By Peter Davey
The long awaited update to Windows 8 hits virtual shelves today after months of beta testing.
The free update can be accessed through the Windows App Store and brings a number of new features and improvements to the operating system.
The familiar start button which has graced the bottom left corner of Windows for 18 years, will return after being removed in Windows 8.
The familiar desktop was replaced in Windows 8 with numerous tiles showing news items, photos, social media feeds and apps.
This drastically different appearance may have dissuaded people from moving to Windows 8 said Rob Robson, program co-ordinator of Humber College’s computer programmer diploma.
“Not having the traditional desktop was one the biggest reasons that people were staying with Windows 7 and not migrating to 8,” said Robson. “This will improve the adoption of 8.”
A Help + Tips app will also make navigating Windows easier. Microsoft says it will get users “up to speed quickly.”
Along with easier navigation due to the added start button and help apps, the update brings a number of network and security features to enhance security and productivity.
Improved biometrics will enable authentication anywhere in Windows, instead of using a password.
Increased malware protection will be featured in Internet Explorer 11 and Windows Defender. The applications will monitor network behaviour to detect and remove malware.
Users with near field communication-enabled printers will be able to simply tap their device against the printer to begin printing.
Improving the popularity of Windows 8 is important as the software has not sold as well as its predecessor Windows 7. Microsoft says they have sold 100 million Windows 8 licenses in just under a year. Windows 7 was able to sell 240 million licenses in the same time.