Windows 8.1 Update is the new update for Windows 8 . Although it has been released as one more update along with the firm's security patches, the new version incorporates several improvements that can significantly change the way in which we interact with this operating system. On the one hand, the new Windows makes several nods to previous versions of the system by including the taskbar in all applications and especially by incorporating buttons to minimize and close open windows at the top of the screen. On the other, it is also an attempt to create a much more unified platform between the desktop app and the touch interface ofWindows 8 . But will Windows 8.1 Update manage to become a system respected by the public? After a few days testing this new update, we tell you our impressions.
Install Windows 8.1 Update
We wanted to start at the beginning. If you have Windows 8.1 installed , the Update version should arrive automatically on your computer or tablet. However, in our case the installation has not occurred in this way. For those users who suffer from this same problem, the way to access this update is as follows. First, you have to open Windows 8 settings and then "Change PC settings". Within the menu that appears we access the option "Update and recover" . The first of the submenus is "Windows Update". There we have to click on "See details" and we should see the update ofWindows 8.1 Update . We click on this option and wait for it to download (it may take a long time since it is about 800 megabytes). The way to verify that we have made a correct installation is to verify that there is a search button on the main screen and a shutdown button in the upper right corner.
The taskbar is the new hub
One of the first aspects that attract the attention of the new Windows 8.1 Update is the importance of the taskbar, even above what we have already seen in versions such as Windows 7. And this bar will appear every time we drag the mouse to the bottom of the screen in one of the app. If we are not on the desktop, it disappears again the moment we move the mouse back to the central part. But the great novelty is in the ability to insert shortcuts within the bar to all Windows 8 apps . That is, we can access applications such as mail, Microsoft's own store at any timeor contacts without having to go through the main interface. This is undoubtedly the most important step that the American company has taken so far to unify the use of the new Windows , since until now the desktop and the rest of the system seemed two different platforms that had been artificially united. In addition, the applications that we have opened can also be found as an icon on the taskbar, which greatly facilitates access and switching between different open apps.
Windows style windows are back
Another change that users accustomed to older versions of Windows will appreciate is the return of buttons to minimize and close Windows 8 apps. As in the case of the taskbar, these buttons only appear at the moment when the one that we drag the mouse to the top of the screen. They are located in the upper right part and disappear the moment we move the mouse again. In addition, on the left side we will have a small application icon that will also allow us to manage the multiscreen options (we can place the app on the left or right of the panel). Again, it's a feature with a much more distinctive feel than we've seen so far in Windows and that we have found it really useful to use.
The long-awaited shutdown button
Yes sirs. Finally, Microsoft has reconsidered and has included a shutdown button that can be accessed on the main screen of the system. This button is located in the upper right part of the panel and thanks to it we can suspend the computer, do a restart or turn off the system. It is surprising that the US company has taken almost a year and a half to introduce this simple icon, taking into account the many criticisms it has received by the difficulty of finding the option off the first times that the equipment is used.
In addition to this button, a search button in the shape of a magnifying glass has also been incorporated next to it . In this case, it is an attempt to attract the attention of the users of this useful tool, which does not contribute much on a practical level. And it is that to use the search from the main screen of Windows 8 it is enough to start typing a term on the keyboard.
The mouse also exists outside the desktop
Another point that has been optimized is the use of the mouse in the main interface of Windows 8 . Now, when users right-click on one of the icons in this interface, they will have a context menu that looks similar to the one found in desktop menus . This is a new nod to users unhappy with the use of the new Windows , since before a contextual menu was opened in the form of a bar at the bottom of the screen (now this menu only appears when we press on the icon on a screen touch for a couple of seconds).
Within this menu we will find options such as changing the size of the icon, activating the dynamic icon or even uninstalling the program . Although this idea seems very successful to us, its operation still has to be refined a bit more since clicking it will directly open the panel of programs installed on the desktop. Theirs would be to directly uninstall the program without having to perform this previous step.
Rescuing Windows XP computers
Lastly, we would like to highlight the improvement in the management of resources in this system. It is a step aimed at taking advantage of all those old computers that had Windows XP installed and that after the end of technical support can make users think about an update. In theory, a computer with a dual-core processor and 1GB RAM should be able to run quite smoothly on this platform (we haven't had a chance to check yet).
Salvation or condemnation?
There is no doubt that this update can become a real boost for Windows 8, thanks to the incorporation of a user experience closer to what we have already seen in previous Windows . The change is very big, and several of the new features bring a clear improvement in the practical use of the system . But it also gives the impression of being a backward flight from the American company after several months defending the new platform. The criticism received and especially the slow adoption of this system (which has been maintained despite the launch of Windows 8.1 ) seem to have made a dent in those responsible for Microsoft . They say that rectifying is wise, and the newWindows 8.1 Update brings added value to this platform. For the first time, it does not seem that the desktop app and the rest of the apps are part of two different universes. And that is quite an advance. Enough? Only the passage of months will be able to answer that question. What do you think of these changes? Are they enough for you to consider buying a computer with Windows 8?