What's new in Windows 8 Blue (Windows 8.1)

Welcome back, Start button! and, hello, more touch features

Microsoft will soon be updating the much maligned Windows 8 operating system with version 8.1 (previously under code name "Blue"). Based on feedback from users and the touch-enabled direction computers are taking, Windows 8.1 will bring a number of improvements. Perhaps most notably, the ability to start in desktop mode and the return of the start button.

Paul Thurrott reports on SuperSite for Windows that the new Start button on the desktop changes color when you hover over it with the mouse, much like the Charms feature does. This suggests the Start button isn't the key to the Start menu of Windows past, but rather just a simple shortcut. Startup in desktop mode will also be available, Thurrott says, but is off by default.

Other features coming in the free upgrade on June 26 include more personalisation features (more Start screen backgrounds and Lock screen slideshows), global search, resizable apps (yay!), and more navigation controls. Learn more about what's coming up on the Windows blog.

Critics may say Microsoft is backtracking, but personally I think the fact the company is listening to user concerns and addressing them is a good thing.

Read more of Melanie Pinola’s Tech IT Out blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @melaniepinola. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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