4 Things Windows 8.1 Has Done Away With For Good

Almost everything that Microsoft has released over the years has received criticism. The company has a long-standing reputation of doing controversial things, which runs it the risk of doing things that don’t always make sense. All in all, everything Microsoft did was worth it to many people, who saw a good cost/benefit ratio. However, when Microsoft unveiled Windows 8.1 (a.k.a. Windows “Blue”), tempers started flaring with good reason. It received a lot of bad press. Aside from this, there are also other things I’m sure some people won’t be happy with in Windows 8.1. Depending on who you are, though, these things may be good news.

This is a bit of a downer, but perhaps not really that bad of an ordeal for those who don’t want to take another look at downgrading their systems to Windows 7. You cannot create the old-style backups that Windows 7 had in its control panel. Microsoft decided to do away with the whole old system. Windows 8.1 still allows you to import Windows 7 images, but it won’t let you create new ones. The new Windows 8 backup utility now dominates.

This might not be horrible news for you, but it just means you’ll have to bear with the learning curve of using Windows 8.1’s backup utility.

windows81feature-libraries

While W8.1 doesn’t do away completely with the “Libraries” feature, Microsoft has certainly decided to no longer display it by default in Windows Explorer. The “Libraries” feature behind Windows 7’s semi-awkward browsing system is now hidden and can be revealed again from the navigation pane button on the “View” ribbon in Windows Explorer.

Libraries are a good way to quickly get to your documents, your internet downloads, and other media you store on your computer. However, the feature didn’t take off very well. People really weren’t using it very much.

windows81feature-wei

Yep, they’ve done away with that, too. While it may have given you an idea of how your computer performs, it was only relative and didn’t really do anything except waste your time. Every time you added hardware to your computer, you had to repeat the whole process all over again. It just wasn’t worth it. If you purchase and install hardware, chances are you know how good it is and don’t need a reminder of that every few minutes.

Granted, some people found it useful, since they wanted to know what Microsoft thought about what they bought. It had its uses, but Windows 8.1 basically swept it under the rug. The Windows Experience Index is one of the many relics of Windows that don’t really have a place anymore in the modern computing world.

The basic photos app in Windows 8 really didn’t leave much to be desired. It had a pretty cool mix of your Facebook and SkyDrive images, but it really wasn’t the practical nitty-gritty tool that MS Paint always was. Ironically, MS Paint remained in Windows 8, but you had to search for it. Nothing similar was added to the whole Metro/Modern interface. Windows 8.1 seems to have an answer to that: replacing Windows 8’s Photos app and putting one of its own in its place.

The new Photos app will not show you pictures from Facebook or anything outside your computer. I know this will be a major downer for some, but others would consider what I’m about to say a big plus: The new app at least gives you a basic photo editing interface.

windows81feature-photos

All in all, this may seem like a good trade-off. Some may not think so, but that’s why I’m mentioning it. Personally, I’ll just stick to MS Paint.

While I might consider Windows 8.1 in general an overall disappointment, it has presented a few useful trade-offs. Of all the things it could have done, though, removing Libraries might have been a bit premature. The real question here, though, is: Do you consider these changes bad? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

19 comments

  1. I’m actually glad that Libraries are phased out. I never did use this feature. Plus, you can manually add shortcuts to the File Explorer sidebar anyway.

    • Correct. I can add them. However, I adapted to libraries to help keep my work organized. I phased out to re-adapt anyway :)

  2. I’ll stick with my trusted and tried Windows 7 and Linux Ubuntu dual boot thank you very much! The best thing I can say about W8 is this: I finally managed to wipe it out completely from my netbook and now have Ubuntu in it’s place! IMHO W8 is the worst mistake MS has ever made! And just so you understand…I tried W8, used it every day since December, what a HUGE waste of time and effort and that was just trying to get used to the “charms” garbage!!!! Trust me, when I got W8 off my netbook I really did do a “happy” dance! I will never use W8 or 8.1! And if the next Windows xx is anything like 8 then I’ll go to Linux exclusively, desktop and netbook! MS is being rather stupid about what they are doing now and if they wish to stay at the top they had best get past the stupid part and stop messing with Windows to the point of having to actually relearn COMPUTING!!!

    • I have to agree there. It’s not exactly a smart move to put a mobile-centric operating system optimized for touch on a desktop.

    • I absolutely agree.
      Windows 8, or 8.1, has no place wherever I live or work!
      Microsoft has gotten arrogant enough to ignore customers all over the world, and to try to impose on them an OS that the vast majority seems to not accept.
      MS needs to leave Windows alone, and create a Mobile OS for the touch pads and touch screens, etc.
      I will continue with my much loved XP (as well as Windows 7 on my laptop) until I’m left with no choice but to use a Linux OS, or until MS gets back on the right track with Windows.
      It’s sad that they did not update XP and leave it alone. Just improve it and fix what was in need of fixing, leaving the interface alone. XP is the only Windows OS that was worth paying for, in my humble opinion.

      As for libraries, I never cared for them, and I don’t store anything there. I create my own folders elsewhere on the hard disk.
      For graphics, I don’t use any of Windows-provided stuff. I mainly use Corel’s Paint Shop Pro.

  3. For my home and second job use, I’ll stick with Win7, until some companies whose software I use (e.g., Corel) put everything I want on Mac or Linux. The bioinformatics software is already heavily on those other platforms. When the others migrate, I’m gone from the increasingly glitz-and-glitter OS called Windows.

  4. The lack of images is a big one. They say you can still make one command line, but how long is that going to last? SDCLT.EXE was a great feature. About every 4 months, I DBAN my pc and re-image

  5. I used it once a month as my safety net, to save the system files, and my files, and programs.
    If Sdcpl.dll and sdclt.exe are copied from old Win 8 to 8.1, windows \system32 folder,
    will image backup work again?

  6. I’m going to go against the tide here. W8 is my favorite version to date and I’m using a keyboard and mouse. With a few shortcuts everything is faster plus the news and sports apps are great.

    everything is search based now so why do I want to go through lists to find anything on my computer? Just type from the start screen and there it is.

    I’ve never had any luck with Windows backup so I use acronis for that purpose.

    it does take some getting used to but with shortcuts it’s great!

  7. W8 is a friendly and stable o/s, with some better features than previous versions – bench tests have confirmed that it’s definitely faster than previous versions.

    The initial interface was a bit of a shock at first but once you persevere it’s fine, particularly if you use more than one monitor because it then opens in the familiar desktop mode.

    As for the features in this article, I use third party software for backup/image editing and I prefer to organise my own document filing system anyhow. As for the experience index, you know whether your PC performs adequately or not from just using it!

  8. I would like some comments on what 8.1 uses to replace the image backup. It seems to give up the “something is really screwing up my system and I have no idea what it is, I think I will use my image backup” ability of the image backup. Here is the new way. Please comment:

    Push Button Reset. The amazing PC Reset and PC Refresh features in Windows 8 enable you to reinstall Windows in just minutes and do so either destructively (PC Reset, which returns the PC/device to its factory-fresh condition) or non-destructively (PC Refresh, in which your documents, music, photos and other data files are retained but Windows is reinstalled). Check out Windows 8 Tip: Reset or Refresh Your PC for more information. And know that in Windows 8.1, this functionality can now be found in PC Settings, Update & Recovery, Recovery.

  9. I also found this on creating an image backup on 8.1. Please comment on how this can be used or not:

    Fortunately, the command-line tool “wbadmin” (http://goo.gl/fzXIg) which you can use to create a system image appears to be still around in Windows 8.1, and the option to recover an image is still available on the install/recovery media. They’ve only dropped the “create an image” feature from the GUI.

  10. I also found this on image backup. Please comment if you know about it.

    Actually, system image backup is not dead in 8.1 even, it has resurfaced as a powershell command. The following, wbAdmin start backup -backupTarget:E: -include:C: -allCritical -quiet, will do a system image backup to local or network storage as needed. The previous command backs up the C drive to the target E which can be changed to what ever you require to include \\servername\share.

  11. I have one other question. I don’t use the Windows 8 photo app. I changed the default to “Windows Photo Viewer”, which is a Desktop program (the photo appears on the Desktop instead of the Modern Front End).

    Does anyone know if this is still available in Windows 8.1?

  12. Microsoft could screw up a one-car funeral by losing the body on its way to the wrong cemetery. I will stay with my windows 7 as long as I can.

  13. Windows 8 probably has something to do with declining PC sales. I bought a new PC for my wife — to replace a failed PC — with Win 8 aboard and she hates it. I am hanging onto an old laptop with Win 7 because I don’t like the Win 8 interface and don’t want to bother having to relearn many Windows steps that are rote now. Someday my laptop will fail and I will perhaps be forced into Win 8, but it won’t be a voluntary choice. I occasionally use Ubuntu and it is OK but much of the software I use is unavailable on Ubuntu. Perhaps the new Intel chips will give me a reason to switch once they are adopted for new PCs. It is a wait and see moment and has been since Win 8 appeared.

    • Click on the Desktop Tile and you will be back to your familiar Windows 7 with some slight improvements.

      Change the default photo viewer to Windows Photo Viewer in Control Panel and you will not be shot back to the front end to view a photo.

      Use the Desktop version of Internet Explorer and you will stay on the desktop.

      If you still use POP3 email, then you will have to install a free email program like Thunderbird.

      You want to turn off the system. Use the Microsoft Salute (CTL, ALT, DEL) to get to the power icon and the Task Manager or press the power button on your hardware (yes, now it is ok).

      Remember one other thing – File manager File Folder(on the bottom right task bar) contains most of the stuff that your old start menu contained plus more and now you pin your programs to the Front End as Tiles or to the bottom task bar or to the Desktop itself.

      So now you don’t have to downgrade to Windows 7 on a new machine or learn Apple or play with Linux (good luck getting all your programs running with those last two options.

      Now you never have to see the front end unless you press a key on your keyboard.

    • correction – File Manager File Folder on the bottom left of the task bar and it is automatically put there during the installation of Windows 8.

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