WHAT’S NEW IN WIN­DOWS 8.1 UP­DATE

a.k.a. Proof that the Mod­ern and Desk­top En­vi­ron­ments Can Co-ex­ist Af­ter All

HWM (Singapore) - - Front Page - by NgChongSeng

The first ma­jor up­date for Win­dows 8.1 is sprin­kled with UI changes to re­duce the nav­i­ga­tion con­fu­sion faced by many desk­top PC users who made the jump. But are they enough to en­tice those still sit­ting on the fence?

POWER & SEARCH BUT­TONS ON THE START SCREEN

Af­ter the up­date, you’ll no­tice that there are two new but­tons - Power and Search - at the top right of the Start screen, right be­side your ac­count pic­ture. For mouse users, that means no more slam­ming the cur­sor to the top or bot­tom right cor­ner of the screen to bring up the Charms bar, and then click­ing the Set­tings charm just to get to the Power menu.

DESK­TOP-STYLE CON­TEXT MENU WHEN YOU DO A RIGHT-CLICK

Be­fore the up­date, when you right-click a tile, the tile will be selected and a menu bar will ap­pear right at the bot­tom, show­ing you more op­tions. Af­ter the up­date, this is no longer the case. In­stead, you get a con­text menu right be­side your cur­sor - you know, just like the desk­top en­vi­ron­ment.

NEW METH­ODS FOR CLOS­ING & MIN­I­MIZ­ING MOD­ERN-STYLE APPS

Clos­ing a Win­dows Store app is quite a chore and isn’t very ob­vi­ous if you’re us­ing a mouse, which is to click the top of the app and drag it to the bot­tom of the screen. Af­ter the up­date, when you bring the cur­sor right to the top of the screen, a ti­tle bar will ap­pear. You can now close the app by click­ing - you guessed it - the Close (X) but­ton on the right. There’s also a Min­i­mize (-) but­ton.

SHOW MORE ITEMS IN THE START SCREEN & ALL APPS LIST

Win­dows 8.1’s Mod­ern en­vi­ron­ment takes both screen res­o­lu­tion and size into con­sid­er­a­tion to de­ter­mine the size of the on-screen el­e­ments. But if you’ve a high-DPI screen, you may want to shrink the el­e­ments so that more things can be shown. Now, there’s an easy way to de­crease the DPI scal­ing for the Start screen and the All Apps list. Sim­ply go to the Set­tings charm, se­lect ‘Tiles’, and en­able ‘Show more tiles on the Start screen’ and ‘Show more apps in Apps view’.

PIN WIN­DOWS STORE APPS TO THE DESK­TOP TASKBAR

Af­ter the up­date, it’s pos­si­ble to pin Win­dows Store apps to the desk­top taskbar: just right-click a tile on the Start screen or an app icon in the All Apps list, and se­lect ‘Pin to taskbar’. Like how it works for desk­top apps, you can see a thumb­nail pre­view of the last opened win­dow when you hover over a Win­dows Store app icon on the taskbar.

TASKBAR IN THE MOD­ERN EN­VI­RON­MENT

Af­ter the up­date, the taskbar is no longer a desk­top exclusive. It’ll also pop up in a Win­dows Store app or at the Start screen when you bring the cur­sor to the bot­tom of the screen. In fact, Win­dows 9 (ex­pected in mid 2015) is widely spec­u­lated to go even fur­ther, let­ting users run Win­dows Store apps (in float­ing win­dows) in the desk­top en­vi­ron­ment.

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