Microsoft Reveals Windows Blue's Main Features

Dennis Faas's picture

We've known for some time that Microsoft is planning to update its newest operating system, Windows 8, with Windows Blue (otherwise known as Windows 8.1). Now, the firm has revealed the changes Windows Blue will bring.

For one, the long-missed Start button is making a return. The bad news: the Start menu isn't coming with it.

According to reports, clicking the Start button will bring users to Windows 8's new Start screen. That means they won't gain access to the list of recent and popular applications that popped up when someone clicked the Start button in Windows 7.

Boot Directly to the Desktop with Windows Blue

Windows Blue will also bring users the option of booting directly to the desktop, which means you'll no longer have to access the modern Windows 8 user interface before making the switch. (Source:

Windows Blue also gives Windows 8 users a number of new desktop customization features. For example, you can now add new colors and backgrounds to the Start screen. It's also possible to bring a desktop background over to the new user interface.

One of the most exciting Windows Blue additions is the new Snap view feature, which allows users to resize Snap applications to the proportions they prefer. This means you can line up two or three apps next to one another.

Imagine having Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer, and Excel windows going all at once.

Windows Blue will also do away with a number of Windows 8's less popular habits. For example, newly installed apps will no longer be automatically added to the Start screen. Instead, they'll now be pushed to a "New" section in the All Apps view.

Windows Store, Microsoft Apps Receive Overhauls

A number of Windows Store and default Microsoft apps are also getting overhauls; for example, Microsoft says that after installing Windows Blue the Search charm will "provide global search results powered by Bing in a rich, simple-to-read, aggregated view of many content sources."

Microsoft's own Music, Camera, and SkyDrive apps are also being redesigned to improve the overall user experience. (Source:

Microsoft plans to release a developer preview of Windows Blue on June 26, 2013. A final version for home and business users should be available later this year.

To read Microsoft's blog post on Windows Blue, click here.

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