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Here is a list of features and tweaks available in Ultimate Windows Tweaker 3 for Windows 8!
Shows general System Information
Shows Windows Experience Index
Easy Access To Advanced Recovery Options
Run System File Checker Utility Directly
Customization tweaks – Taskbar:
Show Clock In Middle Of Notification Area
Remove Taskbar Buttons
Remove Volume Icon From Notification Area
Remove Network Icon From Notification Area
Remove Action Center Icon From Notification Area
Remove Clock From Notification Area
Remove Battery Meter From Notification Area
Remove Notification Area
Customization of Taskbar Buttons Grouping
Customization of Taskbar Thumbnail Size
Customization of Taskbar Thumbnail delay time
Customization tweaks – File Explorer:
Show Windows Version On Desktop
Disable Aero Peek Feature
Don’t Show Low Disk Space Warnings
Disable Info Tips For Shortcuts
Make Taskbar Button Switch To Last Active Window
Restore Last Opened Folders At Startup
Delete Page file At Shutdown
Disable Aero Shake Feature
Hide Preview Pane
Disable Full Row Select Items
Disable Aero Snap Feature
Show Status Bar In File Explorer
Launch Folders In A Separate Process
Enable Check Boxes To Select Items
Remove “-Shortcut” Suffix For New Shortcuts
Tweak Drive Letters
Customizing Window Padding Size
Remove Shortcut Arrows From Shortcut Icons
Customization tweaks – Modern UI:
Customization Of Start Screen Animation
When I Point To Upper-Right Corner, Show The Charms
Go To The Desktop Instead Of Start When I Sign In
Show The Apps View Automatically When I Go To Start
List Desktop Apps First In The Apps View When It’s Sorted by Category
Show Desktop Background As Start Screen Background
Don’t Replace Command Prompt With Windows PowerShell On The WinX Menu
Disable Lock Screen
Disable Changing Lock Screen Image
Enable Slide show
Enable Slide show Even On Battery
Use Those Pictures Which Fits Best On Screen
Customization Of Slide show Duration
Enable First Sign-in Animation When New User Account Is Created
Disable Hibernate Feature
Disable “Look for an app in the Store” When Unknown File Type Is Opened
Disable “You have new apps that can open this type of file” Notification
Customization Of Notifications Display Time
Disable Toast Notifications
Lock Start Screen Tiles So That They Can’t Be Rearranged
Clear “Recent” List Items Present In PC Settings
Disable Changing Start Screen Background
Disable Password Reveal Button
Turn On Smart Screen Filter For Windows Store Apps
Hide Minimize Buttons from Title bar of Windows Store Apps
Enable Acess to Camera on Lock Screen
Hide Power Button from Start Screen
Show more apps in All Apps
Show/Hide Hibernate Option in Power Options in the
Show/Hide Sleep Option in Power Options in the
Show/Hide Lock Option in Power Options in the
Show/Hide Sign Out Option in Power Options in the
Show/Hide all options of Power OptionsShow Hibernate Option in Power Options in the
Disable or Enable Start Screen Animations
Add different options to This PC folder, including OneDrive, System Restore, Recycle Bin, Troubleshooting, Programs and features, Windows Update, Modern Search, System, Power Options, networking and Sharing Center, Folder Options, Action center, Display, user Accounts, Personalization, Control Panel, etc.
User Accounts tweaks:
Display Last Logon Information On Logon Screen
Make User Enter Username While Logging On
Use Smart Card To Login
Remove Shutdown Tasks From Logon Screen
Disable Updating Group Policy On Startup
Disable Switching To Secure Desktop While Elevating
Enable Virtualize File And Registry Write Failures To Per-User Locations
Enable Admin Approval Mode For Built-In Administrator Account
Enable Detection Of Application Installation And Prompt For Elevation
Enable Verbose Logon Messages
Require Users To Press CTRL+ALT+DEL To Logon
Change UAC Settings
Customization Of Logon Message
Customization Of What Should Be Done On System Failure
Waiting time to kill applications timeout during shutdown
Waiting time to end services at shutdown
Waiting time to kill non-responding applications
Auto-End Non Responsive Programs
Restart Shell Automatically After Some Error
Always Unload DLLs To Free Up Memory
Disable Automatic Folder View Discovery
Turn Off Search Indexer
Increase Priority Of IRQ8
Disable Smooth Scrolling
Disable Windows Time Service
Disable Tablet Input Service
Disable Windows Security Center Service
Disable Prefetch Service
Disable Superfetch Service
Disable Printer Spooling Service
Disable Windows Update Service
Choose L2 Cache
Disable Registry Editor
Disable Control Panel
Disable Task Manager
Disable WinKey Shortcuts
Disable Color And Appearance Settings
Disable The Auto Logon Shift Override Feature
Disable Administrative Shares (e.g. ADMIN$)
Disable The Ability To Shutdown
Disable The Ability To Log Off
Disable Internet Communication
Disable System Restore Configuration
Disable MMC Snap-ins
Disable Folder Options Menu
Disable Encrypting File System
Disable Explorer’s Context Menu
Disable Access To Taskbar Context Menu
Restrict Access To Taskbar And Start Menu Properties
Disable Changing Wallpaper
Turn Off User Tracking
Disable Display Personalization
Disable Windows Media Center
Disable Windows Sound Recorder
Disable Windows Updates
Disable Automatic Restart After Windows Updating
Disable Windows Mobility Center
Disable “Add Features To Windows 8”
Disable Windows Store
Remove complete access to Windows Updates
Disable Windows Media Player Auto Updates
Internet Explorer tweaks:
Enable Menu Bar
Enable Suggested Sites
Enable Caret Browsing
Use ClearType Font
Show Tabs Below Address Bar
Notify When Download Completes
Auto-hide the Tab Bar When In Full screen Mode
Always Load IE In Full Screen Mode
Check Executable’s Signature On Download
Allow Running Executable With Invalid Signature
Clear Cache On Every Exit
Warn On Closing Multiple Tabs
Allow Allocating Additional Bandwidth
Enable Do Not Track
Enable Auto Image Resizing
Enable Smooth Scrolling
Disable Active Scripting for Internet Zone
Disable Scripting of Java Applets for Internet Zone
Use Software Rendering Instead Of GPU Rendering
Enable Third-Party Browser Extensions
Show HTTPS Errors
Disable Script Debugging
Enable DOM Storage
Enable SmartScreen Filter
Context Menu tweaks:
Add 14 built-in Modern apps to Desktop Context Menu
Add “Take Ownership” Option To Files And Folders
Add “Open Command Window Here” Option
Add “Copy To…” Option To Every Object
Add “Move To…” Option To Every Object
Use Autoplay For All Media And Devices
Use Small Taskbar Icons
Show Balloons In Notification Area
Hide Inactive Icons From Notification Area
Turn Off Automatic Applications Termination
Customizing DPI Scaling
Customizing No. Of Jump List Items
Customizing Blinking Cursor Width
Customizing Cursor Blinking Time
Customizing Scroll Bar Width
Enable the Network Adapter Onboard Processor
Restrict Access Over Anonymous Connections
Disable Recent Shares In Network Places
Disable Default Admin And Disk Drive Share Server
Hide Entire Network From Network Neighbourhood
Prevent Network Auto-Discovery
Hide Computer From The Browser List
Enable NTLM 2 Support
Set Global Network/Internet Offline
Edit OEM Information
Option To Add UWT 3 To Startup
Option To Integrate UWT 3 With Desktop Context Menu
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Whether your computer is old or new, you need it to deliver optimum performance to enjoy your work, gaming or media streaming experience.
There are many reasons why the device may feel sluggish, but you can make it run faster. Whatever your reason may be for wanting to speed things up, we share some tweaks to speed up Windows 10 and get the most out of your device.
Table of ContentsHow to Tweak Windows 10 to Improve Your Computer’s Performance
Windows 10 works fast on modern hardware, but over time, the operating system may start degrading due to viruses, bugs, compatibility issues, hardware problems and more. There are several things you can do to speed up and speed up Windows 10 on your computer when it gets slower instead of replacing it altogether.
Here are some simple hardware and software tweaks that can significantly speed up, optimize and improve Windows 10 no matter the configuration.1. Check for and Install Windows Updates
To get the most out of your computer, you need to install the latest version of Windows 10. As you check for Windows updates, your PC also searches for the latest device drivers, which translates to better performance.
Select Windows Updates on the left pane and then select Check for updates.
Check if there are any updates available or pending updates, and then select Install now to install them.2. Open Only the Apps You Need
Too many apps, browsers and tabs or programs open at the same time can slow down your computer and reduce its performance. This is because each app eats up RAM, CPU and GPU performance, disk space and system resources.
To resolve this and speed up Windows 10, close any apps that you don’t need as well as any browser tabs or programs that aren’t in use and see if your computer performs better.
If you have apps designed to work with older Windows versions running in Windows 10, check whether the developer has an updated version or use the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter to see what apps are affecting your computer’s performance.
To run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter, type Troubleshoot in the search box and select Troubleshoot settings.
Select Additional Troubleshooters.3. Use ReadyBoost
ReadyBoost is a disk caching software by Microsoft, which was developed for Windows Vista. The software may be useful in limited circumstances and allows you to use a USB flash drive (500 MB) or other removable drive to help improve performance and without adding more RAM or opening your computer.
Note: Windows will notify you if your device cannot use ReadyBoost, and then determines the free space required to optimize memory and speed up Windows 10. However, ReadyBoost can’t work if you’ve installed Windows 10 on an SSD drive because the latter is already fast.
Select OK to reserve the free space for ReadyBoost to use it.4. Enable Automatic Page File Management
Automatic page file management ensures that the system can manage the page file size. Windows uses the paging file area on your hard disk like memory and manages it automatically for better performance.
Next, select Advanced tab in System Properties and then go to the Performance section and select Settings.
Select Advanced tab in the Performance Options section and then go to Virtual Memory area and select Change.
Next, select the box next to Automatically manage paging file size for all drives, and then restart your computer.5. Free Up Space on Your Computer
If there’s limited space on your startup drive, your computer will work harder at finding room to store your temporary files and apps.
Moreover, the system also reserves disk space for virtual memory so when the space gets tight, your computer’s performance will slow down while it tries to manage all the storage tasks.
To ease the overhead, make sure your computer has about 10 to 15 percent of free space to avoid dramatic slowdown due to storage in Windows 10. You can use the built-in disk cleanup utility to free up some space or uninstall apps you no longer use or need.6. Adjust Visual Effects in Windows 10 for Best Performance
There are many visual effects in Windows 10 including shadow effects and animations, all of which look great, but hog system resources and slow down your computer.
To adjust visual effects in Windows 10, type performance in the search bar and then select Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows.
Select Adjust for best performance on the Visual Effects tab and then select Apply.
Reboot your computer and check whether the performance improves after adjusting the visual effects.7. Pause OneDrive Syncing Temporarily
In Windows 10, you can choose where to save your files by default. For instance, you can choose to save them locally on your computer or to OneDrive and sync files. This way, you can access your files from any location or device provided you’re connected to the internet.
Saving to OneDrive also keeps backups of your files in case your computer is damaged or gets lost. However, syncing can slow down your computer, but you can pause syncing to OneDrive temporarily to speed up Windows 10.8. Disable Startup Programs
When you power on your computer, you’ll notice that some programs start automatically and run in the background. Such programs slow down your computer, but you can disable them especially for programs you don’t use often as they increase the time Windows takes to start.
Find the program you want to stop in the Startup Apps area and set it to Off.
Note: If you turn off a startup program and it still starts automatically when you turn on your computer, run a virus and malware scan.9. Scan Your Computer for Viruses and Malware
Viruses and malware are known to slow down your computer’s performance. When your computer is infected with viruses or malware, you may notice the sound of your hard disk constantly working, programs unexpectedly start automatically and there are unexpected popups.
Make sure you have the best antivirus that can nuke any virus or malware and keep it up to date. Run regular scans and make sure you don’t install multiple anti malware or antivirus software to avoid software conflicts that also affect your computer’s performance.10. Switch to a New Power Plan
Windows 10 optimizes power usage through different power plans such as Power Saver, Balanced and High performance plans. The High Performance plan is ideal for better performance as it allows your computer to use more power and work faster.
Select Additional power settings under Related settings.
Next, select Create a power plan and then select High performance power plan.11. Disable Search Indexing
The Windows search indexing process may hog system resources and negatively impact your computer’s performance. You can disable the search index to improve system performance using these steps.
Next, select Advanced Search Indexer settings under the More search indexer settings.
Next, select Show all locations.
Clear all the selected locations under the Change selected locations area and then select OK.
Windows will no longer index the specified locations and your computer’s performance will improve.12. Perform System Restore
If you installed a new device driver, system update or app and your computer’s performance began to slow down, you can use a System Restore to return the device to a previous working state.
Note: A System restore removes system changes, drivers, updates and apps you installed after the restore point was created, but your files will be preserved.13. Factory Reset Your Computer
If you’ve tried all the above solutions and your computer’s performance is still dismal, you can factory reset your computer as a last resort. Doing this will reinstall the operating system, give you a clean copy of Windows 10 to start from and boost your computer’s overall system performance, battery life, startup and shut down.Boost Your Computer’s Performance
As Microsoft’s Build 2013 developer conference kicks off this Wednesday, the company faces a daunting task: To convince developers and tech enthusiasts that it remains on the cutting edge. That’s a tough challenge when you’re about to release a Windows system update that most think exists to correct nagging flaws.
Indeed, it’s hard to make a Band-Aid look like a fresh innovation.
For many consumers, the Windows 8 Start page is a crazy quilt of incoherence that’s thrust in their faces as soon as their PCs boot. This will be resolved in a new boot-to-desktop feature, but Windows 8.1 still needs to address a laundry list of other issues, and Windows watchers worldwide remain skeptical.
”I think the [Windows 8] updates have been noticed by the tech community,” said Frank Gillett, an analyst with Forrester Research. “But the mass market perception of Windows hasn’t changed that much.”
Exhibit A for the case to be made against Windows 8: the Start screen.
What should we expect from Build 2013? On June 26, Microsoft will provide its first preview of Windows 8.1, which should dominate discussion on the first day of the conference. On the second day, look for the conversation to turn to Visual Studio and other development initiatives.
That’s right: First and foremost, Build is a developer’s conference, and Microsoft must get software partners interested in platform support. “What I’m hoping for with Build is principally a more refined application development story with 8.1, and going out the broader ecosystem,” said Wes Miller, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft.
It all comes down to convincing developers that the new Windows ecosystem offers value—and return on investment. PCs, Surface tablets, and Windows Phone handsets represent the three legs of the hardware infrastructure, and they’re all tied together by Microsoft’s cloud of software and services.A steep hill to climb
Microsoft offered the Windows 8 developer preview in September 2011, as the first hints arrived that the traditional PC market was in serious decline, and tablets and phones were gobbling up consumer dollars. Microsoft clearly saw our more mobile future, and attached a tablet interface to the front of the traditional Windows operating system. Then came Microsoft’s Surface tablet, released in October 2012. The hardware gets praise, but consumers can’t stomach its high price and lack of interesting software.
Since it shipped with the Surface Windows 8 Pro tablet last year, Windows 8 has been blamed for the demise of the traditional PC. The criticism was underscored by the decline in corporate licensing, as businesses hesitated to upgrade to an unfamiliar OS. Tami Reller, Microsoft’s Windows marketing chief, promises that things will improve in the latter part of the year.
In part, the optimism is pegged on Windows 8.1. Microsoft has promised a litany of improvements: a revamped Start menu; the capability for corporations to wipe corporate data off of Windows 8 business machines; and friendly features such as sharing backgrounds between the Start page and Desktop.Windows 8: Is it really as bad as we think?
Microsoft made a big mistake in failing to realize that the vast majority of users would experience Windows 8 from a traditional PC, and not from a Surface or tablet-PC hybrid. From this perspective, the Start screen introduced in Windows 8 makes little sense.
Organized correctly, is this as useful as the Windows 7 Start menu?
Nonetheless, the upcoming “boot to Desktop” feature and the addition of the Start shortcut on the Desktop page contradict each other. Boot to desktop brings users to the familiar environment they know and love, but to do anything, they still need to return to the unfamiliar Start page. A number of third-party add-ons solve the problem, but Microsoft would have been better served by placing a Start option within the Desktop context.
Microsoft also still wastes space in its sprawling suite of Windows Store apps that take up way too much screen space. “Snapping” an app or two—or four, in Windows 8.1—may mitigate the problem, but it still looks inefficient, even if it makes sense from a user-interface perspective. And I still hate using the touch version of Internet Explorer. I’d much rather use the Desktop version or Google’s Chrome, instead.
It’s probably time to argue, however, that Windows 8 isn’t as bad as we think.
For example, setting up a third-party device just works—as it should, and as it always should have. The new OS also requires less memory than Windows 7, and the required disk storage should drop with Windows 8.1, as well. The bottom line? Windows 8 is a toned, stylish, polished professional athlete. But it’s wearing clown makeup, and that creates a serious image problem.
Under the hood, Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 works fine.We need mobile apps—not many, but the biggies
Before a new product can sell, notes Directions on Microsoft’s Miller, it has to offer a compelling answer to a critical question: What can I do with this that I couldn’t do before? With Windows 8, “the story hasn’t been compelling,” Miller said. “There hasn’t been enough great experiences.” And those experiences need to emerge through apps.
The apps question flips the Desktop versus Start page argument on its head. People working on PCs instinctively visit the Facebook Web page. It works fine. We’re used to it. But Facebook formatted as an app or mobile Web page for iOS, Android, and (my favorite) Windows Phone looks far smoother than any Web page for the desktop.
Ignoring the fact that the share of Windows tablets is miniscule, Microsoft simply needs to commission a few key apps for Windows 8: Facebook, Yelp, and Pinterest, for starters. Pinning a Web shortcut to the Start menu is not the right solution.
And if Microsoft plans to usurp the iPad and the Chromebook in the education market, stronger partnerships with educational developers are essential. My Lenovo Twist has a Windows 8 Encyclopedia Britannica app that’s not bad, but we really need an iPad-quality app that Microsoft can put in front of educators (and consumers) as an example of the potential of the platform. If only Encarta were still around.
You might be able to argue that Foursquare, for example, belongs on Windows Phone, as it does. But as Forrester’s Gillett points out, we need to see a “continuously evolving and improving” apps story across the ecosystem.
Apps, apps, apps. And not just on Windows Phone, either.
”We need to see more of the operating system, but also more of the total Microsoft experience,” Gillett said. “Phones and Windows tablets is just part of that one continuous Microsoft experience.”
Build represents Microsoft’s second chance. Has the market passed it by? You could make the case that it has, but you can also argue that Microsoft still has wind in its sails. We’ll find out this week.
Microsoft has just pushed Windows 10 Mobile build 10572 to the Fast ring of updates. The new preview for mobile devices includes a number of improvements and fixes over build 10549, which the company released only a week ago.
Head of the Windows Insider program, Gabriel Aul announced on October 20th that the team is ready to ship a new build of the operating system for phones. However, just like with previous releases, build 10572 includes a bug that blocks users on the current preview to install the next version. As such, users must roll back to Windows Phone 8.1 in order to install Windows 10 Mobile build 10572.
It’s important to note that Microsoft also said that it has fixed the upgrade bug, but it will be available on Windows 10 Mobile build 10575 and later — though, this doesn’t mean build 10575 is the next preview the company will release to Insiders.Here’s what’s new in Windows 10 Mobile build 10549
Cortana: Starting build 10572, Cortana will send notifications to your PC “(needs to be running Build 10565 or higher) when you missed a call. When you miss a call, you can reply with a text to the person who called you right from your PC and Cortana will have your phone send it.”
If you want to send a text from your PC at any time (even when you haven’t missed a call), “type or speak “Text” and the name of a contact to Cortana on your PC in the same way you would on your phone and Cortana will take your message and send it from your phone.”
Remember that to make the new feature work, you need to be signed with your same Microsoft Account in your phone and on your PC. “If you have multiple PCs and don’t want to receive missed call notifications on one of those PCs, you can go to Cortana’s Notebook and then to Settings to toggle “Missed call notifications” to off on any PC on which you don’t want to receive these notifications.”
If you don’t want your phone to send any notifications, “go to Cortana’s Notebook and then to Settings to toggle “Missed call notifications” to off and the phone won’t send the notification to any of your PCs.”
Similar to Windows 10 build 10565 for PC, in build 10572 for mobile devices, “Cortana can help keep track of your leisure time, including movie and event reminders and will give you helpful information to know where to go and to get there on time, including an option to book and track an Uber ride directly from Cortana.” […] “You can book an Uber any time you want by saying ‘Book an Uber’”.
Skype messaging, calling and video experience: This build has the “Skype integration through the Messaging, Phone and Skype video universal Windows apps. Additionally, the Messaging app now supports animated GIFs and includes the ability to search your messages. And the Phone app has the ability to search for contacts from Call History.”
Offline maps: You can now save offline maps to a SD card.
Photo app: You can now mark local photos on your phone as favorites and have them shuffle on the Live Tile. Microsoft has also made some viewer improvements for zooming performance and file information, and added new launch points for rich editing. The company also is including new context menus (press and hold on a photo).
Storage settings: In build 10572, Insiders will see user-interface improvements to storage settings on your device that create a common experience across your PC and phone. Microsoft has enabled the storage settings page to allow users to install applications to expand storage such as and SD card or USB drive on BOTH your phone and PC.Here are the new fixes in Windows 10 Mobile build 10549
Notifications, such as new messages, can be received without first unlocking the device.
Cortana’s background activity has been optimized for power usage.
Microsoft has fixed some of the issues that were causing the Start screen to not load. Additionally, it has made some performance improvements to the Start screen.
The company has made performance improvements to Acton Center, including swipe to expand and dismiss notifications. Swiping to expand or dismiss notifications should happen more quickly.
The alarm icon now appears on the Lock screen when an alarm is set in the Alarms & Clock app.
The proximity sensor during calls is now behaving as expected on devices that may have previously failed to turn the screen off.
The keyboard will switch languages less aggressively now.
Taping restart to apply an update will reboot the device immediately now.
The update is available immediately through the Fast ring of updates, and remember that you need to be running Windows Phone 8.1 to install the new build. Here are the known issues for this build.
Microsoft will kill off Windows 8.1 support on January 10, 2023. There’s no out: Microsoft will not be offering an extended support package for Windows 8.1. At that point, you’ll have a choice: buy a new Windows PC, or officially pay to upgrade to either Windows 10 or Windows 11. (Here’s how to get Windows for cheap.)
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What does the end of support mean? Until January 10, Microsoft will offer security patches and other fixes for any security issues that crop up. Afterwards, you’re on your own. If any exploit or malware surfaces, you’ll have to depend on any antivirus software you have running — Microsoft won’t be issuing any more patches after Jan. 10, and your PC will absolutely be at risk.
“Microsoft will not be offering an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 8.1,” Microsoft says. “Continuing to use Windows 8.1 after January 10, 2023 may increase an organization’s exposure to security risks or impact its ability to meet compliance obligations.”
It’s not just Windows, either. Microsoft encourages users to subscribe to Microsoft 365 (aka Microsoft Office), which continually offers updates — patches and new features — as part of an ongoing subscription. But Microsoft will cease to offers both patches and new features for Microsoft 365 to Windows 8.1 users then, too, the company says.
Our 2013 review of Windows 8.1 notes its “great compromise,” offering an (albeit hidden) way to bypass the controversial tiled Start menu and boot to the desktop directly. Otherwise, the OS feels somewhat old and dated, compared to the more modern Windows 10 and Windows 11 OSes. Incidentally, Windows 8 support ended in 2023.How to upgrade from Windows 8.1
If you’re currently running a Windows 8 PC, Microsoft acknowledges that the prospects may be bleak. “Most Windows 8.1 or Windows 8 devices will not meet the hardware requirements for upgrading to Windows 11,” the company says.
Instead, you have a choice: purchase a new Windows 11 PC, or alternatively upgrade to Windows 10. Officially, you’ll have to buy a copy. However, there may be still hope to upgrade to Windows 10 (and then 11) for free; you’ll need to start with our tutorial and then visit the Windows 10 download page to see if the new version installs. Otherwise, you’ll need to upgrade to Windows 10 by purchasing a full version of the software. It’s likely, given the strict hardware requirements of Windows 11, that a Windows 8 PC won’t qualify for an upgrade to that operating system.
Microsoft also notes that upgrading directly from Windows 8 to Windows 11, assuming it works, will overwrite your hard drive with the new OS, erasing its contents. An “in place” upgrade that preserves your data is possible when upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 10, and then from Windows 10 to Windows 11. Before you upgrade to a new operating system, however, be sure to back up your data in case things to awry.
If you do manage to upgrade to Windows 10, you can relax, however: Windows 10 remains supported until Oct. 14, 2025.
Desktop diehards will find a present waiting for them in Windows 8.1, the impending upgrade colloquially dubbed “Windows Blue.” A wonderful, horrible, oh-so-teasing present.
The Start button is back—but the Start menu isn’t.
One much-clamored-for, keyboard- and mouse-friendly feature will be making a debut in Windows 8.1, however. The update adds the option to boot directly to the desktop, bypassing the modern UI start screen completely. (Actually, you can boot into several alternate locations, including the All Apps view.)
Another new option adds the ability to carry your desktop background over to the modern interface, fostering a more unified feel across the OS. If that doesn’t float your boat, new Start screen colors and backgrounds will also be available, including some animated elements. You can also choose to use a slideshow of your pictures for your lock screen, in effect having your PC double as a really expensive digital picture frame when you’re not actively using it.Moving into modern times
MicrosoftThe new Snap view in action. Yay split screen!
All that said, most of Windows 8.1’s enhancements are made to bolster the modern environment, not the desktop.
The most welcome improvement is the addition of fully customizable Snap views. No longer will you be locked into the two app, quarter-screen Snap limitations of Windows 8 vanilla. Windows 8.1 adds the ability to resize Snap apps to any ratio you’d like, and includes an option to Snap three apps side-by-side-by-side. You’ll also be able to have multiple instances of an app open and Snapped; Microsoft’s blog post lists two Internet Explorer Windows as an example.
Hate the way that every newly installed app gets plopped on your Start screen? You won’t once Windows 8.1 hits, because that annoying “feature” is going the way of the dodo. Instead, any apps installed from the Windows Store will appear under a new “New” filter in the All Apps view, from which you can chose to pin apps to the Start screen if you so desire. Yay self-determination! MicrosoftThe new SkyDrive interface
Windows RT users will be happy to hear that the modern SkyDrive app is gaining the ability to save locally. Currently, you can only use the SkyDrive app to view files already stored in the cloud.
The modern-style PC setting options is also getting a big boost. One of the biggest complaints about Windows 8 is the way it constantly swaps you back and forth between the desktop and modern interfaces, a problem exacerbated by the fact that you have to dive into the desktop control panel to tinker with under-the-hood stuff. No more.
”The updated PC Settings in Windows 8.1 gives you access to all your settings on your device without having to go to the Control Panel on the desktop,” Microsoft’s introductory blog post explains.
Speaking of, Windows 8.1 also adds the ability to sync your settings and Start screen apps across multiple devices, assuming you sign in to those devices using an online-connected Microsoft account.
The Windows Store and the default Microsoft apps are also being tweaked, per Microsoft’s new continuous improvement push. The Search charm, meanwhile, is being overhauled to “provide global search results powered by Bing in a rich, simple-to-read, aggregated view of many content sources.” It sounds like it could be either awesome or horrible; I can’t wait to try it.
More minute improvements include more Live Tile sizing options, additional category filters in the All Apps screen, and a plethora of Start screen tile shuffling options.
So, do these tweaks equate to blue skies or Windows Blah? You’ll be able to judge for yourself on June 26, when Microsoft releases a developer preview of Windows 8.1 to coincide with the BUILD conference.
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