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Desktop programs and Windows Store apps on the same taskbar
You'll have to look closely to see the single new option on this menu. If the option to show Windows Store apps on the taskbar is selected, you can see and pin icons for any open app on the taskbar, alongside icons for Windows desktop programs.
Previewing Windows Store apps from the taskbar
In Windows 7, music and video apps offer playback controls directly from the taskbar preview, which appears when you hover the mouse pointer over their icon. Windows 8.1 Update 1 adds this same capability to the built-in Music and Video apps, allowing you to pause playback or skip a track without leaving the desktop.
The taskbar is available from anywhere
One of the most persistent criticisms of Windows 8 is that it uses two different program switching mechanisms. The taskbar is for switching between desktop programs, just as in Windows 7, but switching between Windows Store apps requires the use of a row of program icons on the left side of the screen, exposed by pointing to the upper left corner. Windows 8.1 Update 1 makes that arcane gesture unnecessary by making the taskbar available from any location, including the Start screen and Windows Store apps. Normally, the taskbar is hidden. Moving the mouse pointer to the bottom of screen pops up the taskbar, allowing you to switch to any app with a single click.