Computex 2013: First official Windows 8.1 preview

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 6, 2013 - 03:29 AM |
Tagged: computex, Windows 8.1, windows blue

Jensen Harris, member of the Windows User Experience (UX) team at Microsoft, performed a video walk-through of the new Windows interface. Of course, as I always say when discussing Windows 8, the real problems will arise with the Windows Store and certification requirements; interface problems annoy, censorship problems harm.

But, disclaimer aside, the interface of Windows 8.1 seems much more useable.

First and foremost is the Lock Screen. People enjoy digital photo frames and a locked tablet certainly looks more classy than any other that I have seen. It will collage photos together, stored locally and shared from a phone or Skydrive over wireless, with a thin font date and time. Combined with a decent resolution IPS display, that could be an interesting way to encourage users to leave their device on its charger. Not to mention, the frame would continually synchronize with Skydrive and thus receive new photos without end-user interaction; it is useful, for instance, for the family of an elderly person who wants to keep in touch but actively rejects technology.

The All Apps screen lists all applications installed on screen. This allows users to take a little weight off of the Start Screen and, instead of using it as a launcher, use the All Apps screen as a launcher and use the Start Screen as a nexus of important information. If you wish to use the Start Screen as a launcher, similar to pinned icons for Windows 7, you will have more choice in icon size to either fit more apps or give tiles with relevant information more space.

Screen splitting was pretty horrendous in Windows 8. An application could either be in full screen, be a sidebar app, or take up the room not taken by a sidebar app. If you have multiple monitors, bringing up the Start Screen would shuffle everything around pretty much ensuring that you do not have more than a couple of apps focused at any given time. Windows 8.1 allows you to split apps directly down the middle and, if you have a large display, allow you to fit three or four applications on screen at once.

Unfortunately, and I contacted Paul Thurrott last week to confirm I was up to date, there does not seem to be any multiple monitor enhancements in Windows 8.1. If you have want to punch through your second display because of applications from the Windows Store, keep using the desktop.

Or, if you wish to try it out for yourself, Windows 8.1 will be available for public preview on June 26th.

Source: Microsoft

June 6, 2013 | 04:04 AM - Posted by Justin 150 (not verified)

Of course the Windows talking head uses a touch screen to show all the new features because MS has decided that those people who keyboards and mice are old fashioned (even for work).

Please place all your personal files with Skydrive so (a) MS has access and (b) above a certain limit you have to pay MS for the privelege and (c) in due course to comply with US DRM regs MS will wipe all ripped movies/music unless you can prove that you bought the digital version (buying the CD/DVD and ripping will not be allowed). I have a 6TB NAS and w8 hates it.

Lock screens make perfect sense on tablets, first thing I did on my HTPC (which has w8) was de-activated.

Still no live clock on the start screen!

In w7 you can have as many windows open as your system can cope with and have windows overlap. In w8.0 you can have 2 windows (sorry apps) open but no overlapping on screen. w8.1 improves so that you can have several apps open but not overlapping on screen. Any chance by w8.3 we will be back to w7 abilites which are more productive for work?

w8 without touch is hopeless and touch is not an option for an HTPC and a law suit waiting to happen (for RSI) on a work desktop

June 6, 2013 | 07:07 AM - Posted by ET3D (not verified)

(What a bunch of spam above.)

Windows 8.1 does have quite a few multi-monitor enhancements. See this video for example:

June 8, 2013 | 03:06 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Great catch!

June 6, 2013 | 09:29 AM - Posted by Russell Abbott (not verified)

Couldnt they have given this man a shirt that fits ? That was my first impression.

June 6, 2013 | 10:45 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hay hay! Ho Ho! TIFKAM has got to GO! The malignant tumor TIFKAM needs to be completely removed, no part of it must remain, not one single cell, least it regenerate and metastasize! Just bring back windows 7 with some under the hood improvments. and call it 9, and Just leave 8 behind!
everytime that I see 8, in any interation, my shoulders hurt! I do not want, or need a Smudge screen on my laptop, I want fully functioning windows (as many as my system can handle, with overlaping), with minimise and maximise, resize, and the red X, buttons,! I do not want a flat visual look to the windows, windows 7 areo does not need fixing! Just take TIFKAM and Drag it to the trash icon, drop it, and then click(With a MOUSE) empty the trash, Bink, it's fixed!

June 9, 2013 | 07:04 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

If the OS comes with tiles, the laptop will sit on the shelf a while, it will gather dust and begin to rust, as the M$ empire goes boom to bust!


May 12, 2014 | 02:50 AM - Posted by iSamLu (not verified)

Rigged, bullshit, a joke, cheating.. Wonderful! BTW, this is not just Pokerstars but also this affects Full Tilt and whatever poker, same shit.
pokerstars is not random - it's a scam, rigged and unfair to players! DO NOT EVER PLAY THERE! AND JOIN US TO FIGHT THEM!

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