Windows 8.1 update brings some PC relief

Microsoft Windows 8.1 screenshotIt’s hard to imagine anyone is waiting breathlessly for the spring update to Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 8.1. But for the interested spectators with a professional interest in desktop operating systems, a series of leaked screenshots making the rounds seems to indicate Redmond knows how to handle criticism and has made some changes accordingly.

Most of the changes seem like an attempt of Microsoft’s part to address persistent complaints that the tile-based Win8 doesn’t play well on a mouse-and-keyboard driven PC and never really felt like part of the familiar Windows family. Designing a GUI around a mobile-first strategy left many Win8 users without their comfortable tools for finding, starting and using multiple applications, for example.

Among the changes PC users will most likely appreciate is the addition of a desktop-like title bar with controls for navigating, closing, minimizing and snapping Win8 apps via mouse. Other changes likely to get popular raves include the return of search and shut-down options back to the Start Screen.

That same sort of PC sensibility is carried through with what appears to be the added ability to right click on app tiles on the Start Screen for resizing, uninstalling, and pinning or unpinning apps to the taskbar.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 is due out in mid-March a few weeks before Windows Phone 8.1 is due for release and just ahead of the company’s Build developers conference in April.

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