Windows 8.1 is coming soon and Microsoft on Thursday discussed several of the new changes that will launch in the update.
“Windows 8.1 will deliver improvements and enhancements in key areas like personalization, search, the built-in apps, Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity,” Microsoft’s Antoine Leblond explained. “Windows 8.1 will also include big bets for business in areas such as management and security – we’ll have more to say on these next week at TechEd North America.”
Windows 8.1 will allow users to set photos from their computer or SkyDrive as a slideshow on the lock screen, and will also offer new backgrounds—including animated wallpapers—and themes. Microsoft is also introducing new tile sizes for further homescreen customization. Like in Windows Phone 8, you’ll be able to move tiles around after tapping and holding them.
Search has been updated and will now provide results from Bing and SkyDrive in addition to local results. Microsoft also said it’s updating other pre-installed applications, including its Photos app, which has new photo editing features, and its Music application.
Other new features include the ability to save files directly to SkyDrive, quick access to settings, a faster and improved Internet Explorer 11 browser and a Start button, which Microsoft is actually calling a Start tip. “The new tip appears anytime you move the mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen, and is always visible on the taskbar when on the desktop,” Leblond explained.
A preview of Windows 8.1 will be available on June 26 and Microsoft said the update will launch to all consumers later this year for free.