- Tips & Tricks
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Windows 8.1 is something between a major service pack for Windows 8 and an entirely new edition of the operating system altogether. For this reason, it is generally best to start from scratch when installing the update, although most users should not have any problem simply downloading it from Windows Update and installing it on top of their existing original edition of Windows 8. Though this is what Microsoft intended, there may still be problems with some of your drivers, in which case they will likely need to be reinstalled.
When Windows 8 launched in October, 2012, it faced a storm of controversy, particularly from desktop and laptop users lamenting the loss of the start menu and the very obvious bias towards tablet and touchscreen functionality. A year later, Microsoft addressed many consumers' concerns with the launch of the free Windows 8.1 update, followed in April, 2014 by Windows 8.1 Update 1. While Windows 8 has no doubt improved immensely over its earlier editions, it still leaves something to be desired. Fortunately, with a few simple tweaks and third-party programs, there are ways to get Microsoft's latest operating system working just how you want it.
Windows Explorer has long been a core element to the Windows line of operating systems, since it is the number one application to use for browsing through the contents of your computer and managing your hard disk contents and that of any other storage devices in your computer. Windows 8 introduces a number of new changes to Windows Explorer. The most noteworthy of these is that the program is now called File Explorer, and it uses the ribbon interface which was introduced with many built-in applications in Windows 7. Those upgrading from Windows 7 will also notice that the Libraries feature has been removed. However, other than these factors, File Explorer offers much the same functionality as its predecessor.
Windows 8 presents a similar selection of language and keyboard settings to those of previous editions, although there have also been a number of improvements. Windows 8 provides keyboard layouts and time, date and number formats for just about every language and region you can imagine. It also provides complete interface languages for no less than 109 languages and regions. Following is an introduction to the various features of the multilingual world of Windows.
Microsoft claims that Windows 8 is the fastest and most reliable version of the world's most popular operating system so far. While this might be true, there are always things that can go wrong. One day, you might find that your computer refuses to boot into Windows due to a problem with a critical system file or something similar. Perhaps a new driver installation went wrong or malicious software was responsible for damaging your Windows installation folder. Regardless of the reason, Windows 8 includes a variety of tools to help you recover your system and get it up and running again. Some of these tools are very similar to their Windows 7 counterparts, although there are also some improvements and changes across the board. The following takes a look at the system recovery tools in Windows 8 and explains how to use them to their fullest.
Keyboard layouts in Windows allow you to type in a different language or dialect. By far the most common keyboard layout in the world is the standard QWERTY keyboard. Other countries, however, tend to have slightly different layouts while countries with languages written in different scripts have completely different keyboards entirely. However, regardless of the physical keyboard you have, you can install and use any keyboard layout that's supported by Windows. You can even design your own custom keyboard layouts using the free Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator application.
As is commonly the case when upgrading to a new operating system, particularly one as controversial as Windows 8, many users are understandably concerned about some of the changes. Windows 8, like its predecessors is certainly not a perfect operating system and most people will likely experience some of the following common annoyances when it comes to getting used to the new platform. With its completely redesigned interface, Windows 8 brings about some of the most profound changes to Microsoft's line of operating systems since the launch of Windows 95. If you find yourself facing some of the major changes with frustration, here are some workarounds that you may want to try.
The old Volume Control from Windows XP was replaced in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 by the Volume Mixer. The new application brings to Windows much more flexibility regarding the sound management of the different applications you have installed on your PC. In Windows XP the only feature of the Volume Control was to increase or decrease the general system sound level. In Windows Vista, 7 and windows 8, the Volume Mixer is capable of managing sound settings for each multimedia application installed on your PC.
Windows 7 has many excellent new features and Aero is definitely one of them. But whilst Aero can be a blessing, enabling you to move to and from the desktop without closing or minimising open windows using Aero Peek and move and resize open windows with ease with the Aero Snap feature, Aero can be a real pain if it misbehaves.
Two of the most common problems are with Aero’s transparency feature and the control of open windows. Here are two simple fixes for solving both these problems.