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6/13/2013
11:41 AM
Jeff Bertolucci
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Windows 8.1: 10 Surprise Benefits

Windows 8.1 does a lot more than bring back the Start button. These 10 features may give it a much-needed popularity boost with enterprise users.
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Hey, Windows 8, who loves ya, baby? Not many, it seems. Microsoft claims the new OS is a blockbuster, of course, and has the numbers to (sort of) prove it.

Exhibit A: Microsoft Windows program manager (and longtime company veteran) Iain McDonald, speaking at the June 3 keynote presentation at TechEd 2013 in New Orleans:

"Now, we've had Windows 8 out for eight months so far. We've been getting lots of feedback. We've sold over 100 million copies, a few more than that, but we'll announce some numbers later this month. We've got over 70,000 apps in the store, and we know we've got hundreds of millions of downloads of those apps. And are we happy with it? Yeah, we're happy with it."

Exhibit B: Antoine Leblond, corporate VP of Windows Program Management, in a May 30 blog post.

"The response to Windows 8 has been substantial -- from new devices to strong app growth to key enhancements to the OS and apps. We've learned from customers on how they are using the product and have received a lot of feedback."

Replace "feedback" with "criticism" in both quotes, and you've got a more accurate take on the state of Windows 8. Adoption has been weak thus far, and studies have shown that consumers aren't thrilled with Windows 8's touch-oriented Modern UI and mobile-style apps.

It's no wonder that Microsoft is working feverishly on Windows 8.1, a soon-to-ship upgrade that addresses many Windows 8 gripes. Most notably, the desktop Start button -- but not the Start menu -- that was cruelly stripped from Windows 8 will be restored in version 8.1, albeit with some changes. And traditionalists who want to bypass the Modern UI entirely will have a boot-to-desktop option.

There's a lot more to Windows 8.1 than a few interface tweaks, however. Microsoft is adding numerous under-the-hood enhancements for its corporate customers, many of whom aren't thrilled with retraining costs associated with a Windows 8.x upgrade.

For Windows 8 and RT users, the Windows 8.1 upgrade will be free when it ships later this year. Microsoft is expected to release a preview version by the end of June.

Click through the slideshow to see 10 lesser-known features that may boost Windows 8.1's popularity, particularly in the enterprise. One unanswered question: How will longtime Windows users -- no doubt the fiercest critics of the Modern UI -- react to Windows 8.1's changes?

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.

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DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
6/24/2013 | 1:29:23 PM
re: Windows 8.1: 10 Surprise Benefits
M$'s Win8 Start button will just take you to the Applications pane not the true Win7 application list. The "other" crap makes M$ more money so M$ thinks, expect to continue to see it.
sjacks982
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sjacks982,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/2/2013 | 12:44:10 AM
re: Windows 8.1: 10 Surprise Benefits
There's always Linux. I hear that Chrome works on Linux and that Google Docs and Google Drive works too. Since Microsoft chose to put a tablet OS on the desktop I'm surprised that Google isn't selling Android for the desktop. (No not Chrome OS.)
sjacks982
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sjacks982,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/2/2013 | 12:57:45 AM
re: Windows 8.1: 10 Surprise Benefits
Is it me? I don't see these as benefits. To be fair, my neighbor's children like Win8 because its like their phones and its Facebook friendly. I think Microsoft wanted to help Google by making a competing OS just as bad as Chrome OS, to keep the Justice Department off their backs. I have to connect to the Internet to use Chrome and I need access to my Microsoft account for Win8.
sjacks982
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50%
sjacks982,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/2/2013 | 1:22:42 AM
re: Windows 8.1: 10 Surprise Benefits
Did anyone like Microsoft ramming Vista down our throats? Vista/Server2008=codebase NT6.0; Win7/2008R2=NT6.1; Win8/Server2012=NT6.2. System bugs in the knowledgebase "to be fixed in 6.0" are still not fixed in Win8. Sorry Microsoft (our companies just upgraded to Win7): I'm waiting for codebase NT7 before upgrading. So XP still has a 38% installed base? Worried about 4/2014? Server 2003 same codebase (same service packs) has extended support to 2015 and XP embedded 2016.
jobstablet
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jobstablet,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/1/2013 | 10:12:22 AM
re: Windows 8.1: 10 Surprise Benefits
Microsoft company claims that Windows 8.1 is a blockbuster has numerous new features. The Windows 8.1 has been relatively well received. Windows 8 introduced a modern experience for touch-centric, mobile app experiences, With access to the classic desktop as well as a new Start screen.
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