Microsoft Windows 8.1 – What’s On Offer

By Mike Wheeler

Microsoft has listened to most of what people want as it updates the Windows 8 operating system by previewing the 8.1 version of the software.

By Mike Wheeler

Microsoft has listened to most of what people want as it updates the Windows 8 operating system by previewing the 8.1 version of the software.

So what have they added, gotten rid of, or updated? First thing users will notice is that they have brought back the start button. They tried to get rid of it, but it was a real bone of contention for Windows lovers, and so it has returned. And for fans of the tiles, you’ll have the ability to resize the tiles from big to small, which will be handy for people who like to prioritise their desktop by highlighting the apps they use the most.

An interesting little nugget that Microsoft’s Senior Marketing Communications Manager Brandon LeBlanc blogged about was that if you change your start screen, pin new apps to your start screen or install new apps on your primary PC, it will get synced to your other PCs via your Microsoft account.

The search function has been modified so that instead of showing a full screen of items you have searched for using the charm, the list appears in the pane adjacent to what you are working on instead of a full screen. This one was a no brainer – who wants to keep on flipping between what you are working on and what you were searching for; after all most times you do a search it is related to something you are doing on screen.

When it comes to the Windows Store, Microsoft says app developers will love the new version because 8.1 will push new in-app offers and updates to users automatically so they can see what their apps are now offering instead of stumbling upon updates and offers on an ad-hoc basis. Also, Microsoft has set it so that Skydrive is now the default location for saving documents.

Although Microsoft hasn’t rolled the user face all the way back to what most critics were asking for, it is a compromise that leaves old hands happy, while allowing the company to save face on its future vision that wasn’t so well received when Windows 8 debuted.

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