Saturday, November 9, 2013

Windows 8.1 Upgrade: Long, Difficult and with Data Loss

Upgrading from Windows 8.1 beta to the official Windows 8.1 release has been a terrible experience. I've been running on Windows 8 for a year and I like the operating system.  Yes, its a bit quirky as far as trying to create one user experience for desktops, tablets and mobile which was overly ambitious and fell short of the mark.   However it was stable, quick and usable and that's enough for me.  

Over the summer Microsoft release a beta of 8.1 with the following features:

1. Snap - the feature that lets you quickly have two windows open side by side.
2. Start button
3. Boot up in desktop mode.

It is worth noting that these were all in Windows 7 but removed from Windows 8.  While my upgrade to the Windows 8.1 beta required some time and several reboots, it was relatively painless. So you can imagine my shock and anger when I upgraded to the 8.1 official release this week and realized that all my installed software had been wiped out and required hours and hours to re-install everything. Not only that but some of my spreadsheets and other documents were also missing!

I had to re-install Office, Chrome, Acrobat, Skype and every other software I use. Then more time digging through backups for copies of my documents. Windows 8.1
 didn't even recognize my one year old Canon printer that was running perfectly under Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Preview.  I had to search the Canon site for drivers - the way we did it in the 1990s - and install my printer again. Aren't we a little too far along to have ridiculous upgrade experiences like this?? And even if we did, why wasn't there a huge warning upfront that all apps are about to be wiped out? It turns out that only those running Windows 8.1 Preview have the app and data loss issues.

In summary, here is my advice about who should upgrade to Windows 8.1:

Your Current Operating SystemMy Advice 
Windows 7 or earlier Don't bother.  Windows 7 is a stable, solid operating system.
Windows 8 Go for it.  You can get all those features back that you liked in Windows 7.  Yippee!
Windows 8.1 Preview Definitely not.  Unless you have hours to kill and enjoy swearing and pounding your desk with your fist.

Below is the marketing video from Microsoft highlighting the new features of Windows 8.1.  It's safe to say that Microsoft is completely confused.  The video shows a person with a desktop PC yet every single featured demoed in the video is done by touch.  How many people use touch sensitive screens on their desktop?  Also none of the three features listed above are noted even though these are the top three requested improvements when Windows 8 was released.


  1. Same experience as many others dude. Sympaties.

  2. Well.... I would only install Win8 to quickly disable all the Metro stuff. It's just hideous. Fortunately I just abandoned Windows altogether and moved to Ubuntu. I'm happy with that.

  3. I just updated to Windows 8.1 from a local account and it deleted the account and all my data. I called Microsoft - they said something was wrong with my computer before I updated - it was working fine! Any suggestions on looking for my data? It must still be on the hard drive? Unbelievable - I want a MAC!

  4. anything new, never upgrade, but do fresh installation...

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  6. Why did those of us who installed 8.1 preview, essentially beta users, get hosed with the update??? Note to Microsoft: A simple warning that the required update would wipe my installed applications would have been nice--coming into the office this morning and wasting 3 hours re-installing office, adobe, etc....unacceptable!

  7. The video shows a person with a desktop PC yet every single featured demoed in the video is done by touch. wealth accumulation phase life cycle