Windows 8.1 vs Windows 10: differences between both OS’s

Windows 8.1 vs windows 10: differences between both OS's

Today we put Windows 8.1 against Windows 10 and find out what are the differences between both. The majority of Windows 8 users regarded that operating system as a huge disappointment, and many considered it a rough switch from Windows 7.

Windows 10, the successor to Windows 8.1, bears significant changes in features that will make Windows 8 users long for an upgrade.

With Windows 10, you have new ways of searching for files and folders on your computer, a new browser, and more. In this article, we are highlighting the main differences between Windows 8 and 10.

Table of Contents

  1. Windows 8.1 vs Windows 10
    1. The comeback of the Start Menu
    2. A universal OS for all devices
    3. Multiple virtual desktops
    4. Cortana – Virtual personal assistant for PC and Tablets
    5. Windows Hello
    6. New Web browser
  2. Wrap Up

Windows 8.1 vs Windows 10

The comeback of the Start Menu

Microsoft decided to ditch the Start Menu with the introduction of Windows 8. Later, the Start button was reintroduced. It has been a core feature in the previous Windows versions as it allowed users to navigate through program files and functions quickly.

The ensuing outrage from users made Microsoft respond by reintroducing an improved version of the Start Menu in Windows 10.

The start menu in Windows 10 acts like a mash-up of Windows 7’s Start Menu and Windows 8’s Start screen.

The Start Menu in Windows 10 allows you quick access to programs and apps and performs a quick search for wanted content. You can immediately check for unread emails or see calendar appointments.

Besides, you can create a personalized menu of your favorite or most frequently used files, programs, websites, and contacts. You do this by pinning, moving, or resizing the items.

A universal OS for all devices

This is an important feature of Windows 10 that will make Windows 8 users green with envy. While Windows 10 doesn’t look the same on all your devices it delivers a similar user experience across all platforms running the operating system, whether it is a tablet, phone, laptop, or PC.

The interface automatically adjusts the layout to the display you’re using, making Windows 10 more intelligent in detecting and responding when users switch between devices.

This gives Windows 10 users a seamless experience, no matter the device they’re using. It also syncs your data across the devices to continue what you were doing somewhere else in a different Windows machine.

Multiple virtual desktops

When using Windows 8.1, you’re able to switch between virtual screens, and the desktop was just another app. Microsoft has introduced the built-in multiple desktops in Windows 10.

Typically, Windows 10 can support as many virtual desktops as your hardware can allow.

Concerning Windows 8, Windows 10 also added a dedicated button for Task View. When you click the Task View button, there is a multiple desktop feature for each desktop, you can switch between apps and desktops.

You can also switch applications from one desktop to another by right-clicking on the app on the taskbar.

Using the ALT + Tab keys, you get a view of all opened Windows across the desktops. You can then navigate the opened desktops using Win + Ctrl and the left or right arrow keys.

The multiple desktops are handy, especially if you’re working from a single monitor. This experience is similar to what you’d find in Linux OS and Apple Mac OS X.

A Windows 10 user can create and personalize different desktops for different operations. For instance, you can create two desktops – one for work with all related files and data and a personal desktop with your favorite music, photo gallery, social apps, entertainment, etc.

Cortana – Virtual personal assistant for PC and Tablets

In Windows 8.1, the search function pulls information from the web with the help of the Bing search engine. What you get is a bulk of web search results, and you have to go to the Start screen to do this.

There is no way to do a quick search from the desktop without needing third-party software. But not so with this innovation in Windows 10.

Cortana, a personal assistant helps you load apps and files quickly and conveniently. Microsoft describes it as “your truly personal digital assistant”.

This app displays the most frequently visited folders and recent files. This makes it easy to locate your files. It is much more efficient than navigating through apps and file systems to find what you want. As a vast improvement, the search bar is located right within the desktop bar.

This smart app learns your interests and gets to know you with time. It provides personalized information that it thinks would be useful to you when you open the interface.

Apart from typing, Cortana responds to voice commands, whether you are searching for something online or stored on your PC or tablet. You can type the name of the file you want or ask Cortana to launch applications.

While you could also do this with Windows 8.1, it wasn’t as responsive as it is in Windows 10. Besides, File Explorer Quick Access has replaced the Favorites in the older version of Windows.

Windows Hello

Windows 8 uses the usual user authentication options: the password, PIN code, and all that when you need to log in to your PC.

While this safeguards the PC against unauthorized use, it may be painful to do it every time.

Windows 10 goes a notch up by embracing the password-less authentication. Among other ways, this process uses depth-sensing cameras to log you in automatically.

You do this by allowing the PC camera to learn and recognize you before login in. If you’re on a shared device, it identifies the other users and logs them in automatically.

New Web browser

One other key change from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 is the new, more powerful web browser, Microsoft Edge. Clearly, Internet Explorer experienced stiff competition from browsers like Firefox and Chrome.

Each time the dev team tried to improve on Internet Explorer, it only became more and more bloated. It didn’t manage to improve its functionality over the years.

The Microsoft team ultimately developed the new Microsoft Edge browser from scratch.

And now, they have a recent upgrade of the browser released on Jan 15, 2020, which is a stable version of the old Edge browser.

Microsoft is rolling out the new Edge to all Windows 10 users via Windows Update. You can also download it from the Microsoft website.

Wrap Up

Overall, apart from some occasional glitches, Windows 10 users seem pretty happy with the operating system. The support for universal apps, the updated Start Menu, and virtual desktops are just a few of the impressive features of Windows 10.

The usability and capabilities of the Cortana personal assistant and the replacement of Internet Explorer with Edge are useful changes as well.

We hope this article has been useful. Now you got to know every single difference between Windows 8 and 10.

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