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
More people are using Windows XP than Windows 8

More people are using Windows XP than Windows 8

NEWS / 03 Oct 2014

Ouch. According to analytics company Net Applications, there are still more people using Windows XP than Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 combined.

Windows 9 set to be unveiled on September 30th

Windows 9 set to be unveiled on September 30th

NEWS / 22 Aug 2014

Never quite satisfied with Windows 8? You might not have to wait long for its successor as rumors are suggesting that Microsoft could be unveiling Windows 9 a month from now.

Unable to Update to Windows 8.1? Here’s a Fix

Unable to Update to Windows 8.1? Here’s a Fix

NEWS / 03 Jul 2014

So, you're still running the original version of Windows 8 or Windows RT 8.0, because you can't coax Windows Store to perform the Windows 8.1 update? A solution is at hand.

Microsoft Announces Windows 8.1 with Bing; First Devices Expected at Computex

Microsoft Announces Windows 8.1 with Bing; First Devices Expected at Computex

NEWS / 26 May 2014

Microsoft has announced Windows 8.1 with Bing, a royalty-free version of Windows 8.1 meant for lower-cost devices.

Pre-order your Microsoft Surface Pro 3, Local Prices Revealed

Pre-order your Microsoft Surface Pro 3, Local Prices Revealed

NEWS / 21 May 2014

Just when you thought you had to wait for local pricing details, Microsoft's online store in Singapore has it all updated and it even allows you to pre-order the Surface Pro 3 today! More details inside.

China Bans Windows 8 on Government Computers

China Bans Windows 8 on Government Computers

NEWS / 21 May 2014

Following Microsoft's decision to officially end support for Windows XP, China has decided to ban the use of Windows 8 on its government computers, citing that it was to ensure "computer security".

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Launched, Retail Availability in August

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Launched, Retail Availability in August

NEWS / 21 May 2014

Dubbed as the tablet that can replace your laptop, Microsoft has just announced a refresh to its Surface Pro 2 with a larger, sleeker and more enticing Surface Pro 3. With several key enhancements and a lower starting price tag, find out what makes the new Surface Pro 3 the most desired in the series to-date.

BAPCo Releases TabletMark V2 Cross-Architecture Performance Benchmark for Windows 8 Touch-enabled Devices

BAPCo Releases TabletMark V2 Cross-Architecture Performance Benchmark for Windows 8 Touch-enabled Devices

NEWS / 14 May 2014

The latest version of TabletMark now comes with the ability to measure battery life. The new software automates activities into three different usage scenarios - Web, Email, and Notes; Photo & Video Sharing, and Video Playback.

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.