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What is new in Windows 8.1?

Summary: Learn about new features and functions added to the original release of Windows 8.1.

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Article Content


Table of Contents:

  1. Start Button
  2. Boot to Desktop
  3. SkyDrive Integration
  4. Improved Search
  5. User Interface Improvements

Start Button

Microsoft has reintroduced the Start button in Windows 8.1. This version of the Start button will let you toggle between the Start Screen and the Desktop, much the same as the <Windows>key does. This gives you three ways to flip between Start and the Desktop:

  1. The <Windows> key
  2. The Start Charm (swipe in from the right side of the screen or hold your mouse in the top right corner to bring up the Charms bar).
  3. The Start button on the Desktop.

Also, right-clicking the Start button will provide a menu with many of the options available from the original Start Menu. Programs will still need to be launched from the Start Screen or from a Desktop shortcut, however.

Boot to Desktop

Windows 8.1 allows you to boot directly to the Desktop view of the system rather than the Start Screen. To enable this feature, follow these steps:

  1. Press the <Windows> key to access the Desktop view.
  2. Right-click on the task bar at the bottom of the screen and select Properties.
  3. Click the Navigation tab, then check the box next to Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in.

SkyDrive Integration

Windows 8.1 includes tight integration with SkyDrive, Microsoft's cloud storage system. To learn more about SkyDrive and it's benefits, be sure to check out the Learn about SkyDrive page from Microsoft.

Improved Search

Windows 8.1 has added significant search enhancements, including search for files and folders directly from the Start Screen.

User Interface Improvements

Finally, Windows 8.1 has made numerous improvements to the user interface to make getting around your PC easier. More lock screen options, new tile sizes on the Start Screen, and more Start Screen backgrounds are just a few changes. 

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Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021



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