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Deep inside Windows 8.1's hidden new features

Brad Chacos | June 28, 2013
Some of Windows 8.1's more useful tweaks occur behind the scenes.

The idea is to allow you to kick 3D printers to life using the Print option under the Devices charm, so you can print from directly within that oh-so-fresh modern interface--assuming the printer's software takes advantage of Microsoft's support. Check out the image below to see Windows 8.1 printing to a MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer.

But the cutting-edge printing action doesn't stop there. Windows 8.1 also includes support for NFC printers. If both your Windows device and your printer are members of the (currently rare) NFC-enabled breed, simply tapping one against the other can automatically pair the two devices for hassle-free printing action.

And if NFC or 3D printers are just a bit too adventurous for you, you'll be happy to hear that Windows 8.1 also includes Wi-Fi Direct printing capabilities. What does that mean? Simple: You can connect directly to a Wi-Fi Direct-enabled printer without having to jump on a Wi-Fi network or fuss with installing software, though the exact method will depend on your printer and device.

What else?

We've only just started to dig into Windows 8.1's nooks and crannies. Did you find any particularly interesting gems hidden in Microsoft's OS preview? Share 'em with your fellow geeks in the comments below!

 

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