Spring 2014 will see the first updates coming for Microsoft’s Windows 8 PC operating system. The main focus so far is that the 8.1 update will see improvements to the way the system handles mouse and keyboard functions – mainly an issue for those who have Windows 8 devices with touchscreen capabilities.
Little else has been confirmed as of yet, but there have been a number of other leaks and rumours floating around. Here we take a look at some of them so far, though if you are a developer or IT technician who is looking to get more information about how Microsoft currently operates, there are plenty of short courses you can take such as those offered on this website to bring yourself up to speed.
Apps made pinnable to the taskbar
The Metro interface of Windows 8 increased the number of clicks that users had to make to access the apps or content they wanted to get to. However, it’s rumoured that this update will bring the potential to lock favourite apps onto a taskbar at the bottom of the home screen, rather than having to go into the infamous Metro interface every single time. It’s possible that Microsoft will allow those running Windows 8.1 to run the apps straight from the desktop to cut out this process altogether if they wish.
Metro apps have a title bar
Another strong yet unconfirmed rumour is that the Metro screen applications will have a title bar across the top of them. This will allows users with a mouse to minimise or close them if they no longer need them there, and also provides the option to group sets of apps together.
Shutting Metro apps
The Microsoft apps which are specifically opened from the Metro interface (Photo Editor, Skype, Videos etc.) will all now have a more ‘desktop-like’ close function, where users will be able to click on the icon in the top corner to shut the programme. This will be in addition to the current method of closing with a specific touch gesture, or by using the keyboard function.
It’s not just going to be visible changes – there will be some ‘behind the scenes’ changes which will tweak the way Windows 8 operates and functions. In the main this will be more noticeable on tablets and phones, rather than the desktop version of the operating system. Further rumours suggest that in order for Windows to keep up with Android in the cheap tablet market, their OS will be adapted to run more smoothly on devices with smaller memory side and other technical capabilities.
Quick shutdown option
Another rumoured usability improvement is a quicker option to shut down the PC, with a new icon being placed in the top right of the start screen, next to the user’s profile image. This saves the step of having to log out first and then waiting for this to happen, bringing it more in line with the speed and convenience of tablets and Mac computers.