Rick wants to know if Windows 8.1 is better than Windows 8. Leo says yes it is, and it's always a better idea to go with the latest version of the OS, if for no other reason than security updates. But Windows 8.1 has enabled users to bring back the Start button and can work much more like Windows 7.
Leo also recommends getting Start8 by Stardock. It's only $5 and can make Windows 8 look exactly like Windows 7.
Alfredo wants to upgrade his Windows laptop to a workstation laptop or a desktop. Leo says he'll have to decide between maximum portability or maximum power. It's not just that the price of a workstation laptop would be higher, but it's also the weight, screen size, and battery life that would factor into the decision. If he chooses portability, then he's going to sacrifice some processor power, it would have a smaller screen size, but the battery life would be far better.
Johnny has a new Windows 8 computer and made his Windows icons larger. He doesn't like it that way, but when he tries to revert to the previous size, it won't let him do that. He tried to refresh it, and it not only didn't work, but he lost everything! So it's even worse. Can he just reinstall Windows XP?
According to both Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott, the next version of Windows, code named "Threshold", will include a Start Menu. This could be an admission by Microsoft that the Windows 8 tile system did not work. Leo believes there was a very vocal faction in Microsoft that said the future of computing was moving away from computers and towards tablets. He thinks that faction was winning, and the Tiled interface was the direction Microsoft was going. Leo thinks they wanted to actually kill the desktop interface altogether in favor of the tiled interface.
Leo thinks that Windows 7 is the best version of Windows ever. Microsoft has decided to move everyone to a tablet interface, with big tiles that can be tapped with a finger. Windows 8 is really designed for touch, and is a hybrid between a desktop and tablet interface, which makes it confusing. If Rick can get a Windows 7 system, then he should do that. If he stays with Windows XP, he'll be vulnerable to attacks when Microsoft stops supporting it this Spring.
Bill bought an Alienware PC and it has bloatware on it called MyPCBackup. He's getting annoying popups from it, and can't take it off. Leo says that this type of trialware is unfortunately how Dell makes a little extra money. There is the option of paying a little more and getting a PC without any trialware on it, so he can keep that in mind for the future.
Leo says he likes it because it's a tablet that runs a full version of Windows. Paul Thurrott at WinSupersite has great things to say about it and there's a newer version coming out called the Venue 8. A lot of tablet makers are bypassing the Windows RT option and building tablets with the full version of Windows.
Microsoft announced this week that users will not be able to buy retail packages of Windows 7. The end of sales for PCs with Windows 7 installed will be next October, but if you want to buy Windows 7 by itself, you're out of luck. Leo says that users will have to buy Windows 8 moving forward, and he recommends Start8 by Stardock to make Windows 8 look more like Windows 7. It's only $5.
Melinda got Windows 8 and she hates it. Leo says that the Windows 8.1 update restores the start button and makes it easier to use like Windows 7. But Melinda wants to find apps and data. Leo says to just start typing. Windows 8 knows to search when she starts typing, and it'll continue to refine the search as she types more.