As expected, Microsoft on Wednesday announced the Windows 8.1 Update 1, a software update that Windows users who still prefer mouse and keyboard input over touch – or who don’t have touch-enabled devices in the first place – will certainly appreciate. “”We’ve improved its enterprise support and we focused on making it smoother and easier to use with people who have a mouse and keyboard focus,” Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore said.
Windows 8.1 Update will be available free of charge to users starting with April 8 via Windows Update, as previously rumored, while developers are expected to get it starting today.
The update is meant to make the Windows 8.1 experience easier for both enterprise users and regular customers. The PC will now boot or resume directly to desktop mode, if users so desire.
Microsoft also detailed an Enterprise Mode within Internet Explorer 11 that will help users access old sites without getting any kind of errors, as it happened before – the mode will be particularly useful for internal sites that big companies rely on.
However, the most important Windows 8.1 changes affect more mundane features. Belfiore detailed on stage the Windows taskbar, “one of the most used areas of computing real estate in the universe.”
Windows 8.1 Update will bring apps to the taskbar, so users can quickly switch between apps using the mouse and keyboard – naturally, touch-based task switching is still supported for those people who combine input methods. A new title bar for Metro UI will let users quickly minimize, close and multitask, with help of the mouse. Furthermore, the Start Screen has also been updated, with Microsoft adding a right-click context menu that will work with the Metro user interface. Start Screen also includes search and power buttons, for quick mouse access.
The Windows Store will also be more mouse and keyboard friendly in the future, so users can better interact with it. Users will also be able to search for apps from within the search interface, and Windows 8.1 will now show users what apps have been installed on their devices, making them readily available to them.
The best feature of Windows 8.1 Update 1 will be the addition of the new Start menu, which will significantly improve the way users interact with their Windows computers.