Windows 8.1

June 28, 2013

For those of you who have Windows 8 or are thinking about getting a new computer, you may be interested to hear that there is an update coming to Windows 8. It’s called Windows 8.1, codenamed Windows Blue. We don’t know exactly when this update will be released, but it should be within a few months. We do know, however, that it will be a free update.

Here’s what you’ll want to know about this update.

  • The start button is back!
    If you have a start button on your Windows 8 computer, it’s probably because we installed a little utility called Start8. Funny. The start button in Windows 8.1 looks just like the Start8 start button. The drawback is that when you click the start button, you get the Windows 8 start menu unlike Start8 where you get a Windows 7 like start menu. One nice thing Microsoft did is that you can right-click on the start button and get a little pop-up menu that gives you a lot of nice options like control pane and task manager.
  • Boot to Desktop
    When Windows 8 boots (unless Start8 is installed) it starts in the start menu instead of going directly to the desktop. With Windows 8.1 you now have the option to tell it to go directly to the desktop when your computer boots.
  • You can customize the start screen
    You can now change the color and background. You can personalize it with a photo. The lock screen can now display a slideshow of your photos. You can change the size of tiles in the Windows 8 start screen as well.
  • New version of Internet Explorer
    Internet Explorer version 10 came out with Windows 8 and it has been problematic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to downgrade a customer’s computer from IE10 to IE9. With Windows 8.1, Internet Explorer 11 is arriving. It boasts the same things that every new version of IE has boasted – Faster performance and better security. We’ll see.
  • The app store has been redesigned and now has more apps with more coming every day.
  • Better keyboard and mouse support
    When Microsoft designed Windows 8 the target was tablets and phones and touchscreens. However, most people running Windows 8 are on a computer and don’t have a touch screen. They have finally realized this and have made some improvements in the way Windows 8 handles mouse and keyboard controls.

If you have Start8, you may be wondering with the changed included with Windows 8.1, do you still need Start8. The answer is that if you still want the Windows 7 style start menu, you should keep Start8. I personally prefer the Windows 7 style start menu. However, I admit that with the changes included in Windows 8.1, Windows 8 is much more usable on a computer and makes Start8 less critical.

We here at Cyber Tek Computer Pros already have Windows 8.1 and we are testing it. We’ll let you know the results of our testing and we’ll also let you know when Windows 8.1 comes out.

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