Windows 8.1 9471 includes detailed tutorials and other enhancements

A build of Windows 8.1 has found its way to the Internet and with it comes a look at the new features that will be included. One of the new items, found inside the Help + Tips app, are tutorials that will help you navigate around Windows 8.1. 

These tutorials will be extremely helpful for new users to the platform to get them up to speed on the changes to Windows 8.1 but also for those coming from older platforms to find there way around the new modern UI. 

The video, put together by the folks over at Winbeta.org, goes over the highlights of the leaked build and gives us a better look at what we can expect when Windows 8.1 does hit RTM, sometime later this month.

Windows 8.1 will bring quite a few new features to the table including the return of the Start button, enhancements to the Modern interface, and a bunch more. Steve Ballmer has referred to Windows 8.1 as a refined blend when making the comparisons of Windows 8.1 to coffee. 

As with any leaked build, we will not post direct links to the content and know that installing any software from unofficial sources, is done at your own risk.

Source: WInbeta.org

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I still think that the App Bar should behave like how it does on Windows Phone - have it visible, or 'collapsed' while being semi-transparent.

Panoramas on Windows Phone also work soooo much better. The Windows team should take more hints from Windows Phone.

Thrackerzod said,
An OS that needs detailed tutorials to teach people to use it is flawed.
Then every single OS is flawed. You can't put someone without any knowledge in front of any OS and expect it to know how it works.

Studio384 said,
Then every single OS is flawed. You can't put someone without any knowledge in front of any OS and expect it to know how it works.

Yes you can. "General consumers" who have been using Windows since v95 (and relied on the Start menu to be present) would have picked up Windows 98 to 7 pretty easily, due to their similarities.

68k said,

Yes you can. "General consumers" who have been using Windows since v95 (and relied on the Start menu to be present) would have picked up Windows 98 to 7 pretty easily, due to their similarities.

No, you can't. How many times did people fight with the changes in Vista and 7?

The differences in the start menu for one.
Whatever change, no matter how small, is always questioned by a group of people.

The change/removal of the Start Menu in W8 was just too much for a large group of people who don't like change that much ;-)

But Windows 95 was such a departure from previous releases, the general user couldn't just sit down and know how it all worked.

Windows 8 needs tutorials because it introduces some new ways of using the OS. I find it funny that you guys bash MS for including them and bash them when they don't. Tutorials have existed in other Windows releases and its a good thing they are including them now.

I get that some of you simply have no interest in what MS does, but frankly it gets tiring seeing the constant arguments when there is positive news. MS made a mistake, now they are making the right choices in a lot of areas.

Raa said,
What changes did people fight in Windows 7?

This is something you can Google/Bing. Find articles and reviews from the beta/preview timeframe.

Or just ask any die hard Windows XP user that skipped Vista and still hated Windows 7.

68k said,

Yes you can. "General consumers" who have been using Windows since v95 (and relied on the Start menu to be present) would have picked up Windows 98 to 7 pretty easily, due to their similarities.

Did you even read my post? I said "without knownledge", so, no, you can't.

Raa said,
What changes did people fight in Windows 7?

People fought back against AERO, they fought back against UAC, they fought back about the removal of the Classic Start Menu, they fought back against the Superbar, etc...

Windows 7 was initially hated by many because they wanted Microsoft to re-use Windows XP, and when that didn't happen, pundits bitched and moaned like crazy.

trooper11 said,
But Windows 95 was such a departure from previous releases, the general user couldn't just sit down and know how it all worked.

I disagree. Microsoft's advertising campaign for Win 95 was heavily based on "Start". It got into people's heads. The Start button is one of the most recognized UI elements (if not the most). Ask any "general consumer".

People who upgraded from Windows 3.1 would have immediately seen the benefits (of the Start menu, and in general Windows 95). Quite simply, it (and a few other features) put it way ahead of Mac (System 7) at the time, and made computers easier to use.

Windows 95, along with Office, DirectX, etc. technologies and the great range of Microsoft hardware/software at the time is what really paved the way to market domination.

Microsoft perfected UI design even more with Windows 7. With Windows 8, it was all about change and adapting to the post-PC era. The main focus was on having a consistent system that would work across both desktop and mobile platforms. Of course, this came with consequences, and I do feel some features were forced upon users, resulting in disputes. Many were expecting more customization options in Windows 8 (you can easily guess where).

Edited by 68k, Aug 13 2013, 1:18am :

68k said,

I disagree. Microsoft's advertising campaign for Win 95 was heavily based on "Start". It got into people's heads. The Start button is one of the most recognized UI elements (if not the most). Ask any "general consumer".

People who upgraded from Windows 3.1 would have immediately seen the benefits (of the Start menu, and in general Windows 95). Quite simply, it (and a few other features) put it way ahead of Mac (System 7) at the time, and made computers easier to use.

Windows 95, along with Office, DirectX, etc. technologies and the great range of Microsoft hardware/software at the time is what really paved the way to market domination.

Microsoft perfected UI design even more with Windows 7. With Windows 8, it was all about change and adapting to the post-PC era. The main focus was on having a consistent system that would work across both desktop and mobile platforms. Of course, this came with consequences, and I do feel some features were forced upon users, resulting in disputes. Many were expecting more customization options in Windows 8 (you can easily guess where).

But they didn't. Many fought back against the Start Button and Menu by saying there were no benefits to it, and it only confused people. There was quite a newsgroup discussion about it back in the day. I remember quite fondly how much my Dad swore against buying a new computer with 95 on it, until he agree that me and my brother needed our own.

Dot Matrix said,

But they didn't. Many fought back against the Start Button and Menu by saying there were no benefits to it, and it only confused people. There was quite a newsgroup discussion about it back in the day. I remember quite fondly how much my Dad swore against buying a new computer with 95 on it, until he agree that me and my brother needed our own.

Exactly this...

A lot of people, especially ones that considered themselves more 'power/tech' users hated the Win95 interface and the Start Menu.

There was a surge of guides for users to change the shell= to File Manager/Program Manager and even the Command prompt, which completely bypassed the new Explorer and Docu-centric model of Win95.

The irony is that in a few years people will be saying the same things about Windows 8, and that the Modern 'Start Screen' was the important feature and it 'got into people's heads' and the world loved it, etc.

I understand that the younger crowd doesn't remember this stuff, but it has happened with every UI shift and every generation of Windows, Office, etc...

Mac users even hated things about OS X and clung on to System 9, so this isn't something that just happens with Microsoft products.

People do not like change, and people get into routines that they feel is the best way or most efficient, sadly not realizing that often they are doing things slower and harder than users that gave the new UI metaphors a chance.

True 'technology' leaders should be encouraging users to give new ideas a chance or showcase to them how the new technologies make things easier and more efficient if a base belief is slightly adjusted.

I can remember training people about Win 3.0, (Which was also hated as a worthless 'toy' environment for noobs.) Just showing how they could multi-task their DOS applications, the haters realized at this basic level alone it was more productive for them.

I wish more tech writers would 'teach' people instead of offer opinion about nonsense an unrelated aspects of the technology when it is address at the core usability.

There is a core usability story of Windows 8 that really hasn't been properly taught or explained to the 'technical' crowd on how it helps them, so they dismiss it.

Mobius Enigma said,

Exactly this...

A lot of people, especially ones that considered themselves more 'power/tech' users hated the Win95 interface and the Start Menu.

There was a surge of guides for users to change the shell= to File Manager/Program Manager and even the Command prompt, which completely bypassed the new Explorer and Docu-centric model of Win95.

The irony is that in a few years people will be saying the same things about Windows 8, and that the Modern 'Start Screen' was the important feature and it 'got into people's heads' and the world loved it, etc.

I understand that the younger crowd doesn't remember this stuff, but it has happened with every UI shift and every generation of Windows, Office, etc...

Mac users even hated things about OS X and clung on to System 9, so this isn't something that just happens with Microsoft products.

People do not like change, and people get into routines that they feel is the best way or most efficient, sadly not realizing that often they are doing things slower and harder than users that gave the new UI metaphors a chance.

True 'technology' leaders should be encouraging users to give new ideas a chance or showcase to them how the new technologies make things easier and more efficient if a base belief is slightly adjusted.

I can remember training people about Win 3.0, (Which was also hated as a worthless 'toy' environment for noobs.) Just showing how they could multi-task their DOS applications, the haters realized at this basic level alone it was more productive for them.

I wish more tech writers would 'teach' people instead of offer opinion about nonsense an unrelated aspects of the technology when it is address at the core usability.

There is a core usability story of Windows 8 that really hasn't been properly taught or explained to the 'technical' crowd on how it helps them, so they dismiss it.

No one believes me when I say this, but I had a college professor who taught a Microsoft Windows class, and he was the worst ever in adapting new technology. Not only was he old school in using XP, he swore daily that the GUI was the worst thing ever to happen to computing.

Before I graduated, I heard him cuss out the school's IT staff for upgrading his PC to Windows 7.

I'm sorry to say this.. but the Metro UI on a desktop still makes no sense. The Metro UI slapped on the old W7 desktop (with W7 icons) look like an alien.
For tablet use... another story.. acutally W8.1 may prove very good.

Mortis said,
I'm sorry to say this.. but the Metro UI on a desktop still makes no sense. The Metro UI slapped on the old W7 desktop (with W7 icons) look like an alien.
For tablet use... another story.. acutally W8.1 may prove very good.

I actually like it. I have my Surface connected to my monitor now and I find that I prefer using it over my actual PC. My only issue is that the mouse gestures that mimmick touch gestures should be optional. I want the UI to be adaptable to the user's choice input.

For example the lowerleft corner now shows the START-charm. It would be cool if the other charms are right next to it. So when I move to the leftcorner, the START-charm pop-ups and I move to the right and the other 4 charms pop-up as well. Perhaps even the app-bar.

The current mouse gestures are on all over the screen. Very illogical if you don't have touch, especially on a large screen. If they can add some better mouse-input gestures (or better yet drop the hidden UI for those on a large monitor) then Metro UI works fine on desktop.

john.smith_2084 said,
no glass interface == another garbage

so XP is garbage? I thought only people with limited/fixed mind are garbage.

nitins60 said,

so XP is garbage? I thought only people with limited/fixed mind are garbage.


Not talking about the glass thingy, but yes XP IS GARBAGE!

nitins60 said,

so XP is garbage? I thought only people with limited/fixed mind are garbage.

Ok, lets then dress everyone in Fidel Castro single color washed out costume and tell them this is the latest and greatest modern style it represents the revolution

I am 100% confident the glass is coming, 8.2 or 9, it will be back

nitins60 said,

so XP is garbage? I thought only people with limited/fixed mind are garbage.

It's 2013. I would expect ALL graphics card to be able to handle translucency. Who cares if disabling it gives you 15 extra seconds of battery life. I want it back.

68k said,

It's 2013. I would expect ALL graphics card to be able to handle translucency. Who cares if disabling it gives you 15 extra seconds of battery life. I want it back.


Good for you, I don't want it back. It is ugly and dated in my opinion (yes, I said the "o" word).

Grinch said,

Good for you, I don't want it back. It is ugly and dated in my opinion (yes, I said the "o" word).

What's your opinion on Office? I find that v2013 has to much white space. v2010 and v2007, while looking better (in my opinion) were easier on the eyes. All that white space is like having the High Contrast White theme enabled (in Windows versions before 8).

68k said,

What's your opinion on Office? I find that v2013 has to much white space. v2010 and v2007, while looking better (in my opinion) were easier on the eyes. All that white space is like having the High Contrast White theme enabled (in Windows versions before 8).


I'm not a frequent Office user prior to 2013 really. My main use of 2013 is simply Outlook which I think looks fine. I can't really say I feel there is too much wasted space in any of the applications I've played with other than Outlook though.

68k said,

It's 2013. I would expect ALL graphics card to be able to handle translucency. Who cares if disabling it gives you 15 extra seconds of battery life. I want it back.

It is more than just battery savings...

Windows 8 supports several new GPU and base CPU/GPU architecture concepts like the newer versions of the UMA and agnostic processing. The NT OS Kernel schedules calls to the CPU and GPU as the OS decides. (This was partially implemented in Vista/7 based on the Xbox 360 CPU/GPU design.)

So just with the blurred transparency of the DWM, it was depending on the GPU to handle rendering. The specific 'burring' effect is not CPU efficient, so using the new model, the OS wasn't getting the full benefit of this change as the DWM was depending on specific GPU calls to just manage drawing the UI when it could be using an idle CPU core if the GPU was busy.

Since the UI has to remain fully fluid, and it did in Vista/7 because of the GPU dependence, Windows 8 increases the fluidity and speed of the UI and now can do this with an old or even non-existent GPU.

Notice that in Windows 8, the DWM remains active even if the GPU is old or the user is using a non-accelerated RDP session. (These are examples of places you can see this.)

In Windows 8, the GPU requirement is no longer 'truly' there as it is capable of full 'software' rendering. (Although it exists in a slightly different form than traditional software rendering as it is truly using the CPU when it will be faster than the GPU.)

So as you see NUMA and HUMA technologies and Intel's hybrid GPU designs rely more on CPU functionality, Windows 8 is the ONLY OS that has kernel level scheduling and awareness of managing threads and memory for both the CPU and GPU equally.

By pulling the 'blurred' effect, Windows 8 can flip more UI drawing through extra CPU cores and keep the UI far more fluid than it could even with Windows 7.


This is just ONE 'tiny' additional reason there is more to removal of the GPU blurring effect than the battery drain.

If it was just the 'battery', they would have left it like Windows 7 which already turned off 'transparency' by default on 'properly installed' Notebooks when running on battery.

As for more information on the origin of the change in memory management and GPU thread scheduling see: Vista - WDDM - Xbox 360

For NUMA and HUMA technologies that AMD has adopted see: MS Engineers beat Intel and AMD SoC Xbox 360

Microsoft truly does understand the architecture and the role of the OS better than anyone else, as they are even the base engineers of the newer hardware technologies.


Side Note: This is one reason people shouldn't bet against the Xbox One, as the hardware is a MS Design and Windows NT starting with the XB360/Vista was designed around the specific architecture hardware.


PS I too miss the transparency as it was 'pretty', but in understanding a few of the reasons why Microsoft fully pulled it, I am ok with the trade off.

I have heard that the mouse accel curve in 8.1 is different than 8. Can anyone confirm this? I'm not talking about Enhanced Pointer Precision, but the curve when that is disabled.

I hope it's not like in Mac OS X. When on a Mac, I turn off mouse acceleration - it opposes my natural logic.

68k said,
Do whatever you like Microsoft. All I care about is that Start8 still works.

Start8 was essential in 8.0 for me, however in the 8.1 beta I've not found the need for it. I can right click the start button and get easy access to power user features and more importantly easy access to sleep, shutdown and restart options.

Plus you can make the hot corners a lot less intrusive.

It is interesting that Microsoft had to come out with a tutorial to help people get "there (sic) way around the new modern UI." Get around, as in "avoid?" It still leaves the original question unanswered, why didn't Microsoft give users the choice of UI to use during installation? All these workarounds don't solve the problem, they just keep avoiding it.

Because they invested too much time and money in creating a new platform and app store ecosystem, with huge money making potential, for everyone to just click "No thanks".

TsarNikky said,
It is interesting that Microsoft had to come out with a tutorial to help people get "there (sic) way around the new modern UI." Get around, as in "avoid?" It still leaves the original question unanswered, why didn't Microsoft give users the choice of UI to use during installation? All these workarounds don't solve the problem, they just keep avoiding it.

There's no problem here. Metro isn't a choice much like the previous "Explorer" UI wasn't a choice. Windows has traditionally had only one UI, and there was no choice in the matter. Same here with Windows 8.

TsarNikky said,
It is interesting that Microsoft had to come out with a tutorial to help people get "there (sic) way around the new modern UI." Get around, as in "avoid?" It still leaves the original question unanswered, why didn't Microsoft give users the choice of UI to use during installation? All these workarounds don't solve the problem, they just keep avoiding it.

Hey it's TsarNikky again, with some more inane ramblings against Windows 8!

So since your grasp of the English language appears tenuous, "Get around" in this context means "Navigate". As in "Get around in a new city", or "Get around in this store".

So no, Microsoft did NOT include a tutorial in how to avoid it.

virtorio said,
Hey, look at all that stuff that should have been in Windows 8.0.

It's just history repeating itself again. The same happened with Vista vs 7. Microsoft should be more careful with major undertakings like these. I wish they did it more incrementally instead of making every other release heavily criticized.

I hope Microsoft will add a FAT version of Windows 8 in 8.2. While Microsoft is at it, include the classic theme and 98 style start menu as well. I miss the simplicity of the old Windows.

I'm sorry but if you look at the actual usage of windows 7 vs 8 to a user without years of computer usage you would realize Windows 8 has been simplified drastically. I've hardly had to use control panels to actually make anything work in 8 at all. If you didn't already know how to use windows you'd be much more capable a user of 8 in no time compared to windows7.

blackjezuz said,
I'm sorry but if you look at the actual usage of windows 7 vs 8 to a user without years of computer usage you would realize Windows 8 has been simplified drastically. I've hardly had to use control panels to actually make anything work in 8 at all. If you didn't already know how to use windows you'd be much more capable a user of 8 in no time compared to windows7.

Pretty sure he was kidding.

blackjezuz said,
If you didn't already know how to use windows you'd be much more capable a user of 8 in no time compared to windows7.

Perhaps they should've made it easier for people who already knows how to use Windows.

The tutorials should have been there from the start. The tutorial shown while completing the Windows 8 setup is ridiculously bad...

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
They could have spent a year or two more working on Windows 8 to incorporate these features before release. It would have gotten a much more positive reception from people!

Initially that might sound great, but it would have put Microsoft and developers behind. People would have been arguing that they should have released it earlier and done a refreshed update.

One of the main goals for Windows 8 is to establish the new development frameworks, which needed to get in the hands of developers and end users to iron out functionality that could not be simulated.

Several months later, the revisions to the framework are significant in patching missing functionality (ie the new driver access model). This also gave Microsoft time to optimize real world App performance of the new framework (ie 50% faster) and adjust UI elements that annoyed people or didn't work well in everyday use.

If Microsoft would have delayed Windows 8, all the good stuff in 8.1 would not have existed, as it required the world getting their hands on Windows 8 and pushing it to expose functional flaws.

I think there is a good argument that there should have been a lot more training and tutorials in the release of Windows 8. I know they wanted to see how intuitive it would be for users, and although in many ways it is, it put off a lot of users that never gave it a chance.

Dot Matrix said,
Where the heck was this for the launch of Windows 8?

Stop being such a Microsoft hater, Windows 8 was pure perfection and as such no tutorials were needed as it was perfect just like everything Microsoft does.

Jeez haters.

Athernar said,

Stop being such a Microsoft hater, Windows 8 was pure perfection and as such no tutorials were needed as it was perfect just like everything Microsoft does.

Jeez haters.


Calling Dot Matrix an MS hater is like questioning why the sky is blue.

Dot Matrix said,
Where the heck was this for the launch of Windows 8?

I'm sure if someone would have complained that it was missing when W8 was released you would have insisted such a feature was not needed and that people are idiots if they need a tutorial to use the magnificent Modern UI; but of course now that MS is including it it's the most ingenious thing ever conceived.

Dot Matrix said
Where the heck was this for the launch of Windows 8?
That's what I've been telling everyone for the best 10 months!!

Now, there's be no excuse for someone who doesn't know how to navigate around it.

Dot Matrix said,
Where the heck was this for the launch of Windows 8?

so, why the hell Ballmey hasn't fired those who spread the poisons that Windows 8 doesn't need tutorials, like what this grandma says:
Larson-Green said in an interview with Technology Review,
also defends the lack of a real tutorial to explain Windows 8′s new features.

She says that tutorials are "comforting,"
but that users don't actually retain much of the information,
making them a waste of time.


http://www.extremetech.com/com...-windows-8-to-fully-blossom

http://www.technologyreview.co...-getting-used-to-windows-8/

SharpGreen said,

Calling Dot Matrix an MS hater is like questioning why the sky is blue.

I guess he forgot to add /s
If Dot Matrix is a MS hater.... the hell has frozen....

Mobius Enigma said,

Initially that might sound great, but it would have put Microsoft and developers behind. People would have been arguing that they should have released it earlier and done a refreshed update.

One of the main goals for Windows 8 is to establish the new development frameworks, which needed to get in the hands of developers and end users to iron out functionality that could not be simulated.

Several months later, the revisions to the framework are significant in patching missing functionality (ie the new driver access model). This also gave Microsoft time to optimize real world App performance of the new framework (ie 50% faster) and adjust UI elements that annoyed people or didn't work well in everyday use.

If Microsoft would have delayed Windows 8, all the good stuff in 8.1 would not have existed, as it required the world getting their hands on Windows 8 and pushing it to expose functional flaws.

I think there is a good argument that there should have been a lot more training and tutorials in the release of Windows 8. I know they wanted to see how intuitive it would be for users, and although in many ways it is, it put off a lot of users that never gave it a chance.

they could have had a seperate bloody team along side the windows team baking all these tutorials in, and they leave it for 1 year late, very silly of them

Fritzly said,

I guess he forgot to add /s
If Dot Matrix is a MS hater.... the hell has frozen....

He's probably a Linux user who's been mega trolling for the last two years #conspiracytheory

Lord Method Man said,
I'm sure if someone would have complained that it was missing when W8 was released you would have insisted such a feature was not needed and that people are idiots if they need a tutorial to use the magnificent Modern UI; but of course now that MS is including it it's the most ingenious thing ever conceived.

This reply is pure gold and couldn't be more true!

InsaneNutter said,

He's probably a Linux user who's been mega trolling for the last two years #conspiracytheory

Did my comment hit a little too close to home for you?

InsaneNutter said,

Ive not even said anything about your comment?

You weren't explicit about who "he" was, regardless - my apologies.

Lord Method Man said,

I'm sure if someone would have complained that it was missing when W8 was released you would have insisted such a feature was not needed and that people are idiots if they need a tutorial to use the magnificent Modern UI; but of course now that MS is including it it's the most ingenious thing ever conceived.

Actually, quite a bit of the argument against the Modern UI and it's desktop integration, such as hot corners, was that one even needed a tutorial to learn how to use it in the first place. Links to tutorial videos on YouTube were flamed for their very need to exist.

Now it seems that some have warmed up to the realization that a more complex, functional, and productive UI/UX might require a 2-3 minute video to easily get the hang of it. Their words of "but I shouldn't need to be told how to use it, it should just be intuitive", are saved on the internet for posterity