Windows 8.1 Update

October 25, 2013

Windows 8 users have been eagerly awaiting the 8.1 update, particularly with high hopes for a return of the ‘classic’ start menu, found in previous versions of Windows.

The good news is the update has now arrived and be found in the Microsoft Store tile as a free download for all Windows 8 users. The bad news is, it may not contain the features you’ve been hoping for. Lets take a look…..

The first thing you may notice is the addition of the start menu button (mentioned above) at the bottom left of your screen, but don’t let this fool you into thinking Microsoft have made your lives easier again, this is certainly not the case.

Clicking the button won’t show the start menu you are expecting to see. Instead, it is simply another method of opening the Metro tile interface which was introduced upon the release of 8.0. Nothing new there as this was already the case when pressing the Windows key on your keyboard, although this may be useful for users who naturally aim for the bottom left of the screen when trying to navigate.

This will undoubtedly be disappointing for those who expected the classic menu to return, naughty Microsoft!

Luckily not all is bad though, with some added options (see above) you can improve your overall Windows experience, focusing on the first listed in the ‘Start screen’ section.

Selecting ‘When I sign in or close all applications on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start‘, will stop the Metro tile interface which has plagued Windows 8 since it’s release, from popping up in front of you when logging in. We feel that Metro is more suited to mobile touchscreen devices and not the day-to-day desktop computers.

A list of changes brought to you by the 8.1 update can be found here:

If you are looking to use a classic style menu, 8.1 is not the solution for you. But users looking for improvements on the existing tile screen or any of the features listed in the link above, it may be worth your time installing the 2GB+ update.

There are various unofficial solutions to the missing menu (Pokki Start Button for example), which might just fill that missing gap for you and give a ‘truer’ Microsoft Windows experience.

Posted by Kieran Donnelly