On Monday, 2/6/14, I decided to install Windows 8.1 (free for 8.0 users). After waiting literally an hour or two, it finished downloading and, after waiting another hour for it to restart and set up, and waiting for it to set up my account (no data was lost, if you’re concerned); was it really worth it?

My answer is yes, if you’re sure you have things to do while it’s restarting. You can still use your computer while Win 8.1 is downloading.

So what changed?

First of all, there is now a start button. On desktop mode, it is always there; and in other programs, it appears if you move to the bottom-left of the screen (instead of showing a big rectangle).

Also, other (non-desktop) programs appear on the desktop taskbar, and when using one of these programs, moving to the top edge of the screen allows you to minimise or close the window.

The start screen (still exists and) now enables you to have three sizes of tiles:

  1. Standard (medium) size,
  2. Wide size,
  3. And the new “Small” size

Basically, Wide is twice the width of Medium, and Small is ΒΌ the size of Medium (will fit in a 2×2 grid where a Medium tiles would fit).

Also, Win 8.1 offers you the option to boot to desktop (default in 8.1) instead of the start screen. And to the right where your account name is on the start screen, there is a power button (no more moving to the right of the screen, clicking settings, clicking “Power” and choosing) and a search button, which I find mostly redundant because just typing has an identical effect. There is also a button to show all your apps/programs/applications/executables, and now tiles of programs that don’t have an image or colour set take on a colour derived from the icon itself.

An important note is that “My Computer” becomes “This PC”.

Personally, I think that upgrading to Windows 8.1 is alright and worth the hassle, taken you have something to do during those last hours. You can use your computer whilst Win 8.1 is downloading, just not whilst it restarts.