Windows 8.1 has been around for a couple months now and there’s lots of new tablets, laptops, and PCs available for the holiday season. As you know, Windows 8 was met with lots of criticism for being so different and Windows 8.1 was designed to appease some of those issues and improve upon some others. There are many changes in Windows 8.1; some of them you’ll love, some of them you might hate, and some that might take a while to get used to. I’ve been using it since it was in beta, and I’ve been using the final version since it was released to manufacturing, so I’ve had a good amount of time to get used to the new features and learn all about them. In the video below, I’m going to talk about 8 things that I love about Windows 8.1. If you prefer the negative aspects of Windows 8.1, I’ve also made a video about the 8 things I hate about Windows 8.1.
1. I can use professional programs on a tablet. There are many other tech reviewers who slam Windows 8 because it can run existing professional grade programs in a separate desktop environment and their design doesn’t match Windows 8’s new touch-friendly metro design language. I say, “Who cares?” The fact that you can pick up the stylus or plug in a laptop-style keyboard in order to get real work done on such a mobile and touch-friendly tablet is a huge advantage.
2. Speed and stability. Windows 8.1 is the fastest, most secure, and most stable version of Windows ever. I didn’t think it could get much better than Windows 7 was, but it has.
3. Flexible snapping Window panes on more screen resolutions. Windows 8 originally only allowed you to snap two apps on the screen at a time in a specific ratio and only on specific screen resolution sizes. With Windows 8.1, the multi-tasking for Metro apps is much more flexible.
4. Tab syncing in Internet Explorer. This feature has been on other browsers for a while, but now you can access all of the open web pages that are active on each of your PCs associated with your Microsoft ID. It doesn’t sync them per se, but there’s a pop-up menu that allows you to choose which PC’s browser sessions that you want to load.
5. User Profile cloud sync. If you log into Windows 8.1 with a Microsoft ID, you can allow it to save all sorts of your customizations, passwords, app data, language preferences, etc. to your SkyDrive.
6. The app listing has some great new sorting features. You can now sort all apps by date installed or most used in addition to by name or category.
7. The Reading List. This is an app that shows up in the Share charm for many of the Metro apps. It’s basically a bookmarking system for everything and it gets synced across all of your Windows 8.1 devices. So say you see a few interesting articles on your home PC but you don’t have time to read them right now, you can add them to your reading list and access them later from your Windows tablet or laptop while on the go.
8. Global search & Bing integration. With Windows 8, the search charm was very context sensitive. It mainly let you search the active app that you were in, but allowed you to also search other apps or content types by choosing the other options in the list. In Windows 8.1, that search-to-launch method is gone and the search charm defaults to searching “everything.” In other words it’s no longer context sensitive and individual apps need to add their own search buttons now, but the new search capabilities are still pretty awesome.
Are you using Windows 8.1? What do you love about it? Don’t forget to also check out 8 things I hate about Windows 8.1.