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What's new in Windows 8.1 Update

Applies to: Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 Update is a cumulative update for Windows 8.1 that supports new, lower-cost hardware, a better experience for mouse and keyboard users, and compatibility enhancements, as well as key features for enterprise organizations. For details on the features and functionality for IT professionals in Windows 8.1, see What's New in Windows 8.1.

Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer

Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer improves Internet Explorer 8 compatibility on Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. This means that a modern browser can run legacy web-based applications and modern websites seamlessly. Companies can standardize on the latest version of Internet Explorer across all Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 devices to experience increased performance, improved security, better backward compatibility, and support for the modern web standards that power today's websites and services. For details on Enterprise Mode, see Stay up to date with Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer 11. For guidance on how to enable Enterprise Mode, see Deploy Internet Explorer 11.

User interface improvements

Windows Store apps are now easier to use for mouse and keyboard users: move your mouse to the top of your screen for the familiar functions of minimize and close; or move your mouse to the bottom of your screen to get the taskbar for fast app launching or switching. You can also access the taskbar from anywhere when you're using a mouse. You can see the taskbar on any screen by moving your mouse to the bottom edge of your screen, and you can pin your favorite Windows Store apps to the taskbar. If you like using the desktop, you will be happy to know that select devices will now boot to desktop as the default setting. For more information on these improvements, see Windows 8.1 Update – important refinements to the Windows experience.


Get deeper control over your organization's policy settings with extended mobile device management (MDM) functionality, no matter which MDM solution you use. Whitelist or blacklist specific Windows store apps and websites, and enable and configure Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer 11.

Easier deployment

Delivering Windows 8.1 Update via Windows Update allows businesses to deploy new operating systems with increased predictability. And, to help businesses develop and use modern apps, we are enabling sideloading as a feature on Windows 8.1 Pro when a machine is domain joined. For more details on how to deploy Windows 8.1 Update, see Windows 8.1 Update: The IT Pro Perspective.

Low-cost and latest hardware support

Windows 8.1 Update helps you take advantage of the latest hardware innovations, delivering a broad array of devices to fit any business need. In addition to enabling our hardware partners to deliver low-cost machines that only require 1GB of RAM and 16GB of hard drive disk space, we're pleased to see more, new and highly-productive tablet and two-in-one options come to market, including Windows devices with 64-bit Atom processors.

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