PC Made EZ Mike Smothers

As the saying goes, “Good things come to people who wait.” For some time I have been suggesting to anyone who is in the market for a new computer to wait a while for Windows 8 to be improved, and that time may be around the corner. This is welcome news to those of you who have had the misfortune of either purchasing a Windows 8 computer or have received a gift with the ill-fated operating system installed on a new computer.

Recently, Microsoft announced it would release an update to Windows 8, designated Windows 8.1, to be available some time toward the end of the year. Most of the improvements and modifications Windows 8.1 will deal with are features that few common users ever use or ever will use, but the main thing that will delight the current Windows 8 users is the return of the “Start” button. Another of the big improvements is the looks and customization of the desktop icons and boxes. You will be able to put more of your favorite programs and icons in different-sized boxes on the desktop for quick access. This is really huge for current users, trust me.

All in all, after Windows 8.1 is installed, it should ease the pain many Windows 8 users have had over the past eight months.

Instead of calling this an update, Windows 9, and charging a premium price as it has in the past when operating systems like Windows ME (Many Errors) or Windows 2000 were complete and abysmal failures, Microsoft has decided to release this as an update at no charge. Perhaps they are tired of the daily deluge of customer complaints and plummeting market share and decided to release this as a freebie. Perhaps they saw the fear in the eyes of investors when Apple sales continued to rise despite a tough economic and computer market. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Whatever the reason, it is a breath of fresh air to finally see a company do the right thing for the people who have put them and continue to keep them in business.

I have always felt that people who bought the first year of cars, new devices or computer operating systems were pioneers who forged the trail for those who followed and I always tipped my hat to them. Ever since I bought the first year the Mazda rotary engine was available and three years later sold it for scrap, I have been rather reluctant to dive right in and get the latest and greatest thing. I now tend to hang in the shadows and wait for improvements and refinements in the process and then, once it is a proven product, perhaps I will buy it, but again I do applaud the pioneers and have assisted them while the improvements were being made.

Having said all of this, do I think it is time to rush out and buy a Windows 8 computer? Certainly not. This update is not scheduled to come out until the end of the year and it is still in the development and testing stages so who knows what will actually be included in this update? If I were struggling with an outdated computer system and have been biding my time until the time was right to replace it, I would still hold out a little longer. When Windows XP first came out it was terrible, but over time it was refined into one of the most stable and productive operating system ever released by Microsoft, so hang in there. As I said at the outset, “Good things come to those who wait.” The Calvary may be on the way, but they are still a long ways out.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Mike Smothers is president of Smothers Computer Repair Services. Send questions to mike@smotherscomputers.com or call (480) 753-7667.

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