Thursday, June 27, 2013

Windows 8.1 : What's new in it (preview)

Windows 8.1 Preview

Windows 8.1 brings together everything you do – from new mobile apps for your business, to Office productivity work, to searching and browsing, to accessing all your data from anywhere.Your Windows experience works across all your devices – from the best business tablet, to a thin and light notebook, to your high-performance workstation or all-in-one, whether you are at home, in or around the office, or working on the road.And Windows takes care of the essentials – now letting you manage personal devices in your organization, utilize your investments in your enterprise infrastructure, and enhancing the security of your environment.

The most highlighted feature is the return of the “Start” button, the new update brings a lot more to the table. It isn’t a mere update that fixes bugs along with some cosmetic tweaks, rather it offers a long list of significant changes. The leaks have been showing off Windows 8.1 a little before earlier this week, and the public preview will be available today. Let’s take a look at what’s new with the Windows 8.1. 

Start button
One of the biggest disappoints of Windows 8 was the missing “Start” button that we all loved so dearly. Probably Microsoft has realised it, as the new update brings back the “Start” button. However, if you are expecting a Windows 7-style Start menu, then you’d be disappointed. Nevertheless, Microsoft lets you shutdown or restart the PC with a right click on the Start button. As we know, if you right click on Windows 8′s bottom left corner, a quick-access menu for Control Panel, Run, and other power user features pop up. With the Windows 8.1 update, Shut down and Restart will be added to this menu. This will ensure that you no longer have to go through the multi-click procedure of using the Charms menu. No matter where you are in Windows 8 or Windows RT, the Charms menu helps you do the things you do most often, like search, share links and photos, connect devices, and change settings. However, left clicking the Windows 8.1 Start button will still take you to the Metro interface.

For the preview release, which is slated for today, all Microsoft authorised apps will come with significant updates. However, the communications suite (Mail, Messaging, People, and Calendar) will be an exception here. It will be updated for the final release of Windows 8.1. Talking about improvements, users can easily resize apps to almost infinite-sized windows, share the screen between two apps, and also open up to three apps on each monitor.

Microsoft has also introduced changes to its music and camera apps too. The music app comes with three main links - quickly play music from their collection (local or online), play streaming music by tapping the Radio link, and “Explore” to search and shop from the Xbox Store. The Camera app gets newer controls including Microsoft PhotoSynth technology’s real-time implementation to create and stitch together panoramas. Microsoft will also be adding several new apps with the Windows 8.1 update such as Calculator, Reading list, Alarms, Health & Fitness and Food & Drink.
With the new SkyDrive app, users can access their files on the device or in the cloud. This isn’t all, Microsoft claims that users can access files even when offline. Some more features for SkyDrive will include auto picture uploads, making SkyDrive the default location for files and it will suggest to backup our Windows 8.1 mobile devices to SkyDrive.
Other improvements
Microsoft also brings in “NFC Tap-to-pair Printing” option which will allow users to tap the Windows 8.1 device against an enterprise NFC-enabled printer to begin printing. It also supports “Wi-Fi Direct printers” which will allow connecting to printers without adding additional drivers or software on your Windows 8.1 device. Microsoft has added support for a wider range of VPN clients for Windows as well as Windows RT devices. Microsoft also reveals that device encryption

previously found on Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 is now available in all editions of Windows. It can be further configured with additional BitLocker protection and management capability on the Pro and Enterprise SKUs. Windows 8.1 RT, Windows 8.1 Pro, and Windows 8.1 Enterprise, get a new feature called “Assigned Access” that allows enabling a single Windows Store application experience on the device. This can be helpful for educational use (kids will be able to use only educational apps) or to the customer service industry to ensure that the device delivers just the intended experience.
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