16 Best New Features of Windows 8.1 You Want to Know

Windows 8.1 personalized lock screen

Windows 8.1 – a free update to Windows 8 – has been launched in October 2013. Windows 8.1 maybe looks identical to Windows 8 but there are many new features and improvements inside.

Here I compiled a list of 16 best new features of Windows 8.1. Let us know which feature you like most in the comment section?

1. Start button is back! (not really…)

Windows 8.1 Start button
Windows 8.1 Start button

Good news: “Start button is back in Windows 8.1.”
Bad news: “It is not THE Start button.”

Microsoft brings back the classic “Start” button in Windows 8.1 after removed it in Windows 8 (criticized by many users).

However, it is not the old Start button that we know. Click/tap on it bring you to Start screen (Modern UI a.k.a Metro UI) by default, not the old Windows cascade menu.

“What da…!”

Good thing is that you can change the Start button to show all your apps (Apps view) – Goto “navigation” tab on the taskbar properties dialog, tick “Show the Apps view automatically when I goto Start”.

In media discussion with Sunny Ooi, Consumer Channels Group Director Microsoft Malaysia, pointed out that “traditional Windows cascade menu is not ideal for touch screen and different screen sizes – small to big”.

Additionally, power users can access Windows admin tools – event viewer, device manager, disk management, computer management, Windows PowerShell, etc – and shut down/restart device by right clicking the Start button.

2. Start directly to Desktop

Many traditional Windows users and those who do not own a touchscreen device would like to skip Windows 8 start screen and boot directly into Desktop mode.

Windows 8.1 Start screen settings
Windows 8.1 Start screen settings (Image credit: MaximumPC)

Now you can do it with Windows 8.1. On the “navigation” tab on the taskbar properties dialog, tick “When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start”.

3. More Start Screen visual options

Windows 8.1 Start screen showsing 4 different tile sizes
Windows 8.1 Start screen showsing 4 different tile sizes

App tiles on Start screen now can have 4 sizes: Large, Wide, Medium, Small. Large and Small are new tile sizes. Large tile size is 2x the height of Wide tile; Small tile is a quarter of Medium size.

You can select multiple app tiles and move them all at once. No more moving one-by-one as in Windows 8.

Start screen background can use Desktop wallpaper. The setting is “Show my desktop background on Start” on the “navigation” tab on the taskbar properties dialog.

4. All Apps view

Windows 8.1 all apps view
Windows 8.1 all apps view

Want to see all your installed apps in a view? Simply hit Ctrl+Tab to toggle between the All Apps View and the default Start Screen view.

Or, swipe up for All Apps View and swipe down for default view in the middle of the Start Screen.

5. Improved multitasking and productivity

Windows 8.1 multi-tasking
Windows 8.1 multi-tasking

Now you can have up to 4 apps side-by-side in Windows 8.1 for double productivity (only 2 apps in Windows 8). Each app on screen can have flexible size.

Multi-monitor support has been improved so that you can view the desktop or modern apps on any or all monitors.

6. Bing Smart Search

New Bing Smart Search will find everywhere – documents on device, SkyDrive, apps, song from Xbox Music, website – for your search query.

You can watch videos, play music and check Bing maps directly from the search results.

7. Windows Store Redesigned

Windows 8.1 redesigned Windows Store
Windows 8.1 redesigned Windows Store

Windows Store has new layouts and categories, such as New & Rising make it easier to stay up to date on the hottest apps.

Personalized recommendations powered by Bing advanced recommendation and relevance system help you to find your new favorites.

Best of all, apps are updated automatically by default. You always have the newest and best version of any app.

8. New lock screen

Windows 8.1 personalized lock screen
Windows 8.1 personalized lock screen

New Windows 8.1 lock screen allows you to turn your device into a digital picture frame by showing your selected photo gallery.

You can also access camera and answer Skype calls without unlock screen first.

9. Modify settings from Start

In Windows 8.1, you do not need to enter Desktop mode to modify your computer settings. Many settings can be accessed from within the Start Screen interface.

10. Better touchscreen typing

Windows 8.1 now has better touchscreen typing. It learns as you type and make suggestions based on what you have written before.

Touch keyboard child keys
Touch keyboard child keys (Image credit: Winsupersite)

Plus, you can press and hold on a key to get other options such as numbers or language-specific alternatives.

One more thing, Emoji icons are now in colour!

11. Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer 11
Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer 11 is designed for touch screen with larger tabs and simpler controls, as well as speed boosts, and sync browsing history, favorites and settings across all your Windows 8.1 devices.

IE 11 features redesigned developer tools, support for WebGL,enhanced scaling for high DPI screens,SPDY, prerender and prefetch. (WikiPedia)

12. Your Windows follows you

When you logon Windows 8.1 with your Microsoft account, your Windows stuff – Windows settings, photos, apps, music, and so on – are automatically synced. Apps not on your device are not automatically download but you can see the app icon in All Apps View and one-click to install them.

13. SkyDrive Cloud in Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 Skydrive
Windows 8.1 Skydrive

With deep SkyDrive cloud integration in Windows 8.1, you can create, edit and save files to SkyDrive cloud just like you save files on your PC.

Then, you can online access the latest version of your files anywhere, anytime on whatever device you are using.

Since your files are online and backed up on SkyDrive, they are always safe, even something bad happens to your device.

14. Native 3D Printing Support

Windows 8.1 is the 1st operating system provides native support for 3D printing. It has plug-and-play support for 3D printers, enable apps to print 3D jobs and understand 3D file formats.

15. High-DPI and DPI Scaling Support

In Windows 8.1 each display can have its own dot-per-inch (DPI) scaling factor which makes the relative scale of content consistent.

Meaning, if you have multiple displays mixed with normal resolution and 4K monitor or ultra-high resolution laptop, the on-screen content will be scaled consistently across different displays.

16. Quiet Time

Windows 8.1 Quiet Time
Windows 8.1 Quiet Time (Image credit: Lifehacker)

Windows 8.1’s Quiet Time is your device’s “Do Not Disturb” mode. You can put your device to stay silent — no app notification allowed — for a preset time, like nighttime. Goto Windows Settings, then Search and Apps, turn Quiet Hours on in Notifications and set the quiet hours.

Bonus: FREE Windows 8.1!

Windows 8.1 is free update for Windows 8 users. The online update download size is over 3GB.

  1. At Start screen, tap or click Store tile.
  2. Tap or click the Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1 in Store.
  3. Tap or click Download.
  4. Download will start and install in the background while you can still use your PC to do other things.

Read more information on Windows 8.1 update here.

New Windows devices are also shipped with Windows 8.1 since October 2013.

Buy Windows 8.1

If your PC is not currently running Windows 8 or Windows RT, you can buy Windows 8.1 online download at USD119.99 and Windows 8.1 Pro for USD$199.99. DVD box edition is USD$169 for Windows 8.1 and $289.99 for Windows 8.1 Pro.

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Now you learn the 16 best features of Windows 8.1. Which one is your favourite? Did I miss out any new features? What are the features you would like to see in Windows 8.2? Please tell us in the comment.

Malaysia Surface RT is Now RM450 Cheaper, Starts from RM1099

Surface RT Malaysia Price
Surface RT Malaysia Price
Surface RT Malaysia Price (screenshot taken from Challenger)

Follow the Surface RT price cut in U.S. on July 14, all Surface RT models in Malaysia receives RM450 price cut.

The 32GB Surface RT price was RM1549, now sells for RM1099 (29% discount). The 64GB Surface RT model also get RM450 off, now sells for RM1399 (was RM1849) or 24% discount.

Refer the following table for Surface RT prices before and now:

[table caption=”Surface RT price in Malaysia” colalign=”center | left | left | left”]
Surface RT, Before, Now, Save
32GB, RM 1549, RM 1099, RM 450 (29%)
64GB, RM 1849, RM 1399, RM 450 (24%)
[/table]

Note that no discount for Surface RT accessories’ price, such as Touch Cover (RM379), Type Cover (RM409), etc.

You still get Surface RT + Black Touch Cover combo by topping up RM300 (same price) on the Surface RT device price.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft Surface RT Price and Availability in Malaysia

A quick checks at Microsoft Surface RT retail partners, LiewCF notices that Challenger and SNS Network have updated Surface RT tablets to the latest prices, while ThunderMatch and Harvey Norman are still listing the former prices.

The Surface Pro remains the same price: RM2749 (64GB) and RM3049 (128GB).

Surface RT specs

Surface RT tablet is powered by 1.3 GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and 2GB RAM. The display is 10.6-inch with 1366×768 resolution. Dual 1.2MP cameras, one USB port, support microSDXC memory card and HD video output. WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. Battery life up to 8 hours and weight 680 grams.

Surface RT runs Windows RT can only run Windows Store apps, it does not support Windows desktop software. Surface RT is pre-installed free Office Home and Student 2013 RT.

Usable space in 32GB Surface RT is 15GB, and 45GB free space in 64GB Surface RT.

Thoughts

We know that Surface RT is poor-selling tablet. This Surface RT price cut might be the preparation for second-generation Surface RT devices. Microsoft is focusing on home-grown hardware now.

Tablet buying decision is not only about the hardware. Every tablet needs a great apps support. As for comparison, Windows Store app has only 80,000 apps, while Google Play app store has 850,000 Android apps and Apple App Store has 900,000 iOS apps. Go figure.

With the price cut, 32GB (15GB free space) Surface RT is now RM400 cheaper than 16GB (14GB free space) iPad with Retina display (RM1499) in Malaysia.

Will you buy Surface RT because it is cheaper now? Or, will you buy a Windows RT tablet?

[Source: Microsoft Surface, Malaysia, via LowYat.net]

Microsoft Surface RT Price and Availability in Malaysia

Surface RT photo
Surface RT photo
Surface RT photo

Microsoft Surface RT has officially launched in Malaysia on 25th April 2013. Read on to find out the Surface RT price and where to buy it, as well as Surface Pro release date.

Surface RT specs

Surface RT is powered by 1.3 GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and 2GB RAM. The 10.6 5-point multitouch screen has a resolution of 1366×768.

Dual 1.2MP cameras, full-size USB port, microSDXC card slot and HD video out port. Support WiFi(802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0. Battery life up to 8 hours, weight 680 grams.

Microsoft OFfice Home and Student 2013 RT is preinstalled on Surface RT.

SEE ALSO: Everything We Know About the Microsoft’s Surface Tablet for Windows

Surface RT price in Malaysia

The Surface RT is suited for people from all walks of life
The Surface RT is suited for people from all walks of life

Surface RT 32GB price is RM1549, 64GB model is RM1849. Add RM300 for Touch Cover (black).

Touch cover is a Surface cover which double as a full multi-touch keyboard with trackpad. Touch Cover retail price is RM379, available in Black, White, Cyan colours.

If you prefer physical keyboard, the Type Cover (black) is RM409.

Other available accessories are Wedge Touch Mouse (RM219), 24W Power (RM149), VGA Adaptor (RM159), HD Digital AV Adaptor (RM159).

Where to buy Surface RT in Malaysia?

You can check out in person and buy Surface RT in Malaysia at 3 Microsoft retail partners’s stores: Challenger Malaysia, Harvey Norman, and Thunder Match Technology.

When is Surface Pro release date?

Microsoft Malaysia has confirmed the announcement on Surface Blog that Surface Pro will be available in Malaysia in June 2013.

Carlos Lacerda, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia introducing the Surface RT
Carlos Lacerda, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia introducing the Surface RT

“We are very excited to reveal that the Surface movement is truly underway – following Surface RT, we are thrilled to announce that Surface Pro will be coming to Malaysia next, by the end of June this year”, said Carlos Lacerda, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia.

Surface Pro is powered by Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM and run Windows 8 Pro operating system. Unlike Surface RT, Surface Pro can run both Windows 8 apps as well as traditional deskstop software.

For more information, please visit http://www.Surface.com/my

Microsoft’s Surface RT to Launch in Malaysia

Surface RT photo
Surface RT photo
Surface RT photo

Microsoft Malaysia has confirmed that Surface RT will be released in Malaysia on 25 April 2013. Free giveaways will be given to the first 300 customers at the launch event.

After months of waiting, Microsoft Surface RT will finally be available in Malaysia from 25 April 2013. It was released in USA on October 26, 2012. Still, Microsoft did not release Surface RT at the Windows 8 launch in Asiac Pacific in December 2012.

“We’re incredibly thrilled that Malaysians will soon be able to experience a new category of devices firsthand, beginning with Surface RT,” said Carlos Lacerda, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia.

[box type=”info”]Update: Surface RT price and availability in Malaysia[/box]

Surface RT launch event

Surface RT will be launched in Malaysia on the evening of 25 April 2013 (Thursday) at Publika Shopping Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. The first 300 customers at the launch event will receive free giveaways worth at least RM300.

In conjunction with the launch party, Microsoft has some great activities lined up including special appearances by Mizz Nina, DJ Ben of Fly FM and the ELECOLDXHOT dance crew.

Surface RT will also be available through selected stores nationwide from Challenger Malaysia, Harvey Norman, and Thunder Match Technology.

What is Surface RT?

Surface RT is Microsoft branded 10.6-inch tablet running Windows RT operating system (can install Windows Store apps only). It is powered by 1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor and 2GB RAM.

Surface RT available in 32GB or 64GB storage capacity, however, up to 16GB used by system software. You can add storage space using the microSDXC card slot. It also includes a full-size USB port.

Office Home & Student 2013 RT (includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote apps) is free and pre-installed for Surface RT.

Dual cameras, both are 1.2 MegaPixel. Battery life is up to 8 hours. Surface RT weight 680g.

SEE ALSO: Everything We Know About the Microsoft’s Surface Tablet for Windows

 

How much?

Microsoft Malaysia hasn’t revealed the official Surface RT price in Ringgit Malaysia yet. However, Surface RT 32GB is USD499 (RM1500)  and USD599 (RM1800) for 64GB version in USA. The optional touch cover cost USD100.

[box type=”info”]Update: Surface RT price and availability in Malaysia[/box]

Visit Surface.com.my for more information.

Everything We Know About the Microsoft’s Surface Tablet for Windows

Microsoft Surface Tablet
Microsoft Surface Tablet with Touch Cover
Microsoft Surface Tablet with Touch Cover

In this article, I will tell you everything we know about the Surface tablet, including features, specs, Touch/Type Cover, different between Windows RT & Windows 8 Pro, and more.

Surface, the Microsoft’s Windows tablet. It is also first Windows hardware of the giant company. There are two versions of Surface tablet, each target for tablet and PC (Ultrabook) markets: Surface for Windows RT and Surface for Windows 8 Pro.

The Windows RT version is super thin, only 9.3mm. That’s 0.1 mm thinner than the New Apple iPad (2012). The Windows 8 Pro version is 13.5 mm thick.

Surface table side view showing the slim body
Surface tablet side view showing the slim body

Surface tablet uses 10.6-inch 16:9 widescreen ultra-wide viewing angle display which is perfect for watching movies. The Pro version has higher resolution (Full HD) than the RT version (HD).

Both Surface versions have a memory card slot and full size USB port. RT version supports microSD and USB 2.0, while Pro version supports microSDXC and USB 3.0. Pro version also gets a specialy designed stylus with palm block.

Read moreEverything We Know About the Microsoft’s Surface Tablet for Windows