Win8.1 update could bypass Start screen automatically


— 9:29 AM on January 31, 2014

Russian site Wzor.net has posted some interesting information about the Windows 8.1 update rumored to be scheduled for March. The latest build of it reportedly bypasses the Start screen by default and boots directly to the desktop. Win8.1 already allows folks to bypass the Start screen, of course, but users have to enable that option themselves. Booting to the desktop automatically would roll back one of the most controversial changes introduced in Windows 8.

The Verge was told that users "can't always replicate the boot to desktop changes," so it's unclear if Microsoft's backpedaling will stick. Booting to the desktop automatically could be reserved for machines that lack Metro-friendly touchscreen interfaces. Microsoft is reportedly implementing several other changes aimed specifically at keyboard and mouse users, and booting to the desktop certainly makes sense for that audience. That should probably be the default behavior for any system that isn't a tablet or convertible.

Wzor claims the incoming Windows update also includes more scaling options for high-PPI displays, allowing OS elements to be blown up to as much as 500% of normal size. I see custom sizing options up to 500% in the current Win8.1 control panel, though the layout of the interface is slightly different from what's pictured in Wzor's screenshots. Perhaps something was lost in Google's Russian-to-English translation.

As Cyril noted in December, Windows 8.1 still has scaling issues on high-PPI displays. Making the OS and applications work better with higher pixel densities should be a priority for Microsoft, especially with a wave of cheaper 4K monitors destined to hit desktops in the coming months. We're starting to see more and more Windows notebooks and tablets with high-PPI displays, too, but the software support just isn't there yet.

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