CNET First Look
Windows 8.1: should you upgrade?Welcome tweaks and new features in this free OS update, but not a game-changer
I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here with the biggest thing to hit PC since Windows 8. That's right. It's Windows 8.1. This is a free upgrade to the Windows 8 operating system. Microsoft hopes that it fixes a lot of the problems that people are having with Windows 8 or reasons why they may be avoiding it. If you're one of those people who has been waiting to get a new PC but you're like, oh, I hate Windows 8, this is not really gonna change your mind. If you already have a Windows 8 machine and minds to look at this free upgrade, it doesn't change the experience all that radically but it's a really nice collection of kind of tweaks and new features and new additions. Now, I think some of the most important things in Windows 8 are number one, they've brought back the Start button. Now, everyone said, oh, there's no Start button in Windows 8, that's terrible. Now, they have a button, if you press on it, it just goes back to this screen. So, that does not really all that exciting but if you give it a light click, which I'll do by holding down on here with my finger, you get this very nice contextual menu that gives you access to like the Task Manager and Device Manager and all kinds of other actually useful stuff. You can also set this up to boot straight to this few rather than that tile-based few. You also get the new version of Internet Explorer, that's IE 10. Looks so not like IE 9 which is really, really well optimized for Windows 8. It's much zippier and scrolls much smoother than any other web browser. You know, you can have more tabs open now and the different tabs we have opened are now down here at the bottom instead of sort of distracting it out of the way at the top of the screen. So, you've got your address bar address bar and your chance all in the same place. They've also made some really big improvements to the app store. The app store just have a lot of like bloatware in it, a lot of shovelware, it was really hard to search through. Now, it's got a much nicer design. They've got like a big highlighted space right here. They've got some hot picks for you based on things you've already downloaded and then they have these like trending and new and the images for all of them are bigger which I think is really good and get a little description and then the actual app pages have a lot more information and just go through when you see all this. The Snap features more useful now. You can put more apps on the screen, depending on what your resolution is and it's smart about how it puts them all together. Right here I've got three things going at once if you have a very high resolution, you can have four things at one screen and then we have multiple screens. You can do even more than that. They've also made some big improvements on Windows 8.1 to how search on the system works. Now, if you go to little search icon right here, this will search everything without having to pick a category. Apps, settings and the web and they set up some Bing pages for like public figures and stuff but you can get to this because that search icon is searching everything, stuff on your system and stuff online at the same time. So, those are some of the big highlights for the Windows 8.1. I'm Dan Ackerman with Windows 8.1.