Microsoft is providing updates to its Windows 8 & 8.1 operating systems known as “Update 1” to better accommodate PC desktop and laptop users.
For those of you who use a mouse and keyboard more than touch screen devices, you will appreciate Windows 8 & 8.1 updates. They are much more “click” friendly.
With the large upward trend in tablet sales and downward trend in PC and laptop sales, to better accommodate the increasing number of touch-screen customers, Microsoft launched Windows 8 & 8.1 which are more “touch-centric” than its prior operating systems. For example, the Start Screen in Windows 8 & 8.1 known as the “Modern UI” or modern experience (previously called the Metro UI) features colorful tiles or apps that can be swiped and tapped. Now, to help accommodate both audiences, Microsoft is launching Update 1 to Windows 8 & 8.1 that will include more mouse and keyboard friendly functionality.
Update 1 is free, and is slowly being rolled out. Users should receive the download over the next several weeks.
Highlights of Update 1:
Boot directly to the desktop. With Update 1, Windows 8 & 8.1 become “hardware aware” meaning that when you boot up a touch-screen device, by default, the Start Screen will come up with the Modern UI tiles which are optimized for touch. However, when you boot up a desktop or laptop, by default, the desktop UI will be shown with the bottom taskbar, bypassing the Modern UI Start Screen. Desktop users can go to and from the Modern UI Start Screen by selecting the windows icon.
Power and search buttons added in the Modern UI Start Screen. Previously, turning off your computer, or searching for an app or document in Window 8 & 8.1’s Modern UI required you to swipe from the right-hand side of the screen (and find the set of vertical “charms”) to pull up a menu where these buttons were located. This is not as easy to do with a desktop computer using a mouse as it is on a touch-screen tablet. Now, you don’t have to do this because located on the upper right-hand corner of the Start Screen right next to your username is a Power button. The Search button located right next to it is just as easy to use. Simply select it and type in the app or file you are looking for in the field provided.
New settings menu for app tiles. Update 1 will allow Windows 8 & 8.1 users to right-click (or hold-down the control key) on an app tile in the Start Screen to bring up a right-click menu. The menu will show up next to the tile app to allow you to unpin it, pin it to your taskbar (which is now available throughout the operating system), uninstall it or resize it. This allows the app to conveniently be more accessible on your taskbar even on your desktop. And, since you can launch these apps from your desktop, you’ll spend less time jumping between the desktop and the Start Screen just to open an app.
Close and Minimize buttons. Now with the new updates, you can minimize open apps right to your taskbar or close them altogether.
Title bar at the top of the app. When you push your mouse into the upper portion of the app screen, with Update 1, the apps have a title bar that materializes. It’s a border that is located on the upper edge of the app window when opened. When you click into that region, a thumbnail of the app icon also shows in the far left corner (the close and minimize buttons are on the opposite end at the upper right-hand corner). Prior to Update 1 you had to carefully position the mouse in the middle of the screen, wait for it transform into a little hand and then drag the app to the bottom of the screen to close it.
Use Apps in half screen with a “click.” Snap Modern UI apps to the left or right halves of the screen by simply clicking the app thumbnail in the title bar. Prior to Update 1, you had to click and then drag the app to the left or right corner to put it into a half screen.
Taskbar is available throughout the operating system. It is very convenient not to have to go back and forth from the Start Screen to open and close apps. The taskbar with your pinned apps are always available.