I'm not so bothered about the start button because I use keyboard shortcuts to start most applications. But, I wonder about the search in 8.1 compared to 8 - looked worse. Also the need to change settings to avoid data being sent to Microsoft and the further push towards the cloud put me off.
Advantages of 8.1 for me are much quicker start up and snappier response generally. I use it on a new built PC and haven't upgraded my Win 7 PC because it reports compatibility problems with certain drivers (UAD-1 & Powercore.) Otherwise I'd have upgraded that as well. I use Stardock 'Start8' for the 8.1 start menu - works like a charm. All the Metro stuff can be turned off so in many ways it's like working with 7 but much better start up & response times.
Also 8/8.1 never seems to crash or blue screen unlike 7 at times. The 8.1 upgrade went like butter whereas I've never been able to upgrade 7 to 7.1 despite trying various workarounds. Win 7 was a step up but Win 8 is a refinement of 7's best feature (shame about Metro though.) I expect Win 10 will be a refinement of Metro resulting in the OS finally refining and unifying desktop and Metro. We can hope...
I read reports that because of the numbering it would break a lot of third party programs but I think it is because Microsoft want to sell the idea of a clean sweep. I also read from 10 onwards they will have incremental changes effectively making it the last version. I think they are heading towards a cloud/subscription based model.
If this is truly a shift to a "cloud" based OS, my current version of Win 7 Pro will be the last version of Windows I'll ever own. Microsoft can kiss my derriere if that's how they envision the future of PC Operating System software.
Relinquishing fundamental control of your computer to the "cloud" is something the NSA could only dream about. With this move Microsoft will be handing them the keys to every PC on the planet. It will be a bigger opportunity for trouble than placing a box of loaded shotguns in a cage full of monkeys.
Here is short paragraph that gives you an idea how privacy you actually have on your computer:
The first step of this process is finding Tor users. To accomplish this, the NSA relies on its vast capability to monitor large parts of the internet. This is done via the agency's partnership with US telecoms firms under programs codenamed Stormbrew, Fairview, Oakstar and Blarney.
The whole article is here but there are so many more out there to read.
free for a year means you do not pay any money to BUY Win10 during its first year. Those that got it free during year one will not pay any more after that. But people a year late will have to BUY the OS for $ like normal. (The 1st year free people are beta testers in MY book)
It does not mean subscription is FREE for one year and then you start paying.
There are several articles about that on the web clearing that all up.
Win 10 will NOT be subscription based, cloud only thing. ....according to info from Microsoft.
I predict MS will offer Win10 for free and then start a sub model after a year. There will be no reverting back to previous OS because all serials for previous OS are forfeited after Win10 installation. MS will move everything onto the Cloud after a year and without an internet connection the new OS will stop working without regularly phoning home.
Alternatively, maybe MS has finally woken up to the fact that Android is "free" and the money is in licensing their OS to hardware manufacturers. So they'll just have to come up with other ways to make money other than selling their OS to individual PC users.
I can imagine MS doing this for free for a year. Sure.
Consider that most of the licenses MS sells come on new computers. Between the onslaught of tablets and the Great Recession, not a lot of new computers have been sold. I'm pretty sure that the market for desktops has shrunk but there's also been a lot of deferred replacement. So, I think they'll be making their money on OEM licenses. The free OS might actually spur a lot of computer replacements as people decide their hardware has gotten long in the tooth.
As for there being a subscription model, win10 could just be the mechanism to drive users to other subscriptions.
The one thing I hate the most, is when I spend months and months getting my workstation to play nice with the software that also took months and months to learn, and then I have to hope and pray that a new OS won't regurgitate all my burned midnight oil.
I am a PC person for life and I hope someday Microsoft will settle down with a OS that will be "future-proof". I'm willing to spend the extra money if my CPU could outlast my pick-up truck.