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Microsoft waxes lyrical over Windows 8.1 and its Start button

What to expect from the service pack
Thu May 30 2013, 16:01

SOFTWARE REDEVELOPER Microsoft has treated Windows users to a deep look at what it plans for Windows 8.1 and its rebooted Start button.

In a blog post Antoine Leblond, Microsoft corporate VP of Windows programme management pored over the software, showing off what it will be able to do.

The blog shows the Microsoft Start screen that we have come to expect from Windows 8 and talks up its improved personalisation, search, the cloud, security and other features.

"Windows 8.1 will deliver improvements and enhancements in key areas like personalization, search, the built-in apps, Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity," said Leblond. "Windows 8.1 will also include big bets for business in areas such as management and security."

It's a Microsoft blog about a Microsoft product written by a Microsoft executive, so the updated Windows 8.1 sounds as bright and breezy as its screenshots look.

Users should expect a more personalised experience. This apparently will include the ability to take a photo without logging in to Windows, and an increased range of backgrounds. There will also be the ability to filter apps by tags like name, date installed and most used. Leblond said that apps would be found "under apps".

Apps, like the Microsoft music app, will also get a tidying up and cleaning off, and we can expect them to have a general air of improvement. Searching will be boosted, as will linking to Skydrive and Mail apps.

Apps will be resizeable, and two apps will be able to inhabit the same screen at the same time. Leblond said that multitaskers will benefit from having multiple monitors open, including one just dedicated to its Start screen.

A preview of Windows 8.1 will be released on 26 June. Until then we can only dream about it. "Windows 8 has been a bold, necessary move towards mobility for the PC industry - pushing ourselves and our industry ahead with a touch-first approach that is redefining the PC as we know it, while offering the best of all worlds across any device at any time," added Leblond.

"We've been watching, we've been listening; Windows 8.1 will continue to build on what you love bringing the latest advancements in hardware, apps, cloud services and the OS to enable a unique experience in everything you do."

Perhaps most important is the return of the Start button. However, it won't be called that anymore, and will instead be referred to as a Start "tip".

"We've improved the way you navigate to Start with the mouse by changing the Start 'tip' to be the familiar Windows logo," said LeBlond in a new description of something Microsoft users have become accustomed to seeing.

"The new tip appears anytime you move the mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen, and is always visible on the taskbar when on the desktop. There are also options to change what the corners do, and options to boot into alternate screens." µ


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