Print 114 comment(s) - last by lexluthermiest.. on Oct 23 at 1:20 AM

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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By Solandri on 10/17/2013 7:13:19 PM , Rating: 5
I just ran the update to 8.1 and got stumped at a screen I seemingly couldn't bypass without creating a Microsoft or Live account. Granted there are some benefits (sync to cloud) for linking your system to that account. But if you don't want it connected to the cloud and just want to use a local account, here's how:

You can keep your Internet connection enabled. When a screen called Connect this PC to your Microsoft account appears it will ask you for Email Address and Password (for or similar Microsoft service). If you have one you may put it in or if you don’t have it (or use Gmail instead), you have an option to create one. I suppose you want neither otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this right?

1. If you don’t want to create Microsoft account enter some invalid email here for example:

Email Address: localhost@localhost.localhost
Password: whatever you like, doesn’t matter (I entered 12345678).

2. Windows will now check this account and conclude that there was a problem with logging into this account (as it obviously doesn’t exist).

3. On the side a text will appear – “The email address or password is incorrect. If you don’t remember your password, create a local account now and set up your Microsoft account later.”

4. Click on create a local account now part of the text and you’re now creating a local account.

Would've been nice if they'd just made a "I don't want to connect to a Microsoft account" button, instead of hiding this option where it's difficult to find.

By TerranMagistrate on 10/17/2013 9:09:29 PM , Rating: 2
What if it keep pestering you about signing up for a MS account until you actually do? Possibly like with their product activation remainder. That would suck.

I'll be sticking with my trusty Windows 7 Professional. Security updates guaranteed til at least 2019.

By inighthawki on 10/17/2013 10:07:43 PM , Rating: 2
So you're going to not even try the OS because a post on DailyTech led you to create a conspiracy theory that it *might* nag you in the future to create an account?

By Doh! on 10/17/2013 9:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
Why the hassle? Just click "cancel" and it will prompt you to create a local account. No need to go through all that phony account creation.

By Doh! on 10/17/2013 9:23:30 PM , Rating: 2
Correction: Not "cancel" button but the "next" button.

By augiem on 10/18/2013 3:13:17 AM , Rating: 2
Does not work. I got stuck here too. (Later found out you can supposedly put a fake email address in that doesn't make sense or cut off internet access to force it to let you, but its definitely trying to prevent you from making a local account in 8.1 unlike in 8.) I didn't have my password the first time I did it so I reset (no cancel option) and it immediately uninstalled 8.1 upgrade and reverted to 8. UGH! After waiting forever for it to install AGAIN, I entered the PW... I didn't realize it was going to change my local account into a MS account, I figured since I had set it to a local account when I installed 8 that it would stay local and it just needed the login for the store and such. Nope, it converted my local acct to an MS account. IRREVERSIBLE. After that, the only recourse was to delete the entire user and create a new one. It's really getting out of hand how they're desperately trying to force you into a box. MS, I'm losing hope in you more every year.

So otherwise, Win 8.1 seems like a minor deal to require a whole new install. And I didn't think it was possible, but they managed to make the Windows Store EVEN WORSE than before! That's some serious dedication! Categories? Who needs em.

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