Windows 8.1 / Windows Server 2012 R2 - Updated Shell UI changes

Windows 8.1 / Windows Server 2012 R2 - Updated Shell UI changes

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Hello folks, today I would like to take some time and highlight some of the new UI changes in the shell for Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1 introduces several changes that allow the user to personalize and enhance the overall user experience.

Start Screen

The Start Screen now provides more customization options. There are more sizes available for customizing your tiles. You now have the options of large, medium, wide, or small tiles to maximize real estate on the start screen. Another change in 8.1 is that installing applications will not drop tiles directly on the start screen anymore. Instead, app tiles will be installed under the new All Apps screen. The new All Apps screen is accessed from the down arrow available on the start screen. Both start screen and all apps screen can also be customized to use the desktop wallpaper for additional personalization.

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All Apps screen

The All Apps screen can be sorted by Name, Installed Date, Most Used, and by Category.

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Lock Screen

Another new feature is the ability to customize the lock screen with a slide show. This setting is configured via the Settings charm, Change PC Settings, Lock Screen. From here you have the option to play a slide show, specify a new local folder or SkyDrive, and control length of time before turning off the slide show.

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Start Button

The Start Button is back with Windows 8.1! Although it’s not the actual start menu. By default clicking the start button will navigate you to and from the Start Screen but this can be changes to navigate to the All Apps screen instead. Right clicking the button will provide you a context menu of shortcuts to useful and common programs such as event viewer, control panel, and the command prompt to name a few. If you prefer hot keys, pressing “Windows + X” will get you this same menu. The options to shutdown, sign out, or restart are also now available directly from the start button.

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Boot to Desktop

Another nice feature is the ability to boot directly to your desktop. This setting is tucked away under Taskbar properties. To enable this you can right click on the Taskbar, select properties, access the Navigation tab, and select “When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to desktop instead of Start”. From the Navigation tab you can also point the start button to the All Apps screen if you prefer. If you are a PowerShell junkie, you can also replace the default command prompt option with PowerShell in the start button context menu.

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These are just some of the new features available in Windows 8.1. Enjoy!

-Jerry

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  • Sorry No navigation tab in taskbar and navigation properties just Taskbar, Jump lists and Toolbars. I guess that tab is just on 8.1