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Windows 8.1 Update: Improvements and Changes

As you are aware, the last few articles that I wrote about are regarding the Windows 8 Start Menu. I talked about creating new shortcuts and how to navigate easier with the start menu. On April 15, 2014, Microsoft released this software, which you could get the latest update from with Windows Update or from this article Install the latest Windows 8.1 Update. To find out which version of Windows you are using, you can find out here.

For those people who have been claiming that Windows 8.x was all about touch devices, well Desktop lovers, you got some love with these latest patch. This patch gave some well needed changes to help the classic keyboard and mouse users.

Boot to Desktop by Default: Windows 8.1 introduced the ability to enable booting to desktop as an option, but most people were not sure how to enable it. Which is a shame, since most people wanted to avoid the new Start Menu and get a look at something more familiar to them, like the desktop.

To enable it, you will need to right click the taskbar and select properties:

Then you will need to click on Navigation and then under Start screen, select the option “When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start

Search and Power Buttons on the Start Screen: These buttons appear in the upper-right corner of the Start screen next to your account picture. You’ll be able to quickly and easily shut down your PC or search for things right from Start. In the past, I got around these tasks, but creating my own tiles, but for most users, it was really hard to figure out and more importantly, was hidden for such common tasks. For more info, see Shut down (turn off), sleep, or hibernate your PC and How to search.

Here are the new icons:

Here are the options for the power icon:

Here is the options for Search:

Notice that you can change from everywhere to a specific place, as seen below:

Pin Apps to Open Desktop Apps to the Taskbar: Another area where users have seemed to stumble when using Windows 8 is trying to find and open apps from the desktop side. This update will give users the ability to pin apps installed from the Store to the Windows 8.1 desktop task bar, which will make it much easier to access these apps from the desktop side. For more info, see How to use the taskbar.

By default it installed the Windows Store App to the taskbar:

You can also choose, if you want these feature, by right clicking the taskbar and select properties, then Show Windows Store apps on the taskbar (I choose not to display them here below)

New Right-Click Context Sensitive Menus: A convenient feature for mouse and keyboard users is the ability to right-click on a UI element — such as the Windows desktop, the task bar, or other interface elements — and get a context-sensitive menu that provides additional options. While that functionality has always existed in the desktop mode of Windows 8/8.1, it has not been added to the Windows store apps.

The Minimize button, Close button, and taskbar are more available with your mouse: Your mouse works more consistently anywhere in Windows. Move your mouse to the top of the screen to see Close and Minimize buttons in any app. Move your mouse down to the bottom of the screen to see the taskbar from anywhere in Windows. For more info, see How do I close an app? and How to use the taskbar.

Cheaper Windows 8 partner licensing costs: Microsoft announced that any device that has a screen of 9 inches or smaller will be free, which is great news and allows Microsoft products to compete in the open market better. OEM’s were getting killed trying to put Windows in the hands of consumers with the popularity of tablets and other smaller devices.

I was not sure of Windows 8 at first, but it grew on me. Then Windows 8.1 came out and it really grabbed a hold of me, now with this Update patch, I am very confident that others will embrace this really good operating system.

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