My impression of Windows 8.1 can be summed up in two words: extremely disappointing. The tablophobia of a Desktop OS continues, as Windows 8.1 hides or completely removes several potentially useful Desktop features, while gussying up the Metro interface. If you're also not vigilant during installation, you will automatically be opted into using Bing ad-driven searches, SkyDrive integration and a Microsoft Account. The only unambiguously positive changes are the addition of options to boot straight to Desktop, and disable the hot corners, neatly hidden away under the Taskbar Properties>Navigation tab I might add. Fortunately, workarounds exist for some of the changes, and of course Start Menu replacement utilities, along with other Windows 8 customization tools, will provide further options.
However, this bastardization of Windows makes me quite angry. Having used every version of Microsoft's operating systems since 1990's (Windows 3.1), this is the first time I truly believe that Microsoft has lost its way. To put it bluntly, Windows 8.1 is a mish-mash of interfaces, and in some cases borderline deceptive options, mainly to serve Microsoft's dubious ambitions in the mobile device arena, rather than consumers and businesses. It will only serve to further confuse and alienate the average PC user, and hasten the PC's demise. I can honestly say it seems like one step forward, four steps back when compared to Windows 7.