Apr 8 2014
So, I know a lot of friends, colleagues and acquaintances both online and IRL (in real life) have been anxious to get the much-awaited Update 1 to Windows 8.1 – the new features have been extensively discussed in various other sites, and it seems to (yet again) improve the overall UI / UX of the operating system.
All who have asked me in the last 18 months (which is when I started working with a beta or tech preview version) about my thoughts know that I, like many others, have mixed feelings about Windows 8. I can fully understand Microsoft’s priority in winning back the mobile / tablet / smartphone market, while trying to retain their massive desktop user base. Windows 8 was a klunky blend of two user interfaces – one the familiar desktop (or classic Windows) and another with the live tiles and the latter was, and is, perfect on tactile devices. The mix worked lousy in the traditional desktop environment with a mouse and keyboard and non-touch monitor. Despite months of trying to find optimal ways of using it, it seemed like I (and many others) spent way too much confusing time trying to be efficient in the environment on the desktop.
So Windows 8.1 improved on that quandary, and now Windows 8.1 Update 1 goes a bit further. I won’t post an in-depth review, but I thought I would share my install experience of the Update itself, which a lot of users were clamouring to get as of midnight EST today… the official release date.
I checked around 7am this morning using Windows Update, and nothing new was available. However this evening, low and behold, a bunch of significant updates (see 1st screenshot above) including a 427.4 MB Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355) which contains the main update files.
So as the screenshot shows, I selected all of the updates… and away we went. The machine in question is a 7 year old Intel Centrino Duo (Core Duo) laptop at 1.6 Ghz, 2GB of RAM, but a fast SSD. The download of the components (as seen in the next screenshot) took about 30-40 minutes, on an 802.11g Wi-Fi connection to a 10Mbps Videotron cable modem line. Relatively reasonable, I didn’t bother checking if the bottleneck was Wi-Fi or the cable modem or Microsoft servers or CDN.
After that, the restart and installation of the update took a good 10 minutes, after which we were in business!
This isn’t a full review (hopefully in the future) but I can certainly confirm that Windows 8.1. Update 1 is available in the Montreal, Quebec region in Canada and went very smoothly –even on relatively ancient hardware!