Ever since Windows 8 was released back in October 2012, there has been a lot of criticism on the lack of certain features in Windows 8 and also the implementation of certain features. To address these issues Microsoft is working on a new update. It has been quite a long time since we covered the new features coming in the Windows Blue or Windows 8.1. Today Microsoft has detailed most of the new changes coming to Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 will deliver improvements and enhancements in key areas like personalization, search, the built-in apps, Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity. Windows 8.1 will debut next month at the Microsoft’s BUILD conference as a public preview and the update will be free for all users.
So here are some of the major new features in Windows 8.1.
This is one area where Windows 7 had quite a lot of options, but with the new start screen, the customization options were limited to what was provided by default. In Windows 8.1, you’ll be able to do more to personalize the experience on your device. First customization option includes the ability to make your PC or tablet into a picture frame by making your Lock screen a slide show of your pictures.
The photos can be locally on the device or photos from the cloud in SkyDrive. You can now set a background wallpaper for start screen including motion ones. Apart from this, there are two new tile sizes, one large and one small tiles (see image below).
It’s also even easier to name groups and rearrange tiles. You can now select multiple apps all at once, resize them, uninstall them, or rearrange them. You can view all apps just by swiping from the bottom to view all apps, and we’ve added the ability to filter your apps by name, date installed, most used, or by category.
2. SkyDrive and Cloud Connectivity:
Microsoft’s cloud storage service, SkyDrive is now deeply integrated into Windows 8.1, you can now open and save files directly from SkyDrive. The new SkyDrive app gives you access to your files that are on your device or in the cloud, and files are accessible even when offline.
3. Improved PC Settings:
While the initial version of Windows 8 had PC Settings, it did not have all the features and users had to go to control panel to make other changes. The updated PC Settings in Windows 8.1 gives you access to all your settings on your device without having to go to the Control Panel on the desktop. You can do things like change your display resolution, set power options, see the make and model of my PC, change the product key, let me do Windows Update, and even join a domain – all from PC Settings.
4. Internet Explorer 11:
Windows 8.1 will see IE11, which is built on the advancements in IE10 and is the only browser that is built for touch. IE11 will offer even better touch performance, faster page load times and several other new features. The new IE11 will not have restrictions on the number of tabs it can open.
5. Windows Store and New Apps:
All the default apps will be improved in Windows 8.1, for example, the Photos app will get basic editing options. There is also improvements to Music app. The new version will also bring changes to the snap behaviour. You will have more ways to see multiple apps on the screen at the same time. You can resize apps to any size you want, share the screen between two apps, or have up to three apps on each screen if you have a multiple displays connected, you can have different Windows Store apps running on all the displays at the same time and the Start Screen can stay open on one monitor.
You can even run multiple instances of same app and overall there is vast improvement in multi tasking.
There are few new built-in apps in Windows 8.1 and these includes the new touch-friendly calculator and alarm apps.
6. Search and Bing Integration:
To search for apps and files, Windows 8 had the Charms menu and with 8.1 it has improved. Search charm will provide global search results powered by Bing in a rich, simple-to-read, aggregated view of many content sources and this includes apps, SkyDrive files and other local files.
Apart from these, there are also improvements in keyboard and mouse options. Overall, we feel that Windows 8.1 now has the abilities for making a good tablet.
The preview built will be available in late June and there is no mention on when the final built of Windows 8.1 will be available. Complete details on Windows 8.1 available here.