backtop


Print 114 comment(s) - last by lexluthermiest.. on Oct 23 at 1:20 AM

It's a free download if you already have Windows 8

Microsoft unleashed its new Windows 8.1 operating system today, which promises deeper customization, updated apps and more. 

Microsoft has made Windows 8.1 available for download starting at 7 a.m. EST today, and it will roll out around the globe over the next 24 hours. The boxed version will be available in retail stores starting tomorrow, as well as brand-new devices that already have the OS pre-installed. 

Those with Windows 8 will see various changes in the move to 8.1, such as greater customization. Windows 8.1 brings new background color options as well as different sizing of live tiles. 

If you've been missing the familiar and ever-beloved Start button in the lower lefthand corner of your taskbar, fear not: Windows 8.1 brought it back. But it doesn't function in the traditional sense -- it just sends you back to the tile-based Windows 8 Start environment. But if you want to avoid the live tiles altogether, Windows 8.1 will let you boot up in Desktop mode instead. 


Microsoft said multitasking is also easier in Windows 8.1, as users can now have up to four apps side by side and adjust the window size of each one to their specifications. 

Other changes include a better-integrated Sky Drive, where smart files can can be created, edited, saved and shared at anytime; the updated Bing Smart Search, which has two new apps called "Food & Drink" and "Health & Fitness"; built-in support for 3D printing; updates to built-in apps like Mail, News, Weather, Finance, Sports and Travel, and a Windows Store redesign (it now has a "New & Rising" section). 

Microsoft is celebrating its new OS with a Twitter contest, if any DT readers would care to join. Simply take a screenshot of your new Start screen in Windows 8.1 after updating, and tweet it with the hashtag "MyStart." Microsoft will choose 810 winners per day for the next eight days, and each winner will receive a $10 promotional Windows Store gift card.

Many say Windows 8.1 is a must if you've already bought Windows 8, as it offers improvements over the original. But if you're still running Windows 7 and previous, and still aren't comfortable with the new UI in the Windows 8 ecosystem, it's still a pretty big shift from the traditional UI. 

The Windows 8.1 download is free if you already have a licensed copy of Windows 8 installed. Otherwise, it'll cost you $120 for the standard version and $200 for Windows 8.1 Pro. You can grab the free download here on your Windows 8 device. 

Source: Windows Blog



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Some nice new features
By inighthawki on 10/17/2013 1:04:21 PM , Rating: 2
Of the features I listed, I would say that most greatly benefit the average customer, even if they are not necessarily front-facing UI changes that they can see.

Official support for hybrid devices (iGPU+dGPU) is HUGE. It greatly increases the performance, improves the battery life a lot, and reduces compatibility issues with drivers during upgrades, something that has often been a source of issues for people who buy them.

Improved battery life is something that everyone can appreciate.

Wireless displays are also gaining a lot of ground recently, and has quite a few uses for the average user, as well as in the business sector (wirelessly connecting to micracast compatible projectors would save a lot of time and hastle).

Even storage tiering could be useful for the average consumer. The whole idea behind storage spaces is to provide software raid in a very user-friendly fashion. You can just plug in external hard drives and merge them together and include things like redundancy. While the concept of tiering may be alien to the average user (i.e. they wouldn't understand what it meant) they can still take advantage of it without anything special.

DX11.2 and independent flip might be too of the more "specialized" features that are tech/gamer friendly, but nonetheless are important.

Outside of that, add in all the UX and usability improvements and it's far from a "lipstick on a pig" upgrade, and features tons of actual improvements to the OS that make it more usable than 8. Is it perfect? No, but it's far more than any service pack or OSX upgrade has ever brought to the table.


RE: Some nice new features
By Etsp on 10/17/2013 1:35:09 PM , Rating: 2
What is this independent flip feature you're referring to? I can't find references to it online. Can you describe that in a bit more detail?


RE: Some nice new features
By inighthawki on 10/17/2013 1:54:37 PM , Rating: 2
It is a successor to DirectFlip in Windows 8.

In windows 8, when the DWM detected that you were running a windowed mode application that was the same size as the display's resolution, it skipped desktop composition and directly flipped to the surface that the app rendered to, to avoid the unnecessary computation. In 8.1, that was expanded to a feature called Independent Flip which gos one step further and eliminates the DWM from the equation, and allows the application to directly submit the screen flip directly to the kernel, bypassing DWM altogether. The performance puts it on par with fullscreen exclusive, but having all of the benefits of windowed mode (alt+tab, charms, etc). It should also have some power savings by not requiring DWM to do any work every frame (Compared to windowed mode before, should be the same as fullscreen exclusive).

Note, however, that in order to take advantage of this in 8/8.1 the app has to allow the device's swapchain to be created using the new flip model, as opposed to blit. (Swapchain must be created using DXGI_SWAP_EFFECT_FLIP_SEQUENTIAL
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/de... ), so unfortunately it is not highly used in most non-metro games today.

I wouldn't be surprised, though, if down the road (windows 9, 8.2, whatever it's called) they eventually do away with blit altogether and force everything internally to the flip model.

It surprises me that Microsoft has done such a poor job advertising these enhancements, as they are pretty nice to have and to build your games on.


RE: Some nice new features
By Etsp on 10/17/2013 2:52:35 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, I see. It sounded like something I would appreciate, and it will be once the games support it. I prefer running games in "fullscreen windowed mode" whenever possible, because I like the fast alt+tab to look something up online.


RE: Some nice new features
By lexluthermiester on 10/20/2013 3:22:14 AM , Rating: 1
You are trying, much like microsoft themselves, to justify a horrid GUI with core functions that MOST users will never need. Hybrid devices are supported by Windows 2000 & up and are nothing new to the windows world. Wireless displays are also supported by XP & above. And as alluded to elsewhere in these posts, battery life is not significantly improved even when compared to XP on identical hardware.

You're right about one thing, The improvements from 8 to 8.1 are not so much like lipstick on a pig. It's more like frosting on a hot steamy cow pat.

I gave 8 a one month go, and the same with 8.1. Both are garbage and NOT worth using. The microsoft coders bringing back the start button that takes a user to the modern UI start screen instead of an actual menu is very much like them say Eff-U to those of us who asked for the start button/menu back. And I say Eff-U to you as well microsoft. I'll stick with Windows 7 until microsoft pulls their head out of the sand/their back-sides. And I'm no fan of Apple, but to imply the improvements made to MacOS over the years are less than significant shows EVERYONE just how foolish and narrow minded you are. And yes, I'm very aware just how ironic that must seem you coming for me. Get over it, get educated and quit blowing sunshine up everyone's bum about Windows 8/8.1. Those of us with a brain are not buying your non-sense or microsoft's....


RE: Some nice new features
By inighthawki on 10/20/2013 6:25:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You are trying, much like microsoft themselves, to justify a horrid GUI with core functions that MOST users will never need.

I didn't say anything about the UI at all. Fail to you

quote:
Hybrid devices are supported by Windows 2000 & up and are nothing new to the windows world.

No, it hasn't. 8.1 is the first OS with hybrid support. Prior to 8.1, it was driver hacks and workarounds which can cause instability and lower performance.

quote:
Wireless displays are also supported by XP & above.

Again, that's just a blatant lie. Miracast support was added in 8.1 Prior to that if it worked, it was third party workarounds

quote:
battery life is not significantly improved even when compared to XP on identical hardware.

Really? Where did you get that statistic? Battery life has been improving gradually over time for a while now. This is just pure trolling.

quote:
get educated and quit blowing sunshine up everyone's bum about Windows 8/8.1.

I'm not trying to convince anyone to upgrade, I'm trying to explain that 8.1 introduces more improvements to 8 than a few UI tweaks. It's more than just a service pack. Leanr to read what the point of my posts are.

It's clear to me you don't know sh*t about the OS, your first few sentences make that immensely clear. Just stop trolling, it makes you look stupid.


RE: Some nice new features
By lexluthermiester on 10/23/2013 1:11:38 AM , Rating: 2
Your moronic response clearly demonstrates your lack of knowledge/experience with the industry in question. There have been plenty of well known, well supported, well loved professional technologies which qualify as hybrid devices which allow on-the-fly hot-switching of hardware since even the Windows NT days. Wireless displays have been around since the days of Windows 98. The first one I saw was an RF model in 1999. Granted it was barely a passable attempt, but did work and didn't crash the system[which for Windows 98 was indeed an accomplishment]. "Miracast" is NOT the only wireless display standard ever created or in use in the wild. And what kind of immature, cowardly little quim are you to call someone a lair like that? Do you have any idea how pathetic you look right now?

quote:
No, it hasn't. 8.1 is the first WINDOWS OS with NATIVE hybrid support. Prior to 8.1, it was driver hacks and workarounds which can cause instability and lower performance.


Fixed that for you. Just because microsoft doesn't natively support something in the os certainly does NOT mean it can't be done and stably so. In reality, MOST innovations spring forth before any OS developer has a chance to integrate such functions into their OS. Seriously, where have you been in the last four decades? Under a rock? FYI, Apple's MacOS and the Linux community have had native hybrid support for some time now. Microsoft is a bit late to the game on this one. But then again, that's nothing new either.

quote:
Really? Where did you get that statistic? Battery life has been improving gradually over time for a while now. This is just pure trolling.


Remember how I mentioned elsewhere in the comments of this article about the battery life tests I performed? I tested XP, Vista[SP2], 7[SP1], 8 and then 8.1 Preview all against each other on the same system. I'm not going to bother testing the 8.1 release as it would likely be just as underwhelming as the preview version...

Those numbers where as follows;

XP; Baseline reference to which all others are compared.
Vista; 8% loss
7; 3% gain
8; 6% gain
8.1; 7% gain

So, let's see here now... Hmmm... Windows Vista sucked the battery dry. 7 lasted a little longer. 8 lasted a little longer still. 8.1 lasted 1% longer than that.

SOOO, if I was still using XP and wanted to "upgrade", the 7% improvement to 8.1 IS, to be fair, a compelling number. But not when having to suffer through the horrid UI. And before you go there, said exercise compares oranges to oranges. If you compare the older laptop used in my test running Vista[which is what it came with] to newer hardware which comes with 8.1, then there is, of course, going to be much better battery life. But if you take that same newer hardware and put 7 on it, then the advantage falls back down to 3 or 4%. And thus loses the bragging point about battery life.


RE: Some nice new features
By lexluthermiester on 10/23/2013 1:20:18 AM , Rating: 2
BTW, what was that about trolling genius?


"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

Related Articles













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki