Last updated September 20th, 2013 at 03:00 am
Last year, Microsoft introduced the latest version of its Windows OS called Windows 8 and now, we have Windows 8.1 in market. You will be reading Windows 8.1 review in this post and I will try to relate it to Windows 8 as much as possible. The exciting news by Microsoft was that, they launched an OS that was not only appropriate for Computer but also for smartphone and tablets as well. Along with Windows 8, a tablet called Surface was also introduced by Microsoft. However, our main emphasis will be on Windows 8.1 review in this post.
Some bugs were reported in that version of Windows OS and that is the main reason why Microsoft was forced to take another look at it. Finally, they have come up with a revised version called Windows 8.1. The preview version was released by Microsoft on last Wednesday and that preview version is easily available for surface tablet.
Read below for Windows 8.1 review;
Don’t expect a lot
If you were disappointed in Windows 8 and you were thinking that Microsoft will change everything magically in new version of the same windows then you are wrong my friend. I wouldn’t say that Windows 8.1 is not good but it is not as good as people were expecting it to be. Many people were thinking that Microsoft will backtrack on the Start Screen concept but it has not happened.
The start screen is still there but they have made its design a little sleek and neat. You can find the start button on desktop but once you will click on it, it will take you directly to the start screen instead of showing the options just like we used to see in Windows 7. For many users, the start button may be a little surprising but it has been added by Microsoft to increase the productivity and efficiency of devices.
If you are one of those people who want to avoid using modern apps then you have got an option in Windows 8.1. Just right click on task bar and choose properties. From here, you can select “boot to desktop”. This will help the computer to sort desktop apps on start screen. You can select which apps to show on start screen and which not. You can categorize the apps and when you will open the start screen, all categorized apps will be displayed in groups.
Another option added by Microsoft and I would like to mention in this Windows 8.1 review is the transparent start screen. You can choose to show the desktop background in start screen too.
Windows 8.1 – Divide screen for multiple apps
For the first time in Windows 8, Microsoft introduced the option to use two apps simultaneously in one screen. One of the Microsoft engineer admitted that only fewer people used that option. Now, you can divide the screen for using two apps at a time. You can draw a vertical line on desktop screen and run both apps on either side. This helps you to multitask while improving your productivity as well.
Windows 8.1 – New Search Feature
Another important thing that I would like to mention here in Windows 8.1 review is the enhanced search feature. If you search for Adele in Bing apps, it will show you results that look more like a media player. The way searched used to work in Windows OS has changed a lot in Windows 8.1. Previously, you had to press Win-S to start search but now, search feature has been added to every screen and panel. There is no need to go to start screen and search for a particular app because the latest search feature of Windows 8 is fast, accurate and searches each and every part of your computer.
I really love it because you can easily open a new desktop app without leaving the desktop itself. If you prefer to search in a different way or you like the general search then it will take you to a new Bing app that will show you relevant results that will be useful too.
Windows 8.1 – Better SkyDrive
While Microsoft has brought some great changes as mentioned by me in this Windows 8.1 review, the SkyDrive has been improved as well. Keep in mind that SkyDrive is the cloud storage service provided by Microsoft. The good thing is that, it is embedded in a really good way for Windows 8.2. For example; you can open a new notepad file, write something, hit save and it will be automatically saved in your SkyDrive. This will ensure that you never lose any of your data no matter what happens.
Another improvement that has been brought by Microsoft in new SkyDrive app is that, it works offline too. Previously, you couldn’t use SkyDrive offline but now, you can do that very easily. Sharing data with your desktop computer has become much easier as well. This is really a good feature for people like me who are often on the go and need to save data while traveling.
Windows 8.1 – PC settings
It would be unfair of me to talk about the latest features of Windows 8.1 in this review and don’t mention the PC settings at all. Not only Microsoft has improved the overall look, UI and apps in Windows 8.1 but the PC settings menu has more settings options too. You will seldom feel the need to use old Control Panel. I would say that it is still not comprehensive but it is a lot better than the old settings menu. There are many things that should be added by Microsoft in PC settings but they have really improved the settings menu for sure.
Windows 8.1 – Latest Version of Internet Explorer (IE 11)
To be honest, how many of you use IE anyway? At least, I don’t use that web browser at all. However, there are still a lot of people who use Internet Explorer and for them, Microsoft has introduced the latest version and it is called IE 11. This version will not only be available for Windows 8.1 but also for Windows 8 and Windows 7 too.
The most important feature of IE 11 is WebGL (Web Graphic Library). This helps the browser to show 3D accelerated graphics without seeking help from a third party app or plugin. I was quite skeptic while trying the latest version of IE fearing that it might freeze my computer but I must admit that it worked quite smoothly. Still, it is not as smooth as some other web browsers available in the market.
Windows 8.1 – Improved Windows Store
I and many of my friends didn’t like the old Windows store as we used to find it really boring. The UI of previous Windows store was not quite appealing too. However, just like a lot of things, Microsoft has improved its Windows store too.
The home page is more appealing to eyes and it looks like magazine style. You can select the categories from top menu very easily instead of scrolling down for a long period of time. There is an option of automatic app update but you will have to allow it manually. Once done, all your apps will be updated automatically.
I was expecting much more from Microsoft in terms of latest version of Windows 8.1. However, I’m content with whatever they have done so far. These improvements were need of the time and they have listened to their users. If you haven’t updated your Windows 8 to 8.1, do it now and enjoy the sleek, fast and convenient Windows experience.