When Microsoft released Windows 8 and its line of Surface tablets, we reported that Surface RT tablets are DOA, but that Windows 8 beats Windows 7 for audio and that Windows 8 music apps could be huge.
Now Microsoft has released Windows 8.1 – an update that adds some new features, but more importantly, fixes some of the things people hated about Win 8. Is it enough to make you reconsider the OS? Check out the details and let us know what you think!
Here are some of the key features of WIndows 8.1:
- The Start button is back in desktop mode, although not the way it was before Windows 8 came along. In Windows 7 and before, a click on Start would have brought up programs and important folders in a list. Now, Start takes you to the new tile interface, where you can click or tap tiles to open programs. A long press brings up crucial settings such as the Control Panel.
- You can now start up in desktop mode.
- The onscreen keyboard now includes the ability to type numbers or punctuation marks by swiping up or away from certain keys on the standard “QWERTY” layout, eliminating the need to toggle between numeric and alphabetic layouts.
- Gestures – You can now control some apps using gestures captured by front-facing cameras on laptops.
- Faster Tile Organization – Tiles in the touch-focused interface are now easier to move, and there are now four tile size options. You can also customize snapping for displaying two apps at once.
- Many “Metro’ apps have been updated to offer more complete functionality, with big changes to Mail, People and Calendar; and Skype has replaced Messaging.
- Search has been improved, integrating Web content.
- Microsoft has released free Remote Desktop apps for iOS and Android that let you view and control your Win 8 computer wirelessly. This is likely to be fiddly with apps that aren’t touch-focused, but could be useful for some aspects of DAW-control.
There’s a 8.1 FAQ at Microsoft’s site.