Windows 8.2 is better than a sharp stick in the eye

With Windows 9 a year away, Microsoft keeps tweaking Windows 8 -- and we should be grateful for those improvements

Leaked screenshots of the next set of features for Windows 8 were posted to the pirate site Wzor.net this past week, confirming that the next release (called by some a Feature Pack, not a Service Pack) will debut on April 7 or 8. The final name isn't available yet, but people are calling it Windows 8.2, Windows 8.1 Update 1 (which sounds odd), or Spring Update. My own name for it is NW9 (for "Not Windows 9"), but for this post, let's call it Windows 8.2.

This update is meant to address a variety of complaints by adding a few more Band-Aids for Windows 8's lack of mouse and keyboard support for nontouch PCs. Metro apps (aka Modern or Windows Store apps) will be available through the Windows Desktop's taskbar, and there will be standard Windows-style title bar options for splitting (aka snapping), minimizing, and closing Metro apps. (That's great because I'm pretty tired of having to grab an app in the middle at the top and pull downward to make it go bye-bye.)

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Nontouch devices will have the Power options (shutdown, restart, and suspend) available from the Start screen. SkyDrive is renamed OneDrive to satisfy Microsoft's lawyers, who got beat up by British broadcaster SkyB over trademark-infringement claims. Internet Explorer 11 has an enterprise mode for Windows 7 business users whose apps are locked in to IE8.

As you can see, nothing monumental is happening here. That's led to more criticism against the often-criticized Windows 8. Microsoft's poor OS can't catch a break from its critics.

I'm not jumping on the critics' bandwagon. Yes, I know I've been beating up on Windows 8 since its very first public preview release, when I called it "Windows Frankenstein." I've even stated that I would prefer to skip Windows 8.2 and go directly to Windows 9 if at all possible.

But let's be reasonable for a moment. Windows 8 (and now 8.1) is out. Like many of you, I'm using it on all my systems, as well as supporting it on family members', friends', and clients' PCs. Even if Microsoft makes a few changes with each update, that's better than nothing. It's better than waiting a year for something entirely new, with no guarantee I'll like. I hope it doesn't work out that way, but we might hate Windows 9 even more than Windows 8! Although I have good reason to believe differently (otherwise, I'd be brushing up on my Linux right now), I'm glad to see some complaints addressed with Windows 8.2.

There is a time to complain and a time to hold off. Monumental changes are going on at Microsoft at the moment: A new CEO, Satya Nadella; major executive swaps and shifts in other departments; and a new vision. I believe it's best to ride out the next year hoping for a better one, and to take what we can get in terms of improvements on an OS that has already been vilified worse than Vista (though I didn't think the villification was entirely deserved in Vista's case, I do with Windows 8).

During this transition, I'll take any update Microsoft wants to give me!

This story, "Windows 8.2 is better than a sharp stick in the eye," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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