Whether Windows 8 was the right move for Microsoft to make in the face of a burgeoning tablet market and slipping sales of traditional laptops and desktops isn’t yet known. Surely, the company’s move to expand Windows outside of its core area, that is to create a possible future for Windows that wasn’t just attached to what people think of as typical Windows machines, was probably the right move.
Regardless, Windows 8.1 comes packed with even more features than what people might find if they’re just answering email or browsing the internet. Here are 5 more things that you might not know your Windows 8.1-equipped machine can do that you might not have noticed.
Transform Your Device Into A Electronic Picture Frame
A few years ago, the entire world became fascinated with the idea that they could store all of their family photos on a device that would automatically play side shows of their friends and family. At the time, the idea seemed to be borderline revolutionary, the majority of users had finally stopped buying camera with film and wanted a way to showcase all the photos they’d taken without having to spend a fortune on ink cartridges for their printer or trek to their local Walgreen’s to have them printed. The idea soon faded as users moved on to the next big thing, however now operating systems like Windows 8 are building in that same kind of functionality.
Any Windows 8.1 PC can be configured to auto play slideshows when locked. This gives users the digital picture frame conveniences they always wanted without buying another device that plugs into the wall. The lockscreen sideshow functionality in Windows 8.1 can also load up pictures from the user’s SkyDrive storage. That mean’s transferring pictures manually is a thing of the past too.
Be Your Notebook
Thanks to Microsoft fully embracing the touchscreen, Windows computers, and more specifically tablets can double as the world’s most versatile notebook. Every Windows user can download the Windows Store version of OneNote at absolutely no charge. OneNote allows users to take notes and organize them in anyway the see fit. It then syncs these notes between multiple devices.
That means that any notes taken on your Windows 8.1 tablet, desktop or laptop are all automatically synced with companion apps on Windows Phone, iPhone and devices running Google’s Android operating system. Tablet owners can also use a capacitive stylus or the digitizer pen their device came with to take handwritten notes as if they were recording their thoughts and memories in a Five Star notebook.
Keep Track of The Things You Don’t Have Time to Read
Digital natives come in contact with a large assortment of content. There’s always that How To article that tells you exactly how to do that thing you’ve been trying to figure out or that longform piece whose first paragraph perfectly encapsulates what you think about a certain topic. In other operating systems users are left to download third-party apps that store and manage interesting things for them. In Windows 8.1, there’s Reading List.
Users who’ve found something interesting in a newsreader app or on the web simply need to hit the Share Charm that’s revealed by placing their cursor in the top-right corner of their screen. Anything sent to Reading List can be categorized for reading later. It also syncs between devices so that users with a primary Windows 8.1 device can add things to Reading List and finish it on their tablet or secondary device later.
Windows is Part Search Engine
When Microsoft announced that it’d be making significant changes to the Search Charm, some users were a bit uneasy. As it turns out they needn’t have been. Windows 8.1 now includes access direct to Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine. In short, there’s no need to open a web browser or download any convoluted tool bars that slow down your device’s performance. Plus, Bing Smart Search on Windows 8.1 lays out all of the relevant content users crave before they even head to the web.
Look Like Windows 7
Of course, the biggest thing most users don’t know is that they can get the benefits of running Windows 8.1, built-in virus protection and faster boot times, while making the operating system mostly function just like Windows 7.
Windows 8.1 is available to all Windows 8 users as a free download from the Windows Store. User’s will need that update before all of these features are available.