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5 ways the next Windows 8 update might finally appease Metro-hating desktop users

Published Mar 12th, 2014 3:03PM EDT
Windows 8.1 Update 1 Features

Listen up, disgruntled Windows desktop users: Microsoft hears your gripes and is working to address them with its soon-to-be-released Update 1 to Windows 8.1. U.K.-based gaming and tech writer James Woodcock has downloaded a leaked version of Windows 8.1 Update 1 and has found himself impressed by some of the features Microsoft added that will appeal to people who prefer using the standard keyboard-and-mouse setup instead of the touch interface that Microsoft added with its Live Tiles menu.

No, Update 1 doesn’t bring back the full Start menu and it doesn’t make the desktop mode the default boot-up screen. However, Woodcock says that Microsoft added five features with Update 1 that desktop users will appreciate: A power button on the Start screen that lets you more easily power down your machine or put it to sleep; the ability to more easily manage Live Tiles on the Start screen by right-clicking on them, which will let you uninstall applications, remove them from the Start screen or pin them to your Taskbar; fullscreen apps that now appear in your Taskbar to let you shuffle between them more quickly when they’re open; a Title Bar for full-screen apps that will let you more easily close or minimize apps when you scroll to the top of the screen; and the ability to view your Taskbar while using full-screen apps.

In many ways these additions are commonsense features because there was no sensible reason for Microsoft to make closing fullscreen apps so unintuitive in the first place — as Woodcock writes, closing a fullscreen app with a mouse used to mean “dragging from the top of the screen all the way to the bottom.” All the same, any traditional PC users who found themselves alienated by the changes Microsoft made with Windows 8 will probably find Update 1 to be yet another welcome improvement over the status quo.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.