What is new in Windows 8.1 RTM

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.

Windows 8.1 startmenu

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.

ModernUI with background

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.

Navigation in Windows 8.1

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.

Search result Windows 8.1


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.


About the author:
I am an IT Professional that has this blog as a hobby project in my spare time. I have been in the IT business since 1996 and want to share some of the thing I have picked up over the years, with people who visit this blog.

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25 Responses to What is new in Windows 8.1 RTM

  1. Pramod says:

    Hi Thomas !
    Microsoft has still got a lot of work to do on the Windows 8.1 O.S .Although they have introduced some unique features in their new OS,they have added features from its previous O.S versions..which will do no good for Microsoft . Thanks for sharing the information .


  2. Luke says:

    Looking good, although I still prefer to use the old start menu button. Much easier and faster to navigate.
    By the way have you tried the “Classic Shell”?
    I wonder what will happen if you use Classic Shell in Win 8.1

  3. Jordan says:

    Hey Thomas, Great Post!
    There are a lot of features that i really like. Little things like bringing back the start menu and being able to adjust the tiles in different sizes to on the start screen go a long way with me!

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Jordan
      Small improvements can for sure also be good, but I still can’t get used to the ModernUI on a normal laptop/desktop. I keeps throwing me back to classic desktop whenever I want to do something just a little bit advantage.

  4. Jason Benway says:

    Did they make the IE in the desktop and the IE in the tiles the same? In V8 they are totally separate when it comes to history and favorites.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Jason
      I know that favorites are shared between them, but not sure about history, but I guess that is the same. I am not to happy about the MetroStyle IE. It does not support Java and a lot of other plugins and stuff that we use all the time.

  5. Fahad says:

    It’s my first time over here at TechWork , I really like your blog.
    Regarding Windows 8.1, I mean microsoft hasn’t changed anything major but the fact that you can upgrade to 8.1 for free is amazing.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Fahad
      It is for sure great that the upgrade is for free. That was not the original plan from Microsoft, but I guess that the had to make it free because Windows 8 is not selling very well at all.

  6. Ranit says:

    Hi Thomas,
    I am using Windows 8. There are lots of features that I really like. Thanks for sharing such a nice information.

  7. samfrank says:

    Windows 8 has the built-in capacity to mount ISO files. Seems like a nice thing.The image backup program is included

    • Thomas says:

      The ISO mount feature in Windows 8 is for sure awesome. I have always used Virtual CloneDrive from Slysoft, but now I don’t need to install that anymore 🙂

  8. Fahad says:

    Thomas, thank for the reply!Yes that must be the reason why Microsoft made it avaiable for Free. 🙂

  9. Jack Smith says:

    Hope the bugs seen in Windows 8 will be solved down in Windows 8.1

  10. August says:

    Comeon, there is 8.1? I am still getting used to 8. I like the interface though. 🙂

  11. Juan says:

    I’m already using windows 8. The missing start button and metro look make me annoying about this latest windows. For me, Microsoft doesn’t need to change much about windows. Just update better interface, make it load faster, increase security and support. We know how to use windows with classic method. Classic method is good enough to be continue. Do not change much, we still love and using windows for whatever reason

    • Thomas says:

      Hi Juan
      I can follow you a long way. Why change the things that are working great today. The improvements on load speed are great, but with both classic desktop and Metro/Modern UI it is almost like two different system and you never know which one to use. However, we could use a new way to organize icons on our desktop, but the Metro UI is a bad solution if you ask me.

  12. Hi thomes
    Microsoft regularly updating our operating system and its new windows interface (windows 8.1) is more easy to use and its interface is more smoother then windows 7 and 8. I’m also using windows 8.1, and it awesome and very fast.in new version of windows microsoft add more new icons and app store also available in windows 8 and 8.1.

  13. Senat says:

    Start menu is one of the main missing features of Windows 8.1 and many users don’t seem to like the start screen of windows 8.1

  14. Apu Mridha says:

    I have used windows 8.1 but didn’t feel so handy and useful. I would say Windows 7 is much better compared to Windows 8. But now using windows 10 and it’s just amazing . 🙂

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