After months of controversy over the drastic Windows 8 release back in October, Windows have released 8.1, an updated version of the all new operating system.
The huge update covers a lot of ground, and combines a number of small improvements, which together offer a much improved user experience for tablet and desktop users alike. The update has made compromises, which have resulted in some significant changes, some of which suggest a step backwards for Microsoft, but most of which clearly have user interaction as the priority.
Windows 8.1 has made compromises to find a balance for tablet and traditional laptop and desktop users. Windows 8 was a bold move by Windows to throw itself into the developing tablet market, some were happy with the results, many were not. The recent update has made changes to make the OS more user friendly for desktop and laptop users who initially struggled to get used to the features quite clearly aimed at the tablet market.
The biggest and most welcome change is the reintroduction of the Start button. The removal of this long standing feature caused much controversy when it was removed in October 2012, with many users feeling lost without their first port of call. The update doesn’t restore the start button we’re used to seeing in all previous versions of Windows OS, but it does give the user a familiar reference point. It allows for actions such as turning off and launching the ‘run’ function with simple right click. Windows 8 required the user to perform a series of unfamiliar, convoluted tasks just to turn off the machine. This feature will be welcomed with open arms by a large percentage of Windows 8 users.
Other big improvements include customisation of the metro menu, with app tiles now having the ability to be resized, moved and grouped as the user desires. Windows 8.1 has also made more of a footprint in the cloud world. Skydrive is offered as standard and users are now able to save documents direct to the Microsoft’s cloud storage service.
The update offers a refined version of Windows 8, which will be an on-going project for Microsoft over the coming years. It shows a step forwards and a move towards future computing, that in years’ time will be the base of all modern Windows operating systems.