What I Still Want to See in Windows 8.1

All this recent news about Windows 8.1 has got me more excited than ever about using Microsoft's Windows operating system, but there are still little things I'd like to see that I think would make my Windows experience closer to absolutely perfect.

Sticky Screen Edges

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I recently tried-out the most recent version of Ubuntu (I hadn't used it since version 9) and was impressed by a small but oddly helpful feature present in Ubuntu 13. This would be a handy feature for users like me that use multiple monitors and are attempting to use the charms bar. The feature prevents the cursor from accidentally switching monitors when it is evident the user is moving slowly around the edge of that particular screen. This would make the charms, already an excellent feature, even more excellent.


TellMe Voice Search

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To me, a lack of voice-guided search a la TellMe in Windows Phone 8 seems like a huge oversight. Pressing and holding a Windows key or button ought-to bring up the Search Charm and begin listening for voice. With the newly announced Search Hero feature of Windows 8.1, I really hope this will get included. (Also, anybody else think Bonnie Tyler would have been a better search subject for demonstrating Search Hero in Windows 8.1? +5 Internets for people who get the joke.)

Keyboard Gestures

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Now, I admittedly rarely praise Apple, but when they do something right, I can and do give them credit for it. The iOS gesture to "break" the keyboard from standard to the split keyboard just makes sense on so many levels. Similar gestures for bringing-up the handwriting keyboard (making a wave-like squiggle or four finger swipe sideways [this could even potentially be used to cycle through the keyboards], for example, or bringing digitizer pens close to the screen) and hiding the keyboard (four-finger swipe downward) would make the already pretty decent keyboard even quicker to use.

Sliding Keystroke Entry

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Speaking of the keyboard, I believe the Windows 8 keyboard could learn a trick from Swype or Android 4.2 that would also make it even better. The Swype-like text entry coupled with the predictive text entry from Windows Phone 8 would make touch-based keying so much faster (and more accurate)--at least for me.

Notification Centre

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Now, I know this is an intense spot of contention amongst members of the Windows Phone 8 community, but a synced notification centre a la Liquid Daffodil's Unification would be very welcome. My current thoughts on how to implement it surround the Me tile, but who knows how Microsoft intends to go about this. Rumours suggest this is coming--but when? Will it make it to 8.1?

Remove Transparency on Taskbar

The heading says it all, really. Aero needs to finish dying--and this is its last breath.

Pin Files to Start Screen

There are some apps on Windows 8 that attempt to replicate this functionality from Windows Phone 8, but it's all quite wonky. I just want it to act just like it does on Windows Phone 8. That's all, really. It'd be something else for my productivity.

Percentage Indicator for Battery

It's a nitpick, but needing to jump into the desktop to tap on the battery indicator for the battery life percentage remaining is a bit of a hassle when it could so easily be placed on the little pop-up clock thingy where the battery life icon already appears.

Shake-Out (Similar to Modern Mix)

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I know this will cause a fuss--but sometimes, while I really do want to work in a Modern UI app, I want to just shake it out of the full screen mode and use it like a regular program. This functionality could be off by default, but I'd like to be able to pull down on an app (as if I were to close it), then shake it as if I were using Aero Shake, and get it to "shake out" into a windowed version of the app for intense desktop use.

Office MX

I love office, but I really hate having to jump into the desktop mode to use it. This is pretty easy to explain, but basically, I want Office in the Modern UI. This would be especially handy for my tablet.

Custom Live Tile Density

I would like to be able to manually adjust how many tiles "fit" on my Start Screen. That's all, really. It's not a complex idea, but it would be a handy one.

Windows Media Centre MX - With Blu-ray Playback Support

The Media Centre upgrade currently feels a bit like a rip-off. If I hadn't gotten it during the free promotional time, I'd've probably just never have gotten it. If, however, Microsoft were to drastically update their Windows Media Centre app for the Modern UI (Kiosk mode for HTPC anybody?) or make "Videos" into something like "Videos + TV" and add Blu-ray playback support in with it, I'd be more than happy to fork over the money for the upgrade in the future. As it stands now, Nero will have to do (screw CyberLink's PowerDVD).

Uninstall Desktop Applications from the Start Screen / Applications List

This was something I sort of expected from the original release of Windows 8, actually, but instead of having to jump into the add/remove programs section of the control panel, I'd like to just be able to right-click on a program from the Start Screen or "All Apps" list and just uninstall it--Modern UI app or no. Consistency is key--and this would make uninstalling stuff so much easier for my mum who manages to install random crap...

Shutdown From Start Screen

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This isn't for me so much as for people not so familiar with how to shutdown in Windows 8. It really does, however, feel like the "Shutdown" option belongs on the same menu as the "Lock" and "Log out" options on the Start Screen.

Task Manager MX

This is pretty much self-explanatory, but it'd be just one fewer reason for me to have to jump into the desktop mode on my tablet.


Device Management MX

Like the header before, this is pretty much self-explanatory, but it'd be just one fewer reason for me to have to jump into the desktop mode on my tablet. Also "Devices" on the charms bar doesn't seem to be living up to its potential. It could easily have more things on it--like Bluetooth device connections/devices and all that jazz, rather than basically only serving as a means to control multiple screens and print from some applications.

Improvements to People

While I really do like the People app, there are some oddities that make me not love it. For one, I used Windows 8 all through each of the previews and for several months before realising that the "Me" tile and the "Notifications" tile are not actually the same thing (though they could be...). There needs to be a noticeable space between them. Additionally, the obnoxious rubberbanding and severe lag when loading new items (even on STRONG connections, mind) needs to be fixed desperately.

Dedicated "Me" Tile

Why can't I pin this like in Windows Phone 8? It just doesn't make sense to me.

SMS/MMS integration with Messaging app

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Perhaps I'm getting a little too hopeful here, but if the Messaging app actually synced SMS and MMS from my Lumia 920 to my desktop, laptop, and tablet (and allowed me to send from each of those devices once I've linked my Lumia 920 to my account or whatever), I would LOVE it so much. Zipwhip is the one thing I miss from having an Android device.

Substantially improved add-on manager for Internet Explorer 11

This is also pretty easily explained, but addons need easier means of installing themselves similar to how Firefox and Chrome handle their extensions.

Those are my ideas. What would you like to see?