Terms of Use For FixedByVonnie

By proceeding to access fixedByVonnie.com, you expressly acknowledge, and agree to, all of the following:

fixedByVonnie.com is a personal website and blog owned by Security Plus Pro LLC, which is being presented for informational purposes only. The views on this website are solely those of the website owner (and not those of any employer or of any professional associations affiliated with the website owner).  Any views expressed in this website and any information presented on this website, or in any of its blog entries, should not be relied on for any purpose whatsoever other than as the personal opinions of the website owner.  The website owner expressly disclaims any and all liability for any information presented on this site.  The owner of this website and its blog posts shall not be held liable, and shall be held harmless, for any errors or omissions in any information or representations contained in this website, or in any of its blog entries.  The website owner also expressly disclaims any liability for the current or future availability of any such information. The website owner makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this website or which may be found by following any link on this website. The website owner shall not be held liable for any losses, injuries, damages, claims, or causes of action, from the display or use of any information on this website or in any of its blog entries. If you use the information on this website, or on any of its blog entries, you do so solely at your own risk.

Windows 8.1 Blue Build 9471 is here - fixedByVonnie

Windows 8.1 Blue Build 9471 is here

Windows 8.1 Build 9471 Desktop

I’ve been playing with Windows 8.1 build 9471 for a few hours now and I’ve got a few thoughts to share.  This build is almost the final version and offers a bevy of features designed to make the transition from previous versions of Windows as easy as possible.  Microsoft has made significant improvements in usability and has included several integrated tutorials to help users become conversant with Windows 8.1.

Here are the top changes:

Easy Application Bar Access

Do you see those three horizontal white dots in the bottom right corner of the Mail App?  When you mouseover, it shows a little tooltip that says you can press the Windows Key + z or right click on the screen to bring it up.  Alternatively, you can simply click the three dots to slide up the options bar.

Windows 8.1 Easy Access to Application Bar

Here’s the options bar.  You can also see that clicking the More circle produces even more options such as Sync and Print.

Windows 8.1 Options Bar

Help and Tips

Microsoft sagaciously decided to include a beautiful Help and Tips app to ameliorate the fear of using Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 build 9471 Help and Tips App

These are short bite sized nuggets of wisdom that show you how to use the Start Screen, navigate the OS, perform basic actions, synchronize your stuff, adjust settings and generally become familiar with all the new features.

Some of the tips are pure text others are short icon based videos demonstrating a task.  For example, clicking Getting Around opens an App that explains how to use the new Start Screen and there’s a 10 second video animation that demonstrates the task.

Windows 8.1 build 9471 Help and Tips App Getting Around

On the one hand this is a huge win for Microsoft and I think it’s imperative to include these tutorials since Windows 8 and 8.1 are so alien to most users; however, on the other hand, Microsoft should have designed Windows so that such tutorials weren’t necessary.  When I pick up my iPad I instantly know what to do without ever touching a manual… unfortunately Microsoft doesn’t have this magical element yet.

Skydrive and Skype

Other additions include baked in SkyDrive support and Skype is installed by default which replaces the Messaging App

Windows 8.1 Skydrive App

The Skype App really is beautiful.  Since I sign into Windows with my Microsoft account, Skype never prompted me to login with new credentials.  After I clicked the Skype App it used my Microsoft account to automatically (and seamlessly) sign into Skype.


Windows 8.1 Skype

New File Explorer

File Explorer now puts SkyDrive on stage.

In Windows 8 you had to install a separate SkyDrive App; however, in Windows 8.1 SkyDrive is there ready to spring into action without any silly setup software.

You can see it in the left pane below.

Windows 8.1 Build 9471 File Explorer

On a side note: I do find it a little annoying that the Libraries folder is gone.

Obviously, Microsoft wants everyone to embrace Skydrive and for what it’s worth I agree cloud storage is the future; however, it would still be nice to have my lovely Libraries folder looking back at me when I open File Explorer.

To get it back you have to take a circuitous route to the View tab, then the Navigation pane icon in the far left and finally Show libraries.

Parallax Scrolling Wallpapers

Motion desktops are fun little additions to Windows.

As you scroll left and right in the Start Screen, different parts of the background animate.  It doesn’t really have much utilitarian value but it does make the Start Screen more interesting.  I spent about 30 seconds just scrolling back and forth marveling at the animation, in fact, the graphic below is an (Animated PNG) APNG file so if you’re using Firefox you can see the motion in action.  I don’t think IE or Opera will display the animations though.

Windows 8.1 Start Screen Animated PNG APNG

The Bottom Line

My gut wants to hate Windows.  I want it to fail because I want Microsoft to wake up and hear the people and make things right.  But to be honest, I think Windows 8.1 actually get’s it right.  The OS is fluid, responsive and more intuitive thanks to the Help and Tips App and various on-screen tool-tips.

The RTM should hit any day now so let’s hope Microsoft can deliver on what it promises.

What do you think of the latest build, do you think Windows 8.1 will ultimately be a success?


Connect with Vonnie on Twitter

Posted in How To, Windows 8.1 Tagged with: