Microsoft reveals first official look at Windows 8.1

The last few months have been filled with discussion, criticism and – yes, believe it or not – even praise for Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows 8. Not everyone is happy with the direction that Microsoft has taken with the platform, but it seems that everyone has an opinion on it. 

Perhaps the biggest single criticism – although arguably the least significant, in the grand scheme of things – has been the absence of the Start button, but beyond that, there remain many issues with the OS that users have found less than appealing. 

Microsoft has promised that it is listening closely to user feedback on Windows 8, and that it will respond appropriately to make improvements to the OS in its next major update. We've known for some time that that update is on the way – part of the "Blue" wave of updates that will see significant improvements across Windows 8, Windows Phone and Windows Server, along with "Gemini" updates for the Office suite

Today, Microsoft revealed its first official look at what it's got in store for Windows 8.1, ahead of the release of a preview version at its BUILD conference next month. 

A new Start screen

Take a look at the image above, and you'll notice a range of changes over the Start screen that debuted in Windows 8. The biggest changes are ones that we've been discussing for some time – improved customization options for the background and, perhaps most excitingly, more flexible tile sizing options. 

Of note not is just the very small tiles – similar to those introduced in Windows Phone 8 – but also the option of giant, square tiles; in this case, it's used to showcase a beautiful Weather tile with lots of useful information packed in. Customizing tiles is said to be easier than ever, with the ability to change settings for multiple tiles at once. 

You'll have the option to set your Start screen background to the same image as your Desktop wallpaper, and newly installed apps will be automatically marked as "new." Finding apps on the Start screen is easier through new filtering options, enabling you to sort apps by name, date, most used or by category.

You'll also be able to use your lock screen to turn your device into a "picture frame" by using it to run a slide show of your favorite photos – a response to the way that many users have chosen to showcase their lock screen to show a cherished photo, such as those of their families. 

And yes, of course, the Start button is back


User experience

While Windows 8 is designed as a "touch-first" operating system, Windows 8.1 nonetheless makes concessions for those users who still use the more 'traditional' input methods of keyboard and mouse. It's these users who'll likely be happiest about the return of the Start button. 

When you're on the Desktop, the Start button always appears on the Taskbar. If you're in a Modern/Metro app, the Start button won't be permanently visible at the bottom left, but will appear when you move your mouse to that corner of the display, in much the same way that the current Start 'tip' image appears in Windows 8. 

Users can choose to customise how the 'hot corners' behave, and can also opt to boot the system into different screens. Yes, that does mean that you can boot directly to your Desktop if you want - or if you prefer, you can boot to the 'All Apps' view on your Start screen, for example. 


Search 

As we've previously reported, Windows 8.1 brings a more comprehensive search experience with deeper Bing integration. As Microsoft explains: "The Search charm will provide global search results powered by Bing in a rich, simple-to-read, aggregated view of many content sources" – which will include not only local apps, files and SkyDrive content, but also the wider web. 

You'll also be able to take advantage of "quick actions" from search, such as playing songs or videos. 

Windows Store and apps

Windows 8.1 brings improvements to the "snap view," which allows Modern/Metro apps to be displayed alongside each other. There will be more ways to view multiple apps concurrently, with the option to resize apps as desired, and have up to three apps on each screen if you have multiple displays connected. Users can even have different apps running on each display, as well as the Start screen open on an additional display. Users can also have two instances of the same app displayed side-by-side, such as two Internet Explorer windows, in snap view. 

The Windows Store has also received a range of improvements, with more detailed lists of free apps, new releases and highlights on the home page. Microsoft says that the app listing is "more descriptive and information and includes an area for related apps to help with app discovery" – which sounds a lot like a similar feature in the Windows Phone Store. 

Apps will no longer require manual update approval, instead automatically updating in the background as soon as they're available. 

Web and cloud

Windows 8.1 brings more comprehensive SkyDrive integration, with an increased focus on the cloud and web across the OS as a whole. Logging into a Windows 8.1 device with a Microsoft account will automatically – "magically," says Microsoft – personalize it with all of a user's settings and apps. 

Microsoft has made improvements to the experience of browsing the web in its updated OS with an improved version of its integrated browser. In Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft promises improved touch performance, faster page load times and various other features, such as being able to customize the UI to always display the address bar, and to be able to open as many tabs as you want. 

Users can also access their open tabs in sync across multiple Windows 8.1 devices. 

Settings

Microsoft has promised an updated PC settings center in Windows 8.1 that offers complete access to all settings without needing to access the old-school Control Panel on the Desktop. The new and improved PC Settings interface provides the ability to change things such as display resolution and power options, change the system product key, perform full Windows Update functions and join a domain. 


Windows 8 going forward

Antoine Leblond, corporate vice president for Windows Program Management, explained in a blog post today that "Windows 8 has been a bold, necessary move towards mobility for the PC industry, pushing ourselves and our industry ahead with a touch-first approach that is redefining the PC as we know it." Microsoft's problem so far appears to have been that its users haven't been ready – or willing – to accept that kind of change, and the language that the company has used in recent weeks to define its approach to the feedback it's received has been telling. 

Even so, Leblond added: "Our commitment to that vision – and to always improving – remains the same as we stay the course of the evolution of Windows with Windows 8.1. We've been watching, we've been listening; Windows 8.1 will continue to build on what you love, bringing the latest advancements in hardware, apps, cloud services and the OS to enable a unique experience in everything you do." So, Microsoft is listening to your feedback - but don't expect them to back down completely and turn back the clock.

The company says that these are "just some of the updates" that it's got in store for Windows 8.1, and that there's plenty more details still to be revealed in the weeks ahead, and at its BUILD developer conference in late June, where a preview version will be made publicly available. Microsoft will also be sharing more details on how Windows 8.1 "will include big bets for business in areas such as management and security" at its TechEd North America event next week. 

We'll have correspondents at both of these events, so be sure to stay tuned to Neowin, and to follow us on Twitter @NeowinFeed for all of the latest. 

Source: Windows Blog | Images via Microsoft

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I hope it's possible to plug in other search engines to the UI instead of Bing. I would like to be able to choose (OK, so yes I want Google!!).

It seems to me like they could easily write a standard interface to enable different search providers to do this - hopefully that is the approach they take.

I can understand why they've added the Start button for desktops, laptops and hybrids but it does seem superfluous on tablets.

It seems odd to have both a physical button next to the display AND a start button on the screen a few inches away.

This could all be solved by one 'Display Start tip on taskbar' check box in a sensible location.

My PC is doing well at the moment. I had to send it in for repair - turns out the motherboard needs replacing, not so good ... except they don't have stock of the old model so I'm getting a free upgrade to the newer Z77 version which as it happens has proper support for 8 unlike my old board.

That and I've paid to get a new Sound Blaster Z card for it.

And to top it off Windows 8.1 in a few months.

Not one mention that would be for the desktop user, I'm getting worried that 8 and 8.1 don't seem to have the desktop user in mind. I hope I'm wrong.

cant wait to update, but to be honest the start button really doesn't bother me as I actually know how to use a computer

After using Windows 8 for about 6 months or more here, installed on October 26th 2012 on my Computer here.

here is what I feel Windows 8 Needs

1. Windows Defender settings accessible from Modern Start Menu area or charms area
2. File Explorer in Modern Apps area

Otherwise i'm happy with Windows 8 the way it is now, do like the Start Screen, Do use Modern apps 50 percent of the time, and Desktop applications rest of the time, The Coming Changes do look great and should enhance the function and productivity to Windows 8

Bing search sounds really good as well in my mind

Music app redesigned sounds great to me as well

(Also Have a Windows Phone 8) So am very used to the start screen design and functions myself.

bikeman25 said,
After using Windows 8 for about 6 months or more here, installed on October 26th 2012 on my Computer here.

here is what I feel Windows 8 Needs

1. Windows Defender settings accessible from Modern Start Menu area or charms area
2. File Explorer in Modern Apps area

I'd love it if Microsoft added a Modern version of Windows Defender.

make senses... I love these changes...
microsoft must be hinting something in theses screenshots...
in the first screenshot, word, excel, powerpoint, onenote in small colored tiles (it may be one note mx) so did microsoft remake the office from traditional desktop programs to modern apps?! I head that the office team was trying to make the office modern apps, they made it already?! :0
but the icons should be redone, they should be white icons on color tile...
and there is a betta fish texture for the start screen background... love it definitely better than the win7 beta and win8 CP's one
and that Help + Tips tile might be an official user guide pre-installed in windows...

Not really sure I want Bing creeping in everywhere in Win8.

But I'm fine as long as Desktop is there!
It will always be the first tile on the splash (start) screen

Well, let's go down the list here:

Start Screen 'improved' - I don't use the Start Screen, never have, never will.
Start Button added - still officially broken as it goes back to the Start Screen, so it'll be disabled and I'll keep using Classic Shell.
Search Function 'improved' - Don't like Bing, refuse to use it. Google will remain my primary search engine.
Windows Store - Don't use it, since it's for apps that use that Metro/Modern/Monstrosity UI (stolen from elsewhere) that I won't ever use.
SkyDrive - Refuse to store *anything* on the Web, never will use a cloud service (even tried to get Amazon to kill it for my account, they don't have a way to do it short of deleting the account completely).

Upshot: Windows 8.1 may have some improvements, but they're all in the wrong spots and are for all the wrong reasons. I use a traditional PC with a traditional monitor, I hate touchscreens in general, and as such Windows 8.1 remains Microsoft's attempt to graft a tablet OS into a desktop environment... and keeps failing at it.

Tal Greywolf said,
but they're all in the wrong spots and are for all the wrong reasons. I use a traditional PC with a traditional monitor, I hate touchscreens in general

All the wrong spots? No, they're hitting all the right spots common with all modern operating systems. I used to be the same way, but this isn't 1998 anymore. Usage habits have changed, and "traditional" setups don't exist anymore. It would be foolish to pretend that they do.

Windows Nashville said,
Judging from the Windows 8 UI, it's now 1993.

Seems like some people forget what video cards were actually capable of back in 1993. Nor did Windows 3.1 have tiles. Or even a start menu of any sort, full screen or otherwise.

Dot Matrix said,

All the wrong spots? No, they're hitting all the right spots common with all modern operating systems. I used to be the same way, but this isn't 1998 anymore. Usage habits have changed, and "traditional" setups don't exist anymore. It would be foolish to pretend that they do.


Let me give you a clue: Not everyone wants or needs a touchscreen-based OS. To think that Windows 8 was a step forward is to ignore the fact that Microsoft took about a dozen steps backwards to get to this point. But that's fine... if you want to think you're really more productive with something that looks like a Unix/Linux reject, well, that's your opinion... one I don't subscribe to, see value in, or even care about.

Tal Greywolf said,

Let me give you a clue: Not everyone wants or needs a touchscreen-based OS. To think that Windows 8 was a step forward is to ignore the fact that Microsoft took about a dozen steps backwards to get to this point. But that's fine... if you want to think you're really more productive with something that looks like a Unix/Linux reject, well, that's your opinion... one I don't subscribe to, see value in, or even care about.

Your opinion v. his opinion v. my opinion. Guess what? Nobody's wrong and nobody's right. Or... worst case scenario, if we must insist that our own opinions are the correct ones, time will tell us who's right and who's wrong.

Tal Greywolf said,

Let me give you a clue: Not everyone wants or needs a touchscreen-based OS. To think that Windows 8 was a step forward is to ignore the fact that Microsoft took about a dozen steps backwards to get to this point. But that's fine... if you want to think you're really more productive with something that looks like a Unix/Linux reject, well, that's your opinion... one I don't subscribe to, see value in, or even care about.

Considering I have and use multiple devices a day, and that by default, Windows 8 is able to keep them in sync, can work across my desktop, laptop, and tablet without compromise is telling. That's something Windows 7 cannot do, and will never do.

I was a sworn enemy of the cloud when it first became a thing, but now, living life as a student, I can't get by without it. Carrying around extra storage devices for separate projects became a hassle, and the prospect of loosing important work was too great. The fact that cloud storage is built into the OS is a huge benefit to me, and one I can't afford to not take advantage of.

You say you use a "traditional" system, but the truth is, "traditional" systems are dead. They have been for sometime now. You can't blame anyone else for not catering to that market, simply because that market doesn't exist anymore.

Dot Matrix said,

You say you use a "traditional" system, but the truth is, "traditional" systems are dead. They have been for sometime now.

"And they will be for some time to come."

Dot Matrix said,

Usage habits have changed, and "traditional" setups don't exist anymore.

What??? Are MS really so cavalier in failing the HUGE installed user base. Don't you even appreciate it is out there, and in use?

You seem to live in a fantasy world where everybody has junked their desktop systems and bought a little tablet. You need to get out more.

If MS still did beta testing, they would have understood their own market. Ignoring desktop users is a significant reason why Win8 is now such a tarnished brand.

Dot Matrix said,
"traditional" systems are dead. They have been for sometime now. You can't blame anyone else for not catering to that market, simply because that market doesn't exist anymore.

Wow. I think you're taking that whole post-pc thing far too literally...If what you said was true, then Microsoft, too, would be dead.

Tal Greywolf said,

Start Screen 'improved' - I don't use the Start Screen, never have, never will.

And that is your loss then. The Start screen offers numerous advantages over the Start menu.

- Better usage of screen estate, especially with high resolution display monitors.
- More options for customization: One can move applications into their own groups, categorize, and even resize them.
- Application shortcuts update with "live" information.

Tal Greywolf said,

Start Button added - still officially broken as it goes back to the Start Screen, so it'll be disabled and I'll keep using Classic Shell.

Classic Shell is an excellent choice. However, 'broken' is subjective.

Tal Greywolf said,

Search Function 'improved' - Don't like Bing, refuse to use it. Google will remain my primary search engine.

Hopefully, users will have the option to choose their own search engine. It should be noted that, as described, the current implementation makes certain aspects of the Start menu (such as the Search the Internet link) obsolete.

How can the improvements be "in the wrong spots and for the wrong reasons" if most of them are what people have been asking for?

Edited by Ian W, Jun 2 2013, 1:57am :

avidracer said,
does this still mean no aero type start still. If so ,to me win 8.1 nothing by a pig that MS is trying a lipstick on.

People said the same thing about Windows Vista. One of the reasons for the name-calling? Windows Aero itself!

Users can also have two instances of the same app displayed side-by-side, such as two Internet Explorer windows, in snap view.

HOLY **** THANK YOU MICROSOFT

Steffan said,
Does anyone know if Win 8.1 will come as a separate ISO/CD instead of just getting it from the Microsoft Store?

Not sure about W 8.1 but when I bought W8 from MS store I had an option to create an ISO which I did.

I wonder if Microsoft will update the Live Tile system to be more interactive than just the sliding images and intervalled updates. I understand why its the way it is, to reduce the chance of an app chewing up valuable CPU cycles and battery life if its left unchecked for stuff like widgets.

- The start button is back, but the Aero Glass isn't
- You still can't developer desktop apps and sell them directly from the App Store, you are forced to develop full screen apps if you want Microsoft to help you sell them.

On the other hand, Google use to force everyone to develop full screen / maximized apps from Chrome OS, and today they are almost ready to publish their Apps 2.0 framework where they will allow you to develop desktop apps using Chrome and sell them to Mac, Windows, Chrome OS, and Linux directly

what is new in Windows 9
- Hey, we realized that people want desktop apps, now you can make them and sell them directly from the Windows store
- The Aero Glass is back

john.smith_2084 said,
- The start button is back, but the Aero Glass isn't

I find it ironic how most people lament about the removal of Aero glass, yet when it was first introduced, people dismissed it as 'useless eye-candy'.

I will admit that Windows Aero was (and is) my favorite theme, but the theme offered in Windows 8 really isn't much different.

Looks like good improvements. Now they need to redesign the desktop icons and the whole OS will feel a lot more consistent and polished.

So, there is still nothing to make me ditch the third-party start menu.
Is there a boot2desktop confirmed and i haven't seen it?
And obviously there is no start menu from what they're showing, just a fake start button, that it's not doing what is supposed to do, bring up the classic start menu....
For me and maybe thousands more out there that only use desktop, Microsoft, you're trolling and you're failing...!!!

tomasse said
And obviously there is no start menu from what they're showing, just a fake start button
It's not fake though. It is a Start button; it just doesn't open the Start Menu.

tomasse said,
So, there is still nothing to make me ditch the third-party start menu.
Is there a boot2desktop confirmed and i haven't seen it?
And obviously there is no start menu from what they're showing, just a fake start button, that it's not doing what is supposed to do, bring up the classic start menu....
For me and maybe thousands more out there that only use desktop, Microsoft, you're trolling and you're failing...!!!

No you're trolling and failing.
You're using a third party start menu so what's your problem?

Looks like some much needed improvements, almost feels like 8.1 is the real deal and that 8.0 was just a beta. At least Microsoft is listening to customer feedback and hopefully the next version of Windows they will listen and get the feedback during the actual beta stage

"Apps will no longer require manual update approval, instead automatically updating in the background as soon as they're available. "

Best be controllable by the user. Not all of us have anything close to "unlimited" internet usage.

Sounds great! Except for the whole Start Button thing. Is there anyone who really wants a useless and superceded button back? I thought what people were bitching about was loss of the Start Menu.

Yes:
1. As a target to click on, especially when running remotely or in a VM. Hunt-the-pixel is very tedious.
2. For discoverability, a basic UI concept that MS forgot all about. And the little "tutorial" that ran when Win8 was installed (but never since) was all but useless.

Skwerl said
Sounds great! Except for the whole Start Button thing. Is there anyone who really wants a useless and superceded button back? I thought what people were bitching about was loss of the Start Menu.
A lot of people aren't used to hot corners, and so they have trouble finding out how to get to the Start Screen.

I for one, like the idea of having a button there. And like gb8080 said:

gb8080 said
Hunt-the-pixel is very tedious

I agree that the tutorial is atrocious. It took me a good while to figure out how to select a tile using touch with little swipe gesture. That would have been a helpful thing to have in the tutorial.
I also understand that it could be problematic for remote sessions. I use RDP to remote in to my server, so there's a button on the header for it. But I guess if you're using another product for remoting, it would be nice to have the button as an option.

gb8080 said,
Yes:
For discoverability, a basic UI concept that MS forgot all about. And the little "tutorial" that ran when Win8 was installed (but never since) was all but useless.

Corners and edges are the easiest targets to hit, a basic UX concept.

thomastmc said,

Corners and edges are the easiest targets to hit, a basic UX concept.

Not if you are running within a window - then you have to play hit-the-pixel.
That was my first point, which you chose not to quote. That's why a larger target helps.

Great, this is all very promising. Still a few gripes however, and I am sorry to read :
"Windows 8.1 nonetheless makes concessions for those users who still
use the more 'traditional' input methods of keyboard and mouse".

There shouldn't just be concessions as a sop to desktop users, desktop should still be treated as of equal importance to touch. The installed user base is largely non-touch.

What's still desirable:
- Folders on the start screen. Compare iOS. Enable grouping of related apps rather than higgledy-piggledy all over the screen,
- Windowed "modern" apps. Okay, ModernMix is great but why isn't this in the base OS? Fullscreeen is fine for phones, absurd for large desktop monitors. Why is it still called "Windows"?
- Window the start screen on the desktop. As above, why always fullscreen? Desktop displays don't need a fullscreen Start Screen.

Anyway, glad to see genuine progress even though it has taken this long for MS to listen!

Edited by gb8080, May 30 2013, 3:51pm :

Probably won't see the second two of those, but you can already group related apps and even name the groups. You have to pinch the start screen (or whatever the equivalent would be with a mouse/keyboard) so it zooms back and you can create/name groups.

gb8080 said,
- Folders on the start screen. Compare iOS. Enable grouping of related apps rather than higgledy-piggledy all over the screen,

.... Am you can already do that, You just drag them into groups and zoom out to name it...

gb8080 said,
-Window the start screen on the desktop. As above, why always fullscreen? Desktop displays don't need a fullscreen Start Screen.,

They do unless you want a phone like menu for launching all your programs.

WinA said,
Wow nothing new for PC users all this is for tablets! The only good for PC users in 8.1 will be start button and thats sad!
REFS

hellll no! There are still fuk loads of things not in modern PC settings. Some stuff in there hasn't changed since literally Windows 98

With the start button only taking you to the user-hostile metro garbage the windows 8 failboat will continue to sail...

If sailing on the failboat means I get a clean, information first and rich interface then I'm fine with that. Do you still use punch cards by any chance?

Order_66 said,
With the start button only taking you to the user-hostile metro garbage the windows 8 failboat will continue to sail...

If it's this much of a problem for you why don't you just use Windows 7?

Why? Where should it take you? The menu? Seriously, did you use the menu that much? I know that's a lot of questions but really, measure how often you use the start menu. I might use it once a day at work... I honestly can't remember the last time I used the start menu on this Windows 7 machine. I have shortcuts to all the programs I use and I just know my way around the OS in general.

Anyway, people hate change. That's unfortunate because the only constant is change.

ingramator said,
If sailing on the failboat means I get a clean, information first and rich interface then I'm fine with that. Do you still use punch cards by any chance?

Ha! You get my internet winner of the week award

jamieakers said,

If it's this much of a problem for you why don't you just use Windows 7?

I use windows 7 just like the countless millions of other people who understand that windows 8 is a downgrade.

Order_66 said,

I use windows 7 just like the countless millions of other people who understand that windows 8 is a downgrade.

Second fail of day. Going for a record?

I hope they fix the wifi issues as well. I have so many issues with wifi on Windows 8 especially after coming back from sleep. Sometimes it will just not see the AP but if I am at work on a WPA2 enterprise network and then come home to a WPA2 standard network it will connect but IE will hang. I just get the blue E for about 5 minutes and then it finally works. Happens on my Surface Pro, Surface RT and my Lenovo Thinkpad W510. If I boot to the Windows 7 partition on the W510 there are no issues at all though.

incendy said,
I hope they fix the wifi issues as well. I have so many issues with wifi on Windows 8 especially after coming back from sleep. Sometimes it will just not see the AP but if I am at work on a WPA2 enterprise network and then come home to a WPA2 standard network it will connect but IE will hang. I just get the blue E for about 5 minutes and then it finally works. Happens on my Surface Pro, Surface RT and my Lenovo Thinkpad W510. If I boot to the Windows 7 partition on the W510 there are no issues at all though.

Y'know if it happens on all 3 of those devices it might be something up with your network rather than the device or OS?

I thought so too, but no Windows 7 or Mac devices have this problem. Even the same w510 device switched to Windows 7 is fine

No, if you actually read the source you will find many options such as to boot to different screens, customising hot corners and, of course, the start button

Windows Nashville said,

List them.

1) automatic desktop DPI scaling when using multiple monitors of different sizes and resolution.
2) fully upgraded VS style IE11 developer tools on the desktop.
3) launching metro apps from the desktop doesn't fling you out of desktop, but rather opens the metro app in a window beside the desktop.
4) deep to go back/forward in desktop IE
5) Start button)
6) Boot to desktop
7) search for apps, settings, and files from desktop without having start screen cover the entire screen.

There you go. Happy?

I'm looking forward for the WIN+Q shortcut not to cover the entire screen. Combining with all other changes, then I'm sold.

Looks like a good update. I can't wait to see what else this update includes though. Still hoping for the rumored improvement for desktop program rendering on high dpi screens... That REALLY needs to be addressed. Best I can tell Windows 8 doesn't even correctly report screen size on these screens...

My biggest grub with Windows 8 is the lack of advanced wifi management, it was really dumb'd down in 8. IE; Ability to clean/view old wireless network connections. I'm glad there making more settings accessible (all?) from the PC Settings, but does that mean the Control Panel is gone also? I hope not.

These days it seems more interesting to use Server 2012 as your "Windows 8" lol...

I hope the start button can be disabled. A total waste of space that can be used for more visible apps on the taskbar. Quite happy with the hot corner.

Sicarius123 said,
I hope the start button can be disabled. A total waste of space that can be used for more visible apps on the taskbar. Quite happy with the hot corner.

I'm also fine with it apart from when using Windows 2012 in a Remote Desktop. Trying to open the Start Screen on the remote desktop side results in opening it locally. I do this rarely though so it wasn't too much of a biggie.

Really surprised to see them bringing it back though. Never thought it would happen.

Sicarius123 said,
I hope the start button can be disabled. A total waste of space that can be used for more visible apps on the taskbar. Quite happy with the hot corner.

Oh Christ not this - so after all this noise and whining we now have another group complaining about the start buttons exist! I swear no matter what Microsoft does they're completely screwed!

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Oh Christ not this - so after all this noise and whining we now have another group complaining about the start buttons exist! I swear no matter what Microsoft does they're completely screwed!


There was always a group that is perfectly fine with not having a visible start button. Those complaining are often the loudest...

Mr Nom Nom's said
Oh Christ not this - so after all this noise and whining we now have another group complaining about the start buttons exist! I swear no matter what Microsoft does they're completely screwed!
You're damned if you and you're damned if you don't.

Sicarius123 said,
I hope the start button can be disabled. A total waste of space that can be used for more visible apps on the taskbar. Quite happy with the hot corner.

With widescreen monitors and combined, label-free taskbar buttons, I didn't know that anybody needed space in the taskbar. Personally I don't need it, but I don't care either way.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Oh Christ not this - so after all this noise and whining we now have another group complaining about the start buttons exist! I swear no matter what Microsoft does they're completely screwed!

Or you know... offer the choice.

SK said,
Trying to open the Start Screen on the remote desktop side results in opening it locally.

Have you tried pressing Alt + Home or selecting the option the redirect Windows key combinations to the remote computer (shown in the screenshot below)?

http://i.imgur.com/IlAempm.png

Love the Windows 8 as it is. I will love it even more with 8.1, but the lack of Notification Center is killing me... My personal No1 request is completely absent, not even a hint...

nMIK-3 said,
Love the Windows 8 as it is. I will love it even more with 8.1, but the lack of Notification Center is killing me... My personal No1 request is completely absent, not even a hint...
how does the notification center on win95-Win7 work?

Different situation on each Desktop App, if any Notification at all. In case you didn't notice, Windows 8 is a little different than previous Windows, a little...
Windows 8 is a modern App oriented OS with rich Notifications per App. If you guys need more info please search, if you are OK with the current situation, is totally fine as well.

-adrian- said,
how does the notification center on win95-Win7 work?
It could be argued that the system tray + event viewer was/is the notification center / hub prior to modern ui applications. Granted, the system tray isn't persistent, but the event can be saved as an application event, which can be viewed later from the event viewer. I'm sure you're aware, that in general, if an app wants to alert you to something when it's running, a bubble will appear in the system tray and those items can sometimes be found permanently in the event log.

Since modern ui apps use Toast notifications, similar to those in WP8. Which, like the system tray events are transient. Once they're gone, they're gone forever.

I personally believe that in both Win8.1 and WP8.1 there needs to be a notification hub since there is movement away from the traditional interfaces of the system tray + event viewer. In my mind, this should basically be the re-imaging of the existing concepts, wrapped in modern ui feel and design.

Edited by ahinson, May 30 2013, 3:50pm :

nMIK-3 said,
Love the Windows 8 as it is. I will love it even more with 8.1, but the lack of Notification Center is killing me... My personal No1 request is completely absent, not even a hint...
I'm hoping they're holding this one tight to their chests. For myself and others -- you included -- this is a big deal. I'd expect a reveal for something of this magnitude to held back until an event. It's plainly obvious that MS is pretty good about being tight lipped. For now, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

If there's something like this in Win 8.1 -- it only looks that much better that it will also be in Windows Phone. /excited

Edited by ahinson, May 30 2013, 4:47pm :

ahinson said,
It could be argued that the system tray + event viewer was/is the notification center / hub prior to modern ui applications. Granted, the system tray isn't persistent...

This.

This is what I identified on day 1 without even thinking about a notification center of what is missing in Windows 8. There is wifi, sound, language and other options in the settings charm eerily similar to what would exist on the system tray... But there is no way to add on more to this area in the settings charm. This would be a fantastic change!

-adrian- said,
how does the notification center on win95-Win7 work?

If something that did not exist before cannot be added... we would still be at the command line.
Besides W8 introduces a completely new and different paradigm for the UI; much more similar to the WP one than previous OSes.

nMIK-3 said,
Love the Windows 8 as it is. I will love it even more with 8.1, but the lack of Notification Center is killing me... My personal No1 request is completely absent, not even a hint...

Didn't they try to do that, or something similar with Longhorn?

The Office icons each feature a unique backcolour, either the tiles now get the most active Colour from an icon or there are Metro versions of Office available.

I think they work similarly to pinned sites from Metro IE. When you pin a site to your Start Screen, the tile's colour matches the dominant one in the favicon.

Sszecret said,
I think they work similarly to pinned sites from Metro IE. When you pin a site to your Start Screen, the tile's colour matches the dominant one in the favicon.

It can also be set by the site dev.

Fus10n said,
This is what Windows 8 should have been.. I am liking the new Windows.. Can't wait to try the DP.

I won't be trying any "DP".

CSharp. said,
Sounds like loads of much-needed improvements.

right.. can believe how people could have possibly used win8 without this major improvments - right

-adrian- said,

right.. can believe how people could have possibly used win8 without this major improvments - right

I know, right? Some people are capable of extraordinary feats though.

CSharp. said,

I know, right? Some people are capable of extraordinary feats though.

Just not 99% of home and business desktop users...

The larger tiles look really nice - finally!!! I think having the same background on Modern UI as the desktop will actually be a really cool feature and help the transition from Modern to desktop be more appealing on the eyes.

Looking forward to this.

I hope the default search option is set to "search all". I hate having to manually click the filtered options to find stuff.

Hope there will be a video released showing the changes. Screenshots are good...but videos just show a lot more.

Edited by techbeck, May 30 2013, 2:55pm :

Nice looking changes visually, much improved, but for me still mostly looking for more fundamental improvements in the "back part" (all programs) of the start screen. Better searching, better organizational abilities like drag and drop, sub-menus, etc, a few things that are missing yet from the old start menu.. fairly important abilities that seriously cripple the start screen in its current form. Me for example, I have a metric crapton of applications installed on my desktop, some of which adds a bajillion programs.. and yet the top level of my old start menu is 7 items, and drills down from there. I like the front view, the back not so much.

‏@dinabass tweeted "HTC has canceled plans for a full-size Windows RT tablet, Moving forward with plans for a 7-inch one later this year, sources tell us."

Then I read this:

And our Music app has been completely redesigned to help pick and play music from your collection

The level of excitement it so darn high!!

Gaffney said,
Also putting all of the settings in one place, was just stupid to split them half and half.

I hope there's a setting on where to have my settings.