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Windows 8.1 Update: Installation and New Features


Table of Contents:

  1. What is the Windows 8.1 Update?
  2. How to Install the Windows 8.1 Update
  3. Boot to Desktop
  4. Start Screen Updates
  5. App Enhancements
  6. Taskbar Enhancements

What is the Windows 8.1 Update?

Microsoft will provide a free update to Windows 8.1 that includes new and enhanced features to the Start Screen, Windows Store Apps, and UI enhancements for the Taskbar and Boot to Desktop. The Windows 8.1 Update will be released on April 8th, 2014 through Windows Update, and will also be available to Windows 8 customers who have not updated to Windows 8.1 through the Windows Store 8.1 installer.

This update is required for future servicing of the operating system. Users who do not install Windows 8.1 Update will not be eligible for further operating system updates or security patches until their computer is updated to the current release of Windows 8.1.


How to Install the Windows 8.1 Update

The Windows 8.1 Update will be available in Windows Update on April 8th, 2014. This update will be rolled out globally as an automatic update over several weeks after release. Customers who wish to install the Windows 8.1 Update immediately should simply type "Windows Update" at the Start Screen and select the Windows Update application to start the installation process.

The March 2014 Servicing Stack Update (KB2919442) is required to be able to see or receive the Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355) in the Windows Update tool. Be sure to update your computer prior to April 8th, 2014 to get access to the Windows 8.1 Update on the day of release.

Customers who install Windows 8.1 from the Windows Store after April 8th will automatically receive the Windows 8.1 Update as part of the installation process. No further action will be necessary.

Customers who purchase Windows 8.1 through Microsoft's Electronic Software Download service after April 8th will automatically receive the Windows 8.1 Update as part of the installation process. No further action will be necessary.


New Features

Windows 8.1 Update includes many enhancements to the existing operating system, plus some new features that make using apps easier than ever.


Boot to Desktop

Windows 8.1 introduced the ability to boot directly to the Desktop view of Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1 Update now makes booting to the desktop the default option for non-tablet devices. To change the boot behavior of your computer after Windows 8.1 Update, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the Taskbar at the bottom of the screen (in either Desktop view or the Start Screen) and select Properties.
  2. Click the Navigation tab, then check or uncheck the box next to Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in.

Start Screen Updates

The Start Screen in Windows 8.1 is significantly enhanced with the Windows 8.1 Update:

  • A Power button is available in the top right corner of the Start Screen for devices with screens larger than 8.5".
  • A Search button is added to the top right corner of the Start Screen for devices with screens larger than 8.5".
  • Start Screen tiles can be right-clicked to bring up contextual menus for pinning, unpinning and resizing of tiles.
  • New Micro-Tiles for PC Settings, Documents, This PC and Pictures will be available on computers shipped with Windows 8.1 Update.
  • The Charms menu has had timing adjustments made to optimize for mouse users.
  • A Control Panel icon is now available from the PC Settings menu.

App Enhancements

Windows Store apps have also received enhancements in Windows 8.1 Update:

  • Windows Store apps will now have Close and Minimize buttons in the top right corner of the screen.
  • Closing or minimizing an app will now go directly to the Desktop view, unless another app is open.
  • Notifications for newly installed apps will appear at the bottom left of the screen.
  • Windows Store apps can now be pinned to the Taskbar.
  • Users of SkyDrive will have their apps updated to OneDrive.

Taskbar Enhancements

Finally, the Taskbar in Windows 8.1 Update is enhanced in the following ways:

  • The Taskbar is now available on the Start Screen and in Windows Store apps by drifting your mouse to the bottom of the screen. Non-mouse devices will not see the Taskbar.
  • Running Windows Store apps are now listed on the Taskbar.
  • Windows Store apps can now be controlled through the Taskbar (e.g. Music)




Article ID: SLN291094

Last Date Modified: 08/18/2014 03:43 PM


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