A leaked screen from yesterday indicated that Microsoft would be bringing back the Start button in Windows 8.1. Now the company has gone ahead and confirmed its return alongside a number of other additions to the updated operating systems.
In a blog post on the official Windows blog, Microsoft’s Antoine Leblond confirmed many of the details leaked in yesterday’s report. For starters, the Start button is indeed back in Windows 8.1. Here’s how he describes it:
We’ve improved the way you navigate to Start with the mouse by changing the Start “tip” to be the familiar Windows logo. The new tip appears anytime you move the mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen, and is always visible on the taskbar when on the desktop.
Leblond also says that there are options to “boot into alternate screens.” He doesn’t come right out and say that there is a boot to desktop option, but it’s pretty much a guarantee that it will be there.
As for customization, Leblond confirms that Windows 8.1 users will be able to use their own custom backgrounds on the Start screen. Microsoft is also adding support for live wallpapers for those who want a little motion in their backgrounds.
That about covers all of the stuff leaked from yesterday. Is there anything new in today’s post regarding Windows 8.1? Of course, there is. The first is an update to Search via Bing on Windows 8.1. You can read more on that here.
Microsoft is also improving apps and the Windows Store in the newest version of the OS. All the built in apps will receive upgrades. Microsoft includes two examples from the Photos and Music app. The Photos app will include editing tools right in the apps so users won’t have to leave the app to crop and adjust photos. As for music, the app “has been completely redesigned to help pick and play music from your collection.”
Finally, Windows 8.1 is bringing updates to SkyDrive, PC Settings and Internet Explorer. For SkyDrive, Microsoft is making it so that users can access all of their SkyDrive files across any and all devices as well as when they’re offline.
PC Settings will be accessible outside of Control Panel for the first time. Users will be able to adjust their resolution, set power options and more from the new PC Settings menu.
As previous rumors reported, Internet Explorer will be upgraded to IE11 on Windows 8.1. Microsoft says it will improve upon all the features and improvements that finally made Internet Explorer 10 a worthy contender in the browser wars. For now, Microsoft says that IE11 will be faster, feature support for unlimited tabs and feature tab syncing across devices.
All of this and more will be available in the Windows 8.1 public preview on June 26. The release version will be made available as a free update to all Windows 8 users later this year.