Et tu Blue-te..? – Is Windows 8.1 Your New Best Friend?

Search, well…Everywhere, from Anywhere

One of the biggest complaints about the Windows 8.x and the non-returning Start MENU is that Windows 7’s search functionality was really easy to use. Searching your computer in Windows 8.1 is just as easy, and may actually be better.

Local search results are now unified, like Windows 7.  However, instead of limiting search results to the confines of the Start Menu, results are displayed on the right side of the  screen, but divided into different categories – Apps, Settings and Web Destinations.  If you search the All Apps Screen, results can be shown full screen.

Microsoft has done a lot of work here. Most everyone should like the results, despite the ModernUI/Metro undertones.  The additional work comes in via the feature, Search Heroes.  “Search Heroes,” is a highly designed result pages that offers more than just app, file, or web results.  It also offers actions. A couple of good examples of Search Heroes show up when you search for a popular musician or for a city. Searching “Rihanna” lets you immediately play the artist’s top tracks and videos via Xbox Music, as well as see biographical and Web info. Searching for “Chicago” results in a page showing a map, the current weather, and top attractions for the Midwestern city.

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Snap Improvements

The whole purpose of Windows is windowed multi-tasking. It’s been Microsoft’s claim to fame since Windows has been Windows, or 1992-ish and Windows 3.x. Windows 8 and ModernUI has been compared by many as a step back in UI to Windows 1.x or Windows 2.x.  Thankfully, with Windows 8.1, Microsoft is addressing how multi-tasking works in ModernUI, and they have made improvements to Snap, or the ability to run more than one app on your screen at a time.

Changes to snapped apps and their new features will be very appreciated by anyone with a large display. Now, you can arrange two apps side by side on even, small screens.  On large displays, you can have up to four modern apps with varying widths. If you’re using multiple monitors, you can double that amount to 8 apps at once.

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