Difference between Windows 8 and 8.1
By Theydiffer - September 28, 2015

Since the release of Windows 8, there has been much praise and criticism regarding its performance and functionality. But with the criticisms Microsoft received, they addressed them with a newer version, the Windows 8.1.  Released a year later, Windows 8.1 is said to be an upgrade for Windows 8. But what exactly are their differences?


Windows 8

As you may already know, Windows 8 is an operating system that followed after the most popular Windows 7. It was released in August 2012, and is part of the Windows NT family of operating systems. It introduced many major changes to the operating system’s platform, including the user interface. It is intended to improve the experience of users with tablet computers and other mobile devices.

Notable Features

  • Faster startup with “Hybrid Boot” mode through the use of UEFI integration
  • Windows Store that allows purchase of apps designed for Windows 8
  • Start Screen has a start menu that previews a grid of applications in tiles
  • User Login for a redesigned lock screen based on Metro design language with a customizable background image
  • Display screen has greatly improved support for multi-monitor
  • Windows 8 Touch for a better touch screen experience
  • Adds a native support for USB 3.0
  • Windows Life Family Safety to restrict users from certain websites and applications
  • Windows Defender is included as an antivirus program for malware
  • Instead of a start menu, it offers its Charms bar to get to applications faster and more easily

Windows 8.1

Codenamed Blue, it is an upgrade for Windows 8 and also a version of the Windows NT family. It was released in June 2013 and is free for retail copies of Windows 8 and Windows RT users. Windows 8.1 mainly focuses on addressing complaints from Windows 8 users. With its release, it received a mixed reaction and feedback from users and obtained a more positive response than that of Windows 8. However, it was still criticized for not acknowledging other digressions such as poor integration of Metro-style apps and desktop interface.

Notable Features

  • Enhancement to Start screen that included an extended “All Apps” view that can be sorted
  • Boot to desktop that would automatically detect if you’re running Windows 8.1 on a pc or Laptop, and then boot you to desktop instead of grid applications in tiles. Otherwise the start screen will remain as your initial view of Windows 8.
  • A clear search and power off button for easier access
  • Newly installed Apps no longer get tiles on your main start screen but will instead be added to your All Apps section
  • Will require less space than your Windows 8
  • Snap feature that allows multiple windows that can easily be resized to fit your screen at the same time
  • Start screen can now share a desktop background
  • Has an improved multi-monitor support

Comparison Chart

Windows 8Windows 8.1
Has no start buttonHas a start button
Has no lock screen slideshowHas a lock screen slideshow
Uses Internet Explorer 10Uses Internet Explorer 11
Has no All Apps screenHas an All Apps screen
Snaps up to two apps on each screenSnaps up to more than two apps on each screen
Cannot use slide to shutdownCan use slide to shutdown
No option for extra-large and small tilesExtra-large and small tiles

Windows 8 vs Windows 8.1

What’s the difference between Windows 8 and Windows 8.1? To start with, it’s mainly a matter of the user interface of each operating system. Since Windows 8 was released, many people had mentioned the missing start up menu or start button that users were familiar with in the previous Windows versions. Windows 8.1 addressed that issue and added a start button.

Features like Snap were also improved, from only having up to two apps simultaneously to multiple apps. You can now also shut down your system with just a slide of your screen with Windows 8.1. Another notable key difference is the All Apps screen feature in Windows 8.1. For freshly installed apps, they will now go under the All Apps screen instead of lining up with the other apps shown on your start up screen.

So to put it simply, the real difference between Windows 8 and 8.1 is the improved user interface and functionality of applications and programs.