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Old and new Control Panel
One of the most common complaints about Windows 8, especially on tablets, is the way it forced you to switch to the desktop for many common configuration tasks. In Windows 8.1, the touch-friendly PC Settings selection is greatly expanded. For most of the tasks you're likely to tackly, you can take your choice of the desktop Control Panel or the new-style alternative. This example shows these alternate views of Display settings.
No more five-device limit for apps
You'd be amazed how quickly you can run into the five-device limit that applies to Windows Store apps. In Windows 8, the only fix was to remove one of your five authorized PCs from the list. Windows 8.1 eliminates this frustration by upping the limit for app installations to 81 devices.
(Prediction: at least three people will hit this limit and tell the world about it in the Talkback section of this gallery.)
Reading List adds save-for-later options
The Reading List app, new in Windows 8.1, might be the most useful of the new features introduced with this update. From any Windows Store app (including the built-in Windows 8.1 apps) you can click or tap the Share charm to slide open the pane shown here. Tap Reading List to save the headline and a snippet from the item, for easy reference later from the Reading List app. Your saved items are synced across devices as well, so you can save a flurry of web pages, news items, and even links to apps in the Windows Store, then catch up with the entire collection on a different device.
Note that you can't share anything from the desktop or from desktop apps. One small change in the Windows 8.1 RTM code is relevant here, though. If you open a page in the desktop version of Internet Explorer, you can right-click its tab to reveal an Open In Immersive Browser menu choice (that option wasn't in the Windows 8.1 Preview). Click that option to open the page in the Metro-style Internet Explorer and save it to the Reading List.