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.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
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.

12 Comments

  1. Esteban

    Love these upcoming updates. With the new CEO, comes a new direction. And I like the direction they’re headed. I see that Microsoft is giving users what they desire! And who knows, I may switch to window 8.1.

  2. Just installed it via MSDN. Loving it! 🙂

  3. melekeddine

    great updates!

  4. Cheryl

    I have 8.1 and I cannot get speech to text to work in any internet based program, whether it is Chrome, Facebook or a word processor. It works fine in computer based programs like windows and Word, any suggestions

  5. redroj

    What I have as a huge problem, and many other people I know with Win 8.1 is a wifi signal that keeps dropping. I have other laptops, XP, Vista and Win 7 and their signal never drops. I sometimes run them alongside my 8.1 laptop and almost never do they drop a signal whereas whatever I do – and i have tried dozens of work arounds, Win 8.1 – like Win 8 before it just keeps dropping wifi signal. There are lots of complaints about this so I think whatever changes Microsoft makes, like a lot of people, I am going back to Win 7 just to get a stable work environment. Awful software with Win 8 after such a success with XP and Win 7.

  6. colin allen

    When I close a store app I now get kicked to the desktop, and unlike many, I like the start screen

  7. Use the When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start option. See: https://www.thewindowsclub.com/return-desktop-closing-windows-8-1-apps

  8. colin allen

    I had that option unchecked, so it should have gone to Start, I’ve discovered that unchecking the ‘Show Windows Store apps on taskbar’ fixes it.

  9. Oh – Thanks for this! 🙂

  10. smile

    How can we change the hand tool instead of simple “Close and Minimize” option to close the apps???????

  11. Catherine

    The major problem with 8.1 is that Windows will NOT upgrade. I have tried to get help everywhere, to no avail, and it is a failure of Windows that cannot be fixed. I have even tried to find out how to reinstall Windows 8.1 hoping that would rectify the problem. If the needed upgrades are not installed it is not protecting our computers.

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