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Windows 8.1 . rar

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Windows 8.1 . rar

Post by ravisankar on Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:12 pm

From Facebook to the full-featured Mail
app and modern Outlook to a "peek" bar
in the modern version of Internet
Explorer 11 to the new Windows Scan
app to the new Bing logo, you now get
nearly all of the promised Windows 8.1
We are still waiting for the touch
versions of the Office apps but that's the
way things work in Microsoft's new
'continuous development' world. And of
course you get the interface changes and
SkyDrive integration we saw in the
Windows 8.1 Preview.
The Start button is back, you can boot to
the desktop and use the same image for
your Start screen as your desktop
SkyDrive is
built in to
sync files -
on both
Windows 8.1
and Windows
8.1 RT - as
well as
settings and
the layout
for your
Start screen
and desktop
second bite
at the
of PCs and
doesn't back away from what we still
want to call Metro; in fact there are
more built in modern apps than in
Windows 8, more settings you can
change without jumping to the desktop
and more options for how you place
modern apps on screen.
The question is how well these two
worlds sit together, and how much of an
improvement Microsoft has been able to
deliver in a year.
Installing Windows 8.1
If you already have Windows 8,
upgrading to Windows 8.1 is very
simple. It will be the first app you see
every time you open the Windows Store
and the installation happens very
You don't have to reinstall your desktop
applications or your Windows Store apps,
and all your files are still there (as are
libraries and the icons pinned to your
If you sign in with a Microsoft account
you haven't used before, you might
have to use a code that Microsoft emails
or texts to you (if you've set that up in
the past) to confirm it's you; that works
like trusting a PC in Windows 8 but you
don't have to do it as a separate step.
If you have Windows 7 (or earlier
versions), you have to install Windows 8
(the same process as when Windows 8
first came out) and then upgrade to
Windows 8.1.
If you've been trying the Windows 8.1
Preview, you can't upgrade directly to
the RTM version (which Microsoft
warned people about all along).
If you can't revert to Windows 8, you
still do the update from the Windows
Store and your files will stay on the
system, but you'll have to reinstall your
desktop programs.
If you've already upgraded another PC
using the same Microsoft account you'll
see tiles for the Windows Store apps you
have installed on that other PC (marked
with a little download icon) and you can
tap on the tiles to install them.
Once you've got into the Windows 8 and
8.1 world, upgrades become almost
seamless (previews aside). You just have
to get there.
Windows 8.1 Start screen and lock
Microsoft is still convinced that Windows
can scale from an 8-inch tablet all the
way up to the 27-inch twin screens on
your desk at work. Windows 8.1 makes
that work better, with changes to the
Start screen and new ways of laying out
multiple apps side by side on screen.
Almost all the configuration options from
the control panel make it into PC
Settings, except for new options like
boot to desktop and controlling whether
you see the tiles you pin to the Start
screen or a simple list of apps. For some
reason, these stay on the desktop (right-
click on the taskbar to get them).
The Lock screen turns into a photo
gallery, powered by the same Microsoft
Research tech behind the screensavers
in Windows Media Center and the
Windows 8 Photos app, picking related
and timely photos automatically.
You can unlock the camera or answer a
Skype call quickly without needing to
fiddle with a password. If small tablets
get popular, that will be useful and
Windows 8.1 is generally much better
suited to a mini tablet.
It has built-in support for Bluetooth LE,
the way wearables like the Fitbit Flex
communicate with phones, as well as
the NFC support from Windows 8. And
more and more apps like Facebook and
Flipboard (and the built-in Camera app)
feel more like smartphone apps.
A new Start
The Start screen gets new large tile sizes
so you can see more information at
once. Apps have to be specially built to
use this, but many of Microsoft's own
apps are. That means you can read the
three most recent emails or see full
details or your next couple of meetings.
You can pick from far more colors to
customize the Start screen backgrounds
- some of which animate subtly as you
scroll sideways - or you can use your
desktop background, in which case your
tiles scroll but your background is fixed.
The Start screen backgrounds don't
include all the designs from Windows 8;
some of our favorites are gone and the
new designs don't always work well in
different color schemes. In this case, the
more restrictive options might have
worked better.
If you're used to the small swipe you
use on the Windows 8 start screen to
select a tile, get unused to it. That now
swipes you down to the Apps screen
instead (although the small swipe still
works inside apps like the Windows
Store, at least in this version).
To select a tile, press and hold on it. You
can still select multiple tiles and now
you can do useful things to all the tiles
you have selected at once.
You can also select multiple tiles on the
Apps screen and pin them to Start as a
group. As this is the only place you get
tiles for newly installed apps, it's a useful
Sorting the Apps screen by how often
you use apps gives you a quick list of
frequent apps you haven't pinned yet.
And once you've done all that work, your
Start screen syncs across all the PCs you
use the same Microsoft account with so
you don't have to do it again.
Windows 8.1 interface changes
If you want to skip the Start menu
entirely, being able to set Windows 8.1
to boot into the desktop is a big change
(although you'll still use the Start menu
to launch any programs you haven't
pinned to the taskbar).
The other big new interface changes are
the new smart search and the way
Windows 8.1 handles multiple modern
app windows on screen - especially on
large monitors. When you use the
Search charm - which you get to with
the Windows-S keyboard shortcut that
once launched the snipping tool as well
as from the charms bar - you get the a
list of matching apps to launch, settings
to open and other searches you might
be interested in.
But now, those all show up in the Search
pane itself, rather than in a distracting
full-screen list of results. And both apps
and settings show up in the same list
rather than in separate lists that can fool
you into thinking Windows doesn't have
any way to change settings. The
suggestions come from Bing (although
you can turn that off) as well as from
apps like People.
What you don't get is the ability to run
the search in different apps if the results
you want aren't in the list.
Microsoft has told us in the past that
mail messages will show up in results,
although that hasn't started happening
yet - but if the results you want are only
visible when you search from an app,
you have to launch that app first and use
its own search tool. Again, this is a small
step back for power users but a simpler
approach for most people.
You can still see search results in a full-
screen view (by pressing Enter after you
type or search or tapping the icon in the
search field) but what you get is no
longer just a boring list of tiles and titles.
Bing combines results from your PC and
SkyDrive, from the content inside your
apps and from the web. If you have
documents and pictures or music that
match your search, they show up first. If
you're searching for a person, you see
their details from the People app; not
just their picture but options to send
them an email, Skype them, talk to
them on Facebook or twitter or find
their address in Maps.
But Bing will also try to find a person,
place, band, album or other entity that
matches what you're looking for and
build an instant "smart search" that's like
a mini app full of content.
Searching smart
What you get depends on what you're
searching for. If it's a person, you get
Wikipedia information (other apps will
be able to suggest content like this but
Wikipedia is the first) and photos. If it's
a place, you get directions and reviews
and opening hours and links to book on
OpenTable or call them with Skype. For
a band or album you get videos and
music tracks - that you can play from
Xbox Music.
You can swipe through the search view
to see the full overview, pinch to get a
semantic zoom view that shows the
categories of results or tap to get more
details (like a bigger map) without
launching a different app.
This is useful when you have a lot of
information to look through as well as an
appealing presentation for more fun
information. And if you don't want a big-
screen experience to browse through,
remember you can get at individual
results quickly from the search pane.
Windows 8.1 search is a great example
of the way Windows is moving towards
the tablet future. If you just want to find
a file, stick to Explorer (which has all the
Windows 8 features, as long as you go in
and put Libraries back in the navigation
pane). If you want to see results from
your documents and the web side by
side, in an interface that beckons you to
explore further and brings you lots of
Bing features you might not know
about, try the full screen search.
Windows 8.1 snap views
When you do open Windows Store apps,
you're no longer restricted to snapping
them into one large and one small
window. On a small screen like a 10-inch
Surface RT or Surface Pro, you can make
a window a third, half or two thirds of
the screen - but we could still only get
two apps on screen at once on a 10-inch
Larger screens let you drop three or
more apps side by side, dragging them
to any other multiple of 50 pixels to fit
in the screen resolution. If one of the
Windows is the desktop you can still
snap two windows side by side on the
desktop as well.
Having two apps take up half the screen
makes it easier to do real work in both
of them at once. It also means you can
have a desktop program and a Store app
open side by side, instead of having the
desktop turn into thumbnails as soon as
you make a Store app large enough to
Some windows pick their own size -
opening an attachment from the Mail
app uses two thirds of the screen for an
image or half the screen for a web page.
Open another app once you already
have two windows open and the icon
waits on screen for you to drag it into
the window you want it to use.
If you don't drag it into a window
straight away, the icon hangs there on
screen, twitching slightly to remind you
to pick where you want it. That means
you don't get the new app straightaway,
but it also means it doesn't replace
something you were looking at without
giving you a choice.
On a larger screen, you can have three
apps open side by side, or even four
(and again you can choose whether to
have each window take up a third of the
screen or have two wide windows and
one skinny one or any other way of
filling the screen).
And if you have two screens, you can
put multiple Store apps on both of
them, so with the right screens you can
have seven or eight apps at once.
Whether you see three or four apps on a
screen depends not just on the screen
size and the resolution but also the DPI
and scaling ratio of the screen.
At that point you're getting into complex
calculations that are difficult to explain
and it looks like the only way to find out
how many apps you'll be able to have
side by side on a screen is to keep
opening them until you can't fit another
app in.
Windows 8.1 desktop
The return of the Start button to the
desktop is the most obvious change in
the Windows 8.1 desktop (and no, you
can't just turn it off again). There are
other subtle differences though.
You can turn off the trigger in the top
right corner that shows the charms bar
when you use your mouse and the one
in the top left corner that shows a
thumbnail of the next app running in the
When you use the Search charm on the
desktop it opens the Search pane beside
what you're doing, rather than throwing
you out to the Start screen and if you
pick your result from the Search pane
instead of opening the full search view,
you don't have to leave the desktop.
Hidden libraries
Libraries no longer show up in Explorer
automatically, even though they're still
the way you put media into the Xbox
Music and Video apps and the first place
Mail looks when you add attachments.
They're right there in the File Picker
when you use Windows Store apps - but
you have to add them back to Explorer,
which is downright confusing.
When you right-click on folders in
Explorer the option to add them to a
library is still on the context menu, but if
you want to find and work with them in
Explorer you have to turn them back on
in the navigation pane.
Instead you see This PC where you're
used to seeing Computer, along with
SkyDrive which is installed as part of
Windows (in both 8.1 and RT 8.1). By
default, Windows 8.1 saves your new
files on SkyDrive, so they're available on
every PC you use, and syncs some of
your files from the cloud automatically.
To avoid filling all the storage on a tablet
with a small drive, all you get by default
is the Documents and Pictures folders
from your SkyDrive. You can see your
other folders and the names of all the
files in them, and when you click on a
file Windows 8.1 automatically pulls it
down from SkyDrive and caches it offline
and syncs changes to it.
You can also select files in the modern
SkyDrive app to use offline, but there's
no longer a separate desktop interface
for picking folders to sync. And the
SkyDrive app is where you go to see
sync progress, if you want to know
whether files have uploaded or
downloaded yet.
Windows 8.1 Internet Explorer 11
Internet Explorer 11 continues
Microsoft's evolution to a fast modern,
standards-compliant browser - at least
for the standards Microsoft believes are
The first thing you'll notice is how fast it
is. Even with multiple tabs set as your
home page, on a Surface Pro the
browser opens and starts loading pages
almost faster than you can time.
It's also impressively fast at rendering
complicated content like WebGL - faster
than the latest Chrome and Firefox, in
fact. That's thanks to the fully hardware
accelerated rendering engine that's also
the reason IE 11 isn't available on
anything before Windows 7.
IE 11 feels a little faster in the desktop
version because you can see that your
tabs are loading, but the immersive full-
screen IE is actually equally speedy. It's
also rather more powerful than the full-
screen IE in Windows 8.
Instead of just 10 tabs you can have up
to 100 tabs open at once (so opening
more tab no longer closes the ones you
had open), and you can open a second
copy of the browser and have another
100 tabs in there as well.
Switching between different tabs is
extremely fast but it also didn't make
our test machine use a lot of CPU or
memory to keep the tabs open.
Swiping back to a page you've already
looked at is far faster than in IE 10 - you
don't have to wait for it reload, it's just
there pretty much as soon as you swipe.
Browse fast
Another thing that speeds up
performance, especially with the Flip
Ahead option from IE 10 that works out
what the next page in a multi-page story
is going to be, is the way IE can preload
up to two pages so they're already there
when you swipe forwards.
IE 11 makes more use of the app bar. A
tiny slice of the bottom of the browser
has the three dots that mean a More
button in Windows 8 and Windows
Phone (you'll also find that in other apps
like Mail).
When you tap that, or swipe to open the
app bar, both the address bar and the
different tabs show up at the bottom of
the screen.
If you're on a large screen, you can pin
the app bar open all the time, with the
address bar and small versions of the
tab button.
One change takes some time to get
used to because it's not the same in the
desktop browser. When you press and
hold on a link, instead of a context menu
over the web page you get the app bar
at the bottom giving you the choice of
seeing it in a new tab or a new window -
which is a quick way of opening a second
You can see and manage a lot more
information in the modern version of IE,
too. You can see the folders you've
organized favorites into, and you can
move favorites into the right folder
there, as well.
You can also see which sites you've
saved passwords for (which will sync
between all the PCs you use your
Microsoft account with) and remove
them if you don't want the password
saved any more.
If you were looking at a site on a
different PC, you don't have to search
for it or try and remember the URL: you
can see the list of tabs from your other
PCs and open the site you want.
You even get the "back stack" so you can
browse back through the pages you
were on before you clicked the link to
load the most recent page in that tab.
It's like time travel and remote access
all at the same time.
If you know you'll want to refer to a
page later you can share it to the new
Reading List but this requires less
planning ahead.
And there are a couple of improvements
that just make life easier, especially on
tablets with no keyboard or trackpad.
Web sites that have hover menus and
drag and drop work reliably with touch
instead of you having to press and tap
and fiddle to tap in exactly the right
place - or have the menu activate and
send you to a link on the hover menu
when you only wanted to look at it.
And when you hit an email address field
or a phone number field in a web page
that's been coded for it, you'll get the
special keyboard layout for email or
numbers in the onscreen keyboard.
That's the kind of convenience we're
used to on a smartphone but even if you
don't want your Windows PC to feel like
a phone, IE 11 is an excellent update.
Even if you don't use a single new
feature in the browser, you'll love the
new performance. And the session
restore - where IE offers to re-open tabs
you had open the last time you were
using Windows - no longer cripples the
desktop browser by trying to open
dozens of copies of your home tabs.
The one problem you'll run into is sites
that don't treat IE as a modern browser.
Microsoft has tackled this by changing
the way IE 11 identifies itself to web
sites: it doesn't call itself Internet
Explorer any more, so you won't get old,
limited versions of sites intended for old,
limited versions of IE.
But websites that only code their
features for Webkit-based browsers like
Chrome and Safari, instead of using the
HTML5 standards that do the same
thing, won't always work correctly in IE
11. That's not a problem with IE 11, but
it is a problem for IE 11 users.
Windows 8.1 apps
The built-in apps in Windows 8 ranged
from beautiful (the Travel and News
apps) to disappointing (the Mail and
Calendar apps) and frustrating (Xbox
Music). They're almost all improved - for
one thing, they're all significantly faster -
and there are some useful new apps
included too.
Windows RT users don't need it as much
now that they get the desktop Outlook
built in, but the Mail app in Windows 8.1
is a huge improvement.
In fact it has so many neat new features
(many of them drawn from that many people may not
need Outlook.
If you found that messages weren't
downloaded in the background (a
random bug in the old Mail app), that's
fixed on every system we tested.
Attachments even download in the
background as long as you're plugged in.
And you can drag and drop messages
into folders.
Mail builds filters that show your most
frequent correspondents on the folder
list as favorites so you can see
immediately when they send you mail
(and other people you talk to a lot are
on a similar list that appears when you
choose the People button). You can also
favorite specific folders to add them
If you use, Mail
automatically sweeps newsletters and
updates from social networks into their
own folders, and you can setup your own
"sweeps" to deal with specific types of
If you get coupons and special offers,
getting Mail to delete any older than ten
days keeps your inbox uncluttered. You
can also set automatic replies, like
Outlook's out of office messages.
Everything in order
Xbox Music still has the clever playlists
and ways to explore all the music on the
Xbox service, but it also catalogues the
music you have on your PC and shows
that to you first.
It also has a clever feature: when you're
looking at a page that mentioned several
songs in the modern version of IE, you
can use the Share charm to send the
page to Xbox Music and get a playlist of
those sounds from the free Xbox Music
streaming service.
It can be slow to find songs, and it
certainly didn't work on every web page
with a list of tracks that we tried, but
when it does work it really adds
something to a web page.
We love the Reading List that lets you
collect interesting links from IE and
Windows Store apps to come back to
later (perhaps on another PC as they
sync) and the Alarms app has a clean,
fresh look that's quirky and reminiscent
of Windows Phone at its most appealing.
The Camera app now has Photosynth
panoramas built in. Tap the panorama
button and start moving your tablet
around (this would be awkward on a
notebook but easy on a tablet) to stitch
together images into a scene that can
cover as much of 360 degrees as you
have patience for.
The stitching is good - especially if you
don't move too fast - and both faster
and more accurate than in the preview.
The new Scan app doesn't work with
every scanner we tried, but it's a nice,
simple way to do scanning.
The Photos app is a shadow of its former
self with Flickr integration gone and
many of the features app moved to the
Lock screen. It's now a very basic
interface for viewing - but it also has far
more editing options beyond rotating
and cropping. The vignettes and filters
are the kind of thing you find on
smartphone apps but the Color Enhance
options are impressive.
Drag the marker onto a color in the
image and move the slider around the
circular control to saturate or fade out
that color throughout the image.
Drag it to another color and choose a
different level. You can use this to make
an image more vibrant or give it a
muted effect. You can also change the
color temperature, tint and color
saturation by using similar circular
controls. It's impressive, if something of
a niche feature compared to the auto-fix
That's even more true of some of the
other apps that you have to wonder
about Microsoft spending time on.
Health & Fitness is a great dashboard for
Microsoft's Health Vault service, but that
continues to have few features outside
the U.S.
And Food & Drink is a nice demo of
waving your hand in front of a webcam
to scroll through pages when you have
cake batter on your hands, but it's hard
to see it competing with the dozens of
other food apps on the market.
However, the Windows Store app is also
much improved so it's easy to find the
new apps that are starting to arrive for
Windows now.
Windows 8.1 isn't a whole new
operating system: it isn't the same leap
as Windows 7 to 8. But it's more than a
service pack as well. It has a great new
version of Internet Explorer, some user
interface tweaks that almost everyone
will prefer, and the built-in SkyDrive
sync is very welcome - in particular it
transforms Windows RT 8.1 into a far
more powerful system.
It's also another step towards the cloud
feature, where your files and favourites
and useful information follows you from
device to device (as long as you stick
with Microsoft devices, services or both).
For now, it's just fantastically
We liked
Windows 8.1 has improvements large
and small. Performance feels generally
faster, even for simple things like zipping
up files - that and the fast new version
of Internet Explorer with tab sync are
worth upgrading for alone.
The new Start screen tile sizes give you
far better options for getting a Start
screen layout you like; and once you've
got it, it will turn up on all your PCs
along with settings and Wi-Fi passwords
and other useful things.
The new combined search looks
gorgeous, but it's also useful because
you see a whole range of files and online
resources that are more likely to get you
what you're looking for. Generally the
interface feels more consistent and
easier to learn.
We love the new on-screen keyboard
where you can swipe up on the top row
of keys to type numbers or swipe across
the space bar to select between text
predictions. And the expanded PC
Settings gives the mass of control panel
options a clean, simple interface that
Windows has needed for years.
We disliked
Most of the complaints we have about
Windows 8.1 are where it has given up a
little too much on the bold approach of
Windows 8.
Some things, like customizing tiles on
the Start screen, feel a little more long-
winded. Searching multiple apps from
the Search charm was a little complex
but also very powerful; again, Microsoft
has chosen simplicity over power.
You can choose whether or not to boot
to the desktop, but if you don't need a
Windows key on screen as well as on
your keyboard and on the bezel of your
tablet, you can't remove it.
Libraries are front and centre in modern
apps and hidden in Explorer and things
Windows users have been used to for
years, like the keyboard shortcut for the
Snipping tool (and OneNote's vastly
superior replacement) are marginalized
in favor of new features like Search that
not everyone will find as useful.
SkyDrive integration is almost too
seamless: you have to turn to the
modern app where you used to look in
the SkyDrive control panel. In short,
whether you're a fan of Windows XP, 7
or 8, there will be something in Windows
8.1 that you'll have to get used to doing
Final verdict
If you were expecting a wholesale
reworking of Windows, or a full return to
the desktop only approach, you don't
get that in Windows 8.1 - and you won't
ever get the desktop only version of
Windows back, so stick to Windows 7.
If you're open to change, you want to
use touch, or you already like Windows
8, Windows 8.1 is a no-brainer. You'll
want to upgrade for the many
Performance is excellent and 8.1 has
been rock solid throughout the preview
and in the release version.
You might have hoped for more new
features, but in eight months (and four
months of polishing), Microsoft has
shown the future for Windows.
There are improvements you'll want,
tweaks to make things work better
where experiments have been
unsuccessful but not so many changes
that it's hard to cope with.
This is definitely evolution, and - despite
the fixes that make big-screen mouse
and keyboard users happier - evolution
towards the touch and tablet future.
What Windows 8.1 really needs are the
new PCs to make it shine.

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