Windows 8.1

Windows 8 is a complete change in Microsoft’s direction in the technology world and it is apparent they

Windows 8Windows 8 is a complete change in Microsoft’s direction in the technology world and it is apparent they are concentrating their efforts on the tablet market. Windows 8 has been designed as a unified operating system for mobile devices as well as desktop PCs and Laptops. With this in mind, we investigate how this shift has affected normal desktop and laptop users.

Backlash to Windows 8

There was always going to be issues with the first Windows 8 release. It couldn’t have been perfect for both mobile and desktops at the first attempt.

The biggest complaint by far was that they had removed the Start button and changed the Start Menu, making, for some, it extremely difficult to navigate. The issue was that the new start screen, albeit it was great for mobile devices, was unsuitable and cumbersome for business desktop users.

Windows 8.1 – The Improvements

Windows 8.1 start button

Microsoft had to respond to the Start Menu rumblings, so 8.1 has seen the reintroduction of the start button and the ability to further customize the Start Menu. However this wasn’t enough for some people. So some companies developed and sell their own add-on’s to bring back the Start Menu from Windows 7.

Alternative Windows 8 Start Menus

Out of the many alternative Windows 8 Start Menus available on the Internet, we have summarised the best 3 (in our opinion).

Stardock Start8Start8 is the most stable product reviewed in this blog but is not free; costing $4.99. However for this small price you get access to a fantastic support team and community; any problems you may have are responded to quickly. Volume licensing and support for businesses is also available which makes this a superior product for businesses.


IObitI installed this free product on my personal computer at home last year and initially did not like it as there were a too many problems. However, after trying it again for the sake of this blog, it has vastly improved and is now very good. If you want a free Start Menu then this is defiantly worth downloading.


ClassicShellClassic Shell is a free product that not only provides you with the Window 7 Start Menu, but also the Windows 7 File Browser and Internet Explorer. So if you preferred these versions to the new Windows 8 versions, then this product is for you. It is also available in a number of different languages and has free community support.

Upgrading to Windows 8

The following sections will give you some information about upgrading your PC to Window 8.

Checking your Hardware

Windows 8 has specific hardware requirements, so before you upgrade is it advisable that you use the “Upgrade Assistant” tool. You simply install this tool and it will give you a compatibility report so you know if you can upgrade to Windows 8.

Upgrading to Windows 8 from Windows XP

Unfortunately there is no available way to upgrade XP to Windows 8; a reinstall is required. There are several tools to help you migrate to Windows 8, but we found a brand new installation to give you the best performance.

Upgrading to Windows 8 from Windows 7

Windows 8 has an upgrade disk that makes it very easy to upgrade from Windows 7. This disk helps you transfers your files, programs and also gives you a list of programs that will not work with Windows 8 so you know which application need replacing or updating.

If you already have Windows 7, then you simply need to purchase the Windows 8 upgrade. If you need any help with your upgrade then contact us and we will be happy to help.

Upgrading to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8

If you already have Windows 8 then you are already half way there. All you have to do is click on the Windows Store App and it should be the first thing listed, start the download and Windows should take care of the rest.


Although Windows 8 was blasted upon release, the update to 8.1 has brought it back into the spotlight. And with more updates on the way it seems that it is going to get better as Microsoft have realised their mistake of ignoring desktop consumers; the PC is not dead yet.