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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.

Some websites are reporting, though, that Windows 8.1's libraries ditch Public folders. Our experiences are a bit more hit-and-miss: Public folders appeared in my Windows 8.1 libraries after I upgraded from Windows 8, but they were a no-show in the libraries of another PCWorld editor.

Don't let that bring you down! After reenabling libraries using the method outlined above, just right-click a library and select Properties > Add... to toss additional folders into the mix.

5. Windows 7 File Recovery, kind of
Ominous portents swirled when the Windows 8.1 Preview pushed out without the Windows 7 File Recovery' image-backup option found in Windows 8, especially since Microsoft has clearly stated that the tool is being deprecated in favor of Windows 8's File History. And yes, it's still missing in Windows 8.1.

But fear not! Though Windows 7 File Recovery is dead in name, it lives on in spirit as System Image Backup'. Just head to Control Panel > System & Security > File History, and then look in the lower-left corner.

6. Apps splashed on the Start screen
In Windows 8, all newly installed apps and desktop programs automatically received a tile on the modern Start screen. That isn't the case in Windows 8.1: Now, you have to dive into the All Apps screen and manually pin new software to the Start screen.

That's a big win in my book, since installing desktop programs often plopped tiles for dozens of auxiliary executables, languages, and other options on the Start screen alongside the link to the base program, resulting in a distressing amount of clutter. Less-seasoned computer users may become confused when installed apps fail to appear on the Start screen by default, however—especially since the returned Start button's behavior trains you to consider the Start screen as a "modern"-day Start-menu replacement. Steel yourself for the support calls from family and friends.

7. My Computer
Yes, the nearly 20-year-old My Computer' moniker has retired, giving way to the more cloud- and cross-platform-friendly This PC'. Desktop fallout from the focus on "One Microsoft" continues—though this is an admittedly trivial change.

8. SkyDrive desktop program
Keen-eyed SkyDrive users will note that jumping to Windows 8.1 erases the discrete (and optional) SkyDrive desktop software that served to keep local files in sync with the cloud. And that makes sense: Microsoft's cloud service weaves itself tightly into Windows 8.1, and the desktop program's functionality has largely been replaced by the update's native SkyDrive support.

8.1. SkyDrive desktop-program functionality
Continuing with that theme, some of the more obscure yet helpful functions of the SkyDrive desktop program haven't been replicated by Windows 8.1's native features. For one thing, upgrading to Windows 8.1 kills SkyDrive's remote Fetch feature.


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