Difference between Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

Key Difference: Microsoft introduced the Windows 8.1 update in order to make things slightly better for Windows 8 and to address the complaints of the users. The 8.1 update brought back the Windows Start Menu button, which clicked would then redirect the computer to the Start Menu Page with the Live Tiles.Windows 10 is the Microsoft’s latest attempt to unify the OS across all systems – laptop, tablet, Desktops and even smartphones.

Microsoft is one of the most sought out PC systems in the world and the company is raking in money on its Windows OS. However, nothing comes easy and Microsoft is learning the lesson the hard way. While Windows has been introducing popular after popular operating systems from the time it first launched Windows 95, it suffered a setback with the launch of Windows 8.

Windows 8 is considered to the most unsuccessful operating system till now. People preferred to remain on the stable Windows 7 rather than update to Windows 8. Windows 8 was completely different in terms of operating and even in terms of aesthetics. Microsoft had done away with the Start Menu and completely changed the design from what everyone was familiar with to a Metro inspired design with Live Tiles.

Microsoft introduced the Windows 8.1 update in order to make things slightly better for Windows 8 and to address the complaints of the users. The 8.1 update brought back the Windows Start Menu button, which clicked would then redirect the computer to the Start Menu Page with the Live Tiles.

Other enhancements include additional snap views that allow more applications to run on the screen, a more advanced OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive), a better Internet Explorer 11 with unified Bing-powered unified search (allowed users to search the computer as well as online using search bar) andthe ability to restore the previous behavior of opening the user's desktop on login instead of the Start screen.Windows 8.1 also added support for high-resolution displays, 3D printing, Wi-Fi Direct, and Miracast streaming.

Windows 10 is the newest operating system that was introduced by Microsoft and released to the public on June 29, 2015. In an attempt to get people to update their systems, the company is offering the operating system for free of charge for one year to anyone users that have a licensed Windows 7 or 8.1. Certain functions (such as Cortana) are not yet available. It is still considered to in beta form, with newer updates removing bugs as they come along.

The main objective of Windows to launch this OS is to unify all OSes across devices including laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones and even Xbox. In additional to unification, Windows 10 comes packed with many new and interesting features. The Start Menu is back and better than ever. It is a mix of Windows 7 Start Menu and Windows 8 Live Tiles. Cortana is also integrated on the search bar. Cortana is a voice activated assistant that is similar to Siri and Google Now. She can be used to open and close apps and even search the internet.

Another interesting feature is the Task View Button that is available on the bottom panel of the monitor. It allows users to create multiple virtual desktops that allow higher productivity.

After the makeover in the version 8, the Internet Explorer (aka File Explorer) is now Microsoft Edge, something similar along the lines of Safari by Apple. Microsoft has also upped the security for the new OS as it comes with integrated support for biometrics such as fingerprint reader, retina scanner and face scanner.

In an attempt to unify gaming experience across all Microsoft systems, the company has also added support for Xbox, where gamers can now hook up their controllers with their laptops and desktops and start playing their games. There are also new versions of DirectX and WDDM to improve the systems graphics capabilities. Microsoft has claimed that Windows 10 is not a product but rather an ongoing service, as more updates are going to be continuously introduced in order to fix the bugs in the system.

Comparison between Windows 8.1 and Windows 10:


Windows 8.1

Windows 10




Released to Manufacturing

August 27, 2013

July 15, 2015

Available to Users

October 17, 2013

July 29, 2015

Update Method

Respective subscription or enterprise channel.

Windows Update, Windows Store, Windows Server Update Services


IA-32, x64, ARMv7

IA-32, x64, ARMv7

Kernel type



Preceded by

Windows 8

Windows 8.1

Succeeded by

Windows 10


Support State Date

January 9, 2018

October 13, 2020

Extended Support Date

January 10, 2023

October 14, 2025

Required Processor

1 GHz clock rate

IA-32 or x64 architecture

1 GHz clock rate

IA-32 or x64 architecture

Required RAM

IA-32 edition: 1 GB

x64 edition: 2 GB

IA-32 edition: 1 GB

x64 edition: 2 GB

Required Graphics Card

DirectX 9 graphics device

WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

DirectX 9 graphics device

WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Required Display Screen


800×600 pixels

Required Input Device

Keyboard and mouse

Keyboard and mouse

Required Hard disk space

IA-32 edition: 16 GB

x64 edition: 20 GB

IA-32 edition: 16 GB

x64 edition: 20 GB

Start Menu

Connects to a page with small resizable tiles

Gives a combinations of the Smart Menu on Windows 7 and also incorporates Live Tiles


Just a search bar that allows users to search on the system as well as the internet

Makes search better and incorporates Voice Activated Personal Assistant – Cortana


Users are required to purchase the OS to update a system with older OS. 8.1 upgrade license costs around USD 90

Is Free for all users that are using Windows 7 and Windows 8 for the first year after its launch

Built in browser

Internet Explorer 11

New and improved Microsoft Edge that comes incorporated with Cortana and has a reading mode


Physical passwords to log into the system and apps

Allows users to integrate biometrics tools such as fingerprint and retina scanners


Separate OS for different devices

Seamless convergence on all devices. The same Windows 10 will run on the phone, tablet, laptop and even PCs


Bing Powered search system that allows universal search – where users can search where applications and websites can be search using the search button

Cortana is integrated into the Search feature, where instead of typing users can talk and ask Cortana to search something or open applications

File Explorer

Favorites option in the Side Bar that allows users to access their documents that have been marked as favorites

Quick Access replaces Favorites. Allows users to access recent files and frequently visited folders

Multiple Applications

Allowed users to simultaneous run two apps side by side on one screen or the apps would run only on full screen

The SnapAssist feature allows users to run multiple apps next to each other. A new Snap Assist feature means up to four apps can be snapped per screen.

Task View

Alt + Tab showed the list of all the applications that were running and allowed users to scroll through it by continuously pressing tab and holding down alt

Task View is now a button the lower bar of the screen which opens up all the open applications in a stack, allowing easier access to pick

Multiple Desktops

Does not allow multiple desktops

Allows multiple desktops to separate applications and for a faster use within a single monitor so that users can access two applications on the same screen


Allows installation of the Xbox application but doesn’t offer much of a Xbox experience

Comes with built-in Xbox app, offering a unified view of your games, the activity of friends, and gaming activities. Connected to Xbox Live and allows console connection to the game.

Images Courtesy: youtube.com

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