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Improved Right-click Context Menu

Microsoft is listening to the user feedback & wants to send a positive signal to the users, especially those using the conventional PC hardware (not touch-screens / tablets). They want you (and me), who love using mouse & keyboards on the PC, feel comfortable using the new Windows 8 with all the new modern apps.

Microsoft is aiming to release the new Windows 8.1 Update 1 either on March 11, 2014 or sometime in April this year. Nothing yet officially announced nor confirmed from sources. However, its existence now be felt, there is still more hope left about Windows 8 (I haven’t yet decided to use this for production despite paying for the upgrade).

We’ve already seen getting the Start menu on Windows 8 & compatibility of running modern apps in Desktop-mode – giving more reasons for people at least trying the new version once.

With new Windows 8.1 Update 1 (Build 2014 6.3.9600), Microsoft is not letting go-away the new Metro UI or the new modern-style apps – but, these are the 5 features of this update you may like to look forward to.

1] Improved Right-click Context Menu

Right-clicking on Windows 8.1 with modern apps is not a convenient way to use at all with the new update, this is getting the fix. Now, the context menu when right-clicked appears handy on Start & Apps screens. Reports also say that, this will get extended on to the modern apps as well.

Improved Right-click Context Menu

2] Search & Shutdown Button On Start Screen

Another important feature of the Update 1 is – clearly visible Search button (which is a system-wide Bing search) & the Shutdown button on a start menu. Previously, the shutdown button was under the PC settings, which was not the best of the ideas ever per any UX. Glad it’s visible now.

Search & Shutdown Button On Start Screen

3] More Use Of The Taskbar

With people spending more time on Desktop, Taskbar becomes an essential part of the screen. This real-estate needed to be exploited more & hence, according to Win8China, Update 1 allows pinning the most apps to the taskbar. It will also show a large thumbnail of the app after hovering over the pinned button.

More Use Of The Taskbar

Not just that, under the Taskbar & Navigation – new setting allows us to pin all the apps downloaded from the Windows Store directly to the taskbar, making these modern apps available at more convenience.

More Use Of The Taskbar

4] ‘Close’ Button For Modern Apps

Closing modern app on Windows RT for touchscreen devices is very easy. Just like on Android; or on the new iOS 7 – dragging down from the top to flick the app on Windows 8, will close it. However, this same gesture is impractical on a traditional Windows PC hardware with the mouse. With the new update, Microsoft is putting up a clear ‘close’ button on all the modern apps, so that they’re easy to deal with on Desktops too.

5] Lowered Minimum System Requirements

Microsoft is thinking to lower the Windows 8 footprints & is thinking of making it tinier so that – Windows 8.1 Update 1 RT can be packed even on 16GB devices. This will make sure Windows 8 spreads on to the cheaper devices too.

We’ll need to wait until Windows 8.1 Update 1 official release date which is either March 11 or sometime in April, 2014 to confirm all these new features. None the less, these features sound promising enough for better usability & might just entice a few more people to switch to Windows 8.

Windows 8.1 Features Demo Video

Here is a walk-through of the key features in Windows 8.1 update for both, Windows Phone & Windows PC lineup.

What do you think about the Windows 8.1 Update 1 additions? Do share your thoughts in the comments.

[Image Source 1, source 2]