CNET First Look
Windows 8.1 Preview provides a window into the future of WindowsWe take a quick look at some of the more high-level changes coming with Windows 8.1.
-And what seems to be becoming kind of a trend these days, Microsoft has listened to user feedback and with its Windows 8.1 update is directly addressing some of the missteps it took with Windows 8. First up, the Start button makes its triumphant return. Left clicking on it will switch between desktop and touch interfaces, but a right click gives you options you probably been missing for the past 8 months. Another off requested change was the ability to boot directly to the desktop and now you can. Simply right click on the taskbar, select properties, choose the navigation tab and under start screen, check go to the desktop instead of start when I sign in. And after that everything will be all old timey for you. Search was already really powerful in Windows 8 but now gets a level of increase. Search now delivers results from your PC, apps, and the web in one fell swoop. Popular searches like known actors get a hero page. Less popular search queries like me get typical web stuff mostly completely unrelated to anything I actually do. No, that's not my Wikipedia page. I don't even have one. Settings get a complete overhaul with Microsoft adding plenty of options like power and sleep and display options among plenty of others. Previously these were only available through the desktop but now make an appearance in touch. The built-in Camera app now does more than just crop, a lot more. You can change the brightness and contrast of a pic, rotate the image, and my favorite is the new color enhancement tool. Just select the color you want to enhance by dropping the cursor on an asset that shares the same color and then enhance or de-enhance to your heart's content. Snap view is now more flexible and can fit up to 4 apps on screen at once. If your screen has at least a 2560x1440 resolution that is. Otherwise you'll see a maximum of 3. Xbox Music gets a facelift and now you can create radio stations based on the type of music you like, much like Pandora or Spotify. And a new interface makes it easier to do things like make playlist. Finally the Windows store gets a redesign with a cleaner and somewhat more sophisticated look and instead of having to always update your apps, they'll be updated automatically and only the system admin for the computer you're using can change that option. App pages surfs more pertinent information about the apps like reviews, ratings, and app details. There are plenty of other changes but those are kind of the big picture ones that really stood out to me. Windows 8.1 will be available later this year as a free update to Windows 8. Check out CNET.com for further coverage. I'm Eric Franklin and this has been a First Look at Windows 8.1 preview.