Review: Windows 8.1 Update offers an olive branch for mouse users

Windows 8.1 Update brings a tiny handful of mouse-centric improvements and a hodgepodge of interface tweaks

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Other changes
Windows 8.1 Update brings many more little changes. Many of them should have been in Win8 from the get-go. For example, in Windows 8.1 Update, the default apps for viewing pictures and media on the Desktop doesn't propel you to the Metro side any more: You get connected to Desktop programs that can handle the file type just fine.

SkyDrive has been renamed to OneDrive, reflecting the change Microsoft-wide.

There's a new Disk Space Tracker in one of Metro's PC Settings apps. To see it, bring up the Charms bar (or press Windows-C) and choose Settings. At the bottom, choose PC Settings. On the left, choose PC and devices, then choose Disk Space.

The Disk Space Tracker doesn't have a fraction of the features you would expect from a free disk analysis utility, but it's marginally better than the Desktop's Disk Compact command.

Although it won't make any difference for those of you who are, uh, updating with Windows 8.1 Update, Microsoft managed to shrink Windows 8.1 considerably. Windows 8.1 Update can reportedly run on a machine with 1GB of RAM and with 16GB of storage. Smaller footprints lead to smaller, cheaper machines -- and that's good for everybody.

While the Windows 8.1 Update won't win any converts from the Windows 7 Desktop trenches, it shows enough movement in the right direction that we know Microsoft is listening, at least a little bit. If you commonly use a mouse with your Windows 8.1 PC, Windows 8.1 Update is not very inspiring, but it's certainly worth having. If you use a mouse infrequently or not at all, the promised security and performance improvements may be worth the effort to update, but that's slim pickings.

The best part about Windows 8.1 Update is that it clears the way for Windows 9. Here's hoping Microsoft can turn out at least one version of Windows 9 that presents a compelling reason to upgrade from Windows 7.

This story, "Review: Windows 8.1 Update offers an olive branch for mouse users," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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