Windows 8.1 update arrives on Tuesday

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Still vaguely frustrated by Windows 8 and find it feels a tad alien even after all this time? We reckon the next update – which has been on the cards for a while – will be the last huzzah for trying to convince people to upgrade or give up and turn to an alternative OS. The good news – especially if you’re a nervous vendor of Windows PCs (sales down 10% last year) – is that the wait for the snappily titled Windows 8.1 Update 1 is almost over. Microsoft has just confirmed it will be available as a free download on Tuesday next week (the 8th, geddit?).

So what can you expect on your computer when it’s finished installing? The big news is that there’s a new setting which lets you boot straight to the desktop rather than the Metro-style Start screen, just a PC of days gone by.

Other smaller changes include the ability to pin apps written for the Start screen, or Modern UI in Microsoft parlance, to the traditional taskbar too. Which essentially means that if you’re a desktop user the whole Windows ‘experience’ should feel much less fractured than before – and for the haters out there you need never see the Start screen again, essentially.

If you’re a Start screen fan, however, there’s also been a bit of work on making it more mouse-friendly. You can right-click those big box tiles now, and there’s a new shutdown button so you don’t have to go digging off onto the side of the display just to power down.

There also a search button on the Start menu, because people didn’t realise you could search for stuff just by typing.

We’ll be covering the update and how to use it in greater detail next week. Theoretically, you won’t have to do anything to receive it as it will arrive on all Windows 8 machines as part of the automatic update process. If you don’t want it, best to go turn that off now.]

[Image: The Verge]

Adam Oxford

Adam Oxford

Adam is the Editorial Director at htxt media. He has been writing about technology for almost two full decades now. In a previous life, he was the editor of PC Format and Digital Camera Shopper in the UK, before going on to work as a freelance journalist for seven years. His work has appeared in or on Stuff, The Guardian, Linux Format, TechRadar,, PC Gamer, Green Futures, The Journalist, The Ecologist and The Review. Adam moved to South Africa in 2012 and loves 3D printers, MakerFairs and tech hubs. He hates seafood. None of his friends remember this when cooking.