What’s new in Windows 8.1 Preview : Full Review

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Microsoft launched the Windows 8.1 as a upgrade to windows 8 with comprehensive changes to the operating system and the users will surely appreciate the tweaks made to the interface, along with the upgraded apps and other enhancements.
Microsoft has straightly sticked on the modern UI(the tiled start screen interface),and users who are hoping for a return of windows 7 layout will face a disappointment but use this OS as their main launching point.

Microsoft has added a few features that make a bit more palatable to keyboard and mouse windows.  Windows 8.1 has been developed by the company by listening to feedbacks from users. The company has done a appreciable job.

THE START BUTTON:

Windows 8.1 Start Button

MICROSOFT has reintroduced the Start Button in Windows 8.1 in the lower left corner of the screen and by clicking on it brings up the Start screen, where user can type a few letters to find and open apps, just like in windows 8. While you still don’t get the exact same pop-up menu you had in Windows 7, Microsoft has added the ability to right-click the new Start button to get to common Control Panel settings, open the Task Manager, perform a search, and other useful system tools. At the bottom of the pop-up menu you have the option to shut down or restart your computer — a function that was previously found in Windows 8 by mousing to the top-right corner of the screen, dragging downward, clicking Settings, clicking Power, then clicking Shutdown or Restart.

There’s obviously nothing groundbreaking about bringing a widely used interface element back from a previous OS, but we had hoped Microsoft could bring it back completely. We use Windows 8 every day, but we still miss the convenience of having recent files, the Control Panel, and everything else from Windows 7 in one spot, whereas you now need to drill down in multiple different areas when using Windows 8. Nevertheless, we’re glad the company has made the menu more easily accessible for mouse-and-keyboard users at the very least.

PERSONALIZATION:

Microsoft has added some personalization features with both the Start screen and lock screens so people can add a bit of their own style to desktops and tablets. There are more colors to choose from for backgrounds, and you can display a slideshow on your lock screen with photos currently on your hard drive or from those stored on SkyDrive.

Windows 8.1 Start Screen Customization

BOOT TO DESKTOP:

Windows 8.1 OS has the capability to set up the windows machine to boot directly to the desktop from within the OS and this feature will be appreciated by its users.

CAMERA:

The camera has been improved significantly and the biggest addition here is a panorama capture feature, denoted by an obvious looking on the main camera screen in Windows 8.1 you ll get a full set of photo editing tools to enhance color, adjust brightness and contrast, and red eye and pick from six different filters.

There’s no clicking required, users don’t even have to follow arrows all you have to do is move the device around. There are guides onscreen, helping users to move the tablet in a smooth line back and forth or up and down this can be done by some practice of few hours.

Windows 8.1 Preview Whether App

PHOTOS :

We had much more success with the new editing tools in the photos app. Whereas this application used to be more of a viewing library than anything else, it now has a host of editing options, including temperature, tint, saturation, contrast, brightness, highlights, shadows and basic fixes like rotating, cropping and red – eye removal. You can also apply artsy effects, including vignette and selective focus.

The feature called Color Enhance becomes the show stopper and lets users alter the color on a specific part of the picture. This feature becomes the show stopper and steals the show…!
It’s very easy to use and all u need to do is just drop a pin on the photo and then spin your finger around an on-screen dial to pump up the saturation.
This app works even on ill- defined areas, like a blue sky with scattered clouds.
Users can go ahead and try it themselves and can cancel any of the changes if want to cancel.

SNAP VIEW :

The snap views have been made flexible as users will be able to run more apps simultaneously on one console by resizing app windows and using the snap function.
As long as your screen has a high resolution of 2,560×1440 pixels you can have up to 4 running apps simultaneously. With dual monitor set up user could have eight apps running at once.

XBOX and VIDEO:

In Windows 8.1, the app Xbox Music has been redesigned to make it easier to move around the interface. A left pane lets us start a radio station, explore artists, play songs from our collection, or create and manage playlists. On the right side of the screen we can view artists, explore content watch videos, and much more. The new Xbox Radio feature creates playlists based on suggested artists and albums. What’s better about is that we don’t need a subscription to make use of this feature.

We can create Pandora like radio stations by entering an artist get a stream of similar music. There are other obvious services like Spotify that lets us choose songs to play and Pandora which does free streaming.
We can say that Xbox Music has been made more intuitive.

Windows 8.1 Xbox Video

VIDEO:

Xbox Video can send video to the Xbox One, with the Xbox One picking up the right where we left off. It’s not that different from what we can already do with SmartGlass, really. The difference that whereas we had to go out of our way to download SmartGlass, the Xbox Video app comes loaded on every Win8 device out of the box.

LOCK SCREEN SLIDESHOW:

Lock Screen for showing Pictures

“As people started using Windows 8, we found that people were using their Lock screens to show pictures of their families,” Leblond says. So in Windows 8.1, you can turn your PC or tablet into a picture frame by making your Lock screen a slide show of your pictures – either locally on the device or photos from Microsoft SkyDrive. “We also added the ability to take pictures with the built-in camera right from the Lock screen without having to log in.”

MORE BACKGROUNDS:

Windows 8.1 offers more colours and backgrounds for the Start screen – including some with motion. You can also choose your desktop background as your Start screen background.

DIFFERENT TILE SIZES:

Windows 8.1 Preview Tiles Size

As in Windows Phone 8, the Windows 8.1 Start screen features a variety of tile sizes including a new large and new small tile. It’s also even easier to name groups and rearrange tiles, says Leblond: “We found people were accidentally moving tiles on their Start screen so in Windows 8.1, you press and hold (or right click) to move things around.” You can now select multiple apps all at once, resize them, uninstall them, or rearrange them: “View all apps just by swiping from the bottom to view all apps, and we’ve added the ability to filter your apps by name, date installed, most used, or by category. You want the Start screen to be about all the things you love. So when you install a new app from the Windows Store, we no longer put that app on your Start screen. Instead, you’ll find these apps under apps view as mentioned above and marked as ‘new’ where you can choose to pin the apps you want to your Start screen.”

AGGREGATE SEARCH:

The Start screen has also been refined to work with all screen sizes more effectively.
Instead of having to select an app and then search when you go to the Search charm, Bing now powers an aggregated search system from the web, your files, SkyDrive and elsewhere. Leblond says: “We think this will really change the way you interact with the Web and with Windows making it quicker and easier to get things done. It is the modern version of the command line! Results from local files, apps, and settings are easily accessed in the same convenient view by scrolling to the left.”

ENHANCED APPS:

New app enhancements are also promised to all the built-in apps. According to Leblond: “The Photos app now has some new editing features that let you quickly edit or adjust photos when you view them in the Photos app or open them from other places like the Mail, SkyDrive, and Camera apps. And our Music app has been completely redesigned to help pick and play music from your collection. We plan to talk more about updates to the built in apps in Windows 8.1 and some brand new apps we will be introducing in the future. We’re also making improvements for using multiple apps at once in Windows 8.1.”

Windows 8.1 All Apps

AN ENHANCED VIDEO STORE:

App updates will now install automatically in the background as they come through the Store. And search is available in the upper right hand corner for finding the apps you want. Leblond elaborates: “The improved Windows Store is designed to show more info than before in Windows 8 with detailed lists of top free apps, new releases, and picks for you on the homepage. The app listing is more descriptive and informative and includes an area for related apps to help with app discovery.”

windows 8.1 blue technodify 09

SAVE DIRECT TO SKYDRIVE:

In Windows 8.1 your files can be saved directly to SkyDrive – it’s completely integrated into the OS. The SkyDrive app will also get a new update so that files are available even when offline – as in the desktop version.

NO NEED OF DESKTOP CONTROL PANEL:

The updated PC Settings in Windows 8.1 gives you access to all your settings on your device without having to go to the Control Panel on the desktop. “You can do things like change your display resolution, set power options, see the make and model of my PC, change the product key, let me do Windows Update, and even join a domain – all from PC Settings,” says Leblond. You can also manage SkyDrive from PC Settings as well.’

ALL NEW INTERNET EXPLORER:

Internet Explorer 11 will ship with Windows 8.1. “IE11 will offer even better touch performance, faster page load times and several other new features we think you will enjoy,” says Leblond. “For example, you can now adjust the appearance of modern IE11 to always show the address bar and you can have as many open tabs as you like. And you can access your open tabs in sync across your other Windows 8.1 devices.”

Windows 8.1 Internet Explorer 11

WORKS BETTER WITH MOUSE OR KEYBOARD:

For devices without touch, Windows 8.1 features a number of improvements for easier navigation using a mouse and keyboard. “PCs today are evolving for a world of mobile computing where people interact with their devices through touch, and we designed Windows 8 for this,” explains Leblond. “But we also recognize there are many non-touch devices in use today – especially in the commercial setting.”

IMPROVEMENTS TO THE DESKTOP AND ALL PROGRAMS:

Users’ tiles will overlay their desktop background when they access the Start screen from the desktop, while they can now swipe up from the Start screen to access their programs view.

This proves out to be the real game changer.

ALARM:

You’ve got three options here: alarm, timer and stopwatch, with countdowns in particular lasting 15 minutes or less. For both the alarm and timer, you move your finger around a clock to set the time, instead of using a slot-machine-style setup like on Android. It’s a little early to say conclusively, but so far, we like this method better: it’s a more to-the-point approach. And the UI has a clean, modern look too, which is always a plus.

Windows 8.1 Alarm

Oh, and we’d probably be missing the point if we didn’t mention what kind of alarms you’re getting. In all, there are 10 chime options, all of which seem mellow enough that they probably won’t startle you first thing in the morning. A good or a bad thing, depending on how heavy a sleeper you are.

CALCULATOR:

Microsoft is a bit late adding a Metro-style Calculator to Windows. To make up for it, though, the company went out of its way to make this a really, really good calculator. In addition to standard number-crunching, you’ve got various scientific conversions, along with a unit converter. That last element works smoothly, though you do have to take the time to select your respective units from drop-down lists. That’s not difficult, but doing a Bing search like “7 inches in mm” always seems to be the faster option.

SOUND RECORDER:

  • It is what it sounds like, folks and records sound as it does.
  • The UI sure is pretty good.

Windows 8.1 Calculator

FOOD AND DRINK:

You can do lots of things with the new Bing Food & Drink hub: create shopping lists, plan your meals for the week, discover recipes and even learn new skills, like stir-frying. (The trick is to keep the heat high and use very little oil.) Perhaps the most intriguing part, though, is that you can use a hands-free mode when reading recipes, in which you wave your hand to turn the page. That way, you don’t have to touch the screen with your sticky, grease-covered fingers. To do this, you’ll want to select the hands-free option toward the bottom of the recipe page (it’s strangely not an option in the standard app settings menu). So we tried and it works… eventually. It took us a few tries to get it to work at all, and even then, we definitely made a few swipes that didn’t register at all. With a little time and extra waving, though, you’ll get the hang of it. 

WRAP UP

Certain key changes, like that of common wallpaper option, deeper search, more windowing options, a redesigned Windows Store and a new Reading List app, boot to desktop, make this version of the Operating system more enjoyable to use than the last.

This is certainly a must download OS.

  • Samik Sengupta

    Still sucks.

    Why all flat and monochromatic?

    My 800 x 600 res monitor running Windows 98 could load more than 32 app(lication)s at once. That’s efficiency.

    I don’t know why Windows 8.1 is more superior than Windows 98 in this department.