Windows 8.1 vs Windows 10

After Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, Windows 10 is the latest Windows operating system from Microsoft. According to Microsoft, Windows 10 will be their most comprehensive platform ever, and is built to deliver the right experience on the right device at the right time. In the first glance, Windows 10 looks like a fusion of Windows 8.1 on touch devices and Windows 7 desktop system in many aspects.

On comparing Windows 8.1 with Windows 10, we found that the new operating system Winodws 10 has improved features from Windows 8.1 such as an enhanced Start menu which now also includes Metro style live tiles for modern apps.

Start menu in Windows 10

Microsoft had released Windows 8.1 to fix the initial shortcomings and criticisms of Windows 8 such as the imperfect integration of Metro user interface and the traditional desktop system. While Windows 8.1 rectified a few issues such as the removal of the Start button from Windows 8, other issues were not resolved like the much required Start menu is still not available in Windows 8.1.

Start screen of Windows 8.1

According to Microsoft, Windows 10 is built from the ground up, and it will run across a broad set of devices including smartphones, tablets, large screen desktop computers, etc. One operating system, Windows 10, will run across all types of devices. This is a different from Windows 8.1 which offers different operating systems for desktops, smartphones, tablets, Xbox devices, etc.

If your computer has Windows 8 or 8.1 installed on it and you are thinking to update it to Windows 10, you might want to take a look at the features of Windows 10 and compare it with Windows 8 or 8.1. Windows XP and Windows 7 users who are thinking to upgrade their computer's operating system or planning to buy a new computer might also want to see which operating system, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, will be more suitable for their needs.

In this guide, We will show you a detailed comparison of Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 operating systems.

Windows 8.1 vs Windows 10

Startup and shutdown performance

When we started Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 to compare their startup times, both the operating systems took very small amounts of time to start and were ready to work in a few seconds. The difference in the startup or boot performances of Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 is minimal, with Windows 10 seems to be only slightly faster than Windows 8.1.
Like the startup times, the shutdown times of Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 are equally good and they shutdown quickly. Both Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 have much enhanced startup and shutdown performances when compared to the previous versions of Windows.

Windows 8.1 vs Windows 10: User interface and user experience

In Windows 8, Microsoft made drastic changes to the user interface of the operating system. The Start button and the Start menu were removed completely in Windows 8, and a new Metro styled Start screen was added. In Windows 8.1, the Start button made a come back but the Start menu did not. While some Windows 8 and 8.1 users who use their computers mostly for web browsing found the new interface somewhat appealing, most users did not find the changes in the user interface to be more intuitive than the previous version. In Windows 8, the new Metro styled Start screen and the live tiles feel like a new operating system is added on top of the traditional desktop system and the blend of the two interfaces did not look seamless.

When you start Windows 10, it displays the familiar desktop screen with the taskbar at the bottom containing the Start button on the left side and shortcuts to some applications such as Search tool, Task view, File explorer, Internet explorer, and Windows app store. In Windows 10 for desktop, Microsoft has finally decided to remove the Start screen which was first introduced in Windows 8. However, a modified version of Start screen will continue to be used in touch touch enabled devices such as smartphones, tablets, 2-in-1 laptop PCs, etc.

Start menu:

When you click on the Start button in Windows 10, a redesigned Start menu pops out which looks like a combination of the Start menu of Windows 7 and the Start screen of Windows 8. The new Start menu has some changes, for example, the power options Shut down, Sleep, and Restart are moved to the top of the Start menu. On the right side of the Start menu, a Metro styled area is added which contains colorful live tiles of Modern apps.

In Windows 10, the search tool at the bottom of the Start menu now lets you search the Internet using the Bing search engine in addition to searching for local files and applications.

Modern apps and desktop apps in Windows 10:

In Windows 8.1, Metro apps open in full screen mode even on laptops and desktops, and some simple things like switching between apps is not intuitive at all. The two systems of applications, Metro apps and desktops apps, is quite confusing for Windows 8 and 8.1 users and it has changed in Windows 10.

In Windows 10, Metro apps will also open in windows similar to the desktop apps. They will have a title bar at the top with options for minimizing, maximizing, and closing at the top-right. Overall, Windows 10 has evidently a better user interface and user experience compared to Windows 8.1.


In Windows 8 and 8.1, Microsoft introduced many changes such as the addition of the Start screen and live tiles to improve the user experience on touch devices. In Windows 10, a new feature called Continuum is added. This new feature will make the interface of Windows 10 adaptable to touch and non-touch devices.

In convertible laptops, tablets, and 2-in-1 PCs with keyboard docks, windows 10 will be able to detect when the keyboard is plugged in or detached, and its interface will adapt accordingly.

Task view and Virtual desktops

Task view and the ability to create and manage virtual desktops is one of the most useful features added in Windows 10. In a brief look, Task view appears to be a simple tool to switch between currently opened apps, files, and windows. A similar feature exists in previous versions of Windows, for example, you can use the keyboard shortcuts Alt + Tab and WINDOW key + Tab to switch between running apps in Windows 7. But the Task view in Windows 10 is not just a window switcher. It comes with a more useful feature which lets you create multiple virtual desktops to organize your applications and systematize your work.

If you use multiple applications at a time, then you can use Virtual desktops to arrange the running applications in groups according to your needs. For example, if you are working on Excel sheets, Word documents, or PDF documents and listening to your favorite playlist in Windows Media player, you can keep the applications which you use for your work in one virtual desktop and the media player in another. Not only it systematizes your work, it also makes your desktop workspace clutter free.

Windows 8.1 vs Windows 10: Security and updates

Security is always a concern for individual and corporate users. On the security front, Microsoft changed many things in Windows 8.1, for example, Bitlocker drive encryption, Microsoft Security Essentials, and UEFI secure boot were enabled by default. This was an improvement over Windows 7. Multifactor authentication and remote security capabilities were also enhanced in Windows 8.1.

Windows 8.1 also has features for remotely deleting selective data from the computer's hard drive. This feature allows companies to remotely distinguish the corporate data from the personal data and choose to delete or lock any sensitive information.

In Windows 10, Microsoft has introduced some new features and changes to make it better for both individual and corporate users, especially in terms of security and updates. Since Bitlocker only protects the data while it reside on the device, the new operating system will have an additional layer of protection for files and applications in addition to the default drive encryption. This new layer maintains the same level of protection even if the data moves from a PC or tablet to a USB drive, cloud, or email. This protection at the file and application level was not available in the previous versions of Windows.

To improve the resistance to breach and theft of data, Microsoft, in Windows 10, has created user identities for accessing some services, devices, and apps. For enhanced security, the concept of multi-factor authentication solutions such as smartcards or token-based systems are built into Windows 10 which in some cases might eliminate the need for additional hardware security systems.

Windows 10 will also have a simplified and streamlined update process which will give its users a fine control on choosing updates for their operating system when they want.

Windows 8.1 vs Windows 10: Enterprise features

In Windows 8.1, Microsoft added many new features for the enterprise such as native support for biometric recognition, network behavior monitoring, Wi-Fi direct, 3D printing support, better OneDrive integration, improved multi monitor support, etc. Windows 8.1 has also simplified the management of devices using Windows Intune.
The Windows To Go feature which is included in Windows 8 Enterprise and Windows 8.1 Enterprise editions of the Windows operating system allows Windows 8 and 8.1 Enterprise to boot and run from storage devices such as external hard disk drives or USB flash drives.

Windows 10 has a number of great new features for the Enterprise such as a unified and customizable apps store, better management capabilities, in-place updates from Windows 7 and Windows 8, improved protection of data, better control on the update process.

The new unified app store will support both modern apps and regular desktop apps. It will also allow the companies to create their own store within the public app store where they can keep their own curated list of apps. With the new volume purchasing progam, companies have the option to buy apps and manage their licenses in bulk. The Mobile Device Management capabilities are also improved in Windows 10 and it enables businesses to remotely manages their devices in a simplified and effective way.

More new features in Windows 10

Windows 10 will have many new features such as the ability to run Windows store apps within desktops, Mobile Device Management capabilities, universal app system, changes in the Command Prompt, etc. If you want to know about these features in detail, you can see our guide on Windows 10 features you want to know.

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