Windows 8.1 Update: Why you should get it now!


 windows 8.1 update screen.jpg


You upgraded to Windows 8.1. You got a front row seat here on TheNextBench as we walked you through the ins-and-outs of stuff like the new Windows shortcuts, the tweaked start screen, smarter searches and more. You’re done, right? Not quite. Microsoft continues to iterate and improve upon what’s already on your HP computer. Enter “Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355)” or, as I like to call it, “The Update.” Besides security tweaks, this update is exactly what Keyboard / mouse users have been waiting for....that get your attention? The Update was recently announced and is now available for download. (Hint: It’s available under “Windows Update” on your PC)


For the sake of brevity, though, I wanted to make sure that you got the high-level skinny of the latest UI changes – and what that means for you, my keyboarding compadres. (Thanks to Brandon LeBlanc over at the Windows Experience Blog!)


Queue the video!




For those too lazy to hit, “Play” here’s the highlight reel:

  1. Back to the desktop. If you missed booting to desktop, the new update makes that the default. Then, when you hit the Windows button, that calls up the start screen.
  2. This update is a big nod to all those that still rely on keyboard and mouse to get around Windows. For example, the power button is laid out more obviously on the Start Screen (top right, next to your name).
  3. The taskbar is in command. Any Windows App Store apps that are open now appear in the taskbar. So, you can see everything that’s open and quickly switch between and shut down anything. And when you hover your mouse over a running multimedia app in the taskbar, it pulls up controls (like pausing) when the music app is running. Also, you can pin tiled apps (like the new “Settings” tile) to either the Start Screen or to your taskbar. VERY handy shortcut.
  4. Remember those Right-Click context menus? They are back and better – they even appear when you right click on Start Screen tiles. Yay!
  5. Smart Search now also populates your search results with the contents of your computer, helpful information from the Web….and suggested apps in the Windows App store.
  6. Installed new apps? You get a notification on the Start Screen and the new apps stand out from the rest.


Not sure if you got the update? It might already be installed on your system if you’re diligent about updating your PC. Check out this post over at Microsoft which explains how to install the latest Windows 8.1 Update.  I also found this deeper dive into the Windows 8.1 Update that I’d recommend digging into if you have the time.



Well, what do you think? Does this latest rev of Windows 8 make your navigation a whole lot easier? As a guy that still relies on keyboards and mice a lot of the time, I’ve gotta say it makes a huge difference (and having the Windows Apps visible in the taskbar now – SO NICE). I'd love to hear your thoughts.




Labels: how-to
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