And the comments above indicate how much misinformation there is out there about Windows 8.1. You want the desktop? Press the Windows key... no fancy maneuvering. Dar, it looks EXACTLY like a Windows 8.1 screen... it's just not the Start page.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons that people don't like it, but that is not one of them. You can use Windows 8.1 exactly like a Windows 7 computer. One of the things I didn't like about Windows 8 was the rather jarring experience of switching between the desktop and the Start page because the background were not alike. In 8.1, you now have an option to use the same background and the transition is nice and smooth. On the desktop, you can select from among hundreds of desktop themes with beautiful pictures changing as often as you want. In 8.1 they also made it much easier to get to "all programs." Just click on a small down arrow on the bottom of the screen and there you can find EVERYTHING on your computer nicely organized and listed alphabetically. Search is a dream in 8.1 too. Task manager? Much improved. Boot up? On a plain old hard drive, it's 8 seconds.
Windows 8 was not a thoroughly "cooked" operating system with many flaws; Windows 8.1 went a long way towards fixing some of them; and this next major update to 8.1 in April is supposed to give even more nods to us desktop users. My son works in IT for a huge marketing company and he told me after initially rejecting Windows 8, they are now going for 8.1. They purchased 3 different tablets and after testing each one out for their needs, the are deploying the Surface Pro for one entire section.
Fireplace, yarn, knitting needles, books, wine... check. Yup, I'm ready for winter.