The registry tweak no longer works in 8.1. In 8.1 there is apparently a hack (source):
- Install Debugging tools for Windows (free download from MSDN)
- Create a directory on your computer to store symbols in ([author uses] c:\localsymbols)
Create a shortcut on your desktop to run this (replace the two paths to point wherever you need):
[path_to_debugging_tools]\ntsd.exe -pn explorer.exe -pv -y SRV*[path_to_local_symbols]*http://msdl.microsoft.com/download/symbols -c "eb Windows_UI_Search!SearchUI::Data::SwitchToApp b8 00 00 00 00 c3; q"
Double click the shortcut and repeat the above experiment.
Note: I do not know what "repeat the above experiment" in step 4 means. The original author wrote this in the above source and I do not have Windows 8.1. It could mean to add the registry key from 8. It could mean to repeat the process a second time. It could mean that it's finished and now works. If anybody tries this please post in comment below. I have sent the author a request for clarification.
Why Microsoft chose to do this when every other operating system in existence and past version of Windows does the opposite is a bit beyond me. At least they made shift + enter functional, but apparently they decided that the majority of users are incapable of keeping track of their open windows (and UI decisions like that in major OSes are precisely why a user would end up like that) and that "start notepad" doesn't mean start notepad. And thus, they continue to doom typing commands to the realm of the "advanced" user.