Originally deemed by Bill Gates as the “key to the future,” Windows 8 was a letdown for many consumers. The futuristic interface deviated too greatly from the Windows that users were previously accustomed to. The 8.1 update corrects some of the oversights present in Windows 8.
The Return of Boot to Desktop and Start Button
Two of the most characteristic Windows functions disappeared in the original Windows 8 platform—the ability to boot to the desktop and the start button. Both have returned in 8.1. However, the start button is not the multi-step application launcher of the past, but a shortcut to the start screen where you can access apps and other settings.
The start screen provides for better customization and organization. There are two tile sizes: one small and one large. You can also group multiple tiles into a group, enabling you to better personalize your start screen.
Cloud integration is also made possible through the update. Windows 8.1 contains built-in cloud storage so your documents are automatically saved to your personal SKY Drive. Now you are able to access your files in any location. Each Windows account member is awarded 7GB of storage for free, with additional storage available for purchase.
Search charm powered by Bing greatly enhances the search function of the new OS. This search engine enables you to locate the key words you are looking in several locations: documents on your PC, SkyDrive, the appstore, or the internet.
The new snap view also enables users to run up to 8 apps side by side—a huge upgrade from the 2 apps that the original Windows 8 was capable of running.
Overall, 8.1 did correct a few of the faults present in Windows 8, but the operating system is still most beneficial if you are using a touch-enabled device. The final version is projected to be released late August.