For starters, let's get something straight. Current Windows 8.1 users can already boot to the desktop. This feature isn't obvious, but once you figure out where to go, it's actually just as easy as getting slapped in the face.
To turn the feature on, go to the desktop and right-click on an open area on the taskbar. When the menu appears, click Properties and the Taskbar and Navigation properties box appears. Next click on the Navigation tab, and then check the following option listed under Start Screen (it's not checked by default).
“When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start."
A new report stemming from a near final build of Windows 8.1 Update 1 reveals that unless customers have followed the directions listed above, and they're using a screen without touch capability, then the platform will boot to the desktop by default. If the user has a touch screen and has not manually switched on the desktop boot as shown above, then the platform will boot straight into the Start screen.
The update seems to cater to the mouse and keyboard user, starting with the boot option and continuing on with a new shutdown button that will be placed on the Start screen. This button presumably only appears on laptops and desktops that do not have a touch-based screen.
According to the report, the "Metro" apps also have a new title bar that allows the user to minimize, close or snap apps using the mouse. On touch-based screens, this title bar doesn't appear by default, but will appear if the mouse pointer hovers over the top portion of an app. Tiles on the Start Screen will produce a context menu when the user right-clicks on the tile, with options including resize, unpin and so on.
As previously reported, "Metro" apps can be pinned to the desktop taskbar, which will have preview windows, if the user has selected to "show Windows Store apps on the taskbar." Within an app, users can hover the mouse point over the lower part to bring up the taskbar, which will appear over the Metro app. This allows the user to move between apps rather than swiping on the screen or touchpad.
Finally, there's a new "disk space" option in the settings that lists individual app sizes, and collates file sizes for media such as music, pictures and videos.
Microsoft is currently expected to dish out Windows 8.1 Update 1 either shortly before or shortly after its BUILD conference in April.