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Windows 8.1 start screen

Microsoft on Thursday divulged some details about what users can expect from the upcoming Windows 8.1. A preview version of the OS update will come out at the time of Microsoft's Build developer conference at the end of June, and Microsoft says Windows 8.1 will arrive for consumers later this year.

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Start screen with personalization

Windows 8.1 will offer more opportunities to personalize devices, including the ability to choose desktop backgrounds as Start screen backgrounds, as well as a selection of new large and small tile sizes that let users customize their Start screens.

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The Start tip

Microsoft says it has been listening to feedback from users about Windows 8, and one thing many people have been clamoring for is for the company to reinstate the familiar Start button from earlier versions of the OS. With Windows 8.1, the company couldn't bring itself all the way back to that point, but it is adding the "Start tip," a Windows logo that pops up when users hover their cursor in the lower left corner of Windows 8.1. When users click on it, they jump to a customized Start screen.

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With Windows 8.1, users will be able to save files directly to SkyDrive.

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The Search "charm" in Windows 8.1 will deliver aggregated search results from a variety of content sources -- the Web, apps, files, SkyDrive -- in a horizontal layout. Click on for a closer look....

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Marilyn Monroe

Here's a closer look at the left-most portion of those search results.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Microsoft, via ZDNet
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Marilyn, again

And here's most of the rest of that search results layout.

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