You can get to the listing of all your apps in just one step with Windows 8.1, by clicking on the arrow that now appears right below the tile interface. (Windows 8 requires swiping up and selecting the button marked All Apps.) Once you’re on the page with the complete app listing, you can sort by name, date installed, most used, or category.
With Windows 8.1, you can open up to three active windows simultaneously, while Windows 8 limits you to just two. In addition, you can open the windows in different sizes, as opposed to the two-thirds/one-third option in Windows 8. And if your monitor resolution is high enough, you can open up to four windows.
Finally, the Charms menu opens up in different locations, depending on where your mouse cursor is. If it’s near the top of the screen, the Charms bar opens there. If the cursor is toward the bottom of the screen, it opens there. That saves you the trouble of moving the cursor around too much in order to choose a menu option.
A new Internet Explorer, and really cool search
Search is greatly expanded, with a very graphical and attractive presentation. Start typing your search words from the Start screen. Search "Julia Roberts," for example, and up will pop a large photo, along with information such as where she was born, her age, her net worth, and her marriages. Keep swiping and you’ll see clickable icons of movies she's been in, movie trailers, photos, her Wikipedia and IMDb entries, and more.
We weren't as happy with the latest version of Microsoft's browser, Internet Explorer 11. As with Windows 8, the version you see from the Desktop screen is different from that on the Start screen, which can be disorienting.
The method for organizing and navigating bookmarks from the Start version is confusing. When you move from one Web site to another, then call up the bookmarks list, you end up in the same spot you were in the last time you accessed the bookmarks list. That means you need to open up a menu to call up all your favorites. And you can't drag and drop bookmarks from one folder to another. Instead, you have to press on the bookmark's icon and choose the Edit option.