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If you’ve installed Windows 8.1 Update 1, there are many great additions which will be  doubtless delighting you as you use clip_image004them, especially if you’re working on a PC which isn’t primarily touch-oriented. There are hundreds of incremental updates (more here), but there are still bits in Windows 8.1 which are commonly unknown.

Windows 8.1 introduced the idea of an “Alarm” function , and also debuted an in-the-box Alarms app, akin to the equivalent on the phone.

The new Alarms clip_image006app (just start typing alarm on the Start page to find it) does what you’d expect of the similar Windows Phone app – set one or a series of alarms that will throw an alert at the prescribed time, make some noise and generally be alarming.clip_image008

The idea of using your PC to wake you up might not be all that useful, however – if your machine goes to Sleep then the Alarm won’t wake it up unless your PC supports “InstantGo” – the new monicker for what was previously known as Connected Standby.

If you set an alarm on a PC which does not support the required mode, you’ll see a notification within the Alarms app that it will only work when the PC is awake… (Booo….)clip_image010

The good news is that even the original Surface RT supports the necessary sleep  mode, as do many of the SoC machines such as the growing band of 8” tablets running Windows 8.1. See here for a bit more info.

Even if your PC doesn’t support the ability to wake you, the Timer and Stopwatch functions are very slick and well worth a look, and the UI is really smooth, particularly for touch users.