Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 8, released back in October 26, 2012, has not been as popular as Microsoft could have wished for. In October 2013 the free upgrade (Windows 8.1) to Windows 8 will arrive to try and fix some of the issues and criticism of Windows 8. I have been able to test and get a look on what Microsoft have changed in this update and will give you a little tour of the changes Windows 8.1 brings to Windows 8.
Windows 8.1 Start Menu
The missing Start Menu has been a very hot topic in the Windows 8 discussions. Microsoft removed it in Windows 8, but are reintroducing it in Windows 8.1, but not in the traditional way. Microsoft has made it some kind of a system settings start menu (activated by right click) including the options for Sign Out, Sleep, Shut down and Restart the computer. That means that we now are able to shutdown Windows from within the classic desktop.
Customize Modern UI with desktop background
Another thing that has confused a lot of end users of Windows 8 is the Modern UI Vs the Classic desktop. Toggling between the two user interfaces felt almost like switching to another Operating System. With Windows 8.1 you can put the same background on both interfaces and it helps a lot if you ask me. It might be a simple thing, but it does make the look and feel experience a lot better. Another improvement in the Modern UI is that you can customize the tiles in many different sizes to customize your start screen just the way you want it.
Boot to Classic Desktop
Another thing you can customize with Windows 8.1 is login directly to the classic desktop. If you aren’t a big fan of the Modern UI with the tiles, but prefer the good old classic desktop you can configure your computer to start on the desktop at login time.
Search has been changed in Windows 8.1
On of the things I like most about Windows 8 is the Search feature and it has been even better in Windows 8.1. One of the new features is that Bing result is included in local search results. If you don’t find what you are searching for locally you might find in online using Bing. If you don’t like Bing search within local search it you can disable it.
Will Windows 8.1 update make Windows 8 successful?
Microsoft has made a lot of small changes to address a lot of the issues and criticism of Windows 8, but I don’t think it is enough. If you look at the changes from Windows 7 to Windows 8 I think that Microsoft has made to many changes at a time. PC users are often conservative and want to keep things the way they have learned it. Introducing a new desktop experience but still keeping the old one seems to big a compromise. The idea of a system where the codebase is the same on mobile phones, tablets, desktop computers, tablets and servers (Windows server 2012) might seems like a good idea from a developers point of view but I think there is to many compromises and to little options to customize the system to the platform you are running it on. Windows 8.1 sure does bring a lot of good improvements to Windows 8, but I don’t think that Windows 8 will ever be as popular as Windows XP or Windows 7.