Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks

5 things to expect in Windows 8.1

Posted by Alan at 8:34 AM on October 5, 2013

With Microsoft’s latest operating system release drawing closer, many customers are growing excited about what to expect in this update. Windows 8.1 isn’t really a new OS, but its a lot more than just a service pack. The company has attempted to fix many of the issues that have drawn complaints from customers, while also enhancing other features.

Changes are too numerous to detail here, but this is a good time to take a quick glance at five of the more noticeable changes that users can expect to see on October 18.

The Start Button

This is the big one, but beware that I said Button and not Menu. The Button, when clicked, merely takes you to the Start screen. However, there is a bit more functionality hidden within it. Right-click on it and you get a context menu with a number of options. It may not be what people had in mind, but it is better than nothing.

start context menu

Search

The search option is still accessed from the Charms Menu, but unlike before, it no longer takes over your screen. Instead, it simply occupies the space of the Charms menu, and results appear below the search box. It’s a much nicer way of working.

windows 8.1 search

SkyDrive

SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service, was a part of Windows 8, as it is part of Office 2013. Now in version 8.1, the service receives a place in the PC Setting menu, allowing for easier control over how it works.

windows-8-1-skydrive

Start Page Images

Windows 8 still allowed users to customize their desktops with virtually any image they wished, but limited the Start screen options to thosen chosen by MicroSoft. Now you can opt to have the image on your desktop carry over to the Start page. If you have images rotating in a theme, don’t worry — Start will keep up with the changes.

windows-8-1-start

Boot to Desktop

With the exception of the Start button, this is probably the most requested feature. Customers can now opt to have their PC go right to the desktop upon bootup. A simple check-mark in a box is all that is required.

boot to desktop

As I said, there is much more to be found in this new operating system, but these are perhaps the biggest and most notable of the changes Microsoft has made.