Windows 8.1 in detail

The familiar made better

The desktop you're used to—with its familiar folders and icons—is still here. And not just still here, it's actually better than before, with a new task manager and streamlined file management. And you can always get to your desktop—and back to your Start screen again—with a tap or click.


Use them the way you always have. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other programs you count on work the way you're used to. Use a mouse and keyboard and organize your stuff in folders on the desktop.


Windows Defender and Windows SmartScreen can help guard your PC against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software in real time. Family Safety gives your kids some independence while still keeping tabs on them.

Mouse and keyboard

You can use a mouse and keyboard to work on your Windows desktop the way you always have. And things you do with touch, like using apps from the Windows Store and getting around on your Start screen, can also be done with a mouse and keyboard.

One view of everything

When you're working on the familiar desktop, all apps you've opened will appear in your taskbar at the bottom of the screen. This includes both apps you opened from the desktop and apps from the Windows Store you opened from your Start screen.

Make it yours

Photos, news from friends, your favorite apps and sites—put what's most important to you on your Start screen. Choose your colors and move stuff around until it's just the way you like it.

More about the Start screen


Multitask with apps

Windows 8.1 lets you work the way you want. Move easily from one thing to another by multitasking on any Windows PC or tablet. Pull up a Wikipedia article to settle a debate with the friend you're on Skype with. Or play a music video while polishing your resume. Depending on your screen size, you can see up to four apps at once.

More about using apps

Search once, go anywhere

Bing Smart Search gives you results from your PC, your apps, and the web. Results are in a clean, graphic view so you can quickly get to what you're looking for. (Certain features unavailable in some regions.)

More about search

Your Windows, everywhere

It goes where you go.

Use your Microsoft account to sign in to any of your devices running Windows 8.1, and you'll see the same layout, apps, and settings. Signing in with your Microsoft Account (which is simply an email address and password of your choice) also gives you access to a world of apps from the Windows Store, and lets you save, view, and edit your documents and photos online with OneDrive.

More about Microsoft accounts

The OneDrive icon OneDrive

Your files are always with you

OneDrive is free online storage that's built into Windows 8.1. Save documents, photos, and other files to OneDrive automatically, and get to them anytime, from any of your PCs or devices. And you can use OneDrive to protect your files if something happens to your PC.

You can also use OneDrive to share and collaborate with others, and see your stuff on mobile and non-Windows devices.

More about OneDrive

The Internet Explorer 11 app icon Internet Explorer 11

Fast, fluid, built for touch

Internet Explorer 11 is built for touch—now with larger tabs, simpler controls, and fluid response to gestures. Internet Explorer harnesses the power of hardware acceleration, so sites load faster and browsing’s smoother.

More about Internet Explorer

The Skype app icon Skype

Video, voice, and instant messaging

The always-on app that makes staying in touch with all your contacts easier than ever. Keep in touch with video and voice calls and instant messaging, all from one app. Call any phone quickly and easily. All Skype-to-Skype video and voice calls are free, and your messages are delivered straight to you no matter what you're doing. Snap Skype left or right and do more while you IM, video call, or keep an eye on your home screen.

More about Skype

The Windows Store icon Windows Store

Load up on apps

Open the Windows Store right from your Start screen to browse and download apps for cooking, photos, sports, news, and a lot more—many of them free. Sort by price, rating, and category. Find old favorites and hot new apps.

More about the Windows Store

Great apps come standard

Mail app icon Mail

Get email from your accounts—including Outlook and Yahoo!—all in one place.

Music app icon Music

Explore, download, and listen to the latest music. Get access to millions of free streaming songs.

Videos app icon Videos

Browse and watch movies and shows. Watch on your PC or play to your TV.

Photos app icon Photos

Photo editing for touchscreens, the way it's supposed to be. Crop, fix, and apply filters quickly and easily.

Games app icon Games

Discover the hottest new games, classic favorites, and exclusives for Windows. Track your progress and compare scores with friends.

Camera app icon Camera

Take photos and videos, and browse through them, and share the best ones with your friends and family.

People app icon People

Stay connected and start conversations with contacts from your email accounts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more.

Maps app icon Maps

Quickly pinpoint, save and explore the locations you care about, get directions, see traffic conditions, and more.

Calendar app icon Calendar

Keep track of your schedule in month, week, or two-day view. Get appointment notifications so you’re always on time.

Money app icon Money

Comprehensive financial news and market data from the global sources you trust.

Alarms app icon Alarms

Set up and customize multiple alarms for all the things you need to reminded of. Turn them off when you want to focus.

Calculator app icon Calculator

A reliable classic, still there for you, and now optimized for touch.

Food + Drink app icon Food + Drink

Get thousands of recipes, instructional videos, and tips from renowned chefs.

Sound Recorder icon Sound Recorder

Easily record a sound, and then trim, save, and replay it on your PC.

Reading List app icon Reading List

Save stuff you're interested in to read later, or share it with friends.

Weather app icon Weather

Get hourly, daily, and 10-day forecasts, with beautiful weather images.

Health + Fitness app icon Health + Fitness

Over 1,000 exercise videos, a nutritional and medical reference, and exercise and diet trackers.

Sports app icon Sports

Keep up with all the sports and teams you care about with Live Tile updates on your favorite teams.

Travel app icon Travel

Plan your trip via travel guides, booking tools, real-time currency conversion, and weather forecasts.

News app icon News

A beautiful, photo-rich way to keep up with what's happening in the world. Swipe through headlines or go deep with personalized coverage.

Now's the time for a new PC

Windows 8.1 was designed to power an exciting and affordable new generation of tablets and PCs. You'll be amazed by what a computer can do now.

Explore tablets and PCs

A PC running Windows 8.1