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Microsoft publishes ‘First look at Windows 8.1’ video

by Mark Tyson on 6 June 2013, 09:45

Tags: Windows 8

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabxef

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In a new video Jensen Harris, of the Windows Users Experience team, shows you how the new Windows 8.1 Preview will look and feel. As such this video focuses on the surface of Windows and only looks at the Modern User Interface side of things. Yesterday we looked much more closely at the business and mobile productivity side of the new Windows.

You will see changes to your Windows system as soon as it’s booted up - starting from the lock screen which now doubles as a cloud powered photo frame and gallery. When you get to the Start Screen you will see straight away that there are more tile size choices, now you can really go large, with the new largest squares being double the previous largest rectangular tile size. Harris says the new larger tile may be useful and be capable of showing you your full days of calendar appointments for example.

The full list of apps on the PC, the ‘all apps screen’ has been improved with various sorting options. Harris also demonstrated multi-select and repositioning of groups of apps on the Start Screen. In addition the personalisation of the start screen, with many more colours now available, has been enhanced. The video also impressively demonstrates ‘motion accents’ – as you scroll around your start screen the background undulates beneath your tiles. You could choose this or remember, form a couple of weeks ago, we heard that you can use the same wallpaper as on your desktop if you like.

Next up in the video walkthrough Harris shows us the latest search functionality built into Windows 8.1 which brings together your PC content and web content in one place. The appearance of this search page looks pretty swish and the data consists of images, documents, information and action choices based upon the information found.

SkyDrive is being more tightly integrated, Harris says that “within every app on the PC I can see SkyDrive, which is the cloud, and This PC which are the files I just want to keep on this device”.

More multitasking – up to four panes

Harris went on to show the Windows 8.1 multitasking panes. In the mail app, looking at an email containing photos, he tapped on a photo, the PC automatically split the screen with the Photos app on one side of the screen and the mail app stayed on the left. He added “if I have a larger screen I can put two, three, even four apps on the screen at once.” To conclude Harris said that these are just a few of the new Windows 8.1 features and we can all try it out on 26th June.

Windows 8.1 update brings Outlook 2013 to Windows RT

Tami Reller, CFO and CMO of Microsoft's Windows Division, announced that Outlook 2013 RT will come as part of the free Windows 8.1 update for Windows RT users, at Computex yesterday. The official Microsoft blog said “We're pleased to have Outlook 2013 RT join the other best-in-class Office 2013 RT applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.  And just like those applications, Outlook 2013 RT delivers a great touch experience for people using tablets.”



HEXUS Forums :: 25 Comments

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Another platform to skip. just like Windows Me and Windows Vista ;)

I will be keeping with 7 for a while.
All this (And more!) should have been in Win 8… however it is a step in the right direction. Fair play to MS for jumping on feedback and producing this free(?) upgrade.
No mention of multiscreen support for Modern UI Apps???
4 or 5 windows on the same screen, my god it's the future!

Harris went on to show the Windows 8.1 multitasking panes. In the mail app, looking at an email containing photos, he tapped on a photo, the PC automatically split the screen with the Photos app on one side of the screen and the mail app stayed on the left. He added “if I have a larger screen I can put two, three, even four apps on the screen at once.”

Split screen is still not as useful as having programs in resizeable windows, you know like every other Microsoft operating system. I understand that a mobile device has no need for windows but that is a dumb reason to remove that functionality from the desktop version of the system.

It is good to see Microsoft adjusting things to improve the system but I won't be spending money on Windows 8 or 8.1.
Re: Vista.

Be fair - unlike ME etc. Vista wasn't a bad OS. The main issues were to do with how badly the launch was handled/lack of compatible drivers etc., which made it atrocious for the first 6–9 months until things got sorted out. Thereafter it was fine but shunned due to the bad press (and bad taste left in the mouth) of anyone who had come across it before. Launching Win7 it seems they (Microsoft) learnt from that and did it ‘right’. Launching Windows 8, they made it compatible but seemed to ignore all the (vociferous) feedback from the trial/prerelease users and decided that they could make the users square pegs fit into Win8's round hole if they used a big enough hammer. All of this has (once again) left a very bad impression with early adopters and people who have seen/heard about Win8 (not necessarily used it!), despite the underlying OS being pretty stable, functional, and compatible with all the Win7 software/peripherals etc.

I currently have systems running Vista (ultimate), Win7 (premium) and Win8 (pro), as well as linux (and Android on my phone ;-). Of them all, Win8 is probably my favourite and the system I use most day to day, but only after a fair bit of tinkering to make it work ‘how I want’. The argument I and others have made in previous threads is, we shouldn't have to do this, or the changes we are talking about should have been options you picked during setup (not tinkering, 3rd party apps and MS playign catchup on things several months later). However, Win7 worked ‘out the box’, and to avoid the tinkering or messing round, it is the OS I'd recommend to most of my family/friends unless they were likely to make use of some of the additional functionality in Win8.