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Windows 8.1 Update 1 unveiled

Sam Loveridge

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Windows 8. 1 Update 1
Windows 8. 1 Update 1

Microsoft has officially unveiled Windows 8.1 Update 1, making it easier to use Windows 8 with a keyboard and mouse.

The Windows Task Bar has been improved significantly to work with Windows Store apps, offering a title bar and minimise options.

Both the top and bottom task bars are automatically revealed as you move your mouse closer to them, keeping the more streamlined with the new interface.

Thankfully, the touch controls that have been so focused on with Windows 8 are now not necessary if you are only using a mouse and keyboard.

The Start menu now offers access to the Control Panel and Settings, as well as a power and search button in the top right hand corner. These were previously hidden behind touch gestures.

Read next: Everything you ned to know about Windows 10

Microsoft is also making the Windows Store more mouse and keyboard friendly, but this will arrive in a separate update to the Store itself.

The Task Bar now offers quick access to the Windows Store, and finding an app within the store can be done by searching from the Start Menu.

New apps that have been installed will now be highlighted in the Start Screen's All Apps list, which is something users have complained about in the past.

The update will be available for all Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 users from Tuesday April 8

Asok Asus

April 3, 2014, 2:58 am

How is it considered "desktop friendly" when the "restored" Start Menu
is nothing but a reformatted version of the universally loathed Metro UI
Start Screen? Microsoft is completely insane. Their first attempt at
"restoring" the start menu was just a button that took you back to the
dreadful Metro UI. Now the second attempt is just a miniature version of
Metro UI which accesses ONLY Metro UI apps and NOT DESKTOP PROGRAMS! I wonder who they think they are kidding? Certainly not
their
bread and butter enterprise and SMB customers. If anything, these
pretend-restorations just continue to demonstrate the utter contempt
that Microsoft has for their rapidly fleeing customers.

MattMe

April 3, 2014, 9:56 am

If you make the start screen personalised by removing stuff you don't need, add the (desktop) applications you use frequently and organise them, the start screen is just as useful as the start menu. Better, in my opinion. Certainly no less functional.

You get access to common the power user tools by right-clicking the start button, and everything else from the start screen. If I want to launch something I don't use regularly, and can't be bothered to look through the icons, I press the Windows button on my keyboard and start typing what I want. It works really well.

Windows 8 is actually fantastic on keyboard and mouse if you are prepared to change how you work slightly. The only drawbacks I found since running 8/8.1 since release are Metro apps being largely gesture control driven, but that's what those apps are intended for. Now, with these update 1 features announced they are adding desktop-friendly controls to those too.

Realistically when using a computer you spend 90% of the time in desktop view using applications. It's only when launching something else I even see the start screen, and I spend approximately 4 seconds a day in there.

I'm not saying it's perfect, there are still limitations, like network controls from the taskbar for example; when clicking the icon from desktop view you get a very metro-esque snapped view where you really cannot do anything other than connect to a wireless network. All other controls have to be accessed from control panel separately. There's a few pieces like that which can annoy me. In all honesty though, how often do you do these types of tasks? I work in IT networking and servers, so I would expect I use these types of features more frequently that an average user, and I get on fine. There's always little quirks in a new OS that mean you have to work differently.

dgrantuk

April 3, 2014, 11:35 am

Good post. One of the key points you mentioned was "...if you are prepared to change how you work slightly...". Windows 8 is what it is so rather than complain about it, just use Windows 7 and wait for the next release.

simon

May 2, 2014, 2:18 pm

It says April, which is wrong since the update is supposed to be in August. -_-

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