Microsoft has officially announced the features and release date for Windows 8.1, commonly referred to as Windows Blue. Microsoft decided to put to use what it learned from customer feedback how they were using Windows 8. Based on this feedback and new working realities, Microsoft has decided to add new features and functionality to this operating system.
Windows 8.1 Features
Windows 8.1 will deliver improvements and enhancements in key areas like personalization, search, built-in apps, Windows Store experience, Internet Explorer, PC Settings, Navigation and Cloud connectivity.
In Windows 8.1, users will now be able to display personal pictures on your lock screen. You can even turn your lock screen into a slide show, by sourcing the photographs locally or from your SkyDrive account.
Windows 8.1 will also add the ability to take pictures with the built-in camera right from the Lock screen without having to log in.
You can even set your desktop wallpaper as your start screen background.
The start screen also introduces a new large and new small tile size. You have news to organize your tiles, name tile groups, select them, resize or rearrange them all and more. To avoid accidental tile movements, you will now need to press and hold (or right-click) to move things around.
Windows 8.1 also gives you the ability to filter your apps by name, date installed, most used, or by category.
Microsoft will be changing the Start “tip” or Power Menu or WinX Menu to be the familiar Windows logo. The new tip will appear anytime you move the mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen, and will be always visible on the taskbar when on the desktop. Windows 8.1 also offers options to change what the corners do, and options to boot into alternate screens.
This will hopefully satisfy those Windows 8 users who were clamoring to see the very-familiar Windows start button on their taskbar. Mind you, this Windows 8.1 start button, will not open the Windows 7 type start menu.
PC Settings will now give you access to all the settings and you will no longer need to open the Control Panel.
Boot to Desktop
Microsoft has made configuration options available which will allow you to boot directly to the desktop in Windows 8.1.
In Windows 8.1 you will get Internet Explorer 11.
All built-in Windows apps will be improved and new features will be added.
Windows 8.1 introduces variable, continuous size of snap views. You will have more ways to see multiple apps on the screen at the same time. You can resize apps to any size you want, share the screen between two apps, or have up to three apps on each screen.
The Windows Store in Windows 8.1 will show more information now. It will display detailed lists of top free apps, new releases, and picks for you on the homepage.
In Windows 8.1, the Search charm will now provide global search results powered by Bing in a rich, simple-to-read, aggregated view.
The new SkyDrive app will give you access to your files that are on your device or in the cloud. These files will be accessible even when offline. When you log on to your Windows 8.1 device with your Microsoft account your device will become automatically personalized with your settings and apps, making switching or setting up a new device really easy.
Get a first look at Windows 8.1 in this video.
So what do you think of these changes made by Microsoft? Enough? Or want some more! Let us know your thoughts.
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP since then. 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.