Though I’ve been using Windows 8 since its launch last fall, I’ve remained critical of Microsoft for doing little to help those who adopt the OS make the most of the Start screen. While the company might believe that the Start screen is intuitive, I’ve learned from experience that it’s not. The fact that Microsoft didn’t bundle in a simple tutorial left me confused. Despite it not even being its OS, ASUS bundled a tutor app with its notebooks that I considered to be awesome.
After installing the Preview for Windows 8.1, one of the first things I noticed in the Start screen was an icon (ahem, tile) for “Help & Tips”. It became clear that Microsoft was no longer ignorant of its oversight, and was planning to right its wrongs in this major update. There’s nothing to see in the Preview, however, but those who have access to the latest build (read: developers) can check it out.
According to The Verge, the latest build includes videos that teaches users how to navigate the OS, access files and tackle other basic functions. It seems that not only the Start screen is being tackled here, which would be a good thing. I’ll reserve judgement on how effective Microsoft’s Help & Tips is until 8.1 final ships (could be in the month ahead to the public).
8.1 updates a bunch of other things from what was seen in the Preview as well, including parallax scrolling for the wallpapers, a new sidebar, updated Mail, Calendar and People apps, Skype built-in (it’s about time), and more. I admit that I didn’t expect much to change since the 8.1 Preview, but it seems Microsoft has been hard at work to prove me and others wrong. I’m looking forward to it dropping, especially since I’m in bad need of a fresh format.