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Windows 8.1: What You Need to Know

Windows 8.1: What You Need to Know


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.

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
Windows 8.1 Update: Bridging the Touch and Desktop Gap

Windows 8.1 Update: Bridging the Touch and Desktop Gap

FEATURE / 03 Apr 2014

The first major update to Windows 8.1 brings a slew of UI changes designed to make keyboard and mouse users feel more at home in what's still primarily a touch-focused operating system. We tell you more.

Microsoft Announces Windows 8.1 Update, Coming on April 8

Microsoft Announces Windows 8.1 Update, Coming on April 8

NEWS / 03 Apr 2014

Less than six months after releasing Windows 8.1, the first major update for the operating system is set to arrive next week with many UI tweaks to please keyboard and mouse users.

Microsoft Ceases Support for Windows XP on 8 April, Launches Two Free Tools to Help Consumers Migrate

Microsoft Ceases Support for Windows XP on 8 April, Launches Two Free Tools to Help Consumers Migrate

NEWS / 17 Mar 2014

Microsoft is discontinuing support for the Windows XP OS and Office 2003 on 8 April 2014. Also, there will no more customer technical service assistance for Windows XP and Office 2003, which means that you will no longer receive the updates that help safeguard your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

Windows 8.1 Update Coming in Spring; Windows Phone Sees Nine New Hardware Partners

Windows 8.1 Update Coming in Spring; Windows Phone Sees Nine New Hardware Partners

NEWS / 24 Feb 2014

At Mobile World Congress, Microsoft has revealed that an update to Windows 8.1 will arrive this spring. And Windows Phone has gained several new hardware partners.

Leaked Screenshots Suggest Windows 8.1 Update 1 Will Let You Pin Metro Apps to Desktop Taskbar

Leaked Screenshots Suggest Windows 8.1 Update 1 Will Let You Pin Metro Apps to Desktop Taskbar

NEWS / 23 Jan 2014

Screenshots from notorious Windows leaker WZor suggest that Microsoft will build in the ability to pin Metro apps to the desktop taskbar in Windows 8.1 Update 1.

HP Brings Back Windows 7 "By Popular Demand"

HP Brings Back Windows 7 "By Popular Demand"

NEWS / 21 Jan 2014

HP has a new solution for customers frustrated with Microsoft's Windows 8 OS: bring back Windows 7 and even offer a discount incentive for customers that opt for the older OS!

PSA: Windows 8.1 Preview Expires Today

PSA: Windows 8.1 Preview Expires Today

NEWS / 15 Jan 2014

The license for Windows 8.1 Preview expires today, January 15, 2014. If you've not yet installed the final version of Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, you should do so now to prevent loss of unsaved data.

Panasonic Unveils World's Thinnest Fully Rugged 7-inch Windows 8 Tablet

Panasonic Unveils World's Thinnest Fully Rugged 7-inch Windows 8 Tablet

NEWS / 07 Jan 2014

Panasonic adds to its range of Toughpad rugged tablets today with the unveiling of the FZ-M1 at CES 2014, which Panasonic is touting as the world's thinnest rugged 7-inch Windows 8 tablet.

Lenovo Unveils Redesigned ThinkPad X1 Carbon & Android-running ThinkVison 28 4K Display

Lenovo Unveils Redesigned ThinkPad X1 Carbon & Android-running ThinkVison 28 4K Display

NEWS / 06 Jan 2014

Lenovo has just announced the existence of two 28-inch 4K LCD monitors, the ThinkVision Pro 2840m, and the ThinkVision 28, an 8-inch Windows 8 business tablet (with an Intel Bay Trail processor) and a new redesigned Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon business Ultrabook.

Fujitsu Launches New Touch Enabled Enterprise Notebooks and Tablets for 2014

Fujitsu Launches New Touch Enabled Enterprise Notebooks and Tablets for 2014

FEATURE / 20 Dec 2013

Fujitsu recently revealed their new range of touch-enabled business-class products that combine enterprise features like security, with user-friendly design. Hop in and find what they've in store for 2014.

Viber Rolls Out on Windows 8 Desktops and Tablets

Viber Rolls Out on Windows 8 Desktops and Tablets

NEWS / 20 Dec 2013

Designed from the ground-up for the Windows 8 platform, this latest version for desktops and tablets includes Windows 8 only features, on top of live tiles and lock screen notifications.

HP Extends Premium Line of Products with New Elite Gadgets

HP Extends Premium Line of Products with New Elite Gadgets

NEWS / 16 Dec 2013

HP has announced new HP Elite products including the ultra-slim HP EliteBook, as well as a full-powered desktop that takes up less workspace than most office phones.

ASUS Zenbook UX302 to Hit Local Stores on 20 December

ASUS Zenbook UX302 to Hit Local Stores on 20 December

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.

Watch How Microsoft Slams Competitors' Tablets in Its Latest Ads

Watch How Microsoft Slams Competitors' Tablets in Its Latest Ads

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).

Microsoft Hints at Unified, Mobile-Centric Windows OS for the Future

Microsoft Hints at Unified, Mobile-Centric Windows OS for the Future

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.