Windows 8.1 Beta: New Features
Along with the addition of the Start button, there are new and more advanced features added to Windows 8.1. One of those is the search function, which is better than ever before. While it uses the Bing search engine for the Internet, it also allows users to search for apps, documents and items with a simple swipe of the screen.
The developers have also used the Kinect technology to make the screen hands-free. You can wave your arm in front of the screen to scroll up and down the screen. This is perfect for users who don’t want to put messy hands on the screen – but maybe not so great if you have kids around.
Finally, split-screen mode has come to your computer. The developers now allow more than one app on display at a time. If you have a small screen, such as a netbook or tablet, you’ll be able to have two apps running side-by-side at the same time. If you have a bigger screen, you’ll be able to run and view up to four apps at the same time.
The Start Button Returns: Microsoft Does Listen
While it is still in a testing phase, many Windows 8 users will be happy to hear that Microsoft is listening by returning the Start Button, and has also introduced many other features to adapt or build on current features of Windows 8. There is no release date for the Windows 8.1 for the public yet – but Windows 8 users, who are the ones affected by the missing Start Button, can currently download the upgrade.
If you’re a Windows 7 or 8 user, and you’d like to install 8.1, be aware that there is no uninstall button if you don’t like it! You can always restore your system to an earlier date, or reinstall your original operating system to get back to normal – or even install Windows 8.1 to a native boot virtual hard disk and test in dual-boot.
Whatever method you choose, enjoy that Start Button!
Woollaston, V. Microsoft Opens New Windows: Tech Giant Launches Version 8.1 with Redesigned Xbox Music Service, Reinstated Start Button and Range of New Apps. (2013). Daily Mail. Accessed June 28, 2013.
Anderson, T. Windows 8.1 Review: Microsoft’s Fresh Start? (2013). The Guardian. Accessed June 28, 2013.
Microsoft. Download Windows 8.1 Preview. (2013). Accessed June 28, 2013.
Microsoft Technet. Windows 8.1 FAQ. (2013). Accessed June 28, 2013.