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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RE: Some nice new features
By inighthawki on 10/19/2013 5:11:26 PM , Rating: 2
Completely unfair comparison. XP and Vista had completely different driver models, and upon release, the video drivers for nvidia and ati (which were written completely from scratch) did not have the necessary time to optimize and tune the drivers nearly as much as their XP counterparts, so lower performance would be completely expected.

The driver model for Vista->8.1 are the same with incremental upgrades for each release, meaning drivers were allowed to continue to reuse their code with optimizations. A fairer comparison would be XP compared to mature windows 7 drivers.

RE: Some nice new features
By lexluthermiester on 10/20/2013 2:34:47 AM , Rating: 2
I beg to differ. It is a very fair comparison. The comment I responded to was;

yup, Ive never seen an OS update thats had that big of an effect.

Based on THAT statement, my comment was completely and perfectly valid. You failed to comprehend either the original statement, my response or both.

The problem between XP and Vista had to do more with the fact that the new driver architecture was poorly constructed, compiled and implemented by microsoft themselves. Those problems then filtered down to hardware vendors who[understandably] had difficulty adapting and stabilizing their drivers, which were not fully resolved until SP2. Windows 7 represented a milestone in quality for microsoft in this area. The problems between Windows 7 and 8/8.1 is the way DircetX implements 2D elements in a the 3D app. It is well known that DirectX has had some changes since 7 that have caused a few problems for certain games.

In future, please fully READ and make sure you comprehend what's being said before you respond. Also, do get your facts straight before making statements in a factual manner when they are, in fact, little more than opinions based on observation...

RE: Some nice new features
By inighthawki on 10/20/2013 7:40:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yes technically that is true, there was an upgrade, and there was a change.

But are you serious? Do you understand anything about graphics or software at all? The problem was not about the architecture being poorly designed, it is that it was completely new. They had to rewrite drivers from scratch which was very different from how they were used to doing it. And no, there are no "well known" issues with directx between 7 and 8/8.1. You are just trolling now.

The problems between Windows 7 and 8/8.1 is the way DircetX implements 2D elements in a the 3D app.

This doesn't even mean anything.

RE: Some nice new features
By lexluthermiester on 10/22/2013 10:06:58 PM , Rating: 2
This doesn't even mean anything.

Ok, so the word "the" threw you off then? Please forgive my grammatical mistake. But it's funny, I thought that statement was fairly straight forward. There's this wonderful utility called Google Search. Use it and learn!

RE: Some nice new features
By Paj on 10/21/2013 8:42:19 AM , Rating: 2
Windows 7 and Vista drivers had a lot more in common with each other than either of them did with XP. The architecture changed completely in the transition to Vista, and a lot of manufacturers were caught out by it (coupled with Microsofts poor management of the process, and rushing OEM products to market which clearly weren't capable).

It makes me laugh how Windows 7 was almost universally praised while Vista was panned, considering how much they have in common. Once all the driver issues were sorted out on a properly equipped machine, Vista was actually quite a good OS.

RE: Some nice new features
By lexluthermiester on 10/22/2013 10:23:58 PM , Rating: 2
It makes me laugh how Windows 7 was almost universally praised while Vista was panned, considering how much they have in common.

I'm glad you compared Vista to 7 this way. It's going to help illustrate an excellent example.

The difference between man and some primates is less than 3% genetic information. And yet with those very few differences we have our Hawking's, Armstrong's, Einstein's, Franklin's and Davinci's. Vista and 7 have a similar percentage[more or less] difference in coded information, but oh what a wonderful difference that small percentage makes. A similar[yet larger] difference exists between 7 and 8. And oh what a horrid difference it makes...

See the big the picture? Small changes can make as much a difference as big changes do.

Vista was actually quite a good OS.

I'll provisionally agree. AFTER SP2, Vista became a usable and stable OS. I'd sooner use it than 8/8.1 ANY day of the year.

RE: Some nice new features
By Just Tom on 10/21/2013 1:01:13 PM , Rating: 2
All true, however a 30% decrease in no way is comparable to going from 120-200FPS to a top of 45FPS. Even comparing the top speed of the OP's machine, 45FPS, to the bottom speed under Win7, 120 FPS, would be a difference of over 60%. So yeah, saying I've never seen an OS update thats had that big of an effect is hardly countered with your XP->Vista loss of 30%.

RE: Some nice new features
By inighthawki on 10/21/2013 3:43:48 PM , Rating: 2
Considering his track record on comments so far I wouldn't be surprised if that 30% hit wasn't also just a lie, or a one off driver related issue that was fixed shortly after. I have not seen a single game that took much of an impact moving from XP to Vista unless maybe you were very memory or VRAM constrained.

RE: Some nice new features
By lexluthermiester on 10/22/2013 10:01:30 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, THAT was a good response. Call me a lair. Any other pithy remarks you want to use to embarrass yourself?

RE: Some nice new features
By tamalero on 10/21/2013 11:21:34 PM , Rating: 2
I actually wonder if the person complaining actually forgot to turn on the multicore rendering.

Also some processors, specially AMD, require a special driver to speed up things.. and this is NOT installed by default.

RE: Some nice new features
By lexluthermiester on 10/22/2013 11:42:12 PM , Rating: 2
Those are both excellent points! You wouldn't think the move from 7 to 8 would require such tweaking/fiddling because they're so similar right?

RE: Some nice new features
By lexluthermiester on 10/22/2013 10:36:17 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, fair enough. I never experienced THAT dramatic of a difference. But the point being made was, OS update produced "X" problem. Mine was not as dramatic as 60%, but 30% is nothing to sneeze at, which makes my comparison valid in the context of this discussion.

The jump from XP to Vista caused MANY problems for gamers. I was most certainly not alone in this. And a 30% loss was not an unusual number to see for a solid year after Vista's release.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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