Download the latest version of Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 starting today.
Today marks the end of Windows XP, but PC and tablet owners using the latest version of Microsoft's operating system can live in the now by getting the brand new Windows 8.1 Update. The update brings with it a number of enhancements, including a few that should please those who are accustomed to using the traditional Windows desktop. Take a look at what you can expect to see once you finish downloading and installing the newest version of the OS.
New power and search buttons
It is now easier to access power options through the Modern / Metro interface of Windows 8.1. Instead of opening up the Charms Bar, a Power Icon is presented near the top right corner of the screen. Next to the power button you'll also find a new search icon, making it easier to look for files and apps from the Start Screen.
Internet Explorer 11A new version of Microsoft's browser will be included with the Windows 8.1 Update. One of the more useful features introduced is the ability to sync tabs and favorites across different devices, including those running Windows Phone 8.1.
Access the taskbar from anywhereThe iconic Windows taskbar is no longer only accessible through the desktop interface. If you're using the Modern UI you can now bring your cursor to the bottom of the screen to get access to your open and pinned apps as well. Those who use traditional and Modern apps will be happy to know that both can now be pinned to the taskbar, making it easier to switch between the two types of programs.
Minimize and close Modern appsIn addition to bringing the taskbar to the Modern UI, the familiar option to close or minimize apps has also been introduced to non-desktop programs, making for a more consistent experience for all users.
Right-clicking comes to MetroRight-clicking an app tile while using the Modern UI now brings up a contextual menu that more closely resembles what you would see when using the traditional Windows interface. This doesn't bring up all of the options that you'll see on the desktop, but it does keep both UIs more in line with each other.
Boot to desktop by default
Windows 8.1 brought the option to change your computer's settings to allow you to boot directly to the desktop, but now users of non-touch devices will have this option selected by default. It's a minor change, but those jumping into Windows 8 for the first time will now avoid being confused by the newer Modern UI.
Have you updated your Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1 device? Let us know what you think of the changes in the comments below.
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