Microsoft returns to its dark roots

After years of playing Dr Evil in the software world, Microsoft appeared to have cleaned up its act and lost the diabolical crown to the likes of Google and Apple. Now, it seems that with Windows 8.1, the Vole is back to the Old Ways.

According to InfoWorld, software experts have been looking under the bonnet of Windows 8.1 preview and are finding an abyss of evil so toxic that Dante could be seen wandering around in the core looking for his girlfriend.

In order to use Windows 8.1 Preview you must sign in to your PC with a Microsoft account. The option to create a local account will be made available at the final release of Windows 8.1. It is starting to look like Microsoft will get users more locked in to this system.

It also seems that Microsoft is starting to use the fruits of your computer searches to find you adverts for your online ones. So if you are constantly looking for a file which contained  a letter to your mother, you might start noticing adverts for flowers on mother’s day.

Unless you make Smart Search dumb, you not only hand Microsoft a complete history of all of your local computer search terms, you open your machine up to even more lovely ads, doled out on the search results pane.

You can turn Smart Search off by bringing up the Settings charm, clicking or tapping Change PC Settings, then choosing Search and Apps, and moving the Use Bing to Search Online slider off. But it is still annoying.

Microsoft appears to have removed the Experience Index from Windows 8.1 which was probably fair enough because it did not tell you much that was useful.

But the reason might be that Microsoft’s own hardware was starting to look pretty bad using the Index. For example its expensive Surface Pro gets a 5.6 on the WEI scale when it was possible for a rubbish PC to get a score of 7.0.

The Windows 8.1 Metro Photos app might have new features, a cynic would say a decade too late – it can’t even access photos stored on a network share or on SkyDrive which was possible under Windows 8. This appears to be because Microsoft wants to reduce its Facebook and Flickr links.

It might have been all part of a Volish plot. Soon after Microsoft released Windows 8.1 Facebook announced that it would finally build a Metro Facebook app.