Windows 8.1 Update Tips


With Windows 8.1 Update officially released there are a number of small changes which make life easier some. Here are some tips and tricks via the Windows Experience Blog:

BEFORE the update: Non-tablet devices would boot to the Start screen. Closing Windows Store apps would take you back to the Start screen. And pictures, music, and video files would open in Windows Store (modern) apps.

AFFER the update: Non-tablet devices will now boot to the desktop. Closing a Windows Store app now takes you back to the previously used app. If you close all apps, it takes your back to the desktop. And pictures, music, and video files now open with associated desktop apps (like Windows Photo Viewer, Windows Media Player, etc.).

We now have an official explanation of when the power button will appear on the start screen:

power button windows 8.1 update

On some devices you may not see the Power button. On devices that are not tablets like laptops, desktop PCs and All-in-Ones, the Power button should appear on the Start screen after installing the update. On most tablets you will not see the Power button on the Start screen as they have connected standby and a physical power button that lets you quickly shut down or put the device to sleep. However, on tablets larger than 8.5-inches without connected standby, you will see the Power button on the Start screen. I don’t see the Power button on my Dell Venue 8 Pro for example, or my Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet or Surface 2 but I see it on my Dell XPS 27 AIO.

With Windows 8.1 Update you can now manage disk space from the PC settings:

disk space windows 8.1 update

Go to PC settings, then “PC and devices” and “Disk space” to see a view of how much storage is being used on your device. You can see how much storage all your installed Windows Store apps are using (if you tap or click on “See my app sizes”, you can uninstall big Windows Store apps to free up space) as well as media and files. You can quickly empty your Recycle Bin here too.

Network context menus are now available:

network windows 8.1 update

You can now open the Settings charm, go to “Networks”, and right-click on any of your networks to get a context menu that lets you quickly set a network as a metered connection (great for things like pay-as-you-go networks you might be connected to when traveling) or show estimated data usage. You can also “forget” certain networks as well.

Playing Xbox Music right from the taskbar:

xbox music windows 8.1 update

By pinning the Xbox Music app to your taskbar and use your mouse to mouse-over the tile and get media playback controls that lets you play/pause and bounce between songs!

Do you have any useful tips or tricks for Windows 8.1 Update, let us know in the comments below.

About Author

Suril is a scientist, journalist and obsessive Microsoft observer. He holds an advanced degree in Biotechnology with minors in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology. Send him tips on twitter:

  • robertwade

    Yes, and I’ve turned all of this back OFF that I could. Still can’t kill the title bar on Metro apps and still can’t revert the right-click on Start screen back to multi-select. Thanks to Paul Thurrott, I was able to turn off the power icon on the Start screen.

  • Willem Evenhuis

    I’ve hidden update 1 in the update list. Already waiting for update 2 or 8.2 for the interactive tiles. I.M.H.O. the interactive tiles should have been part of update 1 as a balance between improving mouse and keyboard on the one hand and touch on the other. I also want contextual app search back, just like in 8.0 via the charms bar.

    • tande04

      You still have the contextual search, you just have to pick it in the drop down.

      • Bugbog

        They’ve diminished it further. The drop down tie-in on Metrotube now no longer works! :(

  • tande04

    Well that explains why search and power were showing up on my series 7 slate. Now if I could just turn them both off…
    Thanks to robertwade and Paul Thurrott I’ve got power off there so its a start.
    Its funny, on my AIO at work I didn’t even notice that it was dumping me back into the last app open, I just knew that something seemed off.

  • Sergey Durnov

    So, where are resizable windows of Metro apps on a desktop? I can only maximize/minimize. What’s the profit of having that function without having metro apps on a desktop

    • CyberAngel

      Stardock: MixedMode $4.95

    • Bugbog

      Won’t be available till later this year.

  • jaylyric

    Is the option to have Metro apps on the start menu in the desktop mode there? Personally I haven’t seen a problem with the way things have been with Windows 8 in the first place. It had/have a slight learning curve,but that’s to be expected as with anything new. However I was happy with 8.1 and the little things that I’ve discovered in Update 1 have been cool also. Thanks for the post because I was wondering where the power button next to the search button was on my Surface.

  • Bugbog

    “Go to PC settings, then “PC and devices” and “Disk space” to see a view
    of how much storage is being used on your device. You can see how much
    storage all your installed Windows Store apps are using (if you tap or
    click on “See my app sizes”, you can uninstall big Windows Store apps to
    free up space) as well as media and files…”

    You could do this in 8.1 before. Only the recycle bin is new.

  • Blaze Blue

    What about the start menu, I do not see it how can I get it to show up

    • Desplow

      The new Start menu will come in a later update, same goes for the framed Modern UI apps.

      • Blaze Blue


  • Alf Lenni Erlandsen

    Seriously! The whole thing about having metro apps with minimize and close (x) (for mouse use) is pure brilliance. Also i love that if Desktop IE 11 is maximized and you close it, it stays maximized next time you open!

    Amazing work they’ve been doing!

    All i am really missing is some more work on XBOX music. Bring back all the Zune software functions. Big artwork on playback, faster play times over the cloud would be awesome, so i hope they’re looking into all that.

  • OberstDanjeje

    Guys I have a big issue with my Ativ Smart PC, when I close the last modern app it goes to the Dektop like a non touch device, there is a way to fix this?