Microsoft recently announced some features of the new user experience included in Windows 8.1 including Start button functions, the ability to boot to the desktop and Internet Explorer (IE) 11. Microsoft has not yet disclosed other features, but said that Windows 8.1 will be a free update from Windows 8. Windows 8.1 is expected to ship in time for holiday device sales.
Michael Silver and Steve Kleynhans, vice presidents in Gartner’s client computing team, provide analysis and recommendations on what organizations should look for in the Windows 8.1 update in today’s analyst guest post:
After Microsoft unveiled Windows 8, the newly introduced user experience was criticized. Some users complained about the lack of discoverability, help or cues for the new user experience, and many rejected Windows 8 because of the changes. Based on the information currently available, we believe Windows 8.1 features could quiet most of its detractors.
Microsoft has not released many other details, but Gartner expects only minor changes to the Windows desktop, which would ensure high levels of compatibility with legacy Win32 desktop applications. More compatibility issues will likely arise from moving from IE 8 to IE 11 than with Win32 applications that run on Windows 7, but organizations will need to allocate time to test critical applications and understand vendor support policies. In the future, Windows will likely include more updates like 8.1, perhaps on an annual basis.