What’s in the Windows 8.1 Preview?

What’s in the Windows 8.1 Preview?

Microsoft has officially announced the preview of Windows 8.1 in a keynote address at its Build 2013 developers conference.

Windows 8.1 isn’t for everyone – it’s unfinished, and doesn’t support
uninstalling if you have problems – but if you’re interested, and have a
full system backup to hand, then there’s plenty to explore here.
Microsoft has tried to address some of the most common Windows 8
criticisms, for instance. You can now optionally boot to the desktop. A
Start button can return you to the Start Screen, or launch the Apps
view, for a sort-of Start Menu-like experience. And you can disable the
Charms bar, or the hot corners.
There’s now more control over how Windows 8 apps are displayed, too.
Apps can be automatically arranged side by side, resized to suit your
needs, and at best you can now have up to four apps on the screen at
once, and change the size of each window (although running four apps
apparently requires “at least 2560 pixel width on a 24″ or larger
monitor”, which we would guess is going to exclude a lot of people).
One search now covers your PC, apps and the web
The update comes bundled with Internet Explorer 11 (it’s reportedly
faster, and allows you to browse tabs side by side), as well as a
Settings app which is a Start Screen equivalent (almost) to Control
Panel. There are several lesser new apps (SkyDrive, Calculator, Alarm,
Fresh Paint, Bing Food and Drink, Bing Health and Fitness), while other
apps have been updated (Mail, Calendar and others), and a redesigned
store makes it easy to find other apps you might like.
Elsewhere, Search has been improved and is easier to access; tethering
support allows you to turn your PC into a wireless hotspot; you’re now
able to customise the Lock screen with your own images; and the Start
Screen offers more options for tile sizes, and new ways to arrange them.
How to get Windows 8.1, then? If you’re interested, the simplest way is
to download and install the update, restart your PC, and follow the
notification prompt to go to the store, then download and install the
full Windows 8.1 package.
Please note, though, the Windows 8.1 Preview
build is only available for some languages: Arabic, English (US),
Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, German, Japanese,
Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish. If
you’re using something else then the installer will warn you that “the
update is not applicable to your computer”, and you won’t be able to
proceed.

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