The Realm of the Verbal Processor

Jarvis's Ramblings

Windows 8.1–Initial Impressions

This is a follow on to my “No-Windows 8 Does Not Suck” post that I finally got around to posting.

Last week I loaded the RTM of Windows 8.1 on my production laptop…and yes I did it legally. Kind of a long story behind why that is the case. The short story is that the company I work for is a Microsoft Partner…they are both a Large Account Reseller (LAR) and a System Integrator (SI). I think there are only eleven companies in the world that are both. Net result of that is that for last year or so, the LAR+SI companies have had to do licensing for Windows a bit differently…essentially we were told to use MSDN keys for our production systems that were moving to Windows 8. Odd…but okay…MS told us to.

Now…on to the impressions of Windows 8.1…

I did the upgrade on my laptop last week without any issues. I didn’t time it (kicked it off and went to put my son to bed), but I think it finished in less than an hour. I did notice a few small things after it was done. Below is my list of observations…would love to hear of any new/cool things that you discover as well.

  1. All of the websites that I had told IE to remember my passwords for…no longer have the passwords saved. But…since the update included IE11 that kinda makes sense.
  2. I had to reinstall the Cisco AnyConnect VPN. I chose the “Repair” option and it seemed to work.
  3. My laptop monitor was seen as a “Generic PnP Monitor”, so the screen didn’t look very good initially. Had to go into advanced settings and update driver for the Monitor. See screenshots…SNAGHTMLa4e598a
  4. One observation that I still haven’t nailed down…everything on my laptop screen seems bigger now. I’ve checked the resolution and it is set correctly…but everything seems just slightly bigger. Outlook in particular seems like it is zoomed in. It actually makes it easier to read, but it is definitely different than before.
  5. Another odd one is on one specific web page… In the past there were navigation arrows that appeared on the picture on the page that rotated every five or so seconds. The nav arrows let you go forward or backwards. Now the arrows appear for a few seconds when the page first loads but then disappear and they don’t come back. It’s actually pretty annoying because if you see something that you are interested in you have to wait until it rotates back around in order to click on it. Update: This has since been fixed.
  6. Java had to be reinstalled.
  7. There are new start screen customization options that are pretty nice. Multiple size tiles (small, med, wide, large). More obvious way of naming application groups.
  8. There is a new “Help+Tips” app…very good for users who are new to Windows 8. Something that honestly should have been there from the beginning.
  9. A new “Reading List” app. Enables you to push a web page that you want to read later to a common area for delayed consumption. Haven’t used it yet, but it looks promising. Only works with the “modern” app version of IE though. Won’t use it on my non-touch laptop…but will on my Surface when the update becomes available.
  10. Photos app has new editing functions that look very promising.
  11. “Modern” apps have new size options. Can run up to four of them on one screen at a time. I haven’t used those apps much on my laptop…but could see doing that now that I can have multiple on a screen.
  12. Right clicking the new Start button gives the option to shut down or sign out.
  13. There is a start button (which takes you to the Start Screen), and the Start Screen can be customized by an enterprise to give a specific configuration for your users before you deploy it to them. I personally don’t care about the start button…but I see it being needed to block enterprise deployments because of training fears.
  14. I saw issues with both and when I tried to start a WebEx meeting. The WebEx meeting webpage gave a message that “Java is not working”. had an issue where the rotating graphics of the “top” stories…the ones that load five at a time. The first five would load fine. When it went to 6-10, the stories would be simply blank white space instead of the pictures of the stories. The source code on the page indicates that it is all Javascript. The answer to both of these it to put both and in the “Compatibility View” settings in IE.


Overall…very nice and stable update to an already very good OS.

September 26, 2013 - Posted by | Windows 8


  1. I had the same issue with everything being bigger on my laptop screen (most noticeable in Outlook) and found the only way to get it back to looking correctly sized was to changed the resolution on the laptop screen then put it back again. Outlook went back to the correct size even though the screen and icons were the right size already. I had to do this after every reboot. HP release a new graphics driver and the problem went away.

    Comment by Stephen | October 1, 2013

  2. RE: Point 4. This will probably be due to the display settings for items set to 125% or 150% to make things more readable on high resolution displays.

    Comment by madluka | October 1, 2013

  3. I believe the reason you’re seeing things appear to be larger is that 8.1 introduced some changes to scaling display elements, which looked terrible before on higher (think 4k) resolution screens.

    Comment by FoxDeploy | October 2, 2013

  4. Just got the .ISO from our MAPS downloaded last night. Gonna give 8.1 a shot this afternoon!

    Comment by Jason Buckner | October 18, 2013

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