Windows 8.1 will be released on 17 October at midday in the UK.

The next version of Windows will  bring back the Start Button missing from Windows 8, boot straight to desktop  and it will include lots of new features, changes and performance enhancements geared toward overhauling the system. The company said it developed Windows 8.1 in response to feedback from Windows 8 customers.

Windows 8.1: What new features will it bring?

Personalisation and apps

As leaked information suggested, users will be able to personalise the OS more. The Lock screen can now display a slideshow of photos (plus the camera can be used without needing to log in). There will also be more colours and backgrounds for the Start screen.

Windows Blue Start Screen

The updated Start screen will offer new larger and smaller tile sizes. “You can now select multiple apps all at once, resize them, uninstall them, or rearrange them.” said Microsoft.

Windows 8.1 Start Screen

Newly installed apps won’t be added to the Start screen automatically, instead it will be displayed in a ‘new’ section of the apps menu. Microsoft said users will also be able to view apps by name, date installed, most used or by category.

Microsoft said the pre-loaded apps in Windows 8 will be improved including Photos and Music. There will also be some new apps which are yet to be announced and Snap Views will let you resize apps to the any size and the ability to have three apps on-screen at once for better multi-tasking.

“Also in Windows 8.1, you can have multiple windows of the same app snapped together – such as two Internet Explorer windows.” added Microsoft.

Windows 8.1 multitasking

Windows Store

Microsoft will update the Windows Store in version 8.1. A redesign will aim to show more information and a search bar at the top. Listings are more descriptive and includes a related apps section to help you find new apps.


The search section of the Charms bar will give ‘global search results powered by Bing’ in order to give you the best result. It will work for the web, apps, files, SkyDrive and actions you can take.

“Quick actions include things you would want to do like play a song or video. Results from local files, apps, and settings are easily accessed in the same convenient view by scrolling to the left.” said the firm.


Other updates will include PC settings which can be accessed without using the control panel and Internet Explorer 11 touting better performance. SkyDrive will also let you save files directly to the cloud and offline access.

In what is, in a way, the return of the Start menu, the Start ‘tip’ will now be the Windows logo and pop up when the mouse is moved to the bottom left hand corner of the screen. It will also be visible whenever you’re in Desktop mode.

“There are also options to change what the corners do, and options to boot into alternate screens. For example, if you prefer to see the Apps view versus all the tiles, you can choose to have the Start screen go directly to Apps view.” said Microsoft.

Users will also be able to boot straight to the desktop rather than the Start Screen. This is not currently possible in Windows 8.


Article courtesy of  PC Advisor