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SkyDrive built in
When you sign in with a Microsoft account, SkyDrive is set as the default storage location. (You can change this default easily if you're cloud-phobic.) Any file you open from SKyDrive is automatically synchronized with your local files so you can open it again even if you're offline. In addition, from File Explorer or from the SkyDrive app you can designate individual files and folders, or your entire SkyDrive collection, to be available offline.
The search box in the upper right corner is new, as are many of the more fine-grained management tools in the app bar below the window.
Synchronizing with SkyDrive doesn't require installing a separate desktop utility as it did in Windows 8. Control freaks might be dismayed to learn that the built-in Windows 8.1 SkyDrive utility offers no easy status indicators and no way to move the default local storage folder.
The SkyDrive app doubles as File Explorer
The SkyDrive app isn't just for cloud-based files. The navigation control at the top of the window also includes the option to browse and manage local files as well as those stored on a network. In essence, the SkyDrive app is a stealthy, touch-friendly replacement for File Explorer on tablets.
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.