Windows 8 Update Makes Using Keyboard, Mouse Easier

Brandon Dimmel's picture

Microsoft has announced that it plans to release its first major update for Windows 8.1 this spring, and it's called "Update 1". The biggest improvement, according to the firm, is that Windows 8.1 will become easier to use with a mouse and keyboard.

Microsoft's first significant update to Windows 8 was Windows 8.1, which was released last fall. Windows 8.1 Update 1 expands upon that, and has been rumored for a spring 2014 release for some time. To date, however, Microsoft has said very little about what's included in the package.

Windows 8.1 Update 1: Easier for Mouse, Keyboard Users

Now, Microsoft Windows Phone executive Joe Belfiore is offering some insight. Specifically, he says Windows 8.1 Update 1 will make life a whole lot easier for the many laptop and desktop users who didn't appreciate Windows 8's emphasis on touch technology.

"We are making improvements to the user interface that will naturally bridge touch and desktop, especially for our mouse and keyboard users," noted Belfiore.

"We have a number of targeted UI (User Interface) improvements that keep our highly satisfying touch experience intact, but that make the UI more familiar and more convenient for users with mouse [and] keyboard."

Belifiore went to say that Windows 8.1 users will "like how much more smooth and convenient these changes make mouse and keyboard use." (Source:

Price Cut Expected to Increase Windows 8.1 Installations

Microsoft is also drastically cutting the price of its Windows 8.1 licenses for manufacturers that build devices retailing for under $250. It's expected the deal will increase the number of budget-priced Windows 8-based devices on the market and could ultimately cut the price of such items for consumers.

But, will it be enough to arouse more interest in Windows 8.1 or devices using that operating system?

Bloomberg news says the move will save manufacturers who build sub-$250 devices up to 70 per cent, reducing the cost of a Windows 8.1 license from $50 to just $15. For companies that produce low-cost tablet computers and budget notebooks, experts say that's a significant cost savings.

PCWorld's Jon Phillips says it could result in manufacturers producing more budget-priced tablets and laptop computers, which is in turn good for the consumer.

Microsoft Continues to Battle Google Chrome

Perhaps most importantly, these changes will encourage manufacturers to install Windows 8.1 instead of Google's low-cost Chrome operating system, which can be found on a proliferating number of $200 to $250 "Chromebooks". (Source:

For Microsoft, the emergence of Chrome-based devices, like the $230 Samsung Chromebook 3, represents a major threat. Many consumers primarily interested in using their computer for simple tasks -- such as accessing the Internet and storage information in the "cloud" -- are now moving to low-priced notebooks, like the Chromebook 3.

It's believed that Microsoft's decision to slash the price of Windows 8.1 licenses could also help revive consumer interest in laptop computers. Currently, the PC industry is in a major slump, as more consumers ditch their notebooks and desktops in favor of high-power tablets, such as the recently unveiled 12.2-inch Samsung NotePRO.

That said, the move is also designed to get consumers using Windows 8, which continues to struggle when compared to its predecessor, Windows 7. Microsoft's newest operating system has sold just 200 million copies since it was released in October 2012, while Windows 7 sold 240 million licenses in just a year. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Have you recently considered purchasing a budget-priced tablet or laptop computer? If the prices were relatively equal and the hardware counterparts the same, would it make any difference to you if a new tablet or laptop you purchase runs Chrome, or would you prefer Windows 8.1?

Lastly, what do you think Microsoft needs to do to address the problems with Windows 8's "modern" user interface? Do you think Microsoft on the right track with this recent announcement?

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drdqld's picture

I have W8 (dual boot with W7) on my laptop and I don't like it. I use both a desktop & a laptop for business purposes and so use W7 on both. The hassle of using W8 navigation is appalling and I hate it. I don't think I would consider a Chromebook unless it was a travel device only and with reasonable local storage. I would want local storage on this device so I don't need an internet connection. Therefore the cloud based approach of the Chromebook doesn't appeal to me.

abhishek.moitra01's picture

Win 8 does not appeal to professionals. After all; we are still using the old keyboard and the mouse for professional and business environments. And further advanced technology like typing in the air ( for example !!!) is still to come!!!

So until then Win 7 would suffice for us!!! I am quite skeptical about the windows 8.1 update 1. I don't think that MS guys would do any drastic UI changes which would make our life easier. P

blueboxer2's picture

I bought my Win7 laptop as Win8 was being introduced so got a very attractive deal on Win8, download and disc. I have no intention of ever installing it but it will be there if I want to sell the laptop years down the road. I am assured that for mobile devices Win8 is actually the best OS on the market so if it's competitive to put it on smartphones and tablets, I'll expect to see more offered soon. Personally I still prefer XP.

So if I acquire a new machine in the near future (unlikely) or one of my XP machines gets hopelessly vulnerable, I'll likely go with a user-friendly version of Linux (Ubuntu, Mint, etc.) which will work on the old hardware.

abhishek.moitra01's picture

Personally I believer that Windows XP Pro is the BEST EVER OS; that Microsoft has developed so far. Imagine the fact; that although MS is closing the updates and support for XP users; but there are still millions of XP users out there.

I am still running XP; and I am very happy with it; although I have Win7 installed as well. XP is like old dog; who knows you from inside out!! and win7 is like a new dog who knows the things; but just needs to be get used to. As far as Win8 I have no comments!!!!!

mike's picture

I bought my last laptop before Windows 8 came out. I recently bought two refurbished desktop computers (both on Windows 7) so I would not need to move to Windows 8. In the future, unless Microsoft goes back to a real desktop interface (like XP or 7) I will likely move to Linux. Like blueboxer2, if I get to the point where my two remaining XP systems are no longer secure, I will try Linux.
Every couple of new OS releases, Microsoft insists on coming out with a real lemon, so Windows 8 is in line with the past lemons: DOS 4, Windows ME and most recently, Vista.
Overall, I prefer Windows XP as Windows 7 has some real lemon features: Libraries, the banner interface for paint & wordpad just for a few.

abhishek.moitra01's picture

Absolutly agree to your point "Windows 8 is in like with past lemos like: DOS4, Windows ME, Vista" etc.

Could somebody go and tell new MS CEO; that please bring in some real desktop OS which we like to call it as Windows XP

al's picture

MS has lost a lot of customers to Apple in recent years, especially as 8 has been a flop, as so often is the case with big new changes. At least they are listening though, so hope this is a real benefit for W8 users. Personally I will wait and give them one more chance to get it right with the anticipated W9 expected in just over a year. Pretty happy with W7 at the moment. Not ready to be tied down to Mac hardware limitations and expense just yet, and the cloud focussed systems are just too reliant on the internet and good connectivity for my liking. Funny how the successes with MS seem to alternate with the failiures. Thank goodness we can actually get away with changing every other OS version.