When Microsoft released Windows 8, it was met with mixed feelings. Many Windows users enjoyed the sleek new look, while others sat at their computers confused. With so many changes to the user’s interface, many found it harder to navigate than previous Window releases. This caused a drop in sales that Microsoft had to address.
Their answer, Windows 8.1. Though this is not an entirely new operating system, like the change from Windows 7 to Windows 8, the new update promises users a bit more familiarity, more options, and even better performance. This is meant to be more than a service pack, it is an entire update to the previous Windows 8 release.
Welcome Back Start Button
The biggest change from Windows 7 to Windows 8 was the disappearance of the beloved Start button. Since Windows 95, this was the go to button for opening programs and files. When Windows 8 released, the start button was gone. Windows 8.1 brings back the start button, not just in the desktop mode, but on the default tile UI. This is a change that many users are breathing a sigh of relief to see.
Tile Resizing and Personalized Grouping
Another complaint from Windows 8 users is the inability to resize the tiles on the startup screen. Many users wanted to be able to make infrequently used tiles smaller while keeping their favorite apps large and in charge. Windows 8.1 will allow users to increase and decrease tile sizes as they see fit.
Additionally, users will also be able to group their favorite apps together and personalize the labels. You can group your favorite games, photo editing software, movie editing suites, etc., and name them all appropriately. This will offer more usability and personalization which will make their Windows truly theirs.
More Visual Personalization
We all want our computers to reflect our own styles and unique personal taste. Windows 8.1 will allow users to change everything from the color of their background, even by shades, to the included backgrounds. It will also include animated backgrounds to offer more style.
IE 11 and Full Screen Browsing
For those who love surfing the net, Windows 8.1 comes with the new Internet Explorer 11 which offers full screen browsing. Rather than scrolling down and clicking the next page of results, IE 11 will allow users to swipe through the results seamlessly to find what they are looking for. This is keeping with the touchscreen intent of Windows 8.
More Apps and Enhanced Search
The main premise behind Windows 8 is the use of apps. 8.1 will offer easier browsing of the Windows Store so users can discover new apps. As well, one search on Windows 8.1 will search through your PC, your apps, and the web. If you want to find a specific song, Windows 8.1 will search for the audio file on your PC, search any music apps you have installed and the internet for streaming music or video to give you more results and more options to find what you are really looking for.
For Windows lovers out there who felt disappointed with Windows 8, relax, 8.1 is built for you. Microsoft saw a drop in sales and user confidence with the dramatic changes Windows 8 made, but as with any great company, they listened and are offering redemption. If you want to give Windows 8 a try but are afraid of the user interface, wait a little longer for 8.1 before making the switch.