10 Windows 8.1 Improvements Microsoft Hopes Will Placate Users

1 - 10 Windows 8.1 Improvements Microsoft Hopes Will Placate Users
2 - Device Lockdown: An Important New Feature for Tablets
3 - It Includes Better Security Features
4 - Significantly Improved Search Function
5 - A Useful Start Screen Is Back in the OS
6 - Welcome Back the Start Button
7 - Windows 8.1 Improves Upon Multitasking
8 - Microsoft Is Actually Doing the Teaching
9 - Pick Your Style and Stick With It
10 - Finally--Windows Provides Improved File-Sifting Opportunities
11 - Windows 8.1 Will Arrive With Useful Built-In Apps
1 of 11

10 Windows 8.1 Improvements Microsoft Hopes Will Placate Users

by Don Reisinger

2 of 11

Device Lockdown: An Important New Feature for Tablets

Although it's available to any Windows 8.1 user, Device Lockdown appears to be ideal for Microsoft's tablet customers. New to Windows 8.1, the feature lets users access only a single special-purpose app. Microsoft rightly sees the feature working well with educational apps in schools or in public-use apps in the corporate world. Nothing else on the tablet is accessible to anyone but administrators.

3 of 11

It Includes Better Security Features

Overall, it's hard to not be happy with the improvements Microsoft made to Windows 8.1's security. The company has updated Windows Defender to provide improved antivirus and anti-spyware protection. It also has finally delivered device encryption across its entire software line, not just its mobile platforms. Windows 8.1 will even work with enhanced biometrics—a feature that enterprise buyers eagerly desire.

4 of 11

Significantly Improved Search Function

One of the big complaints in Windows 8 was the operating system's relatively poor search function. In Windows 8.1, Microsoft has enhanced search functions by allowing its single search bar to be used for everything from Web searching to finding files on the hard drive. The search pane also includes the ability to launch apps and Websites from within the operating system.

5 of 11

A Useful Start Screen Is Back in the OS

Many of those who were using Windows 8 with a track-pad or mouse considered Microsoft's Start screen useless. In Windows 8.1, that has been addressed by allowing for different size tiles and support for higher resolutions. The result? Mouse and track-pad users don't need to swing their cursors so far to open apps. While Windows 8 was a touch-first OS, Microsoft is trying to fix that in Windows 8.1.

6 of 11

Welcome Back the Start Button

The Start button was once a running joke in the computing world. But after it disappeared in Windows 8, critics called on Microsoft to bring it back. In Windows 8.1, the Start button is indeed back. Upon clicking it, users will be brought to the Start screen to access their apps.

7 of 11

Windows 8.1 Improves Upon Multitasking

Windows 8.1's multitasking has gotten much better, allowing users to switch quickly between apps. Microsoft has also added the ability to view two apps in a 50-50 layout on displays, unlike the one-big, one-small layout in Windows 8. And since more tiles can be added to the Start screen, more can be done from within that single pane.

8 of 11

Microsoft Is Actually Doing the Teaching

Microsoft realized that all the major changes in Windows 8 were an educational nightmare for the enterprise. Now, Windows 8.1 is packed with tips on how to use certain features. From starting applications to changing settings, the OS provides plenty of guidelines to help users get accustomed to the new version.

9 of 11

Pick Your Style and Stick With It

Microsoft is no longer locking its users into the Metro-style interface. With Windows 8.1, users who are comfortable with the completely tile-based design can stick with it. Those who want a more traditional desktop experience, however, can have that, as well. Windows 8.1 allows for as much user interface customization as most people would need.

10 of 11

Finally--Windows Provides Improved File-Sifting Opportunities

Microsoft's File Explorer has received a much-needed facelift in Windows 8.1. The feature's default view is now much easier to navigate, and finding individual files with the File Explorer's search function is now much easier than it was in Windows 8.

11 of 11

Windows 8.1 Will Arrive With Useful Built-In Apps

Microsoft wants to keep Windows 8.1 users occupied with its own built-in applications, such as Mail, which has been overhauled. Mail comes with a new "pin" feature that gives users easy access to folders. Skype also includes a range of improvements such as the ability to connect to Facebook. Internet Explorer 11 comes with the ability to view tabs that are open on another instance of Internet Explorer 11 running on another device if you are logged into your Microsoft cloud account. The search engine can do this because IE 11 backs up your tabs to the cloud, allowing you to pull them down to other devices at will.

Top White Papers and Webcasts