Microsoft granted us a sneak preview of Windows 8.1 here in Manila before it was made available as a free upgrade last Oct. 17. The seemingly incremental update includes many small adjustments that improve overall usability and user experience that add up.
Kazuhiro Arai, Microsoft Philippines Marketing and Operations Director; Mae Moreno, Microsoft Philippines Windows Client Business Lead
Some notable changes are the return of the start button, better customizable tiles and background, easy enterprise access, app locker, and improved multitasking split screen.
Yes the Start button is back but it works different in Windows 8.1. What’s nice is that now we can shut down the device without using the power button by using a menu option when we right-click the Start button. The right-click menu also allows other “traditional” options like bringing up the control panel, search, run, task manager, and file explorer just to name a few.
Now we can also customize and organize the Live Tiles much quicker. This is done be allowing us to select multiple tiles, resize them as needed, and organize then in groups. The background can now also be changed by using a wallpaper that we can further customize by “tweaking” the color. It’s not clear though how the color changing will work if we use an actual photograph as the background, or if it is possible at all.
Another demoed feature is the improvement in the multitasking split screen interface. In Windows 8.1, we can now adjust split by dragging it left or right to allot more screen space for an app we’re running. Also, Microsoft removed the resolution limitation for split screen multitasking; so now it doesn’t matter how small the resolution on your tablet is.
Microsoft Philippines also showed how simple it is to setup a Windows 8.1 device in an office network. They made an interface in the setting menu where all we have to do is put in the company domain and that’s it. No more troublesome trips to the IT support team just to enable our personal device from accessing the company network. But we’ve yet to see an actual run of this process to confirm exactly how seamless this is gonna be.
Another enterprise or business feature is the ability to control the applications that employees access through the App Locker. This is also nice for parents so that we can control what apps our kids use. Other security measures that are already present in previous Windows version include the Microsoft Defender anti-virus and a BitLocker file encryption app.
So how can we get this update from Microsoft? This update is free for all Windows 8 devices and can be downloaded online via the Windows Store.