Much like my “Week 1″ article that coincided with the release of what we now call Windows 8.0 just about a year ago now, I wanted to take a moment and pass along the things that I have discovered in my initial days on the job with Windows 8.1.
Just for reference, while I almost always do a complete fresh re-install, this time I chose to do the upgrade from the Windows 8.1 DVD. Some of my reasons were that it did not seem to be such a massive change (this turned out to be correct), I didn’t have a bunch of time to re-install all my apps and such at the moment (who does?), and I didn’t buy a new hard drive, etc. So I downloaded the ISO from MSDN, burned it to a DVD, and upgraded my laptop.
So here we go; let’s dive in to some of this things I’ve observed…
Net Use Behavior
I work on a domain-based computer (the Coretek domain), in customer (or home) environments where my domain is not available. In the past, mapping a drive to resources in another domain (other than my own) always worked with something like the following:
net use y: \Customer-Domain.orgDfsRoot /USER:Customer-Domainpavlovj
…and now with Windows 8.1 for some reason it does not function without the optional asterisk at the end, like this:
net use y: \Customer-Domain.orgDfsRoot /USER:Customer-Domainpavlovj *
Without the asterisk, I get errors like: “
System error 1311 has occurred“, and “
There are currently no logon servers available to service the logon request” after long delays; it just never seems to log me in. With Windows 8.0, it would delay a bit, but always manage to find an authenticating server to log me in. And now with the asterisk, it works almost instantly. Strange.
Blurry Fonts and Rendering
After the upgrade, some of my programs had a blurry video rendering and fonts, while others looked crisp and beautiful. With a little quick research, I found the answer and I want to thank:
…for providing me the answer. Now everything looks great! On a side note, I also had to change my font back to my preferred “small” in that same location as described above, as the Windows 8.1 upgrade had changed it to Medium.
Booting to Desktop, and Start Screen Desktop Wallpaper
Probably the best, most exciting and demanded set of changes surround the Desktop. Finally, we get “boot to desktop” back, as well as the ability to have our Desktop wallpaper appear behind our “Start page”. I love it because it helps tie the whole experience together, and makes it all feel much more cohesive. To make the changes, just right-click on Taskbar, click Properties, and go to the Navigation tab. Here’s how I have mine set:
…you know you really want to do this…
VMware and Hyper-V
Well, I finally did it. Like before, I faced the choice of having to upgrade my VMware Workstation again — this time to version 10 — in order to work on Windows 8.1… or just use the Hyper-V that comes with it. So, now I’m in the process of converting all my VMDKs to VHDs. Yes, it’s still not quite apples-to-apples, but I’m getting by so far, and dealing with the limitations. More on this later, I’m sure…
Thank goodness that almost everything works in Windows 8.1 like it did before in Windows 8.0. Things that are critical to my world and job, like iFolder3 and Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDCMan 2.2 as of this writing). I still have to figure out what they did to SkyDrive, but I’ll get that sorted too, and everything else seems to be as good or better in the new version.
So Far, So Good…
So there you have it. I give it a thumbs-up, and am left wondering why it all didn’t behave like this in the first place. Windows 8.1 seems to be what Windows 8.0 should have been. So let’s get to it, and let’s see those enterprise-level Windows 7 upgrade projects swerve a bit and get Windows 8.1 underway; it’s time!