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It's a free download if you already have Windows 8

Microsoft unleashed its new Windows 8.1 operating system today, which promises deeper customization, updated apps and more. 

Microsoft has made Windows 8.1 available for download starting at 7 a.m. EST today, and it will roll out around the globe over the next 24 hours. The boxed version will be available in retail stores starting tomorrow, as well as brand-new devices that already have the OS pre-installed. 

Those with Windows 8 will see various changes in the move to 8.1, such as greater customization. Windows 8.1 brings new background color options as well as different sizing of live tiles. 

If you've been missing the familiar and ever-beloved Start button in the lower lefthand corner of your taskbar, fear not: Windows 8.1 brought it back. But it doesn't function in the traditional sense -- it just sends you back to the tile-based Windows 8 Start environment. But if you want to avoid the live tiles altogether, Windows 8.1 will let you boot up in Desktop mode instead. 


Microsoft said multitasking is also easier in Windows 8.1, as users can now have up to four apps side by side and adjust the window size of each one to their specifications. 

Other changes include a better-integrated Sky Drive, where smart files can can be created, edited, saved and shared at anytime; the updated Bing Smart Search, which has two new apps called "Food & Drink" and "Health & Fitness"; built-in support for 3D printing; updates to built-in apps like Mail, News, Weather, Finance, Sports and Travel, and a Windows Store redesign (it now has a "New & Rising" section). 

Microsoft is celebrating its new OS with a Twitter contest, if any DT readers would care to join. Simply take a screenshot of your new Start screen in Windows 8.1 after updating, and tweet it with the hashtag "MyStart." Microsoft will choose 810 winners per day for the next eight days, and each winner will receive a $10 promotional Windows Store gift card.

Many say Windows 8.1 is a must if you've already bought Windows 8, as it offers improvements over the original. But if you're still running Windows 7 and previous, and still aren't comfortable with the new UI in the Windows 8 ecosystem, it's still a pretty big shift from the traditional UI. 

The Windows 8.1 download is free if you already have a licensed copy of Windows 8 installed. Otherwise, it'll cost you $120 for the standard version and $200 for Windows 8.1 Pro. You can grab the free download here on your Windows 8 device. 

Source: Windows Blog



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Metro UI still sucks ...
By ZorkZork on 10/17/2013 2:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
... the start button doesn't change a thing.




RE: Metro UI still sucks ...
By Jeffk464 on 10/17/2013 3:18:38 PM , Rating: 2
It means I don't have to take my hand off the track pad to hit the windows key.


RE: Metro UI still sucks ...
By coburn_c on 10/17/13, Rating: 0
RE: Metro UI still sucks ...
By augiem on 10/18/2013 2:49:20 PM , Rating: 3
All you Windows 8 apologists seem to forget about something called intuitive design. There's a reason every website you go to has visual representations of buttons and why we interact with almost everything in life outside computers visually. This fad of zero-ui will fall by the wayside after the designers get over their giddiness at being different and "thinking outside the box". It's utterly impractical for every UI to expect users to memorize their particular implementation du jour. Just think what would happen if web designers got ahold of this concept. (And I swear some will when the technology allows them to do it). You'll have websites with NOTHING but content on them and all kinds of cryptic swipes and gestures to do all interaction. Sorry, it won't fly because most people have better things to do with their lives than learn every designer's heady ideas on how you should be interacting with a computer.


"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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