A visual walkthrough of 20 new Windows 8.1 features and changes
Microsoft has recieved a lot of negative flack for the radical changes it’s made in Windows 8 with the complete disconnect from traditional UI elements like the Start button. With the release of the Windows 8.1 preview, which you can try out now if you are willing to use beta software, Microsoft is making strides to appease the user base it left out in the cold.
HTC planned to enter the thinly populated world of Windows RT tablets with a 12-inch tablet, a new report claims, but eventually decided against it as fear of failure set in. It might still have enough confidence in Microsoft’s ARM-friendly OS to try its hands at a more conventional form factor, though.
Windows Blue appears to be taking on some serious issues.
Windows display scaling is, and has always been a complete mess. Sure you can bump up the multiplier to make it look half decent if you’re using just one display, but Windows 8 tablet owners are seeing a completely different problem. The next generation of devices are shipping with ultra-high resolution panels that are 10 inches or less in size, but when you try to hook these up to a larger external monitor to get real work done, finding a setting that works with both is a bit of a nightmare. One is always too big, or too small, and you can’t set the scaling separately. Newer laptops are going to run into a similar problem, but the new Windows Blue update may finally be tackling this issue head on.
Microsoft just can’t seem to keep a secret these days.
Microsoft has a security problem, and as a website devoted to PC technology we have absolutely no problem with that. Two new leaked builds of Windows 8.1 (Blue) have emerged online, and we've had a chance to check out what’s changed. Experts with inside sources at Microsoft have confirmed that these leaks are still not feature complete, but with a public preview expected sometime in June, we won’t have to wait much longer. So what’s new? Hit the jump to find out.
Another Windows Blue build has found its way onto the Web — the second in less than a month — amid murmurs about the possibility of Microsoft addressing two of humanity’s biggest gripes about its Windows 8 operating system when it launches the “Blue” update later this year.
Microsoft has lowered the minimum resolution requirement for Windows 8 devices
When it comes to tablets, the ferocity of competition seems to be inversely proportional to the screen size. But ignoring smaller form factors is not easy — as was all too obvious when market leader Apple launched the 7.9-inch iPad Mini despite being indisposed to the idea initially. Now, a new development suggests that Microsoft also wants Windows 8 OEMs to join the sub-eight-inch tablet fray.
Microsoft has hitherto viewed WebGL as a security threat
Is Microsoft getting ready to ditch its earlier stance on WebGL (Web-based Graphics Library)? If changes inside an early Internet Explorer 11 build are anything to go by then Microsoft’s opposition to the 3D acceleration standard could be on its last legs.
One among many new items supported by the new and improved built-in sync feature
A few days after Windows “Blue” Build 9364 leaked onto the Internet, people are still busy dissecting it. Noted Windows bloggers Paul Thurrott and Rafael Rivera, who somehow managed to co-author a 552-page tome on Windows 8 secrets a few months back, are two such curious folks. The duo have discovered some interesting syncing functionality inside the alpha build.
Tough hardware talk, questions answered, and lots of yelling
We should have become bakers because we're on a roll with these podcasts! (We make no apologies for terrible bread puns).
In No BS podcast #199, host and Editor Josh Norem talk about our $750 PC budget battle with Deputy Editor Gordon Mah Ung, Associate Editor Tom McNamara, and our Intern Chris Zele. Other topics include:
Microsoft has denied for months that Windows Blue even exists, but we finally have proof. A forum post from a Polish tech blog contained links for Windows 8 build 9364, and R27 installed the patch to verify its legitimacy. The consensus seems to be that Build 9364 is an “alpha” version of Blue, and while it might not be entirely feature complete, it certainly gives us a pretty good idea of what Microsoft has in store. We would recommend against installing this build for both legal and stability reasons, however that doesn’t mean you're totally shut out. We’ve compiled a full gallery of screenshots showing off the changes, and so far we have to say things are looking up for the modern UI.