NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Microsoft on Thursday released Windows 8.1, a vastly improved update of its forward-thinking but flawed PC operating system.
On paper, the list of changes that Microsoft made to Windows 8.1 don’t seem all that major. No, the app tiles aren’t gone. Yes, the Start button is back, but not exactly as you remember it.
But it isn’t until you actually start using the latest version of Windows that you can appreciate the big benefits of little tweaks.
Start button: The return of the Start button to its rightful spot on the desktop taskbar is a perfect example.
The Start button’s main function in Windows 8.1 is actually to call up the Start screen (the series of app tiles that Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) calls “Modern UI,” which was introduced in Windows 8) — not the labyrinth of nested menus that it used to hide. But when you’re in desktop mode and you click the Start button, it won’t take you completely out of the desktop. Instead, a semi-transparent version of the Modern UI will float on top of the desktop, allowing you to choose an app.