10 New Features For Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 Update

Microsoft said Thursday that a preview of Windows 8.1 will be released on June 26, in time for its Build developer conference. But, the company also shared some updates on what users can expect from the free update to Windows 8. Here's a look at 10 of them.

Picture Frame

Users can turn their PC or tablet into a picture frame by turning their lock screen into a slide show of photos. The photos can be stored either locally or in the cloud, according to Microsoft. Users can also take pictures with a built-in camera right from the lock screen without having to log in.

Start Screen Versatility

From the Start screen, users can select from more colors and backgrounds, including ones with motion, according to Microsoft. You can also choose your desktop background for more familiarity. Users can also name groups of Tiles and rearrange them in the Metro interface.


The Search function of Windows 8.1 will continue to be powered by Bing but include enhanced aggregation of search results from the Internet, apps, files, SkyDrive and more, according to Microsoft.


Microsoft promises improved built-in apps within Windows 8.1. For example, the Photos app will include some editing features when you open a photo, and the Music app has been completely redesigned, according to Microsoft.

Windows Store Improvements

An updated Windows Store will show more information than before on apps, including detailed lists of top-selling apps, new releases and more, according to Microsoft. The store will also include a search function and an area for related apps.

SkyDrive Connectivity

Files will be able to be saved directly to Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud storage program in Windows 8.1, according to Microsoft. A new SkyDrive app gives users access to files, even when users are offline, according to the company.

PC Settings

The PC Settings within Windows 8.1 lets users more easily access settings without having to go to (or find, in the case of novice users) the desktop's Control Panel. Specifically, Windows 8.1 users will be able to change their display resolution, set power options, do a Windows Update, change the product key, view available storage or manage SkyDrive from PC Settings, according to Microsoft.

Internet Explorer

Windows 8.1 will come with Internet Explorer 11, which has been built for touch-screen capability, according to Microsoft. In addition, IE11 will feature faster page load times, adjustable appearance and the ability to sync open tabs across multiple Windows 8.1 devices.


While Windows 8 was designed for touch, many users still use or prefer a mouse. With that in mind, users can access the new Start "tip," a Windows logo, by moving the mouse cursor to the lower left-hand corner of the screen.

Other Enhancements

Microsoft will also let users customize what each of the four corners of the screen can do when a mouse cursor is positioned in them, and Windows 8.1 will provide options to boot to alternative screens, including the desktop or an Apps view, according to the company.