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Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday revealed the launch date of its highly-anticipated “Blue” update to the Windows 8 operating system, which is most commonly known as Windows 8.1. As expected, the new OS will be released in mid-October, just in time for the holiday sales season. The update is being released to PC makers these days.

Starting at 12:00am on October 18th in New Zealand (that is 4:00am October 17th in Redmond, Washington), 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!

Windows 8.1 brings many improvements in areas like personalization, Internet Explorer 11, search which is powered by Bing, built-in apps including a few new ones, an improved Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity with SkyDrive and much more. 

Among other things, Windows 8.1 returns Start button to the bottom left corner of the desktop. What is important is that when clicked onto, the Start button trigger the new Start screen when clicked, and not the legacy Start menu. Once the button is clicked, it will remain displayed on the desktop going forward; those, who use hardware Start button on keyboards, will get Windows 8 Start screen.


Screenshot originally published by Supersite for Windows

In Windows 8.1, users will be able to substitute the stock Start screen with the All Apps view, a set of tile-like icons for every installed program, but no live updating functionality. Users will also be able to arrange the icons by usage, allowing the most commonly used apps to be first. This view is the closest it is possible to get to the Windows 7 Start Menu, albeit it will be full-screen, not a list.

As expected, Windows 8.1 will allow to boot directly to desktop and skip the Windows 8 Start Screen. 

 
Screenshot originally published by Supersite for Windows

Microsoft Windows 8.1 will be delivered as a free and seamless update to Windows 8 and to Windows RT, which means that customers today who have Windows 8 or who plan to buy a new device will get all the advantages of Windows 8.1.

Microsoft will first demonstrate Windows 8.1 updates at Build conference June 26th in San Francisco. A public preview of Windows 8.1 will be available for anyone to download at that point.

Previously it was reported that Microsoft was to return Start menu and allow skip the Metro UI Start screen with the Windows 8.1 update. In addition, it is projected that the “Blue” updates will improve battery life on new-generations of microprocessors and will possible bring other performance advantages. While the full picture of Blue updates remains generally unfinished, the enhancements of Windows 8.1 over Windows 8 have already been published:

  • New split-screen App options.
  • Improved modern UI PC settings.
  • New tile sizes.
  • New search interface.
  • Enhanced SkyDrive.
  • Internet Explorer 11.
  • Swipe up from Start Screen to access list of apps.
  • More personalization options.
  • Picture frame mode.
  • New gestures.
  • New Apps: Calculator, Alarm, Sound Recorder, Movie Moments (video editing application).

Tags: Microsoft, Windows 8, Blue, Windows, Xbox, Windows RT

Discussion

Comments currently: 8
Discussion started: 08/14/13 08:55:04 PM
Latest comment: 08/18/13 02:59:42 AM
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1. 
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1 4 [Posted by: mudi1  | Date: 08/14/13 08:55:04 PM]
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2. 
Where's my Windows XP window manager? Microsoft is crazy not to give consumers a choice of look and feel of the OS. Thumbs down to the Ballmer crew for their utter stupidity and rigidity.
4 3 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 08/15/13 01:59:25 AM]
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- collapse thread

 
Another blue day for micro-suck-spyware OS. The are having the blues.
1 3 [Posted by: Urhu  | Date: 08/15/13 05:31:44 AM]
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Who does? Surely not apple with their one size fits all approach in both phones and pc. Not google with their "skins are OK but you are still using our layout" android and their "it looks like a web browser so get over yourself" chrome? Oh, perhaps you meant Ubuntu where they changed to a windows 8/OSX layout despite major backers warning them to stop.
0 0 [Posted by: basroil  | Date: 08/18/13 02:53:54 AM]
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3. 
The crap is just becoming stinkier. Nothing to see here...
1 3 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 08/15/13 05:40:08 AM]
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4. 
My 6yo daughter got through the switch from win7 to win8 in a couple of days. After telling me she'd show mommy how it works, I actually thought that MS did a pretty good job.

Times are changing; OS and apps shape too. In the end, am I able to game? Yep! Did any of this change anything when I'm editing videos? Nope.

Do I like purple? Nope!
1 1 [Posted by: MHudon  | Date: 08/15/13 10:49:16 AM]
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5. 
Just purchased a HP laptop, the laptops biggest selling point, it came with Windows 7! There will be no more M$ operating systems on my computers after 7's EOL! M$ just does not understand that PCs belong to those who purchased the hardware, and not those who have supplied the OS! Another reason that I purchased the HP, is that the laptop also ships with a linux distro, so when windows 7 EOLs, I know there will be drivers for Linux for my laptop! I am beginning to test Linux distros to run along side windows 7, but windows 7 will be the last of the M$ madness! My fully functioning PC/laptop will NOT be reduced to an over sized smart phone, app store, POS, via WIN 8 or 8.1, Ever!!!
0 1 [Posted by: BigChiefRunAmok  | Date: 08/17/13 08:26:36 AM]
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6. 
I've been using Win8 on two computers and 8.1 on a third, and no far nothing but praise. If the start menu means so much to you, it's because you've been doing it wrong. The start menu is a pain to work with in a high sensitivity mouse environment, and start menu is so much easier since you can click everything even with 6400dpi. I only regularly use a dozen programs, so too many for task bar but perfect for start screen, and the random other programs I search for in both 7 and 8 anyway.

Music wise, 8.1 is so much better than 8 for built in apps, though a bit too green for my taste (I liked the original grey, but zune pink also works surprisingly well)
0 0 [Posted by: basroil  | Date: 08/18/13 02:59:42 AM]
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