A Quick Look at using Windows 8.1 Update 1

It has been ages since I made a post on here. Sorry about that, but I will get into the details over the weekend. It seems like just yesterday Windows 8.1 was released, 12 months after the initial release of Windows 8 RTM itself. Yesterday, Microsoft made Windows 8.1 Update 1 available to MSDN Subscriber Downloads for persons testing Microsoft technologies. I decided to bite the bullet early and give it an early spin before it officially reaches the general public on April 8th 2014 through Windows Update.

After seven months of using Windows 8.1 full time at work, I have come to accept and appreciate Microsoft’s ever evolving Windows client, gaining new features and functionality, not to mention stability at a rapid pace. Windows 8 is now a dramatically different experience from what was initially released in October 2012. With 8.1, I immediately took advantage of the desktop enhancements for keyboard and mouse users, utilizing options like boot to desktop for instance and app view for quick access to both desktop and modern apps.

Update 1 continues Microsoft’s refinement of the rough edges, presenting even greater accessibility to functionality such as Power and Search once hidden in hot corners and menus. Other noticeable changes include title bars, minimize and close buttons now available in modern apps. Another great feature includes the ability to pin your favourite modern apps to the Windows Taskbar. Lets take a quick look at getting it up and running on a Windows 8.1 install.

Please note, this is standalone Windows Update installers I am using which requires installation in a specific order. On April 8th, Windows Update will take care of this, but for this article sake, I will describe the experience. Depended on your system, Windows 8.1 Update 1 is provided as 6 updates, in my case, I only needed to apply 5, since KB2919442 was already installed.

update to windows 81

Recommended Install Order
1.  KB2919442 – already installed
2.  KB2919355 – installed
3.  KB2932046 – installed
4.  KB2937592
5.  KB2938439
6.  KB2949621

update 355

The biggest one of them all is KB2919355, which took quite a while to install. In fact, I did this on my work computer around 3:30 PM and I leave work at 4:30, KB2919355 took about 30 minutes be completed and required a reboot.

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The other updates like KB2932046 called Feature Updates, took less time, but each required a reboot. I stopped after the 3rd and finished up the next day. After KB2919355, the unique features started to show up, such as Power and Search options appearing on the Start Screen. I understand that boot to desktop is automatically enabled on mouse and keyboard only systems. I already had this enabled.

last 81 update

The other feature updates completed quickly and I was ready to utilize the improvements in Windows 8.1.

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A lot of the options to change how Windows 8.1 operates with modern apps and the Start Screen can be found from the Taskbar properties. There you will see a new option to ‘Show Windows Store apps on the taskbar’. Right now, the implementation still feels complete, because Modern apps still remain full screen, although you can have the Taskbar displayed on screen in Modern apps when you have the mouse pointer at the bottom of the screen. This provides easy switching and multi-tasking with Desktop and Modern applications. See below.

best of both worlds2

Here you can see I have a modern app and running and still able to access my Taskbar.

best of both worlds2

The ability to work with mouse and keyboard in Modern apps is a nice welcome, you can easily access window controls such as minimize and close by hovering your mouse pointer at the top of the app screen.

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By default, apps are now displayed in alphabetical order for easy finding.  There are other options in Windows 8.1 Update I will need to check out. Overall, Windows 8.1 Update 1 makes Windows 8 feel like this is what should have happened from the beginning. Some things still feel disjointed, but a future update is expected to resolve this, providing a windowed mode for modern apps for true multi-tasking and best of both worlds experience.

Its been a long time, but I believe Windows 8 is starting to gain acceptance, the fact that colleagues are coming to me asking about how they can upgrade from Windows 7 is sign enough the hard work that has gone into refining an otherwise great product is paying off. One thing I would have liked was to always have the Taskbar on screen even in Modern apps, but I will work with what I have gotten so far.

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How to upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1

Hey folks, its been a long time since I have published a new article, been quite busy since the start of fall, so I have not gotten back into the groove of things just yet. With the release of Windows 8.1 which promises to improve the overall experience of Windows 8, I say why not start off with how to get it.

First things first, I suggest you check Windows Update for the latest updates, make sure your system is fully updated before attempting to install Windows 8.

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Open Windows Update and click Check for Updates

Once your system is fully updated, we are ready to install Windows 8.1. You might want to do things like disable your Antivirus temporarily, disable startup items. Unplug any unnecessary devices.

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On the Start Screen, click the Store icon

Store 1

As soon as you open the Windows Store, you will see the Update Windows tile. Click on it.

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The Windows 8.1 update page will give information about whats new in Windows 8.1.

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Click Download to start downloading Windows 8. You can keep working while the update is downloading.

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Wait while Windows 8.1 installs.

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When all is done, you should have Windows 8.1 installed.

Resources:

Why can’t I update to Windows 8.1?

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Confirmed: Windows 8.1 RTM coming August 2013

Microsoft today confirmed at the Worldwide Partner Conference, Windows 8.1 the major update to the initial release will be available OEMs this August.

Tami also made a few announcements.

She announced that Windows 8.1 RTM will be available for OEM partners in late August. This means OEMs will be able to get the RTM bits and begin preparing devices with Windows 8.1 just in time for the holidays! We’ll have more details to share in the coming months for consumers and other customers on how to get Windows 8.1. As you have heard, Windows 8.1 is an update that refines the vision of Windows 8. Two weeks ago, we announced the Windows 8.1 Preview for people to try out– if you have not already, check it out and experience the new features and improvements

Source HERE

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Using Compatibility Mode in Windows 8.1

If you are using an older app not designed for Windows 8, one of the solutions designed for handling such problems in Windows 8 is Compatibility Mode. I have looked at this feature in the past, but Windows 8s new user experience makes accessing it a bit different from previous versions of Windows. Lets get started. For the purposes of this article, I will be installing my 3G Modem Dashboard software Mobile Partner software.

Compat opt 1

The first thing you need to do is point where the setup files are located. If you are installing from a thumb drive or CD/DVD. Launch File Explorer (Windows key + E) and open the location where the setup files are stored.

Right click the setup file for the program, this can be designated as setup.exe or something similar. Click Troubleshoot Compatibility

Compat opt 2

This will launch the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter wizard which will check for issues.

Compat opt 3

Select the option “Troubleshoot program”

Compat opt 4

Depending on the problems you are experiencing when attempting to install or use the software, check off the problems. In my case:

  • ‘The program worked in earlier versions of Windows but won’t install or run now’
  • The program requires additional permissions.

Click Next

Compat opt 5

Select a version of Windows the program is known to work in. I notice the program works great in Windows Vista (with Service Pack 2), so I will select that option. Click Next

Compat opt 6

Proceed to run the through the programs setup routine by clicking Test the program….

Compat opt 7

Follow the on screen instructions to install the program as you normally would.

Compat opt 8

If all is successful, click the option at the end of the wizard ‘Yes, save these settings for this program’

Compat opt 9

Wait while your settings for the program are saved.

Compat opt 10

Click Close.

 

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Using Recovery Tools on your Windows 8 PC: HP

We continue our series look at using the recovery tools that come with your Windows 8 PC. Each PC manufacturer includes a unique experience for each utility for recovering your Windows 8 PC if the need arises. Today, we take a look at HP’s Recovery tool:

1. Go to the Start Screen and type: recovery

hp reocvry 1

This will bring up the recovery link for HP. Click on it to launch HP’s Recovery program:

hp reocvry 1

HP’s Recovery app

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The HP recovery manager provides a simple interface categorized for your convenience. The most important one in this case is located under the I’d like to take safety measures

hp reocvry 4

Here you will find the option to create a set of recovery media for your system.

Related:
Using Recovery Tools on your Windows 8 PC: Dell

Using Recovery Tools on your Windows 8 PC: Samsung
Using Recovery Tools on your Windows 8 PC: Acer

 

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How to use Search now with Bing in Windows 8.1

The Bing App

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Some persons have been asking where is it? Well, with Windows 8.1 you don’t need a dedicated app anymore as Bing search as been infused throughout Windows 8.1. Lets take a look.

In Windows 8

In Windows 8, you launched the tradition Bing app from the Start Screen and did your typical searching.

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Here is an example

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Here is a search for my favourite artiste of all time, ‘Michael Jackson’

In Windows 8.1

Press Windows key + S or point your mouse to the right hand corner and click the Search charm.

Bing Search

Enter your search query.

Bing Search 1

Not only will you get local results, but also live results using Bing Search. If you want more detailed results, just click the magnifier icon in the search field.

Bing Search 2

This will take you to a full page with results for what’s on your system in addition to news and information from the web.

Bing Search 3

Bing Search is really powerful and built right into the desktop. Providing a quicker, accessible and more relevant way to get results not only locally but also on the web. Nicely done!

Resources

How to use Search in Windows 8

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How to enable or disable Slide Show Lock Screen in Windows 8.1

When I first started using Windows 8 during the early previews in 2011, I said to myself why didn’t Microsoft make the lock screen a slideshow of your wallpapers or photo library? Your wish is my command, you can now do that in Windows 8.1. Lets take a look at setting it up, of course, some persons might not want this feature, but its a great fun functionality that is especially great on Tablets if you want to setup a digital photo frame.

Press Windows key + i on your keyboard or place the mouse pointer in the right hand corner of the Windows 8 screen and click Settings > then ‘Change PC Settings’

Lockscreen

Click Lock Screen under Top settings

Slide Show 1

Drag the knob to the right under Play a slide show on the lock screen to enable it.

Slide Show 2

You can let Windows choose pictures from your Pictures folder or select a specific folder. I personally have set aside a specific folder, since I might not want everyone passing my computer to see every photo I have stored in my library. To do this, click Add a folder

Slide Show 3

Select the folder if its listed or Click Go up to browse to where the folder is listed.

Slide Show 4

Once you have viewed your folder, click Choose this folder

Slide Show 4a

Click OK

Thats it, your Slide Show is now setup. See below:

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Picture 1

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Picture 2

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Picture 3

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