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Grow Your Business Technology

Windows 8.1 Update: Top 3 Business Features

Windows 8.1 Update: Top 3 Business Features
The update is set to install automatically on all Windows 8.1 computers on April 8. / Credit: Microsoft

Not every business has successfully transitioned to Windows 8. Some business users have argued that features such as the new full-screen Start menu make it harder to be productive on the platform. And some offices have resisted upgrading to Windows 8 so they don't have to train employees on the new interface. But now a new update to Windows 8.1 — the latest version of the Windows 8 operating system — could make things a bit more familiar for all these users. The update will install automatically on all Windows 8.1 computers on April 8; no manual download required. Here are three features that make this update good for business.

Automatic boot to desktop

The full-screen, "modern" Start menu in Windows 8 works well on touch-screen devices such as tablets, allowing you to launch touch-optimized apps by tapping large, colorful buttons. But many productivity-minded business users would rather just go straight to the familiar Windows desktop and run programs designed for use with a mouse and keyboard. The new Windows 8.1 update does just that, so you can get right to work; instead of booting to the Start screen, Windows 8.1 launches the desktop automatically when you boot up your computer.

Pin Windows Store apps to the taskbar

Windows 7 and Windows 8 both make it easy to launch frequently used programs by allowing users to pin these programs to the taskbar. But Windows 8 introduced a second type of application: touch-optimized Windows Store apps, which you can only launch via the full-screen Start menu. This fragmented approach caused some confusion among new users, so the new Windows 8.1 update lets you pin and launch Windows Store apps straight from the taskbar. In other words, it makes Windows Store apps work more like the regular desktop programs you're used to.

Easy-to-find search and shutdown buttons

Windows 8 introduced new edge gestures that were designed with touch screens in mind. For example, by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, you can launch the Charms menu, which lets you perform actions such as searching for files or programs, or setting your system to hibernate. These gesture-based actions aren't always intuitive to new users, though, so Microsoft remedied the issue with new, easy-to-find icons in the top left corner of the Start menu. Just click the magnifying glass icon to perform a search, or click the power icon to shut down your computer or set it to hibernate.

Brett Nuckles

Brett Nuckles has been a working journalist since 2009. He got his start in local newspapers covering community news, local government, education and more before he joined the Business News Daily staff in 2013. He graduated from Ohio University, where he studied Journalism and English. Follow him on Twitter @BrettNuckles.