Sanity At Last: Windows 8.1 Boot to Desktop Update Is All Good

Written by Gina Smith

At least. A Windows 8.1 update that will let users bypass the Start Screen and boot to desktop by DEFAULT is all good. And it’s headed to Win 9, sources say. —  As writer Preston Gralla notes in his excellent Windows 8 commentary over at ComputerWorld, there’s good news ahead for Windows 8.1 users. An expected booting change in a Windows 8.1 update and in Windows 9 that will let users forgo the much-hated Start Screen and go direct to desktop by default is practically heaven sent.

windows8-1-start-menu-microsoft-creditIt’s great news for customers. In the update and in the upcoming Windows 9, sources tell aNewDomain, users will finally get a version of Windows they won’t have to wrestle with.  At least Start Screen-wise.The strange tablet-cum-desktop UI is a huge hassle for IT, corporate and home users alike. And, if anything, it’s slowing adoption of an otherwise solid system.

And it’s especially great news for Microsoft. Microsoft is well known for sticking with unpopular features — just out of sheer, hard-headed stubbornness and a snotty “we know better than you” mentality. This news heralds the fact that Microsoft, at last, is growing up. As Gralla notes in his commentary here, it isn’t so much that Microsoft is backpedaling. Rather, Microsoft is waking up to the reality of what customers are crying out for and, at long last, finally delivering it.

Sources tell that Microsoft will also include the boot to desktop default change as part of its Windows 9 feature preview at the upcoming Mobile World Congress (MWC 2014) in Barcelona.

In ComputerWorld, Preston Gralla addresses the question that is on everyone’s mind. Why was this UI such an ugly baby out of the gate? Was there no usability testing up in Redmond? In his piece, Gralla writes:

It’s still not clear why Microsoft decided to design such a kludge in the first place, forcing a touch-based, tablet-oriented operating system on top of one designed for traditional computers … and forcing even users of traditional computers to default to the tablet-oriented one … It’s likely that Microsoft hoped that by forcing users of traditional PCs to use a tablet-focused operating system, (users) would get used to the way it worked, and want to buy Windows tablets instead of those from the competition …  We know how that worked out — a $900 million write-off in unsold tablet inventory … and users of traditional computers shunning Windows 8 … So if the Windows 8.1 update does default to the desktop, it’s a good thing. But it also points to a serious problem for Microsoft: If users bypass the Start screen, they’ll never get around to running what were once called Metro apps.

We’ll be following Windows news for you here at aNewDomain and covering MWC 2014 for you in Barcelona, too. To read the full version of Gralla’s piece, click here.

For, I’m Gina Smith.


    • No, but the fact that you have to do it at all is just plain silly. And the fact that the desktop is still sullied in favor of the Metro interface, for non-tablets is silliness compounded. It’s great that you can run Metro apps on a desktop, but making it the centerpiece is like putting brakes on the steering column and the accelerator on the console.

  • […] Microsoft Windows 8.1 update will soon be in its final rev. Not a major update — think of it more as a service or feature pack — it does make Windows 8.1 easier for those users who’ve had a hard time losing the traditional desktop.  to use. If you’re system still is running Windows 8, it’s time to update to Windows 8.1. Then, in a couple of months, you’ll be able to enjoy the new update hassle-free. […]