First Impressions from Windows 8.1

[Infragistics] Mihail Mateev / Saturday, June 29, 2013

Microsoft on Wednesday released a preview version of  Windows 8.1, offering some important improvements – especially in navigation  where people had some issues with the company’s flagship operating system.

At a conference kick-off in San Francisco, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer acknowledged that the company pushed hard to get people to adopt a radical new tile-based “Modern” user interface in Windows 8. Microsoft is now back-pedaling, making it easier to reach and use the older “desktop” interface.

I got Windows 8.1 Preview installation at TechEd Europe 2013 and immediately wanted to try the latest operating system from Microsoft.


This is the preview version of Windows 8.1 and I decided to install it on a virtual machine.



If you haven’t install image you could install it from this link . There are  available Windows 8.1 versions  in 12 languages.

You can install Windows 8.1 Preview version using MS Hyper-V, VMware, Parallels or Virtual Box virtualization.

I’m using VMware Workstation 8.0 over Windows 8 Enterprise.


  The installation runs smoothly. The only feature that you need to change when install Windows 8.1 on a VMware host machine without floppy is  to exclude floppy support in Virtual Machine Settings.



You will see the “Start button” in desktop mode


“Windows button” switches between desktop and Windows UI modes.


Make default desktop mode.


In desktop mode from the task menu select “Properties”.


In the Navigation tab turn on the option “Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in”.


Restart your machine.


You will see desktop mode after you signed in.


Now let’s think how to let your applications (available now in Windows UI Start screen) to be available in desktop mode.


Select again task menu->Properties->Navigation and turn on the option “Show my desktop background on Start”


Press ‘Windows” button to switch to Windows UI mode – you will see in this case that your tiles are available over your desktop background.


Maybe some of you will say: what I need to do to see all applications on our desktop?

By default all applications are available when you scroll down your start screen (in Windows UI mode)



If you have two screens you can turn on the option “Always show Start on my main display when I press the Windows logo key”


Now let’s make all applications visible by default when you switch to Windows UI mode (not only the start menu programs).

Select again task menu->Properties->Navigation and turn on the option “Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start”


Press ‘Windows” button – you will have all applications on your screen.


Finally –  if you want to see first when sorting your desktop applications:

Turn on the option “List desktop apps first in the Apps when it’s sorted by category”


Switch Windows mode and sort applications by category.


You will see first your desktop apps and after Windows Store applications.


Now you know the most important navigation settings in Windows 8.1. Enjoy the new navigation!


Expect next blogs where you will learn more about Windows 8.1, Visual Studio 2013 and MS SQL Server 2014Store .


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