Windows 8.1 Coming on October 18
Article by George Norman
On 15 Aug 2013
Microsoft announced that Windows 8.1 will be rolled out at as a free update on the 18th of October. Windows 8 users will be able to get it for free from the Windows Store. And come October 18th, Windows 8.1 will go on sale at retail stores around the world and will be available when customers purchase new devices.

“I know a lot of folks are eager to find out when they will be able to get Windows 8.1,” said Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc. “I am excited to share that starting at 12:00am on October 18th in New Zealand (that’s 4:00am October 17th in Redmond), Windows 8.1 will begin rolling out worldwide as a free update for consumers on Windows 8 through the Windows Store. Windows 8.1 will also be available at retail and on new devices starting on October 18th by market. So mark your calendars!”


To give us a taste of what Windows 8.1 has to offer, Microsoft rolled out a Preview back in June. Here are the things that caught my eye:
  • The ability to sync customizations, apps and files across all your Windows 8.1 devices.
  • The Start button that many Windows 8 adopters complained about is back.
  • Shutdown and Restart options have been added to the Start menu.
  • Dynamic Start screen backgrounds and new tile resizing and sorting options.
  • The All apps screen is easier to access.
  • The Snap feature is no longer limited to 2 apps; you can Snap as many apps as your display can accommodate.
  • Windows Store apps can be Snapped across multiple monitors.
  • A preview version of Internet Explorer 11 is included.
  • A completely redesigned Windows Store.
  • Visual Studio 2013 Preview and .NET 4.5.1 Preview.
  • Bing is positioned as a development platform.
  • SkyDrive is integrated into the OS.
  • Several built-in Metro-style apps have been updated.
  • There are also a few new apps and new utility apps.
  • Business-oriented features: NFC tap-to-pair printing, Wi-Fi Direct printing, Miracast wireless display, broadband tethering, improved VPN capabilities.

You only have to wait about a month to get your hands on Windows 8.1 and the new features it has to offer. If you can’t wait, then go ahead and get the Windows 8.1 Preview.

You can get Windows 8.1 Preview for free straight from Microsoft here.

For a more complete look at all the features in Windows 8.1, check out this Product Guide (PDF format).

If you have any questions about Windows 8.1 Preview, check out this FAQ.

Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc posted instructions on how to install Windows 8.1 Preview here.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 Preview, update
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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