I just finished watching a live video stream of the Microsoft BUILD conference covering information and a live demo of the latest Windows 8.1 update, code named Windows Blue. There are several functionality updates that users have been really wanting and some updates that are just plain cool. It really sounds like Microsoft has been listening to user input and making changes that the public really wants. Even though the final release of 8.1 has not been announced, today the preview of 8.1 is available to download for free from Microsoft’s web site or from the Windows 8 Store. Please note, however, that we do not recommend installing any beta or preview OS updates on a live production computer.

The Windows 8.1 update is the first major update to Windows 8. After the 8.1 release, more businesses will begin adopting the new Windows because this update should bring bug fixes and fixing security exploits that have been discovered in the OS so far.

While watching the conference I made a few notes of improvements or changes in the Windows 8.1 update:

  • Windows 8.1 final release update will be a free download either from Microsoft’s web site or from the Windows 8 app store.
  • If you want to download the 8.1 Preview, you can do so from the Windows 8 app store.
  • Programs that are downloaded from the Windows 8 Store will automatically update themselves.
  • Windows 8.1 will allow you to boot directly to the Desktop.
  • Windows 8.1 will bring back the Start button. However, there is still no Start Menu. The Start button will simply take you to the Start Screen.
  • Improved multi-monitor support and improved ability to have many Windows open at once on one or multiple monitors.
  • If you have the upcoming Xbox One you can stream movies or videos straight from Windows 8 PC or tablet to your TV. This could help make presentations easier at work or simply watching movies or videos at your home.
  • Apps have the ability to use a hands-free mode which detects hand gestures from a web cam.
  • Microsoft is starting to have Rapid Release updates…. no longer will major OS updates be every few years.
  • Developers can create application across multiple platforms and players can go from a Windows 8 PC to a Windows 8 tablet to a Windows 8 Phone and Xbox One to play games. Microsoft created Spark which is a free easy to use game development program for the public to use.

As you can see from my notes alone, there are many exciting and welcoming updates that will come in Windows 8.1. All of our managed IT service customers will also appreciate us upgrading their computers when we feel they are ready for this update. If you have any questions about Windows 8.1 for your company feel free to give us a call at 406-414-0532.