Who will install Windows 8.1?

Microsoft will be releasing the Windows 8.1 Preview this week and we’re excited to finally get our hands on an official build, and try out the new features and improvements which the software giant has implemented in its quest to make its divisive operating system more appealing to the masses.

A week ago we asked you if you intend to install Windows 8.1. To date we’ve had just over 2,800 responses, so it’s a reasonable sample size given the time the poll has been up, and the results are interesting. The actual percentage between answers hasn’t changed much since around the 1,000 responses mark.

The first surprise is how many of you are currently using Windows 8. For an operating system viewed to be a failure, it’s astonishing really that 73 percent (2,052) say you have the OS installed. Of course BetaNews readers like to have the latest hardware and software, so maybe its adoption shouldn’t be that much of a revelation.

It’s worth pointing out that the numbers could be slightly skewed because users of Windows 8 will be more likely to respond to a survey about Windows 8.1 than users of another operating system, including Windows 7 or XP.

That said, it’s still a very healthy percentage of you using Windows 8, which Microsoft will no doubt be happy about.

Of the 73 percent who say they have Windows 8 installed, 56 percent (1,156) say they intend to install the preview upon its release. 41 percent (848) plan to be more cautious and wait for the full, stable version later in the year. 2 percent (48), for whatever reason, have no plans to install the OS update.

4 percent of the total number of poll responders (107) say at this point they don’t know if they will be installing Windows 8.1 or not. There’s no way of knowing how many of those uncertain voters already have Windows 8, but it’s unlikely to be many.

Of the 23 percent (650) of total responders not using Windows 8, a large 73 percent (478) say they have no intention of upgrading to Windows 8.1, suggesting Microsoft’s changes don’t go far enough, or those people simply don’t like the direction of the new OS. 26 percent (172) do, however, feel the concessions are enough to persuade them to join the tiled side.

Naturally, there are some interesting comments to go with the poll responses.

onlysublime makes a valid point in saying:

I would install the preview if not for the fact that when the real thing comes out, you have to reinstall all your apps and programs. If you go straight from win8 to 8.1 RTM, you do not have to reinstall anything.

barely_normal feels that a lot of people who have Windows 8, don’t actually like it much, and shares the following story:

My sister purchased an HP computer for her family, against my advice, because it was cheap. She now has something that is exactly that, which won't do what she had said she wanted it to do, but that is only part.

After not seeing them for about three months, I asked my nephew [12 years old] if he liked Windows 8. He said no, not really, and he got no inkling from me either way, so there was no poisoning of his honest thoughts. My son asked if he liked the Start screen, he said "No". He stated that he immediately bypasses it upon starting the computer.

My niece, a little older, but both a classic sheeple, and also wowed by colorful displays, says she likes it, as it is "faster" than their old machine -- in fact, it is not, but the newness has swayed her. In other words, she is the target customer that Microsoft wishes everyone would be.

That would seem to indicate how the "unwashed" feel about Windows 8, as it is roughly the same set of responses that I see many times from people. It is not something they feel so important to be vocally truculent, but it IS a huge annoyance that they will simply live with, as they are not experienced enough to know that they don't have to be led by the "wise" people at Microsoft. In other words, sheeple will pretty much do as their guided, but it does not mean that they like it.

I think a lot of us who know Windows over time would be much less vocal if we weren't getting the "improved" status along with the "new" about Windows 8. Microsoft should simply say "New and Different", and that way those of us who know better won't have to waste our time refuting the assertion of improvement.

Sounder’s comment is short and to the point:

I have Windows 7. Why should I downgrade to Windows 8?

Finally, johnrc2 has this to say:

I will install it on my Surface Pro and three laptops. I hope it fixes some of the outstanding issues I have with 8.0, and I hope it doesn't break Start8.

I have been using the Surface Pro almost exclusively as my Window 8 machine. When I went back to one of the non-touch laptops, it was painful and frustrating. I can better understand the problems many of you are experiencing. Windows 8 is really made for a touch device.

The poll is still open, so if you haven’t yet voted, please do so.

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