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8.1 features Microsoft removed from Windows 8.1

Brad Chacos | Oct. 25, 2013
Windows 8.1 is superior to Windows 8 in virtually every way. It represents a much less jarring version of Microsoft's grand vision of a cross-platform future,though it still won't win over folks whose lips instinctively curl at the merest mention of the word Metro.

Forget about the desktop improvements and Bing Smart Search: Windows 8.1's biggest draw may be the sheer volume of new and hidden features. Seriously—it's jam-packed.

But apparently Microsoft needed to clear room for all the fresh ideas. Windows 8.1 shaves away many of Windows 8's auxiliary features. Some of the removals are blatant once they're pointed out, while others are more obscure, but all are off the table in Windows 8.1.

1. Messaging app
Windows 8's IM capabilities were handled by the aptly named Messaging, one of the core apps shining front and center on the live-tiled Start screen. No more: Microsoft has kicked Messaging to the curb less than a year after the app's arrival, replacing the Windows 8 native with Skype.

As high-profile as the swap is, it's no great loss. Messaging was pretty lackluster and largely overlapped Skype's core functionality. Meanwhile, Skype's communication services are also being baked into the Xbox One and (but not Windows Phone). One bummer: Messaging supported Facebook Chat, while Skype does not.

2. Windows Experience Index
Ever since the Vista days, Windows provided a "Windows Experience Index" score in your My Computer properties. The WEI score was supposed to be a numerical indicator of your PC's brawn. Powerful PCs received higher scores, and so on.

Unfortunately, the WEI's scoring criteria weren't well known, and it placed odd, seemingly artificial caps on the highest possible scores. (Windows 7's cap was 7.9, while Vista's was 5.9.) Whether for these or other reasons, the WEI never seemed to catch on, and it's nowhere to be found in Windows 8.1.

3. Facebook and Flickr in the Photos app
Regrettably, Windows 8.1's Photos app no longer supports Facebook and Flickr image integration.

"In Windows 8, we wanted to provide a way for folks to view their photos on other services, knowing there would be few (if any) apps in the store at launch that would do so," a Microsoft representative said. "Now there are many apps in the store that offer ways to view photos on other services."

A Facebook app launched in the Windows Store the same day as Windows 8.1, but its image-management and sharing capabilities aren't as flexible as those in Windows 8's Photos app. And despite Flickr's sudden disappearance from the Photos app, an official app for that service has yet to appear in the Windows Store.

4. Libraries?
Your Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos libraries aren't visible by default in Windows 8.1—but that doesn't mean they're not there. Activating them is easy, as shown in the single screenshot below.


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