What’s New in Windows 8.1

On the 17th of October Windows 8.1 will be released, it’s less than a month away (the preview version of Windows 8.1 can currently be downloaded here). For current Windows 8 users the new version will be available as free upgrade. Continue reading to find out what’s new in Windows 8.1.

 

Start menu

One of the common complaints that Microsoft regarding Windows 8 was the absence of the start menu, it’s back, sort of. The new start button is added to the familiar left corner, but it’s not a menu rather it takes the user back to the start screen of Windows 8.1. It’s understandable but still a bit weird since hovering the mouse cursor in the lower left corner until the start-screen thumb appears and then click on it has the same effect in the original version of Windows 8.

 

3D Printing

3D printing is here to stay, and Microsoft is betting on that the technology will be in people’s home in the future by adding 3D printing features to the operating system. Most people who have already 3D-printed know that it is often conversion between different file formats involved, sometimes the conversion makes you lose important data about the 3D print. In Windows 8.1 the user will just hit “Print” and Windows will take care of the rest.

The file format used will be 3MF ( 3D Manufacturing Format), the 3D printing software sends the data to Windows in 3MF, which then sends it to the 3D printer. Microsoft also claims that 3D printers will work with plug and play, as regular printers do.

To find out more about 3D printing in Windows 8.1 watch the video below:

 

Internet Explorer 11

A new version of Internet Explorer, 11 will be launched with Windows 8.1. New features in the browser include a reading view, do not track support , WebGL, enhanced developer tools, improved user experiences on touch devices and improved overall performance when it comes to loading objects and JavaScript.

In the reading view font styles, size, colors and zoom levels etc can be changed. The do not track options include an option of sending do not track requests to website visited, but also the option of limiting third party cookies and location data sent.

 

New mail app

Apparently there are still people who use a desktop version of e-mail, in Windows 8.1 Microsoft has revamped the mail app. The new design and features are more oriented towards Outlook.com than the previous version, according to the company.

Watch this video from Microsoft with some of the key features in Windows 8.1:

Have you upgraded to Windows 8.1 or are you running the preview version? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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Top five essential Windows apps

Let’s face it, Windows is one of the most widely used and successful operating systems out there, but in order to really use it effectively there are just some must have apps, we have listed five of them;

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is slowly becoming the most popular web-browser out there. From almost being an experimental release by Google it has come a long way. Google recently added device syncing to Chrome, for example open tabs will be synced between your desktop and Android phone. Chrome also  handles online apps and games very fast and has a number of Google features available as apps such as Google Docs, Gmail and Translate. Compared to Firefox and IE, Chrome is simply faster and more responsive.

Carbonite

Yes Carbonite is the only app that actually costs anything, but for the price it is a cheap way of backing up all your data to the cloud. Usually backup apps running in the background will steal system performance and be intrusive, but Carbonite is perhaps the most out of the way backup system that we know of.

Foxit PDF Reader

The Foxit reader is a light-weight PDF-reader, it is one of the fastest readers available and also takes up very little memory and space compared to similar alternatives from Adobe. Foxit also have a number of interesting features, such as social media integration. It’s possible for the user to mark a paragraph in a PDF and post it to Facebook or Twitter. For a fraction of what Adobe Acrobat costs the Foxit advanced-version for $99 also includes various PDF-editing options

Paint.net

There are various free image editors available for Windows, Paint.net is however the fastest and most straight-forward one to use. There aren’t that many frills but Paint.net have the basic features such as layers, history and various special effects. It also works with most image-formats and is updated on a regular basis.

TrueCrypt

Protecting your data is more important than ever as security threats are becoming more and more common. TrueCrypt may not be the most simple crypto software out there, but it has several key features such as whole drive encryption (also works for USB-drives), the ability to create hidden volumes and encrypted files etc. It is also open-source making sure that nothing fishy is going on in the background.

What other Windows apps do you think is essential?