Windows 8.1 is a Microsoft-designed operating system that incorporates a range of new enhancements and solutions for problems encountered by Windows 8 users. It specifically hits the market as an updated version of Windows 8 and reinforces it in every way possible, not only that, but also making it much more user-friendly and easier to use for former Windows owners and new users. The first thing you'll note about Windows 8.1 is that it looks entirely different from previous versions of Windows. The all-new interface includes features such as the Start screen, live tiles, and hot corners.
This modification is the result of the product team behind the operating system responding to user feedback. Offering all the features available in all previous Windows Operating Systems and more while presenting itself with a sleek and seamless design that allows you to work, play and use your PC in style, Windows 8.1 received more positive reviews than Windows 8, with critics praising the improved features available to users compared to Windows 8, its OneDrive integration, user interface tweaks, and the inclusion of enhanced tutorials for running the Windows 8 interface.
Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system has overtaken its older sibling Windows 8 for the first time in terms of internet usage worldwide, according to StatCounter
Top features of Windows 8.1
New Start screen
Windows 8.1 brings new eye candy features that offers a new touch to the Windows family. The main screen you'll use is called the Start screen, and it displays all of your apps as tiles. You can personalize your Start screen by changing the color scheme, choosing a background image, and rearranging your tiles. You can, also, customize it in virtually unlimited ways, particularly if you make your background transparent so that the wallpaper can be viewed below. Backgrounds can be added in two ways, there are static backgrounds and animated backgrounds that change as you scroll. The ability to adjust the appearance of your Start screen, including its colors, means that you have practically unlimited variations.
the Charms Bar
Windows 8.1 has a bit of a learning curve, but it delivers a lot of great ways for you to use your Windows Os. Open the Charms bar, Windows 8's latest extremely-powered sidebar. If you're on a touch screen, you can do this by swiping in from the right edge of the screen. If you have a mouse, move the cursor to the top-right corner of your screen. Wait a second, and the Charms will appear. Move the mouse down to the Windows icon, the Start button, and click or tap Return to the Start screen.
the Switch List
Getting around your PC is much better than it ever was. Accessible from the left side of your phone, the Turn List gives you a thumbnail list of your recent apps. However, if you swipe from the left edge to the middle, you'll leap into your most recently used app. To make the Switch List appear, slip slightly from the left edge and make a U-turn back to the edge. You'll see the Start screen thumbnail at the bottom of the page. Tap on that, and you're home. If you are using a mouse, shift the cursor to the lower left corner and the Start screen thumbnail will appear.
More Lock screen and Start screen options
Design has been one of the best highlights of Windows 8.1. It feels, looks ,and functions in a very modern way. Microsoft already had picture passwords, but now that function has been extended to allow multiple pictures to be deleted from the local store or SkyDrive gallery. This basically transforms the Lock screen into a digital picture frame. You'll also be able to capture photos with your device camera, or respond to Skype calls, without unlocking them first. The Start screen now has more tile sizes and background colors, too.
Snap Views and better multi-monitor
Some of the Modern / Metro UI apps look cool, but using the modal single app can be distracting. Users will run a variety of Snap apps in the foreground in 8.1. If you have a resolution of 2.560×1,440 or higher, you can have four applications at once. It's even lower than that, and only three apps can be snapped in. These data hold for each monitor so that you can have, for example, eight Modern UI applications across two high-resolution screens.
Fullscreen Browsing With Internet Explorer 11
Windows 8.1 leaps ahead of the previous Windows Operating systems by putting touch screen compatible devices into consideration and providing them with several advantages that allows them to fully function. Windows 8.1 comes with Internet Explorer 11, which is specifically designed for touch-based computers. Users will now enjoy a full-screen experience that includes side-by-side web browsing.
Make SkyDrive Your Hard Drive
Cloud service is the future. You will no longer be at risk when your hard drive fails, resulting in the loss of valuable data. You can also use SkyDrive as the default document storage location with Windows 8.1. This means you can still keep your files on the go, even for offline use. You can also manage both local and online SkyDrive files at one venue. This seems to be another good step to making people more used to SkyDrive cloud storage, a development that is likely to compete against Google Drive.
Cohesive Search for PCs, Applications and the Internet
Windows 8.1 is all about connecting you to the internet and creating a complimentary environment for your applications and internet connection. Windows 8.1 has a single unified search that delivers results from your PC, applications and the internet. This integration means that you can make the most of your Windows quest to find something through your applications, PCs, and even the internet. It's no secret that this feature is powered by Bing, which means that Microsoft is still trying to sell the search engine to its operating system.
Xbox Radio Music
Windows 8.1 integrates all of microsoft’s major services. The amazing Xbox Radio Music app helps you to create new radio stations based on your music collection. Microsoft bundles this software for free without needing a subscription, and combines the app with other applications, such as Internet Explorer. This means that if you visit a music festival or concert page, Xbox Music will automatically match the artists and songs listed on the website and create a playlist for you. It is not included in today's preview, but will be available by the end of the year. If you are a music enthusiast, then you know that Windows 8.1 is just right for you.
Bing Food & Drink
Bing Food and Drink is a detailed cooking guide for Microsoft. In addition to allowing users to browse recipes, the app lets you combine wine and cocktails with dishes and discover tips from world-famous chefs. If you're visiting Bing Food & Drink while cooking something up in the kitchen, Microsoft says that you can use Hands Free Mode to work through recipes using gesture controls.
Bing Health & Fitness
Microsoft's new fitness app not only comes with more than 1,000 workouts, but also includes an advanced search engine to find symptoms when you're not feeling good. The app covers different facets of improving overall health, from monitoring your diet via its food journal to learning more about human anatomy through its 3D body maps.
Enhanced Windows Store
Windows Store on Windows 8.1 will mimic Google Play and Apple's App Store, with lists of top free downloads, new apps, and best choices right on your dashboard, so you don't have to search. Microsoft offers to give you more detail about each app, so you know exactly what you're getting before you tap Download, and the related applications section gives you more choices. New app overview pages show screenshots as big tiles and parts of those information behind tabs, and you can browse through this information by scrolling to the right. And if you know exactly what app you're searching for, the search feature in the upper right hand corner allows you easy access. Not to mention, all apps in the Windows 8.1 store have been updated.
Windows 8.1 is the perfected brother of Windows 8 bringing a lot of new features and enhancement to the table. It is without a doubt a must have for those who love design, practicality with touch screen based computers and more. Don’t hesitate to get it because it is much better than previous versions.