Microsoft removed several features from Windows 8 for the Windows 8.1 upgrade. Microsoft has made fundamental changes to the way Windows 8.1 operates to help make it more user-friendly and step away from the complaints by users it’s really made for mobile devices instead of traditional computers. These removals included everything from backup utilities to the experience index to SkyDrive sync options. We’ll look at all the features Microsoft has decided to remove from Windows 8.1.
While Microsoft claims many of these features weren’t necessary anymore for users, some may disagree. It’s possible to find alternatives to features that were removed through the use of third-party apps and programs. If you’re missing a feature, reach out and see what’s available out there to get it back. You may be surprised by what you find and what can be done on Windows 8.1 with a little creative thinking, software, and tweaks.
Features Removed from Windows 8.1
These are the features Microsoft removed entirely from Windows 8.1. Let’s take a look at what features are gone from Windows 8.1 and explain why they were removed or changed by Microsoft.
Backup and System Image Recovery
When Windows 8 was released, they added a tool called File History.Using File History allowed you to use every other Windows backup tool possible, along with creating and restoring system images. Microsoft has acknowledged that most of Windows 7’s backup and recovery utilities were outdated which is why they’ve eliminated most of them in Windows 8.1
While you can still access some of them with some handy work, you’ll need to rely on the Windows 8.1’s backup tools. You’ll still be able to import system restore images, but you won’t be able to create them with traditional means anymore. You’ll also be able to use third-party programs to create the system restore images in Windows 8.1.
Facebook Chat has been completely removed from the revamped Messaging App that comes standard with Windows 8.1. This is partly due to Microsoft’s push to make Skype the go-to messaging app for all Windows users, regardless of version. Microsoft has said they have a Facebook app in development, but there’s no way to tell if this will ever see the light of day for Windows 8.1 users. When Microsoft or Facebook release more concrete details on the official Windows 8.1 Facebook app, we’ll let you know and show you how to get started with it.
Libraries weren’t entirely removed from Windows 8.1, but they aren’t easily accessible for the general PC users anymore. Since Microsoft’s push is towards using moving to the cloud through SkyDrive, they’ve made it more difficult to save files in Libraries to force you to go that direction. Libraries were the bread and butter of how users saved information in previous versions of Windows and since the push to use the cloud and SkyDrive have been so important to Microsoft, it’s possible this is just a push in that direction.
This is a relatively dumb decision on Microsoft’s part because most of their default apps actually rely on Libraries to still save data. Libraries can still be used, customized and created in Windows 8.1, but it takes a lot more work and effort that the basic PC user may give up and walk away from.
In another forced move to make users turn to SkyDrive, Microsoft has made it near impossible to customize its options or remove it from Windows 8.1. You can’t choose where SkyDrive folders are saved, you can’t choose how to use it or to turn it off, and you can’t actually uninstall SkyDrive in any way that makes a difference.
The only way to get this functionality from SkyDrive in Windows 8.1 is to download and use the desktop client as opposed to the built-in one. This completely defeats the purpose of using a Windows 8.1 app instead of a desktop program, which has been the push for consumers since the OS was released to the public.
“Hidden” Start Button
Windows 8.1 forces users to utilize the hybrid “Start Button” and Win + X Menu. There’s no way to disable, turn off or hide the Start Button unless you install a third-party program that does it for you. So far, there’s no telling if Microsoft will add an option to hide it in the final release of Windows 8.1.
Windows Experience Index
The Windows Experience Index was a way to “judge” your Windows performance on everything from graphics to video to RAM to more. In reality, the Windows Experience Index was a joke and really didn’t give you a realistic picture of how well your PC can work. It was a useless addition to earlier versions of Windows.
For the most part, these features aren’t as necessary as users think they are. Windows 8.1 adds features, changes the way existing features work, and you won’t be missing most of these features once you upgrade.
It’s still possible Microsoft may change their minds and keep some of these features available when Windows 8.1 goes live. However, don’t be surprised not to see them again. Now that you know which features are gone in Windows 8.1, you can alleviate the frustration of trying to find them when they’re no longer there.
Windows 8.1 goes live October 17, 2013, and there’s not telling for sure if Microsoft has any tricks up their sleeve to surprise Windows 8 users. Until then, only time will tell if Microsoft is happy with the changes they’ve made and if users accept them at face value this upgrade.