Microsoft offers business users some Windows 8.1 hand-holding with new blog series

Microsoft offers business users some Windows 8.1 hand-holding with new blog series

Summary: Microsoft is offering business users some useful Windows 8.1 tips, tricks and how-to content via a new blog-post series.


Microsoft execs have kicked off a month-long blog-post series designed to help business users figure out Windows 8.1.


The new series is entitled "Windows 8.1 for Business (or Why You're Wrong About Windows 8.1)."

The series isn't meant to provide "news," but rather more help- and how-to content. The first few posts have been solid and contain some good, basic information aimed at business users who may want and need a little extra handholding with Microsoft's latest OS. 

(It would have been great to have seen more content like this when Windows 8 first debuted, but better late than never....)

On March 4, Softie Matt Hester wrote a post for those fearing the loss of their trusty Start Menus, which Microsoft removed with Windows 8. On March 5, Jennelle Crothers provided help for those confused by Microsoft's split-personality Metro-Style and Desktop environments. And On March 6, Keith Mayer provided some tips and tricks for those stymied when trying to use Windows 8.1 on non-touch-screen devices.

Future posts will touch on virtualization using client Hyper-V, BitLocker and Group Policy.

Microsoft is aiming to make life easier for those of us who prefer interacting with our PCs and devices with mice with the soon-to-be-released Windows 8.1 Update 1 version of Windows. That release is expected to go to MSDN subscribers on April 2 and to those running Windows 8.1 via Windows Update on April 8.

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, IT Policies


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Pathetic is it not?

    I think for business a long time Windows supporter has to have help to use Windows 8.
    That to me, says how pathetic Windows 8 is, when seasoned users of Windows have to get help on Windows 8. For me, I don't think its that bad. But I don't doubt the snubbing of Windows 8 by business.
    • A true platform

      This is true of American Windows platform. But I am glad to see George Lucas fighting for his dream of Special Edition Windows 8.11. As original Microsoft founder, he has brought new hope for Skywalker cloud devices.
      Scott Michaels
    • Most PC users are not enthusiasts

      Most people who use PC's use them because they HAVE to in order to do their jobs. Changing even the smallest thing for those who could care less - even if a change offers substantial benefits - usually results in much gnashing of teeth.

      I remember when Vista and Win7 were released and there was much foaming at the mouth of those who hated every single change made just to the start menu and/or task bar.
      • Vista? Yes.

        But I think Windows 7 was almost universally adored (except by Sheldon Cooper, who didn't like that it was easier.)

        I agree with your overall premise, though. :)

        I have always felt that the user who just needs to use my applications should be disrupted as minimally as possible when I do updates. Sometimes a user interface has to change. Sometimes it should change, if you've found an obviously better way to do it. But usually it should not, because as you said, people are just trying to do their jobs. And that should be every business developer's focus - letting people just do the job.
        • But the UI did not change

          That is the point.... the Desktop UI via the Desktop app is still there if you truly like it and truly want to use it, you can even put shortcuts on your Desktop to only see the Modern UI when absolutely necessary, on bootup or when you are using a program that you do not usually use.
        • Windows 7 was a false mirage.

          Although you can call it a success, it's was mostly of hate towards Vista.

          Microsoft read the public wrong and thought they could change Windows just by keeping it stable and fast, which few people can't deny of Windows 8.

          The problem's productivity drops when you don't know where to find things. The Start Menu is filled with Shortcuts most people barely notice, until they are gone. When you have to fiddle almost 30 minutes to figure out how to get the info of the PC (in Windows 7 it's right click on top of Computer and then on Properties; in Windows 8, you have to move to the bottom left corner, right click, then figure out that System goes there; in Windows 8.1 you go to the Start Screen tip, right click and get the same result)

          Also Microsoft forgot to boast some things that they would later use for Windows 8. Few people know that under the Start Screen, if you start typing, it searches. Ironically this is the same behaviour for the Start Menu but in there there's a cursor blinking on a space that reads "Search program and files".
          • Hilarious

            Now you're even trying to paint 7 as hated.

            It's actually kind of sad. Your hatred for the company is so strong that you even try to find a reason for their successes. Most people don't blindly hate a company like you do, they have much more important things to do with their life.
            Michael Alan Goff
    • They changed things

      People who can't figure out new things always need help, regardless of what the product is. I've seen people who didn't know how to use some of the features of iOS 7.

      I guess that's a failure as well.

      Some people didn't know how to use Unity after having used Ubuntu for years... guess Ubuntu is a failure as well.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • On the other hand...

        I also know some people who love Windows 8, because they never understood Windows XP/7 and suddenly, with Windows 8, things were easier.

        Windows 8 does a lot more hand holding than previous versions, especially when it comes to installing software (apps).

        One person, who had never managed to install an application on Windows XP/7 came to me after half an hour of use and proudly announced that she had installed an app on her own.
        • Reply to "On the other hand..."

          Where did you discover these "people", up the river Amazon? When they touch the screen, do they actually know what they are touching is a computer, or do they think you are a god? Are they cannibals?
          Time Agora
          • Not an information worker

            she had always had manual jobs and never needed to use a computer. Her first computer was in 2007, when her daughters got a hand-me-down XP machine with a 1Ghz Celeron and 256MB RAM.

            She never had anybody show her how to use it. A Sony notebook with Windows 7 was her first computer for herself and she didn't understand finding websites and downloading, stories of malware ridden websites in the news didn't help her confidence. With Windows 8 and especially the Store, suddenly things were a lot easier and she started to understand how things work.
    • I Totally Agree...There Aint That Much Hand Holding In The World!

      I use Windows 8 everyday and I have used EVERY version of Windows and DOS before that, and I can say with unequivocation that Windows 8 is a very hot mess!

      Programs work whenever they feel like it, Metro programs hardly work at all, charms bar is more annoying than helpful, and trying to run Windows 8 with 2-gigs of RAM and an Atom processor is like trying to run a marathon with Oprah Winfrey on your back!
      • You use it every day

        and still cant figure it out?
        Probably should have kept that one to yourself (LOL)
        2GB and Bay Trial processor in my ASUS T100A and I have no problem.
        You may want to go back to DOS.
        • He didn't say he couldn't figure it out.

          He said it was a "very hot mess".

          You need to practice your reading comprehension.
      • The thing is, at least it's only Oprah

        For Windows 7, it probably would have been Oprah and Gail (I think that's her friend). With Vista, it would have been with the audience from one of her shows on your back.

        Windows 8 is the leanest version of Windows since XP, as far as I know.
        • And it shows

          You see a skinny super model. I see an malnourished boney skeleton who has an eating disorder. "Oh, no I can't have that feature today. It would make me look fat.4-bit color is enough for now. Thank You anyways".

          And they think they actually look good. No thanks. My system isn't on a bulimian diet. It's on a meat and potatoes diet. MMMM fat....goood!!!!!!! Sorry, Windows 8 just doesn't quite satisfy this lumberjack.
          • Judging a book by its cover isn't exactly the best way to do something

            When I see a model I see a person and don't assume they are riddled with all manners of disorders, just because SOME do.

            Saying things like you did shows a certain level of media brainwashing.
          • Defending to the death doesn't mean you're noble.

            Defending microsoft and windows 8 by trying to say its all one thing or all another and even calling it "brain washing" is again just you drinking the microsoft coolaide.

            Prime Examples:
            Open explorer, go to your c drive, create a new folder using the keyboard only.

            Windows 7
            Windows key - "explorer" arrow up to windows explorer ... navigate (arrows) to a place to create a folder, ALT+F (file menu) W (New) F (folder)

            Windows 8
            Start button - type explorer, arrow around to get to it, navigate in it to where you want the folder .. now ALT+F ? xx NO xx ... Home "h" ... W for neW? no... N .. F for folder? ... no ... and I don't remember what letter it was..

            the issue is.. Why did this basic procedure have to change? Sure you can still do CTRL SHIFT N for a new folder.. but without me explicitly telling someone that, they aren't going to know. I would not expect them to know that key sequence *BUT* we *DO ALL KNOW ALT KEY* and that it activates the menus .... and so why from ONE version of windows to the next did they change such a thing?

            Before you go answering N for new seems intuitive.. in your very same Windows 8 explorer window.. *RIGHT CLICK* in a blank area with your mouse .. and look what shows up .. W for new on the right click context menu.

            So microsoft changes the full path access to commands for some things.. and not for others?

            An this is just one example.. Windows 7 and Vista were littered with the same sort of nonsense in comparison with where things were under XP ... some things stayed the same.. so that no matter if you originally learned it on Windows 3.1, 3.11, 95 or even XP .. it should work the same way in 8.

            You can argue "... but new computer users don't understand how to do X.. and this makes sense to them" ... but the issue is still *new* to those new computer users.. so they WOULD HAVE HAD TO LEARN THIS ... but if the commands had been the same.. ONLY NEW computer users would have had to learn these different things.. the people that had previous experience could have just gone about their way ...

            but because microsoft DID make these types of changes.. now *NO ONE* knows how things work ... if you did it "THIS" way before .. now you have to learn a new way of doing it .. just like everyone else that is already new to computers..

            but **WORSE** is that the seasoned professional.. that has been easily doing things.. is now stuck having to remember the old... *AND* the new because we don't all *just* have the latest and greatest.

            Its this issue that microsoft created, in thinking that they were going to fix everything, that made it worse. And still they are digging out of it .. windows "8.11" isn't just to fix the flubs by putting back the old start menu .. its something microsoft should have done from the get go..

            1) listened to the users, if they use desktops .. give them desktop centric UI or offer them a choice

            2) don't force drastic changes in the way a person uses their PC .. if they are already under pressure to perform, and you change even one little thing, you've disrupted the person's abilities to work, more than your stupid fix was meant to help ..

            Microsoft has a history of not listening to its users, and has a history of not using common sense in offering users a choice.

            2007 they offered the Ribbon Bar in Office .. and people with laptops suddenly lost 20% of their screen to an oversized, little used graphical menu ... that if you hid .. only served to shift the rest of your document up/down ..

            look at the menu system in office 2003 .. you click on the FILE menu .. this doesn't shift your entire document down, to make space on the screen for the file menu.. the File Menu in 2003 sits over top of the rest of the page... why?? because the menu is only there so long as you need it to make a selection, then it goes away .. so there isn't a real concern for hiding your document behind this bar..

            But enter 2007 .. you have this bar that shoves the rest of the document (word, excel, outlook) down to make room for a bunch of buttons .. and really.. these are buttons that you use.. what? 10 % of the time? the rest of the time where are you? you are IN the document, the email, the spreadsheet .. and again as I say.. only in 2013 did they FINALLY learn this and make the "Bar" display one of a overlay ??

            stupid mistake after stupid mistake after STUPID F*_*KING MISTAKE .. and its like microsoft CONTINUES to make these mistakes time and time again as if they didn't learn anything.. or as if the entire user community hadn't let out a single "peep" for noise.

            Microsoft sucks, plain and simple and they DESERVE to be blasted for it every time.
          • But that's what the majority of users do

            Every version of Windows (or any OS) has it's idiosyncrasies. Clicking on the Start button to shut down? Not exactly intuitive. But Win8 took the interface in an entirely different direction without explaining any of it initially. Or even for a while after its release.

            Yes, there are some really substantial improvements to the OS. As well as a number of stupid changes or implementations of changes. But all most saw was something that was developed for touch being as its raison d'etre installed on computers without that option. Because Microsoft saw that served their own best interest. Without factoring in just how much most users would hate it.

            Even on a touch device, there are some issues (for me, mainly the behavior of the onscreen keyboard in Desktop Mode).

            This isn't an issue of brainwashing. This is a case of a very large company that sells a product, critical to the lives of many, deciding that it could go it's own way and just drag their customers along.

            Since touch works well for a significant fraction of the populace and many tasks are best served by that interface for at least most of the rest, MSFT may very well wind up pulling its fat out of the fire on this. But did they do it the right way? Absolutely not.
        • Windows 8 is more like Rollerskates with Rockets...

          ...or a hoverboard....

          It sound like a good idea on paper, but once you create real ones you find out how bad it was in the first place.