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First Look at Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 Update

Earlier this week Microsoft offered a first look at what’s going to be in Windows 8.1. As I noted in my coverage yesterday, this is a significant update and not just a kneejerk reaction to criticism of the initial release.

The Start button is back. But that’s just one of a very long list of changes you’ll find in Windows 8.1. Here’s what’s inside the Windows 8.1 update, which will be available as a preview in late June and will be delivered free to all Windows 8 users before the end of the year.

In this follow-up, I want to touch on some of the smaller details that got might have gotten lost in yesterday’s flurry of coverage.

At the top of the list is a new Help & Tips app that will be pinned to the Start screen by default and will offer a tutorial covering five or so of the most common things a new user needs to know about Windows 8 interface. “If there’s any regret we had” about the initial launch of Windows 8, said Microsoft’s Jensen Harris, “it’s that we didn’t help orient people.” Some OEMs (Dell and HP, for example) have created their own tutorial apps to fill this gap. The official version is overdue and welcome.

Improved apps

Windows 8.1 will include significant updates  to all of the built-in Metro-style apps. With one exception, all of the Microsoft-authored apps will be updated for the preview release due at the end of June. The exception is the communications suite (Mail, Messaging, People, and Calendar), which will be updated for the final release of Windows 8.1 but will be essentially unchanged in the preview…

 Read More: Ed Bott,
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