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Everything you need to know about Windows 8.1 Update

Published Apr 2nd, 2014 6:30PM EDT
Windows 8.1 Update Details

Microsoft finally took the wraps off of its upcoming Windows 8.1 Update, a major revision that will add a range of new functionality to Microsoft’s desktop operating system. For many users, the most important features included in this new update focus on improving the Windows 8.1 experience on desktop and laptop computers. Touch is not the primary means of input on these devices, and Microsoft worked so hard on accommodating tablets with Windows 8 that the mouse and keyboard experience was compromised. With Windows 8.1 Update, Microsoft looks to make amends.

First things first: the Start menu is coming back to Windows, but not in Windows 8.1 Update. Microsoft gave us a brief look at the new Start menu but said it will be reintroduced in a future update rather than this one.

Until then, you’ll have to follow this simple guide if you want the Start menu back right now.

With that out of the way, Windows 8.1 Update does include a good amount of great new features, even if a Start menu isn’t one of them.

Users were finally able to boot and resume directly to the Desktop screen with the release of Windows 8.1, and now they can also dock Windows Store apps directly in the Desktop taskbar. The taskbar will also now display every running Windows Store app.

This means that for those who don’t like the new “Metro” view, they don’t have to deal with it in order to launch and switch between Windows Store apps.

Microsoft also brought close and minimize buttons back to apps in Windows 8.1 Update, which definitely addresses another big pain point that Windows 8 and 8.1 users had. 8.1 Update also adds hover media controls for music players that are minimized in the taskbar. In addition, power and search buttons have been made stationary on the Start screen, so mouse and keyboard users don’t have to dig for them.

Want to know what else is new in Windows 8.1 Update? We’ve embedded a video below and Microsoft’s blog post has the rest of the details.

Windows 8.1 Update will be released on April 8th as a free update for Windows 8.1 users.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.