Windows 8.1 - The new features

October 2016

Several months after the launch of its new OS, Microsoft has release of a major update for Windows 8, code-named Windows 8.1. What are the new features available under Windows 8.1 and how to use them?

Upgade to Windows 8.1

The upgrade to Windows 8.1 with be available via the Windows Store and its free for all Windows 8 users.
For more information read this article: How to install the Windows 8.1 update

The new features

The Lock screen


The lock screen does not change too much and retains its notification functions. You can now create a slide show using the the content stored on your device and on the cloud.

Start button

The "Start Tip" provides access to several shortcuts: turn off the computer, access to programs, power options, the task manager, or configuration parameters.

Customizing the Homescreen

Customizing the Homescreen: As seen in the video above, in addition to the predefined colors and patterns, we can use certain custom pictures for the homescreen wallpaper.

You can use the dynamic patterns and color palettes to expand the range of colors. Thumbnails can now be resized to 4 different sizes.

On touch devices, you will need to long press on a thumbnail to select and move it. You can also sort your Apps by name, date, category or most used.

The Search Feature


Windows 8.1 gets a new search feature. When you run a search, Windows display results from different sources of information: content, files, news and pictures from the internet ...



The SkyDrive application will allows you to store and access files in the cloud. It takes the form of a file explorer, for you to easily access your files (locally and in the cloud).


Under Windows 8.1, you can run your apps in split-screen mode. When you open a file that requires another application, the new app window will appear next to the current one.

PC Settings

The PC Settings of Windows 8 were poorly developed. You now have access to several customization and monitoring tools!


Windows 8.1 comes with new default applications: A calculator, recorder, alarm app..etc. Apps like Xbox Music and the Windows Store will be updated (to display more features).

New products

Of course, Windows 8.1 will be accompanied by new products like the Acer Iconia W3:

Other features

  • Windows 8.1 offers new customization options for the interface. Thus the same background can be used for the startup screen and the desktop.
  • Tiles are now available in four different size.
  • Windows 8.1 can display multiple windows on the same screen.
  • Synchronization of applications between devices has beed improved and can be easily configured.
  • The use of SkyDrive has been improved. Automatic synchronization allows access to files stored on the cloud, local files and files stored on your network. Offline mode is now supported.
  • Among the modified applications, the Mail service has been enhanced with filtering and customization options.
  • The global search option allows you to search simultaneously across applications, content and the internet .


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