Tip o’ the Week #255 – Rating apps in the store

The Store was a key innovation when Windows 8 launched, and continues to grow, both in terms of the number of apps published and the way popular and well-rated apps are surfaced. Earlier this year, Microsoft said there were over 150,000 apps in the Windows 8 store, though now the total reported is combined between the Windows 8 and Windows Phone stores. It’s said that Windows 10 will join the two stores together anyway, a process that’s underway already through the move to Universal Apps.

According to Microsoft By The Numbers, a neat external website that helps to show how large some bits of the company are (did you know that together, the Office for iPad apps have been downloaded 45 million times? Or that 40% of Azure revenue comes from startups and ISVs?), the total number of apps across both stores is 525,000. That’s rather a lot. Finding the good apps from the guff ones can be a challenge.

So, it’s more important than ever to make sure when you use an app you like, or one you don’t, that you rate it. Ratings and reviews will help other people choose your preferred app over some other one which isn’t as good, or has more annoying adverts, or nags you to buy the premium version all the time. In Windows 8.1, there are a few tricks to rating the apps you’ve used, and of sharing your favourite apps with others.

clip_image002Rate and review

As well as rating Windows 8 apps you use regularly, why not review those you feel work particularly well or particularly badly? Maybe the developer will read your review and improve or fix things that don’t work, or maybe people who are browsing will read your rave review and decide that’s the app for them.

Apps for Windows 8 let you Rate and review if you open the Charms menu (when you’re in the app, press WindowsKey+C or swipe from the right, or move your mouse to the top right or bottom right of the screen), then look under Settings.

clip_image004Taking this option fires up the Store app, and navigates directly to the review section where you can assign a 1-5 star rating and give some verbiage should you desire. If you’re going to slate an app that everyone else rates highly, or the opposite, then you really should explain why, so others can benefit from your wisdom or simply write your thoughts off as coming from a blithering idiot.

How many Amazon reviews have you read, that score a product 1 star because it took ages to arrive or the box was damaged on receipt? The case rests.

clip_image006If you want to rate apps without actually opening them, you can go into the Store app, select Account | My apps from the menu at the top, then select the appropriate filter from the drop-down boxes, then click or tap on each item to get to its Store page, which includes rating & reviews.

Sensibly, you can’t actually rate apps that you’ve never installed, but you can rate and review apps that you have only on another PC.

Sadly, there’s no way of showing your own ratings in a list – it would be handy to be able to see all the apps you’ve installed and how you rated each one – maybe there’s an app for that, or someone else will write it to share a way of doing so…

clip_image008Windows Phone ratings

Apps on Phone don’t have the same consistent mechanism to expose the ratings and review section of the Store (since they don’t have charms), though many apps will prompt you after a while of usage, to ask if you’d like to rate them.

From a PC, you can head over to the Windows Phone site and look at your purchase history, then rate from within there.

On the phone, visit the Store app to rate and review other apps you’ve used (again, you need to have actually installed them to be able to rate), and you’ll see on the same reviews tab that you can also Share the app, which sends a link via mail or numerous other messaging or social networking means.


Sharing on Windows 8.1clip_image009

Returning to Windows 8.1, if you want to share your favourite apps with friends, just go back into the Charms menu and you’ll see Share proudly offered – though its use will vary depending on what you’re doing with the app itself. If listening to Music (US only, sadly), you’ll share a link to whatever you’re playing. If you’re reading the News, selecting Share will send the headline and a link to the article you’re on.

To Share apps, follow the same steps as earlier to list your installed apps from within the Store, then open the details page for the app in question, but instead of rating or reviewing it, invoke the Share charm when at the same page.

If you don’t want to email links etc using the Mail client, perhaps preferring to embed the links into rambling missives from within Outlook, then check out the neat Clipboard app, which (using a “contract”) lets you Share something straight into the Windows Clipboard, ready to be pasted into another app of your choice.

Tip o’ the Week #249 – Sync your Desktop

clip_image001This week’s tip comes as a direct result of a conversation had over a glass of wine and a plate of food, with Content & Code’s supremo, Tim Wallis.

Most of us who’ve been using PCs for years will have picked up or held onto habits that are probably not ideal, at least not as the designers of the latest software might have in mind – but as the customer is always right, if we want to be backward, then the system should accommodate that, right?


Windows users of old: at which point did you finally accept the default, and stop disabling the Hide extensions for known file types setting in Windows Explorer? Let hidden files stay that way? Or do you still switch these options on?
Are you holding on too tight?

And do you still think of directories or have you embraced folders? Do you still want a D: drive to put all your data on?

Well, many of us will habitually drop stuff onto the Windows desktop because it’s generally easy to find (press WindowsKey-D and, tada!, there it is) – though it’s always possible to go over the top.

If you want to drag an attachment from Outlook and upload it to a SharePoint site, for example – you’ll need to copy the file to somewhere on your PC and then upload from there. And the desktop can be just the simplest way to do that (press WindowsKey and left or right arrow key to snap Outlook to the side, potentially exposing the desktop beneath… a perfect target for dragging & dropping files onto).

Syncety Sync

What Tim was musing over, however, was the scenario when you have multiple PCs and you drop a document (or folder full of them) onto the desktop – wouldn’t it be nice if OneDrive could replicate the desktop onto the other machine(s)? Windows 8 makes it easy to roam lots of settings (the Start menu layout, the desktop backdrop etc) between machines, but it doesn’t sync the actual contents of the desktop out of the box.

Worry not: it’s possible. Firstly, you need the OneDrive software on every PC (it’s installed by default on Windows 8.1, including Surface RT), then you’ll re-point the Desktop to a location that OneDrive can sync.

To set up sync, for the purposes of just backing up one PC or for sharing the same desktop content with several:

  • clip_image004Find the OneDrive logo in the Windows System Tray Notification Area
    (NB: if you have OneDrive for Business installed, you’ll want to make sure you pick the white consumer OneDrive icon, rather than the blue business one…)
  • clip_image006Right-click the icon, then open the OneDrive folder using Explorer, right-click in the resulting window and create a folder where you want the Desktop contents to be. It might help to copy the location of that folder to the clipboard, for use shortly…
  • Hold the SHIFT key, and then right-click on your new folder– and use the phenomenally handy Copy as path option that only appears when you hold down SHIFT.
  • clip_image007Now, in the same Explorer window, scroll down in the folder list to see the This PC section and right-click on Desktop, then Properties, then look to the Location tab.
  • Now click the Move button, paste the contents of the clipboard (the path to the folder you created in OneDrive) into the dialog that pops up, Select Folder then confirm that you’d like to move the contents of the desktop across.


Now, any folders or files you drop on the desktop will synchronise to other PCs if you repeat the same process as above. If you have lots of folders full of stuff, you’ll need to wait a little, while OneDrive syncs them for you. Right-click on the OneDrive icon in your system tray again, and click Sync if you’d like to see the status.

Tip o’ the Week #244 – Ticking away, the time of day

clip_image002Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day” –  even if you choose not to fritter them away, the seconds and the sands of time slip by whether you’re having fun or you’re not.

Apple has recently unveiled their long-awaited smart watch, which for fanbois will mean that a Whole New Thing has been invented, and for everyone else, will mean there’s no point in buying any of the plethora of existing smart watches until the Apple one arrives next year.

Suddenly everyone’s talking about watches and what you can do with them; increasingly they’re not about being watches as much as about being worn on the wrist. (Like smart phones, perhaps, being less about talking on the phone, and more about content on the screen).

However you choose to tell the time – be it by looking at your phone, your wrist or your computer screen –  you’d like to think that in this day of technological marvel, you’d always be looking at the right time… well, you’re wrong.

This thought occurred to me when I was sitting in my home office with 2 PCs, 2 watches and a phone all within a 90 degree view radius – and every one was showing a different time. How can this be?

PCs tend to get their time from “the network” – if  you’re using a corporate PC then that means when you connect to the company network, your machine will be told what the time is. This is less about making sure you know what the correct time is, and more about making sure (for synchronisation purposes) your PC knows what time everyone else thinks it is. Assuming the corporate environment is well run, it’ll be synchronising from an external source that is probably correct. Well, to a degree…

If you have a home PC, there’s an option to set it up to sync with an internet-hosted time service – a machine that’s probably connected to a super-accurate atomic clock which can tell time to a gazillionth of a second, so that it can clip_image004then be broadcast over the internet and with all the potential latency that might add. Still, it’s probably better than waiting for the pips.

To check if you’re synching properly, right-click on the clock in your task bar and choose Adjust date/time, then look to see if you have an “Internet Time” tab (if you’re running a company PC, you probably will not have this).

If you think your PC clock is off from others, it’s worth checking that you have it set up to synch with Internet Time, and that whatever it’s synching with is working OK. You can add your own SNTP time server if you’d prefer one other than the default list.

If you see an error in the Internet Time settings or if you think clip_image006your clock is adrift (the default time.windows.com server seems to be, clip_image008er, a little more variable in reliability than others), it may be worth setting to a different time server – just click on Change settings… and pick a different one from the list and click on Update now to check it’s working as expected.

If your PC is wildly off – like days or even years out of sync – then it could cause you problems even logging in, and it may be that your CMOS Battery has gone flat – meaning the PC’s clock has been reset to some date far in the past.

Finally, If you’d like to know a decent stab at what the correct time is, try www.time.is. And if you ever wonder whether it’s too early or late to call overseas, then enter the place name in the search box on that site and it will tell you the time in that timezone.


Tip o’ the Week #226 – Reading Mode on IE11

clip_image001Windows 8/8.1 has continued to improve over its life, providing both changes to existing functionality and adding some whole new stuff along the way. One recipient of both such updates is the Internet Explorer browser – Windows 8.1 saw the upgrade to IE11 (also available on Windows 7 machines too) and some subsequent tweaks appeared as part of the Windows 8.1 Update (or Windows 8.1 Update 1 as most commentators refer to it, in anticipation of future updates to follow…)

There have been some notable changes in the way the “Immersive” IE11 works – that is, the Metro Modern UI version which only really made sense if you were running on a small, touch screen since the UI wasn’t exactly optimised for giant screens and keyboards/meeces.


The address bar in the IE11 Immersive mode is still at the bottom of the screen, along with the previews of any tabs you have open. There’s better Favourites integration and a whole bunch of other improvements which make the full-screen M**** version of IE a more palatable default choice for a lot of browsing. There’s improved Compatibility Mode, too, though quite a lot of intranet sites and the likes may still require the desktop version. If you browse to a site using the Immersive IE and it needs to do something that’s only supported in Desktop mode, then it will tell you… and you can always get to it with the spanner icon too.

You may have noticed a new icon appearing to the right of the Immersive IE address bar on some sites – a clip_image005new “Reading Mode” which aims to make browsing easier by removing graphics, ads, unnecessary navigation etc from some sites. You won’t see the Reading Mode icon on every site, though – IE analyses the page and will only show the icon if the content is deemed to be suitably structured that it can be displayed in this new way. Web site owners have the option of putting in a tag to disable this too, so if they really want to retain control of the layout then it’s straightforward to do so.


Here’s a simple comparison – a page with navigation, inline graphics and text…

There may be several Next Page type links on the article, which Reading Mode will try to follow and show you the whole thing in one bite.

clip_image009Here’s the same blog page displayed in the new mode… Read more about it yourself, here.

The same group of Microsoft typography gurus who built the ClearType font-rendering technology which was designed to make it easier to read text on-screen, have even developed a new font called Sitka, which is said to be the first font developed with legibility being measured scientifically during its design.

If you have Sitka installed on your machine, you’re reading it now…

At first glance it looks a bit more like Times New Roman due to its seriffed style (in contrast with the more in-vogue sans serif fonts like Segoe, Calibri, Arial etc… they even make films about such fonts). Wonder what Simon Garfield, author of the excellent Just My Type, would make of it…

Tip o’ the Week #224 – Alarem Scarem in Windows 8.1


If you’ve installed Windows 8.1 Update 1, there are many great additions which will be  doubtless delighting you as you use clip_image004them, especially if you’re working on a PC which isn’t primarily touch-oriented. There are hundreds of incremental updates (more here), but there are still bits in Windows 8.1 which are commonly unknown.

Windows 8.1 introduced the idea of an “Alarm” function , and also debuted an in-the-box Alarms app, akin to the equivalent on the phone.

The new Alarms clip_image006app (just start typing alarm on the Start page to find it) does what you’d expect of the similar Windows Phone app – set one or a series of alarms that will throw an alert at the prescribed time, make some noise and generally be alarming.clip_image008

The idea of using your PC to wake you up might not be all that useful, however – if your machine goes to Sleep then the Alarm won’t wake it up unless your PC supports “InstantGo” – the new monicker for what was previously known as Connected Standby.

If you set an alarm on a PC which does not support the required mode, you’ll see a notification within the Alarms app that it will only work when the PC is awake… (Booo….)clip_image010

The good news is that even the original Surface RT supports the necessary sleep  mode, as do many of the SoC machines such as the growing band of 8” tablets running Windows 8.1. See here for a bit more info.

Even if your PC doesn’t support the ability to wake you, the Timer and Stopwatch functions are very slick and well worth a look, and the UI is really smooth, particularly for touch users.

Tip o’ the Week #221 – Stay safe on WiFi


Following last week’s misty-eyed retrospective on WiFi and Bluetooth, it’s worth pausing a little to pass on a few safety tips too. If you’ve a WiFi network at home which does not have encryption enabled (using a decently strong password – known as a Pre-Shared-Key or PSK – and a modern encryption method, such as WPA2) then you must hang your head in shame immediately, that is, immediately after you go and put a strong password on your WiFi.

What should you call your home WiFi network? Well, if it’s “NETGEAR” or similar, then make sure you call it something else (in case a well-known exploit is found in every NETGEAR router, in which case you’ve just told every kerbside hacker how to break into your network). Also, it’s worth making sure you change the admin password for your router – it’s a piece of cake to find out the default password for well-known routers, such as NETGEAR ones.

How to name your SSID might depend on where you live, if you have any neighbours, if you trust them and so on.

clip_image004Serial ToW contributor Paul “Woody” Woodman has the mischievous idea of setting his SSID to be something eye-opening – in fact, the WiFi network set up by his phone’s Internet Sharing (as covered in last week’s ToW) has an interesting name…

So, Woody’s on the train, using his phone to connect to the internet, and all the other WiFi users in the same carriage are on their best behaviour…

The Huffington Post wrote about this phenomenon a few years back.

To get a more reliable connection, it’s worth setting your WiFi channel to be something that interleaves well with your neighbours, so you’re not both trying to blast out on Channel 6 – as a guide, check here. Try using a bit of software called inSSIDer to sniff your neighbourhood, see what their networks are called and what channel they’re on, then set yours to something complementary, if you can.

Stay Safe Online

Yvonne Puley made a suggestion about checking what WiFi networks you connect to, after reading a report on the BBC website and seeing an article on the BBC’s Click programme. The gist of the piece is that public WiFi networks – a hotspot set up by your local coffee shop, or even well-known WiFi networks provided by telco’s and the like – are not necessarily all they seem. A simple scam could be for a ne’er-do-well to set up a spoof WiFi network on their own laptop, and the unsuspecting browsers could connect to it and all their online movements could be recorded and tracked. Other hackers could stage a “man in the middle” attack using software that intercepts traffic on legitimate networks and can even decrypt supposedly secured SSL traffic.

In short, there’s no way for you to guarantee that what you do on any public WiFi network is safe from prying eyes. Europol (not to be confused with Interplod, as Arthur Daley might have ventured) says, basically, don’t use public WiFi networks for anything private, like online banking. If you want to scare yourself silly, then watch this Click clip.

clip_image006Anything that goes over VPN or DirectAccess should be OK, as the encryption mechanisms used are less susceptible to having a breaker on the side. Even when connected back to base using a more secure connection, though, ordinary web surfing and background updating of apps will typically go out via the public WiFi network. It’s worth also making sure you don’t give too much away – like when you first connect to the network, unless you control it, then you don’t want to “find PCs, devices and content” etc.

For more info on this setting, see here. Looking in the PC’s settings at the connection properties (as described in that article) also lets you see what kind of encryption you have running on the network. If you’re connecting to a WEP network (the traditional method for putting a password on a wireless connection), then think twice about trusting it – Wired Equivalent Privacy is anything but, and can be relatively easily cracked.

Tip o’ the Week #220 – Wireless networking, 15 years on


It’s amazing how quickly technology goes from an expensive frippery to a cost-insignificant near-essential. It’s not so many years ago that WiFi and Bluetooth first arrived (remember the Ericsson T29 or T68, the latter of which not only had a COLOUR screen but came with Bluetooth support – all you’d need is a £100 “Socket” Compact Flash card†, and your iPAQ could be GPRS enabled).

Bluetooth went from a travelling salesman’s “look at me” blinking earpiece, to wirelessly enabling things that don’t really need to be wirelessly enabled (and the seller’s earpiece is now pretty-much the territory only of airport taxi drivers). WiFi was developing in parallel.

clip_image003Here’s a photo from 13 years ago, where the serving UK Prime Minister was entertained by a demo in the Microsoft TVP atrium, of a mobile app (equipped with smoke & mirrors) which used a WiFi network – but it pre-dated the Microsoft rollout of WiFi, necessitating about £500 worth of kit just to allow the hand-held device to talk to the network.

Nowadays, we’d rock up at an airport and be disappointed not only if there wasn’t WiFi, but there wasn’t some kind of freely available service. Buses have free WiFi. Often you can price-check online as you’re walking around the department store. We expect WiFi to connect our phones without racking up 4G charges. Time marches on.

It was 1999 (with the adoption of the 802.11b standard) before wireless networks (becoming known as WiFi or Wi-Fi depending on your degree of pedantry) started reliably working with kit between different vendors. This opened the door to successful adoption and eventual embedding in all sorts of devices. Bluetooth also developed apace, and has now carved out a niche (especially with Bluetooth Low Energy, or BLE) for data comms over relatively short-range and comparatively low-power (against WiFi’s longer range, with higher power drain).

clip_image005Although both standards offered options for peer-peer communications and operating in an “infrastructure” mode where there was an established network to connect to, Bluetooth only ever took off as a means of linking devices directly, and the vast majority of WiFi is deployed as a network of base stations.

Windows Phone 8 GDR3 and Windows 8.1

One neat function that was included in the latest major update to Windows Phone 8 (released under the “Lumia Black” moniker for Nokia handsets), turns your phone into a WiFi hotspot that can be remotely controlled by Windows 8.1. If you go into settings -> internet sharing on the phone, and set up internet sharing for the first time, it’ll give you a broadcast name and a numeric password.

You can now connect from some other device to the phone over WiFi, and use its data connection to get on the internet. Once you’ve set the connection up for the first time, with your laptop or tablet is running Windows 8.1, you can establish the connection any time without even needing to get your phone of the pocket – just swipe from the right, look under the network settings and tap to connect.


† Whilst on the topic of old networking kit, here are some old Bluetooth bits that I found in my Man Drawer. The PCMCIA wireless cards have all gone the way of the Dodo – these ones evaded the net on the basis of their size and the amount of money they costs to procure in the first place.

How can you throw something away that cost hundreds of pounds in its day and is now worthless for any reason other than as a curio?

Might as well keep them and maybe someday they’ll be worth something as a museum piece…

Tip o’ the Week #218 – Have you got the touch?


Using “touch” in computing has evolved so much in just the last five years. First phones then tablets evolved a new UI around using your fingers rather than a pointer & mouse, and with Windows 8, touch really got mainstream on regular PCs too. How many times do you prod the screen of a laptop then realise it’s not touch-capable?

Well, more advanced means of using touch have sprung up in ways other than just the screen. Most laptops nowadays have ditched the “Pointing Stick(careful if you go searching online for the other terms one might use) and have adopted a touchpad of some sort. Originally, this was just an annoying way of moving your mouse around with repeated swipes, but as people are more used to them, and they’ve got more effective, it’s generally the preferred way of pointer movement on a laptop.

Unless you have a real external mouse, of course, which is always better.

clip_image004Microsoft’s been working with partners for a while now on a new generation of touchpad, called a “Precision Touchpad”. The idea with the Precision TP is that it replicates the gestures you might use on-screen – see more information here. Check if your machine has a PTP by looking under the Mouse and touchpad section in PC Settings. (sorry about that last link).

If you prefer using one of the growing band of touch-enabled meeces then you should make sure you have the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center installed on your PC. If you’re equipped with an appropriate rodent, you can do all sorts of one, two and even three-fingered gestures and your machine will respond without fuss or complaint. Well, it will once you’ve practiced a bit…

The excellent Wedge Touch Mouse (essential equipment for anyone with a laptop not bristling with USB ports – ie most of them – since it doesn’t need a USB dongle to work, given that it uses Bluetooth) sadly doesn’t support the full gamut of multi-digit expressions, however it does allow you to scroll horizontally and vertically – useful for navigating the Windows 8.1 start screen or simply moving around in long documents.

Tip o’ the Week #216 – Bing Smart Search in Windows 8.1


Hopefully, everyone who was on Windows 8 should be running Windows 8.1 by now. There’s so much that was improved since Windows 8 released, some very noticeably (such as the return of the Start button, if you consider that an improvement) and some, less so – like all the Enterprise functionality that changed. Not to mention the changes that have come in as part of the Windows 8.1 Update 1, as featured in Tip o’ the Week #222

One of the more obvious new features is the Smart Search capability, and yet it can take a bit of getting used to  before it changes the way you use your PC.

You could still use the normal methods for getting to Bing – clip_image004viewing the lovely picture or video on the homepage and searching from there, try just typing your query into the address bar of the browser and let it make suggestions or just carry out the search terms… or use the Bing Desktop App.

clip_image006If you type your search query into the standard Search mechanism in Windows 8.1 (just start typing at the Start screen, or press WindowsKey+S or swipe to bring up the Search charm), then the PC will be able to combine results from your own documents, from popular web sites like Wikipedia, it’ll show you images and videos that correspond to the same term as well bringing results from certain apps (even from sources who have apps you haven’t installed yet).

Try a few special terms out, and you’ll get even more context – a flight number will show you current status and related searches (such as the historical performance and the current position, from Flightradar… who also have Apps for Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 should you want to interact some more, as Paul Barlow recommends).

Type in a place name and you may well be greeted with weather reports, links to restaurant recommendations, details from Bing Travel and other apps in the store that might be relevant.

Enter a musician and you may see results from the Xbox Music app Xbox Music app (latest updates, here), allowing you to play their tracks directly from within Windows 8.1 – and did you know that streaming Xbox Music is free for 6 months for Windows 8.x users?

For more tips on using Smart Search, see here, here and here.

There’s a great opinion piece by Ed Bott at ZDNet, which discusses the role that Bing plays in Microsoft’s future. Well worth a read of the whole thing.

Tip o’ the Week #222 – Windows 8.1 Update 1 is here


Another in the occasionally out-of-sequence Tips: since this is quite topical, it’s jumping the queue (as will next week’s tip) before we settle back to ToW #215.

It doesn’t seem all that long ago that Windows 8.1 arrived, promising universal salvation from the blight of the empty Task Bar by reinstating the Start button. Huzzah! And lots of other good stuff too, of course.

Now, we march onward with the widely acclaimed Windows 8.1 Update 1, itself a pretty big series of changes to Windows. The Update 1 was unveiled at the Build conference at the beginning of April, though there may have been a little confusion over what was coming imminently and which demos were showing functionality due in “a future” update.

Terry Myerson clarified that the revisited Start Menu is something to look forward to, rather than expect in the imminent release. Terry also commented on developing a “Windows for the Internet of Things” running on Intel Quark chips, CPUs the size of a pencil eraser yet promising to run full x86 Windows.

Anyway, to see what’s new in Update 1, check out this great blog post for a nice overview. clip_image003In short – if you primarily use a keyboard and mouse to interact with Windows, then 8.1 Update 1 will have a lot that’s good for you.

Some highlights:

  • If you have a PC with no touch screen, you will boot straight to the desktop, bypassing the Start screen – which is still there, just not shown by default unless you have a touch laptop or a fondleslab
  • The Power and Search icons now appear on the Start screen, so it’s easier to sleep/shutdown and find stuff
  • You can right-click on Start-screen tiles with a mouse to get a context-menu, rather than having to select them and then bring up the menu at the bottom of the screen like before.
  • The Store icon is now docked to the Task Bar so you can find new apps even more easily. clip_image005This also means you can pin Modern Apps to the Task Bar too. In this example, my Task Bar is pinned to the left of the screen rather than the bottom – if you have a widescreen laptop panel or monitor (as most of us do), try dragging the Task Bar to the side – it makes better use of the screen real estate.
  • clip_image007Modern App IE gets useful tabs for mouse toters. It arguably makes the Modern IE app better than Desktop IE for most sites unless compatibility determines that you need the old desktop mode.
  • clip_image009Move the mouse to the top of a Modern App, and you’ll get a window title bar with minimise and close buttons on the top right, and an app icon on the left – click on that, and you can snap (or “split”) the app to the left or right as well as minimise or close it. Note that Maximise is greyed out – see the screenshot here, observe the Mail app running in a window, and you’ll see why it’s greyed, for now…

OK, OK, How do I get it?

To install the update, you can get it from Windows Update now – just type Windows Update on your start screen, check for what’s new and you’ll see the biggie show up, possibly hidden amongst a bunch of other Office updates or more minor Windows ones. Depending on whether you prefer the Modern Windows Update app or the trad. Desktop one (which is busier but gives you more info), you’ll see the update show up, possibly unchecked…


Watch out, however – on a not-so-recently updated desktop with Office 2013, all of the cumulative Office SP1 and Windows 8.1 Update 1 came to 2.5Gb. Just make sure you allow plenty of time for the whole thing to complete.

If you’d like to download all the Windows 8.1 updates offline (if you have wet-string broadband at home, and want to shuttle the binaries home from work), see here for full intructions.