Later this month Microsoft will release its first set enhancements and fixes to Windows 8 since its launch in October last year. Given the “mixed” reviews it has received and the slow uptake, what can we expect and will these changes give it the boost it needs?
Ironically Microsoft’s own list of enhancements places the changes to the desktop (including the infamous disappearing Start Button) almost last with a statement that simply says “Improvements have been made to better support users who prefer a mouse and keyboard experience to access applications.” The good news is that this translates to the fact that the Start Button is returning as are some of the search facilities. Users can also now set their machines to run the previous desktop design as a default rather than the new tiled layout; another major complaint of Windows 8.
Microsoft said that the update, due on the 26th June, will be a test version. The company added that they will ship the final product later this year as a free update for Windows 8 customers.
So what else can we expect?
While Windows 8 allowed users to run two programs side by side, the update will add the ability to adjust how much of the screen is given to each one. For larger displays, the software will let users open up to four applications at once.
The automatically updating tiles will now come in new sizes, from a small one to fit more apps on the screen to a very large format that shows several recent e-mails.
There are various new technical features that make managing and controlling Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environments a little easier. This may not be that exciting for end users but will be very useful for IT administrators who have to battle to balance corporate security with user flexibility and freedom.
Some very neat features have been added to enable Windows 8.1 devices to be quickly and easily connected to printers without messing about adding additional software and drivers. For example, if your printer is NFC (Near Field Communication) enabled, simply tap your device near it and you’re good to go.
Various mobile friendly improvements have also been added or enhanced. For example, you can now turn your Windows 8.1 mobile broadband-enabled PC or tablet into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing other devices to connect and access the internet.
Windows 8.1 is also more secure and has specific enhancements to Windows Defender, Microsoft’s free antivirus solution in Windows 8.
For a full detailed list of what’s included in Windows 8.1 click here.
And if this is all too much for you and you just want to know how and if you should upgrade to Windows 8.1 in your business then get in touch with The PC Support Group and we’ll be happy to advise you.