It will kick off in New Zealand

Microsoft announced today that Windows 8.1 will be released globally on October 18. 

The Windows update will kick off at 12 a.m. local time in New Zealand and make its way around the globe from there. This means that Windows 8 users can grab the digital download version at that time as a free update at the Windows Store. 

Customers can also pick up Windows 8.1-powered PCs and tablets starting that same day. 

"It’s very exciting to be delivering Windows 8.1 to consumers just before Windows 8 celebrates its 1-year anniversary," said Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc. "You can expect to read more from us on Windows 8.1 leading up to availability on October 18th!"

Windows 8.1 promises some useful upgrades from Windows 8, such as the long-awaited Start button. The button is not a Start menu, however; just a quick way back to the Start screen. Those who don't want to deal with live tiles at all can use the Boot to Desktop feature. 

In addition, built-in apps, the Search tool and All Apps screen have all been improved.

For those who particularly enjoy customization, it will be easier to do so on the Start screen.

Windows 8.1 first appeared in June in a preview edition.

Source: Windows Blog

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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