windows-8.1-apps-view-searchThe reviews covering the new Windows 8.1 missed the thing we like best about it: the return of the “all programs” list. But there are lots more goodies than that in the new upgrade.

You need to have Windows 8 to get the 8.1 upgrade, and you do have to go get it — it’s not automatic. To get it, tap the Windows key (looks like a flag) and type “Store.” Then click on the free download link. If you get an error message like we did, try again. It took us several tries, perhaps because the servers were busy.

In Windows 8.1, the “Start” button is back on your desktop. Yeah! But if you don’t tweak it, it only takes you to the now familiar giant colored squares called “Tile World.” To get a list of your programs instead of the colored squares there’s a one-time fix, and here it comes:

Hold down the Windows key and tap the “D” key. Your desktop screen comes up. Put your cursor anywhere on the bottom edge of the screen. Then click the right mouse button and choose “Properties.” Under the “Navigation” tab, select “go to Apps View when I click Start.”

You get a screen full of tiny icons. Apps View is the new term for the all-programs list, but it’s far superior. Apps View lets you see the whole shebang in a glance, listing both your programs and the apps. Apps (short for applications) are programs too, but are nearly always small and designed to a do a single function, like offering you books to read, or videos to watch. On a phone or tablet, you buy them or get them free by tapping the Apps or Google Play store icon. In Windows, they’re in the Store.

Click on an app or program in the list or start typing its name and it loads. Looking over the list, you will discover lots of fun stuff you didn’t know you had. We started playing “TapTiles,” for example, which is like the game “Shanghai,” only in three dimensions; the pile of tiles can be rotated to present a new face.

If you don’t want to see Tile World when your computer boots up, right-click the taskbar at the bottom of the screen and choose properties from the list that comes up. Under “Navigation,” choose “When I sign in, go to the Desktop instead of Start.”

Comments are closed.