By Stephen Pate – Update 1 to Windows 8.1 is a pleasant surprise with quick as lightning Internet Explorer 11 responsiveness. Update 1 also brings user refinements that will make life easier with Windows 8.1. Many of the keystrokes we memorized in Windows 7 are back.
As the featured image above illustrates, we now have mouse “right-click” on the desktop. That and other features mimic gestures on a touch monitor. That’s need since most people don’t have touch monitors.
On a touch monitor “hold and let go” of a live tile produces the same controls. However, that meant taking your hand off the mouse, touching the screen and returning to the mouse, too much busy work.
On a touch screen, right-click is the same as touch, hold and let go of the live tile, which brings up the right-click controls at the bottom of the screen.
This is a typical refinement in Windows 8.1 Update 1 that provides more flexibility. It will also lessen user frustration with the new Windows 8.1 Modern user interface.
Internet Explorer 11 faster and smoother
Internet Explorer 11 (11.0.07) appears to be working better than before the update. Annoying Bugs in Windows 8.1 #1
On Monday, if I tried to write a story in IE 11, it would have crashed repeatedly which forced me to use Google Chrome weeks ago. After Update 1, IE 11 is stable and blazingly fast. It has not crashed in almost 2 hours of heavy work.
Both the Modern and Desktop versions of Internet Explorer 11 are noticeably faster. It takes about 2 seconds on each version to bring up web pages. Before the update, the Modern IE 11 could take twice as long. Microsoft has worked to make Windows 8 more responsive with less computing power which is essential when 50% of people only use smartphones and tablets.
Charms Share Fixed
One of my pet peeves for over a year has been the broken status of the Charms Share feature. Annoying Bugs In Windows 8.1 # 1 Sharing to Twitter and Facebook actually works reliably now.
I just shared three pages on Facebook and Twitter and they did not fail. Sharing with People is still a hit and a miss feature but you don’t need to use that part of Share. You still cannot Share pages from IE 11 Modern.
Living in Windows 8 with Windows 7 features
Microsoft has compromised with Update 1 by adding back features that people loved in Windows 7. Being doctrinaire and forcing 800 million people to accept the Windows 8 Modern interface was not a good idea.
People don’t like drastic change and Microsoft did not give people a complete touch world, like you get with a iPad or Android device. Users were constantly switching back and forth between the old Desktop and the Windows 8 look.
There is a difference to. My Windows 8.1 touch monitor is arms length from by body. I rarely reach out to touch the screen, generally only when I am browsing but not executing tasks. When I use my iPad it is only half the distance and it’s more logical to touch the screen. Those differences may disappear in time but that’s how most people work today. Windows 8.1 has to work with your mouse and keyboard and Update 1 restores some of the needed functions.
- On the Start screen, on select devices you will now find Power and Search buttons at the upper-right corner next to your account picture.
- Some devices will now boot to desktop as the default setting
- You can now pin both desktop apps and apps from the Windows Store as well as your favorite websites to the taskbar
- Apps can be pinned to the Desktop creating a hybrid world
- The Taskbar is available with a mouse from any screen by moving to the bottom edge
For some of the changes in Update 1, check out the Windows Blog Windows 8.1 Update – important refinements to the Windows experience. Here is a summary of the changes from that post.
More familiar mouse and keyboard options:
The mouse works more consistently. If you move your mouse to the top of the screen when using a Windows Store app, you will see the familiar Close and Minimize buttons.
Simpler way to find new apps:
The Windows Store is pinned to the taskbar by default.
The arrow at the lower-left corner of the Start screen points to the Apps view so you can see what you recently just installed.
Seamless browsing on all devices:
Internet Explorer 11 adapts your browsing experience by detecting your Windows device and input type – whether an 8-inch touch tablet in portrait mode or a 24-inch desktop with mouse and keyboard.
Update 1 has key improvements for businesses such as Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer (EMIE) and extended Mobile Device Management (MDM). EMIE enables Internet Explorer 8 compatibility on Internet Explorer 11 so companies can run existing web-based apps seamlessly on Windows 8.1 devices.
New low cost devices
With the Windows 8.1 Update, lower cost devices with only 1GB RAM and 16GB of storage will run Windows 8.1, which is probably why Update 1 makes Windows 8.1 feel faster on your desktop.
By Stephen Pate, NJN Network