Windows 8.1: 5 Cool New Features
Check out these features and decide for yourself.
1. The Return of the Start Button
The Start menu, these days, is a totally different-looking touch-friendly array of shiny live-updating squares, but you access it by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard rather than a button in the applications bar. For whatever reason, this alarmed people, so Microsoft stuck in a button where the Start button used to be.
It pops up a semi-transparent version of the modern Start menu, over whatever else you were doing. You can also right-click to bring up other options like "shut down."
2. Hands-Free Mode
Microsoft used some of its expertise from the Kinect and made a hands-free mode.
The computer's webcam will do the job of the Kinect. Pretty cool!
3. Search Is Actually Universal
Windows now has a true universal search function, allowing you to search Bing, but also your files, folders, and applications, all in one box.
4. New and Updated Apps
Windows 8 (and 8.1) has apps, just like a tablet or smartphone. These are different from regular applications like Word or iTunes; apps are designed to be used with touch, when your computer is doubling as a tablet. There are a few new ones for this update: a calculator (with scientific and unit converter built-in); Health & Fitness; Reading List and updates for existing apps ranging from some small cosmetic changes to the Maps app to a total visual overhaul for the Music app.
5. 3-D Printer Support
And finally, Microsoft with Windows 8.1 is the first operating system to support desktop 3-D printers. 3-D printers will have a driver and an API, just like a regular 2-D printer so you should be able to hit File -> Print from your 3-D modelling software the same way you would to print from Microsoft Word.
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