Windows 8.1 Update 1 is due to be released tomorrow (8/4/2014) via Windows Update, with many of the new features are aimed squarely at mouse and keyboard users to make their lives easier.
Firstly, the Start Menu isn’t making a comeback yet! This has been the biggest gripe from users transitioning from XP and Windows 7 and a real stumbling block on its uptake. Many (like myself) turned to Classic Shell or a number of other Start Menu replacements, but Microsoft have teased us about the return of the classic Start Menu, incorporating live tiles as seen below. This will be released in a future update.
- Windows Store Apps can now be pinned to the Desktop taskbar so you can truely launch all your favourite applications and apps from one place.
- Windows Store Apps have been given a minimise and close control in the top right hand corner like normal desktop applications, so there is no longer any need to drag them to the bottom of the screen to close (which on some trackpads was a nightmare).
- The Start Screen now has a right click context menu for tiles.
- Power and Search buttons have been added tot he Start Screen so you no longer have to swipe from the right hand side to access them.
- Newly install apps are highlighted to make finding them easier.
- Bing search now includes Windows Store Apps.
I’m looking forward to the update, I’ve liked Windows 8 since i started using it and with the addition of Classic Shell it made the desktop work as well as Windows 7. Windows 8/8.1 was quicker and more responsive than Windows 7 was on the same Hardware making the upgrade worthwhile, but now Micosoft have listened to users and will give them some features they have been asking for since the Windows 8 first appeared.
See the announcement on the Windows Experience Blog, Windows 8.1 Update – important refinements to the Windows experience, and more details can be found on the Ask the PFE Blog Exploring Windows 8.1 Update – Start Screen, Desktop and Other Enhancements.