After seven months from its first launch of the Windows 8 operating system, Microsoft is unveiling a new release of its operating system Windows 8.1, which includes hundreds of updates to the product and to apps.

As the company took a bold move to accommodate both touch and legacy input as well as new modern UI apps and legacy apps running in two very distinct environment full screen mode and desktop mode, the reception of the new operating system has been considered lukewarm for both consumers and businesses alike

With the new release, Microsoft is aiming to deliver improvements and enhancements in key areas like personalization, search, the built-in apps, Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity. Windows 8.1 will also include big bets for business in areas such as management and security.

Below are the outline some of the improvements, enhancements and changes users will see:

Personalization:

In Windows 8.1, you can turn your PC or tablet into a picture frame by making your Lock screen a slide show of your pictures – either locally on the device or photos from the cloud in SkyDrive.  Users with devices equipped built-in camera can take pictures with the right from the Lock screen without having to log in. More desktop background options available including images with motion.

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Many users have complained about the missing desktop mode as default, Windows 8.1 let you choose your desktop background as your Start screen background. And the Start screen in Windows 8.1 features a variety of tile customization.

Instead of using the Windows key on your keyboard, a new “Start Tip” sign is available and is located on the bottom left of the toolbar. Clicking on the Start Tip will take to the Start screen,

All apps can be displayed  just by swiping from the bottom to view all apps, with the ability to filter your apps by name, date installed, most used, or by category.

New installed apps will not have its tiles automatically on the Start screen. Instead, you’ll find these apps under apps view as mentioned above and marked as “new” where you can choose to pin the apps you want to your Start screen.

Search:

In Windows 8.1, the Search charm will perform your search queries across the web, apps, files, SkyDrive, etc. and will will provide the best match.

Apps and Windows Store:

All our built in apps get major revamps. For example, the Photos app now has some new editing features that lets you quickly edit or adjust photos when you view them in the Photos app or open them from other places like the Mail, SkyDrive, and Camera apps. Music app has been completely redesigned to help pick and play music from your collection.

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The Snap view now allows resize apps to any size you want, share the screen between two apps, or have up to three apps on each screen if you have multiple displays connected.

The improved Windows Store in Windows 8.1 is designed to show more info than in Windows 8 with detailed lists of top free apps, new releases, and picks for you on the homepage. The app listing is more descriptive and informative and includes an area for related apps to help with app discovery. Categories are listed with other app commands such as links to your apps and your account information. App updates install automatically in the background as well as they come through the Store. And search is available in the upper right hand corner for finding the apps you want.

Cloud Connectivity:

In Windows 8.1, Microsoft ties your desktop files with its Cloud solution. Your desktop files can be saved directly to SkyDrive, so you can always have your files with you.image

Internet Explorer 11:

IE11 will debuts with Windows 8.2 bringing touch enabling along with faster page load times and opened tabs are sync’ed across your other Windows 8.1 devices.

Windows 8.1 will be a free update to Windows 8 users via the Windows Store. It will enter public beta in June.  [Source Microsoft]

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