Leaked Windows 8.1 build gives Windows 8 the tutorials it always needed

Windows 8 logoWindows 8 required users to learn a handful of concepts to get around and perform basic tasks. When you know what those concepts are—swiping from the edges, clicking in the corners, and a few others—the operating system actually works pretty well. The problem is that it does so very little to teach those concepts. New users are often left high and dry.

Back in the days of Windows 3, Microsoft included Windows tutorials to teach basic concepts like using the mouse, double clicking, and drag-and-drop. Leaked Windows 8.1 builds show that Redmond is returning to those days: Windows 8.1 will include a range of tutorials that explain how to get around the new operating system.

Leaked Windows 8.1 build gives Windows 8 the tutorials it always needed

As well as the new tutorials, reports state there are some additional visual cues to indicate which parts of the operating system are interactive. Windows Phone uses an ellipsis mark on its toolbars to denote that they can be tapped and expanded; some of the built-in applications in Windows 8.1 are using the same cue for the same purpose.

Whether the new tutorials will help is, of course, another matter entirely. It has been claimed that the reason Windows 8 didn't have a more thorough tutorial is simple: people don't pay attention and don't learn what is being taught, making long, detailed tutorials ineffective. The Windows 8 tutorial therefore keeps things very basic: swiping from the edge and clicking in the corner are how most actions in Windows 8 are initiated, but from that starting point, new users have to experiment on their own.

The Windows 8.1 tutorials might fare better as they're placed inside a new application, "Help + Tips," which is visible on the Start screen by default. Placing them in an app both allows the tutorials to be revisited—Windows 8's tutorial is only shown on the first log in and can't readily be replayed—and experienced at the user's own pace.

Windows 8.1 is due to be released to manufacturing some time this month. It will be a free update for Windows 8 users, installed through the Windows Store app. One might have expected this low cost and electronic delivery to mean that it would be made widely available soon after the RTM date.

Alas, Mary Jo Foley is reporting that this won't be the case, and that nobody will be able to get their hands on the update until mid October or so. This is in contrast to Windows 8's release, where MSDN subscribers and volume licensees (among others) could download the software within weeks of its RTM date rather than having to wait for its October launch.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Microsoft, OSes, Windows 8.1

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