Windows 8.1 Update introduces new features and enhancements

When users provide feedback to a responsive company, they materially impact the brand and ensure that the product you get is the product what you expect. Ever since Windows 8 was introduced in 2012, we saw some changes happening with Windows 8.1 and now Windows 8.1 Update. The latest updates, formally named as Windows 8.1 Update introduces new features and more changes to Windows 8, based on consumer feedback.

Windows 8.1 Update new features

Windows 8.1 Update focuses on customer-driven improvements, tutorials, more personalization options, the ability to boot to desktop by default, improvements to multi-tasking, and more. After installing this update on your computer (excluding Tablets) will boot to desktop by default. A new group of Tiles have been added to a new user’s Start screen – This PC, PC Settings, Documents and Pictures. Existing users wont see it – only new profiles get these! Moreover, newly installed Apps have a blue “NEW” text next to its name. Check out the other new features!

New Power and Search button on the Start Screen

Now when you visit the Start Screen, on select devices you can find Power and Search buttons. The buttons are visible in the upper-right corner just next to your account picture. They provide a shortcut to shut down and search options, right from the Start Screen. Select devices will now boot to desktop as the default setting.

Search and turn off button

Pin Windows Store Apps to Desktop

You can now pin both desktop apps and apps from the Windows Store as well as your favorite websites to desktop. This makes the process of switching between apps right from the Desktop a lot easier.

Windows Store on Taskbar

More familiar mouse and keyboard options

Some of the changes made are a rollback to the earlier features. For instance, mouse and keyboard options. If you move the mouse cursor to the top of the screen when using a Windows Store app, you will see the familiar Close and Minimize buttons. The hand tool you used earlier for pulling down an app and closing it, makes an exit. Also, when you move your mouse to the bottom of the screen in a Windows Store app, the taskbar pops up.

Minimize and close button

Familiar Right-Click Context Menu

When on the Start Screen you right-click on an app tile, you get a context menu as in Desktop environment listing a multitude of options like

  1. Unpin from Start
  2. Pin to the taskbar
  3. Change the tile size or
  4. Uninstall the app.

Right clic context menu for start screen

Changed Notification System

Windows Store now comes pinned to the taskbar by default. Previously, every time you installed a desktop application, you’d invariably get an overwhelming number of tiles (icons) pinned to the end of the Start screen. Windows signalled a change with Windows earlier Windows 8.1 update. Now when you install the new update you will observe that a message appears at the lower-left corner of the Start screen that points you to the Apps view to see apps you just finished installing.

New Apps installed notification

In all, the Microsoft has done a good thing by introducing this packages a collection of refinements designed with a familiar and convenient experience across touch, keyboard and mouse inputs.

The Windows 8.1 Update or KB2919355, is now available for download to MSDN subscribers. It will begin to roll it out for free to Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 customers via Windows Update April 8th. Go here for Windows 8.1 Update How-to videos and Guides. Read this post if Windows 8.1 Update fails to install.

Along with this announcement, Microsoft also announced Windows Phone 8.1 and mentioned that Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 too will get new features.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.