooth – expect maybe 30 minutes of actual downtime. It won’t change your life, but there are some nice little incremental improvements which may make things a little easier for you. I’ll be installing it on all my machines ASAP.