The 64-bit Windows 8.1 OEM System Builder DVD from Microsoft brings the return of the Start button. While it is not quite the Start Menu from Windows 7, it still adds more functionality to the desktop. Right-click on the Start button to open up a menu with several options, such as Control Panel, Network Connections, Task Manager and more. For access to programs, a simple left click on the Start button will bring you to the redesigned Start screen introduced in Windows 8.1. Here, you can resize tiles to your preference.
- Return of the Start Button
- Boot Directly to Desktop
- Redesigned Start Screen
- Start Screen Tiles Update in Real-Time
- Touch, Keyboard, & Mouse Support
- Microsoft SkyDrive Integration
- Cloud Connectivity
- Internet Explorer 11
- Built-In Apps
- Windows Store
The Return of the Start Button
After many requests from Windows users, the Start button makes its triumphant return in Windows 8.1. While it may not be exactly the same as its predecessor in Windows 7, the Start button has two core functions. A left click on the Start button will take you to the Windows 8.1 Start screen featuring live tiles. A right click on the Start button brings up an advanced menu where you can access the Device Manager, Control, Network options and more
Boot Directly to the Desktop
Windows 8.1 gives you the choice of booting to the Windows 8.1 Start screen with live tiles or booting to the familiar desktop screen of Windows 7. Users can also boot directly into an app or app view if they choose to
The New Start Screen
The new Start screen has all of the information you care about in one place, such as contacts, the weather, and the next appointment on your calendar. Windows 8.1 is truly yours: websites, playlists, photo albums, contacts, and your favorite apps are front and center.
The tiles on your Start screen are brimming with content, and they change and update in real time so you can see what's going on and stay on top of things. You can share and connect with other people in a couple of clicks, and get real-time updates about things like news, sports, and what your friends are up to. Check your schedule or get the latest weather forecast. Tiles are a quick way to see it all. Launch apps, switch between tasks, and check notifications without digging for information.
Windows 8.1 also incorporates the PC desktop that you're already familiar with. In the desktop, you'll see that the settings and features you used in Windows 7 are still there
Touch, Keyboard, and Mouse: Seamless Integration
Whether browsing apps, reading a book, or typing on the go with touch, creating a project that requires the more productive horsepower of a traditional mouse and keyboard, or doing everything at once, Windows 8.1 makes it easy. You use whatever works best.
On touch-enabled PCs, you can do the same things you could with a mouse and keyboard with touch. You can switch between apps, organize your Start screen, and pan and zoom. With the touch keyboard, you can navigate, type, and interact on the go. Because you work in different ways depending on which app you're using, Windows 8.1 makes it easy to use whichever method works best for you.
The touch keyboard has two modes designed to suit a variety of needs. Take advantage of a full-sized keyboard with large buttons, or a handy thumb keyboard that splits the keys on either side of the screen, making it easy and more comfortable to use on the go. Typing feels natural whether you're sitting down or walking around.
On touch enabled PCs, the keyboard layout automatically adjusts to the language you choose for Windows, so your language settings apply to the whole PC rather than just certain apps. Whether you want to type and click, swipe and tap, or do a combination of both, you can navigate and work easily and efficiently in the language of your choice with Windows 8
Windows 8 is Cloud-Connected:
Your Windows Everywhere
Sign in and your Windows 8.1 device becomes yours because your personalization, desktop background, and settings are all there. Whether you set it up once just the way you want it, or change it often, when you sign in even a brand-new PC lights up with everything that makes Windows yours. And anyone you share your Windows 8.1 PC with can have their own personalized, cloud-connected access by signing in with their own Microsoft account.
Start a project on one PC, and finish it on another. When you use the cloud to store your information, the boundaries between devices dissolve. Your apps, games, music, photos, files, and settings aren't stored on one device because they're in one place: the cloud. Sign in to any of your Windows 8.1 PCs and access all of your stuff from virtually anywhere
Connected to Your People
Use the Mail and Messaging apps to communicate with all of your friends, family, and co-workers. If you have contacts all over the place, in Outlook.com, Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, or some other service, you can choose to connect them. Once connected that contact is then available in your apps as soon as you sign in to your PC with your Microsoft account. You can have a fully connected address book with the People app
Connected to Your Files
Simply sign in to your Microsoft account from any Windows 8.1 device and you can pick up just where you left off. When your files are in the cloud and you have an Internet connection, you can access photos and other files on Microsoft SkyDrive just like you access other things on your PC, and you can get to them from any web-connected device
Family Safety in the Cloud
With Microsoft Family Safety, you can set up accounts for your children so you don't have to worry as much about their online activity. Family Safety will monitor your children's activities and let you know what they're doing. By connecting to your account, you'll be able to get weekly email reports in your inbox. You can also set up web filtering, time limits, and app restrictions
Apps You Want:
With Windows 8.1, your entire PC is cloud-connected. You'll have new Microsoft Mail, Calendar, SkyDrive, Photos, People, and Messaging apps that are connected to services like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter just by adding them to your Microsoft account
SkyDrive is free online storage that's built into Windows 8.1. Save documents, photos and other files to SkyDrive automatically. You can also use SkyDrive to protect your files if something happens to your PC
Xbox, Video, and Music Apps
The Xbox app along with the Video and Music apps put a variety of entertainment options at your fingertips. Videos you buy are available for playback on both Windows 8.1 and on your Xbox 360. Get access to over 15 million songs, and play back songs in your personal library, all with the Music app. You also get a variety of games on the Xbox Live Games app. Connect and play with friends, and create your own unique gamer avatar. You can even find and purchase games for your Xbox 360
Mail allows you to see all of your accounts in one place, whether it's Outlook.com, Gmail, or your company's Exchange mail. You can pin email accounts to the Start Screen so you can see your new mail on the live Mail tile without opening the Mail app. You can even pin individual folders to stay up to date. Access the SkyDrive to automatically upload files for recipients to see
Just like the Mail app, Calendar combines your information by pulling together your multiple calendars into a single day, week, or month view. You decide which of your calendars are shown, and you can adjust the colors to suit your preferences. Pinning the Calendar app to the Start screen means you see upcoming events on the tile. You can even choose to see upcoming appointments on the Windows lock screen so you won't have to unlock your PC to see what's going on
The Photos app pulls all of your pictures together into one place. So now your albums from Facebook, Flickr, SkyDrive, and all of the pictures you store on your PC are there when you connect your Microsoft account to these services
With the Messaging app on your Windows 8.1 PC, you can chat with Messenger or Facebook friends from one convenient place
With the Reader app, you can read PDF, XPS, or OXPS documents. You can interact with your PDFs by highlighting, adding text annotations, printing, and sharing
Apps Work Together
In Windows 8.1, apps work together so you can share information between them and streamline your work
Designed for Discovery
The Windows Store is designed to make it easy to discover apps without getting lost. You can search or browse by category or lists of top apps to find the apps you want. You'll see apps featured on the front page and you'll have no trouble finding apps because they're organized in categories like New Releases, Top Paid, Top Free, and Rising Stars
Using Family Safety, you can change settings to determine what your children can download and see in the Windows Store. Setting up a rating level filters the apps and games that children can access and provides a safer environment based on your preferred restrictions
- Application: Operating System
- Compatibility: PC
- Required Processor: 1 GHz or faster processor with PAE, NX, and SSE2 support, For 64-bit version only: PrefetchW and LAHF/SAHF support
- Required RAM: 2 GB (64-bit)
- Required Hard Disk Space: 20 GB (64-bit)
- Required Display Resolution: Access to Windows Store: 1024 x 768, To snap apps: 1366 x 768
- Required Connectivity: Internet access for certain features (ISP fees might apply)
- Required Video Card: Graphics hardware acceleration requires a DirectX 9 graphics card with WDDM driver
- Additional System Requirements: Microsoft account required for certain features. Watching DVDs requires separate playback software. Windows Media Center license sold separately.
- Other System Requirements: Additional requirements to use certain features: Internet access (ISP fees may apply). Depending on resolution, video playback may require additional memory and advanced graphics hardware. For some Windows Media Center functionality, a TV tuner and additional hardware may be required. Windows Touch and Tablet PCs require specific hardware. HomeGroup requires a network and PCs running Windows 7. DVD/CD authoring requires a compatible optical drive. Music and sound require audio output. Product functionality and graphics may vary based on your system configuration. Some features may require advanced or additional hardware.