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CNET News Video: Windows 8.1 Update gets back in touch with keyboard
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CNET News Video: Windows 8.1 Update gets back in touch with keyboard

6:04 /

At its Build developer conference, Microsoft backpedaled from the touch-screen emphasis of Windows 8 by showing off Windows 8.1 Update's focus on making the OS smoother and easier to use for keyboard and mouse users.

[SOUND] Now the next thing I wanna talk about is a bunch of UI improvements we've made to the mouse and keyboard experience of Windows. And I mentioned already that I can boot straight to the desktop or resume to the desktop, but now I want to talk about one of the most used areas. Of computing real estate in the universe. That is the Windows Taskbar. If you are a Windows user that's been a Windows user for a long time, you probably have a deep and intimate relationship with the Taskbar. It's the way you think about. Switching between apps or launching apps and we've enhanced it significantly in this update to work with new Windows Store apps. So, you'll see down here, I have a few apps that are Win32 apps and then over here I have a bunch of, Taskbar buttons for apps that are restore apps. So here is the Facebook app, and you'll notice when I open it up, right up here at the top, we show the title bar, because Windows users, that have a mouse and keyboard, are incredible accustomed to coming up here to chose minimize and that now works, in a modern app. I'll switch back here to Facebook again. And you notice the Taskbar was displayed on the bottom as well. So if I move down here to the bottom of the screen, the Taskbar will pop up. And I can use that to switch between modern apps. There's Mail, there's Facebook. Or, I can switch back to a Win32 app like I, IE. The desktop is brought up. I no longer have to think about a different switching model for apps. Whether they are Win32 desk top apps or modern. And I want you to keep in mind. [SOUND] Thank you. I want you to keep in mind that, the work that we've done to make touch great, is unaffected by these changes. If I where holding a tablet in my hand. Being able to swipe in from the left and do task switching is convenient and natural, and that's still present but it's no longer required for my mouse and keyboard use. Now similarly, if I'm using a tablet when I swipe in from the right with my thumb, it's handy to have a Start button, and Settings and Search right there, but that was something that we wanted to fix with mouse and keyboard users as well. So, let's take a look at the Start screen. When I go to the start screen, you'll notice that I made a few changes here to make it easier for mouse and keyboard users to get to those functions. So right here, we put a PC setting tile in because Windows 7 users expect to find settings or control panel on start. Here we've added a power button and a search button. So those functions, which previously hung off your right thumb, are now easy to find on Start. The second thing we've tried to do is not just make it compatible so it's easy to learn, but get all of the new value live tiles in a customizable start screen to be, more familiar for Windows mouse and keyboard users. So we implemented a right-click context menu that pops up in a familiar way. A way all mouse users have grown to love and it makes it easy for me to do things like resize a tile into it's large or small size and so on. Even beyond that there are power user commands that Windows users are familiar with like holding down the control key and selecting a bunch of app tiles and then when I do that I can grab them all and drag them around together, I'll move these tiles. Up to here and you can see that set of three all moves, or I can choose a set and change them all to small tiles. So I have a powerful and quick way to interact with the start screen via the mouse. okay, now, the last thing I want to show is ways that we've improved the Windows 8.1 via this update to help the users respond your app. So am gonna come back to the desktop, and I wanna point out here. You might have noticed. And this is on all Pc's that get the Windows 8.1 update, we are pre-pinning the Windows Store to the Taskbar so that desktop mouse and keyboard users will get, will find the store much more discoverable. It's right there, it's always available. And in fact, I also wanna show you that, this is a Store update that will be coming a little later. We're improving the store UI to be really mouse and keyboard friendly. And instead of some of these functions being offscreen, handy if you have a touch tablet but not so discoverable on a PC with no touch screen. Now it'll be much easier for people to discover these categories. Find recommended apps, and so on and so on. So the store update as well is gonna become mouse and keyboard friendly. And that's something we'd like you all to do with your apps. And we're gonna be providing samples for you and doing right click menus, and the kinds of things that make your UI discoverable and onscreen for mouse and keyboard users. So that's the first change. The second change that we've done besides making the store really visible is, when people are using their PC's to do things, like searches, we want your apps to be present. So, here I am on the Start, and I can, I can click Search, or I can just start typing. And if I start, start to, start typing something like pinball, you'll see right here, we recognize there are apps in the store that match. We serve them up to the user so. Finding an app and installing an app is incredibly easy right there at the top of search I can just click here to jump to the store and install that. And then the last thing is that we've seen some people get a little bit confused about where did the apP go when I installed it. An installed app is no good if there's not user engagement after the fact. So you see down here just as in Windows 7 we added a prompt to show you where. New apps are installed. And you see here that new apps are highlighted in the all apps list. And of course, I can just right click on one, and choose to pin it to my start screen. Or now, pin it to my Taskbar. So whether I'm a desktop mouse and keyboard user. Or a tablet user focused on touch. I can find the apps I care about. I can make them accessible. And they work well in the modality that I care most about. So. That is the quick look at the Windows 8.1 update. The Windows 8.1 update will be available to all Windows 8 and 8.1 users via Windows Update starting April 8th, next Tuesday.

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