Microsoft’s Windows 8 hasn’t exactly gained a great reputation with mouse and keyboard users. However, those user’s experience is about to improve in all sorts of meaningful ways with the newly announced Windows 8.1 Update 1 upgrade.
It’s easy to see why notebook and tablet users have had a very hard time adapting to the new Start Screen, Windows Store apps and the new features that enable to the two. Initial versions of the operating system felt very incomplete and didn’t enable users to customize their experience in any meaningful way beyond changing their default live tile sizes and their Start Screen background color.
Windows 8.1 Update 1 includes a ton of updates that specifically address the concerns of users who don’t have a tablet or Windows 2-in-1.
The Start Screen Gets Contextual Menus
Right clicking on something in Windows has presented users with a list of additional options for years. It’s the method that most apps and programs use to store features that are important to users trying to do something with a file, but not important enough to put out front. Millions of users have gotten used to this and that’s why they’re making a return in Windows 8.1 Update 1. To be clear, they never left the Desktop, Microsoft is just moving them into the Start Screen. Right clicking on a live tile with a mouse will immediately give users other options like changing that Live Tile’s size and more.
Windows Store Apps Get App Title Bars
Microsoft has borrowed another feature for the Start Screen that Desktop and keyboard users will recognize. A new menu bar at the top of each app downloaded from the Windows Store will allow users to minimize and close every single app they encounter. No more dragging down on the top of each program with a mouse. It’s there, it’s apparent and it’ll always work.
Automatic Boot to Desktop
Despite Microsoft making some serious improvements to the Start Screen with its Windows 8.1 update, there are still users who complain about the Start Screen being forced on them. That’s not true in the slightest, Windows 8.1 gave users the option to enable their devices to boot directly to the desktop. However Windows 8.1 Update 1 takes this a step further. Going forward Windows 8 will automatically detect when there’s a touch screen present and take the user with the Desktop by default if there isn’t one. It’s a small change but one that should pacify Desktop fans until Microsoft can make the Start Screen even more mouse and keyboard friendly.
The Power Button Is Now Front and Center
There’s no denying that finding the power button in Windows 8 or even Windows 8.1 baffled a lot of users. So did searching their computer for apps, games and files. Microsoft has remedied this by placing a power button and search button directly above user’s live tiles on the Start Screen. No more digging into the Charms. They are there and keyboard and mouse users can’t possibly miss them.
Start Screen Apps Coming to the Desktop
If making the Start Screen more approachable for users wasn’t enough to get users excited about Windows Store apps Microsoft has another key change up its sleeve for Windows 8.1 Update 1 users. The company’s decoupling Windows Store apps from the Start Screen itself, and going forward Windows Store apps will also surface on the Start Screen’s taskbar. This’ll make Windows Store apps more accessible for users who don’t want to use the Start Screen at any cost.
Windows 8.1 Update 1 should be available for users to download soon. The update won’t require users to purchase new Windows devices or any upgrades from the Windows Store.
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