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Hands-on with Leaked Builds of Windows Blue 8.1

Hands-on with the Windows Blue Leaks

With several leaked builds for Windows Blue hitting the web in rapid succession, it seems as though Microsoft is as leaky as a sieve these days. A leak for build 9364 made its way to the internet last March, and two more leaked builds (9369 & 9374) have hit the Internet in the weeks since. Considering Windows 8 is just five months old, there are still a lot of questions as to whether Windows 8.1 or 'Windows Blue' is going to be a free Service Pack, a standalone OS release, or the first in a line of subscription OS models, but we can at least take a look at how the builds themselves run.

So, what's in this leaked build of Windows Blue, and is it worth all the buzz surrounding it? We'll take a quick hands-on look at some of the features and changes we've noticed and we'll also give you a quick a roundup of some of the buzz and reporting that's hitting the web.

First Impressions

So, here's how 8.1 looks, with a Start Screen and Desktop view that don't seem radically different from what we've got in Windows 8. But the similarities hide some very interesting tweaks to the interface designed to make things easier for users, regardless of whether you're using the traditional mouse and keyboard or a newfangled touch interface.

  • blackmagnum
    Us customers want desktop simplicity. Return to your old-ways.
  • cmi86
    The biggest thing they need to do is return familiarity to the desktop. What that means is putting a damn start button on there. Win8 isnt bad and it's tile interface is actually pretty cool for a touch enabled device. However the lack of a start button complicates things for traditional desktop users and gives them almost zero incentive to make the switch from win7.
  • egmccann
    Will definitely look into the preview. If they work on combining some of the control panel items, so we don't have what should basically be the same (at least "parent") panel split between what you see in metro and what you see on the desktop, it'll take care of one of my annoyances, at least.

    We'll see.
  • warezme
    1) Boot Screen
    2) Boot Screen Choice A: Touch screen device, Choice B: Standard Device
    3) Boot Into desired desktop mode and remember thereafter unless you change setting to take effect on next reboot.
    4) The end

    Is it really that hard to figure out MS?
  • christop
    Yeah includes an option if you have a touch screen or not. My desktop and laptop are not touch screen.. Fix this and I may upgrade to win8 till then I will not make the change..
  • christop
    O and make it boot to desktop also. I hate the metro tiles..
  • dalethepcman
  • Rahn
    Still don't want to play with BLOCKS.
  • bobwya
    Full disclosure I'm a closet Linux-geek (no trolls).
    But it's annoying that MS is pushing touchscreens on laptops... Which would you rather have a decent IPS panel or a rather useless touchscreen...
    The restricted boot crap is just "vendor lockin" by another name.
    Never mind the fact that Windows 8 looks like a "worst of both worlds" compromise between a mobile OS and a desktop OS!!
  • doggrell3000
    i do not want microsoft to replace the start button . just putting the explorer folder icon on the taskbar is much better than a start button . start buttons are a wasted extra step . the explorer folder icon is more flexible . also windows 8.1 should give users the option of booting directly to the desktop without first raising the opening screen picture ( why do they have that thing ? ) plus give users the option of doing away with the password screen ( i don't need to enter a password and if anyone wants to go into my computer and look around then she must be the most bored person on earth ) . finally give users the option of bypassing the metro screen which is the biggest waste of time in computer software history . so my request is this : you power up your windows 8.1 computer and within seconds your desktop appears with essential program buttons on the taskbar . this is what every single windows user really wants . if you decide to include the other preliminary boot screens and password screen and metro screen then simply make those options available to whoever wants them . this is the true way forward microsoft . are you listening ? i doubt it .

    new york ny