Windows 8.1: What You Need to Know
Get Ready, Here Comes Windows 8.1!
Almost a year ago, Microsoft released Windows 8 to the general public, a brand new Windows operating system with a new user interface replete with touch gestures, much improved cloud-connected services, a renewed focus on apps, and new security features. Credit to Microsoft, despite the continued criticism (mainly leveled at the tile-based Start screen and the confusion that is Windows RT), the company hasn’t changed course (much), and in a few hours’ time (to be precise: October 17, 7:00 pm in Singapore; October 18, 12 midnight in New Zealand), existing Windows 8/RT users will be getting the OS’ first major update - Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1 - through the Windows Store. For those who’ve skipped the OS upgrade last year, retail copies will also be available in stores tomorrow.
Things to Take Note Before Updating/Upgrading
For those who've installed Windows 8.1 Preview, remember that while you can update the preview to the final version, all your apps (both desktop and Windows Store apps) need to be reinstalled (only your personal files survive). This isn't an issue for those who have stuck with Windows 8/RT; everything is transferred over.
For those on Windows 7, you'll also need to reinstall all your apps when you upgrade to Windows 8.1 (but personal files are preserved); and for Windows XP and Windows Vista users who have finally decided to take the plunge, you'll need the Windows 8.1 DVD (or somehow find a way to get the OS on a flash drive) to proceed with the installation. For the latter group, it's akin to a fresh install; none of your files or apps will be kept, so remember to backup your data first.
Understanding Windows 8.1
So, what’s changed in Windows 8.1? In short, Windows 8.1 aims to advance the Windows 8 vision, and brings support to devices sporting 7 to 10-inch screen sizes, along with smarter search, richer multi-tasking, and a more powerful and harmonious Start screen that sees the return of the Start button (though not the Start menu). Of course, the aforementioned is just the tip of the iceberg. There are also new personalization options, new built-in apps, a new version of Internet Explorer, and a vastly improved SkyDrive - just to name a few more.
If you haven’t been keeping up with HardwareZone’s Windows 8.1-related news and articles, right here’s the chance to do some catch-up reading. For a start, here are a few articles that detail the major additions and changes in the OS.
- First Looks at Some of the New Features in Windows 8.1
- New Business Features in Windows 8.1
- Premium Features in Windows 8.1 Enterprise Edition
- A Closer Look at Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 8.1
- The Revamped Windows Store in Windows 8.1
- SkyDrive’s Deep Integration in Windows 8.1
- Windows 8.1 Retail Pricing
Of course, until Microsoft officially releases Windows 8.1, features may still change (case in point: the just announced photo and movie-making apps). For those looking for more reading, Microsoft's very own Windows Experience Blog is a good source to find out about the latest features in the OS.
Windows 8/8.1 News & Articles
NEWS / 12 Dec 2013
Maintaining the Zenbook taper outline design and aluminum spun polish hallmark, the ASUS Zenbook UX302's scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 3 Full HD IPS display is coated with a sheer high gloss finish, and has been available for pre-order since 28 November. It will hit local stores on 20 December.
NEWS / 28 Nov 2013
Microsoft is touting the benefits of having a USB and HDMI port on its Surface 2 tablet and compares it with the Apple iPad Air and Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 (10.1).
NEWS / 26 Nov 2013
Speaking at last week's UBS Global Technology Conference, Microsoft executive vice president, Devices and Studios, Julie Larson-Green said it is not possible for the company to continue offering three disparate versions of Windows operating system.
NEWS / 05 Nov 2013
Microsoft has acknowledged mouse lag issues in some games on Windows 8.1 and is currently working on a fix. In the meanwhile, there are a few workarounds you can try.
NEWS / 31 Oct 2013
According to Microsoft, Windows XP systems have an infection rate that's six times higher than Windows 8. And this is likely to increase once support for the 12-year old OS comes to an end next year.
NEWS / 21 Oct 2013
Compatible with Windows 8, the TD2420 boasts a Full HD 1080p LED mercury-free backlight display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, and a 20,000,000:1 contrast ratio.
NEWS / 18 Oct 2013
Acer has announced the Iconia W4, an 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet. Powered by an Intel Atom 1.8GHz processor, it now comes with an IPS display for wide viewing angles. Prices start from US$330.
NEWS / 14 Oct 2013
Microsoft has officially detailed what's new in the upcoming Windows Phone 8 GDR3 update. The third and last update of 2013 will bring support for larger and higher-res screens, quad-core processors, as well as a handful of features such as Driving mode, improved Internet Sharing, and screen rotation lock. Hit the jump for more juicy details.
NEWS / 14 Oct 2013
A Microsoft executive has admitted that the Surface RT name has caused confusion amongst consumers, which ultimately led to poor sales of its Surface RT tablets.
NEWS / 01 Oct 2013
In Windows 8.1, you'll be able to search from the desktop for the content of camera roll photos that have had text extracted from them.
NEWS / 30 Sep 2013
Starting October 9, Windows Store apps can be installed on up to 81 devices using the same Microsoft account. This applies to both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 apps.
NEWS / 27 Sep 2013
It has been revealed recently that Microsoft is working on unifying its Windows Phone Store and Windows Store into a single store that caters to all devices. The updated store is also said to debut when Windows Phone 8.1 and a special Windows 8.1 update are ready for launch in the second quarter of 2014.
NEWS / 24 Sep 2013
Microsoft today unveiled new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets which come with updated hardware for significantly better performance and longer battery life. And they've a new kickstand design too!
NEWS / 23 Sep 2013
Microsoft has announced the retail pricing of Windows 8.1, which is due to arrive starting October 17. In a nutshell, the prices are similar to the retail prices of Windows 8 today.
NEWS / 20 Sep 2013
HP has unveiled a suite of consumer PCs, tablets, along with new services and solutions, including (but not limited to) the HP Spectre 13 Ultrabook, HP Pavilion 11 x2 (a 2-in-1 detachable), as well as the HP Slate 7 Extreme tablet.