Industry News

Microsoft Windows 8.1 on the way with new features

windowsblueSince the release of Windows 8 last year Microsoft has had to face very mixed reviews by users, many of them frustrated the new touchscreen focussed UI. This has led to overall negative opinion of the new O/S not seen since the release of Vista. Many Windows 8 users have clamoured for a return of the Start button and the ability to boot directly into the desktop. With the new Windows 8.1 update release on the way Microsoft aims to alleviate some of the complaints and issues users have had as well add in more new features.

So far what is known about the Windows 8.1 update is that the Start button is back but the classic Start menu isn’t. Instead, clicking the old familiar Start button will only drop you back into the modern UI Start screen. While the new feature is notable for adding a helpful visual cue to an operating system rife with hidden menus, it isn’t exactly what people were hoping for with the return of the classic Start button. Users who want the Start button will still need third-party apps such as Classic Shell.

Many of the new Windows 8.1’s enhancements are made to bolster the modern environment, not the necessarily the desktop. Perhaps the biggest change in Windows 8.1 is how the Metro interface handles multiple apps and low-resolution displays. Whereas Windows 8 only had one, extremely limited “snap” view, Windows 8.1 will allow you to resize side-by-side apps to take up as much of the screen as you like. On large displays, you can have up to four Metro apps running side-by-side and if you have multiple monitors, Metro apps and the Start screen are no longer locked to just one monitor.

Internet Explorer 11 will make its debut in Windows 8.1. While most of the tweaks sounds fairly basic, faster page loads, better touch performance, it’s also adding the tab syncing feature allowing you to open tabs across multiple Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets.

Microsoft will release a public preview of Windows 8.1 on June 26 at their Build developer conference. When it’s finally released likely this fall, Windows 8.1 will be a free upgrade for Windows 8 users.


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