At its Build developers conference, Microsoft announced that it has made the preview version of Windows 8.1, the update to its Windows 8 desktop operating system, available to the public for download. Here is a quick look on the new features added in Windows 8.1.
The Start screen has come up with a modern look. You can organize it by moving entire groups of tiles to a new or existing cluster, and give them a name.
Now the apps appear side by side on the screen, much like desktop apps. Newly added apps will be displayed in a ‘new’ section of the apps menu. “Also in Windows 8.1, you can have multiple windows of the same app snapped together” added Microsoft which helps to run two Internet Explorer browser windows side by side, which can come in handy when you’re comparing the contents of two websites.
When you use the search feature in Windows 8.1, you no longer have to choose which category you want to sift through. Instead, it will pull results from your files, your apps, and the Internet, and you’ll get it in all in one list.
The desktop and modern interfaces can now share a common background, which makes them seem less like two different operating systems clumsily thrown together and more like two faces of the same system. With Windows 8.1, you can adjust scaling independently, which means that both screens will be looking their best.
Better cloud integration & more
Windows 8.1 will allow users to save files directly to SkyDrive and will offer an updated SkyDrive app that allows offline access to files.
There are few more features including faster shutdown, 3D printer support, Reading list which enables you bookmark an article or story for later consumption, Tile size options in the start screen, accessing secondary functions of each key like numbers, SkyDrive file browser enables you to search local files, Hands-free mode.
There is also a rumour that that users will be able to boot straight to the desktop rather than the Start Screen. This is not currently possible in Windows 8.
Download Windows 8.1 Preview
To download the new OS, you need to visit the Windows 8.1 Preview page and download a small program. It’s worth pointing out you will not be able to ‘uninstall’ Windows 8.1 Preview and will need to perform a fresh install if you wish to go back to Windows 8.
After executing the downloaded program, the PC will prompt you to restart and will give you an option to download the Windows 8.1 update from the Windows Store. You’ll just need to follow the instructions to download and install the update.