The Top 5 Windows 8.1 features I'm looking forward to

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 26, 2013
Updated • Jun 26, 2013
Windows, Windows 8

You know that I have been running Windows 8 on my second PC ever since Microsoft released the first public preview version of the operating system. While it is not my primary PC, I do use it regularly for things like Steam, browsing the apps store and to test programs on Windows 8.

I'm looking forward to the release of Windows 8.1 later today as it seems to improve the operating system in many regards. While it won't resolve major points of criticism like the missing start menu, it appears that Microsoft will at least improve it in other ways to make it more tolerable for users who are opposed to the system.

At the very least, it is improving for current users of the operating system. It is not a brand new system, more of a service pack of sorts that takes care of several issues of Windows 8.

Here is a list of five features that I'm looking forward to the most in Windows 8.1

1. App management improvements

It is currently only possible to uninstall one application at a time. If you want to uninstall ten apps, you have to mark them all individually and select the uninstall option each time to do so. With Windows 8.1, you can mark them all at once and uninstall them in one go. Plus, you can do so across multiple PCs as well if you are running multiple devices with Windows 8.

Another new feature is the ability to snap apps to the screen so that they take up the same space on it. This mimics Windows 7's Aero Snap functionality on first glance as you can now display two apps side by side so that each takes up 50% of the screen. It is however possible to snap three apps to the screen so that they all take up 33%.

Apps last but not least can now update automatically so that you do not need to do so manually in Windows Store all the time.

2. Start Screen modifications

The Start Screen of the operating system has received its fair share of improvements as well. You can now display the desktop background wallpaper as the start screen wallpaper as well if you want for instance.

Microsoft has furthermore increased the maximum number of app rows on the Start Screen to nine. Two new tile formats are introduced in Windows 8.1 as well, one half the size of the smallest Windows 8 tile format, the other double the size of the largest Windows 8 tile format.

3. Boot to desktop / Charms

It is no longer necessary to use third party tools to boot to the Windows 8 desktop directly. If you want to bypass the start screen on boot, you can do so now natively in Windows 8.1.

As far as the Charms menu goes, it is now possible to disable the top Charms of the system when you move the mouse to the hot corners.

4. Internet Explorer 11

While it is not really clear what Internet Explorer 11 will bring to the table, some features like the ability to sync tabs are already known. It also appears as if Internet Explorer 11 will support WebGL and Google's SPDY among other things. What's not clear if IE11 will be a Windows 8.1 exclusive or if it will also be made available for Windows 7.

5. Global Search

While I have not tested the new global search option yet, it sounds as if it could become a winner. Instead of having to switch between apps, settings and files, it now seems possible to browse a unified search results listing instead which makes a lot more sense in my opinion.

Some of the changes are disappointing on the other hand. The start menu button that Microsoft introduces again is really nothing else than a button that links to the start screen. While you can right-click it for an improved context menu, it is not comparable to a "real" start menu.

Windows 8.1 downloads will go live later today on this page.


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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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