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Microsoft Confirms Windows 8.1 Launch on October 18

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 17 comments

Windows 8.1 to bring Start button back... sort of.

It's official; Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 8.1 will be released no later than October 18 in all parts of the world. With international time zone differences, 12:00 a.m. in New Zealand means that North Americans will see the release at 4:00 a.m. pacific and 7:00 a.m. eastern on October 17.

Microsoft also confirmed that Windows 8.1 will also be appearing at retail and on new devices on that very same day.

Want to know more on what to expect from this next version of Windows? Check out our Windows 8.1 preview in pictures here.

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  • 1 Hide
    signothorn , August 14, 2013 8:49 AM
    I tried windows 8 and didn't care for the interface, in great part because I'm quite ADHD and looking at a wall of tiles drives me crazy. It felt like I was spending more time fiddling around through the navigation of Windows8 than enjoying games on my custom PC and 32 inch non-touchscreen display. I installed classic shell and enjoyed it a lot more, but the AMD drivers didn't appear to be prepared for W8.1 for gaming, I had all kinds of problems, so I went back to W7. I gave W8 a fair shot, but as far as the interface goes, I think it was the answer to a question that was never asked. I may try it again later when it's a more stable and user friendly experience, but I'll W8 on using W8....
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , August 14, 2013 8:51 AM
    Even without the start button, you can right click in the bottom left corner of the desktop screen in the Windows 8 desktop interface to pull up the start menu they show in the image above. The cosmetic addition of the button will be more intuitive, but you still can't see your installed programs menu this way.

    You also have no search box in the desktop interface which is incredibly useful for finding programs or files.

    Most of the benefits seem to be in making the Metro interface somewhat more usable for desktop users (ie being able to run more than 2 apps in a 75/25 split) and fooling those who do prefer using the desktop interface on the desktop into thinking the update makes the desktop more like Windows 7.
  • 0 Hide
    ssdpro , August 14, 2013 8:53 AM
    "Sort of" is accurate. Windows 8.1 is an improvement; I still prefer to choose and not have critical functionality decided for me. After testing 8.1 I think I can finally buy a new laptop. I had to put off that purchase for a year because I didn't want to downgrade the OS to 7.
  • 1 Hide
    ethanolson , August 14, 2013 8:54 AM
    Oh good. I've been telling people October. I'm glad to see my instincts were correct.

    I do have to tell people that Windows 8 will drive them nuts until they organize it perfectly for them and get rid of the stuff they don't use a lot from the main screen. Once that's done, then everything jives nicely... otherwise it'll drive anybody into the loony bin. Windows 8.1 is MUCH better... at least the preview that I've been running is.
  • 2 Hide
    ubercake , August 14, 2013 9:00 AM
    I know there are alternatives, but where'd the snipping tool go? Why can't I use something such as this in the metro interface?
  • -1 Hide
    MidnightDistort , August 14, 2013 9:04 AM
    I haven't been too crazy about the UI and especially when users and MS alike are shoving this OS on everyone i've been telling people not to get it & have been downrating it everywhere. I really don't need Windows 8 and i hear Windows 9 will be on the same path so i probably won't be getting that one either but in the future though if i ever need one where i have to get a MS OS which i am going to be working hard to avoid it, going Linux instead so i think at some point MS will have to acknowledge that some users are simply never going to get the new OS's, heck over 20% of users are still on XP, i don't think 98 was really that bad although i don't think they had a usage share of that back then.
  • 0 Hide
    Osmin , August 14, 2013 9:14 AM
    This is definitely an improvement for desktop users without touch screens because finding those corners with a mouse was more troublesome than hitting the Windows key. But what drives the common desktop user nuts is the struggle to use Metro apps with desktop apps. The worst part of Windows 8, the inability of Metro Apps to run in a window on the Desktop, still is not fixed for desktop users. Having tablet Metro apps take the full screen, 1/2, 1/3, or a 1/4 screen on the side of a large desk top monitor in a vertical shape is plain ugly and counterproductive. I should be able to populate my large display with as many small metro apps wherever I want them to be and remove them from the desktop as easily as closing a normal Windows program thus keeping the desktop as the primary work place. Microsoft could have easily added the same capabilities as ModernMix which lets you run your Metro apps on your desktop and made Metro apps more appealing to everyone. They could also have added frequently used apps on the bottom of the Start Menu with the option to load previously used files by holding down the icon and swiping to the desired file in a pop up list. Also group icons that hold related apps are better than scrolling a massive list where all icons become similar and confusing.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , August 14, 2013 9:36 AM
    8.1 is not about bringing back the Start Menu and harping on about it just shows how little people know about this release. If working in a traditional desktop environment was so important, instead of spending endless hours over almost a year bitching about it you could have put yourself out of my misery and installed ClassicShell or one of a dozen other free replacements. I will be looking forward to the update, but as far as the Start Menu goes I won't even notice.
  • 1 Hide
    kiniku , August 14, 2013 9:44 AM
    A key change to Windows 8 with 8.1 is bypassing Metro and booting directly to the Windows 8 desktop. With that in mind what compelling functional advantages does Windows 8 present to home and corporate desktop users with mice? Self updating tiles?
  • 0 Hide
    mobrocket , August 14, 2013 10:15 AM
    Does windows 8.1 update also make the language change to french?
  • 0 Hide
    m32 , August 14, 2013 10:51 AM
    For the right price, I'm willing to give Win8 a try. 7 is perfect for my needs but I'm willing to support something I love (Windows).
  • 2 Hide
    tului , August 14, 2013 11:53 AM
    I'll upgrade...then upgrade Classic Shell. I want a Start Menu you morons, not a Metro button named "Start"
  • 2 Hide
    elaustinian , August 14, 2013 1:57 PM
    Here's the thing I find that sucks about Windows 8.1: when you start typing a path from the start menu search, there's no directory completion like there was in Vista/7/8. Also, if you hit enter too soon after you finish typing and the results haven't displayed yet, instead of automatically using the first returned result, it brings up the search app with your "search term". For me, the "search term" is often like "excel" or "ping -t [hostname]" or some other command/application/thing, or sometime's it's a path like "c:\us" since I forget that the autocomplete doesn't work anymore for paths. I've been using 8.1 since it was released almost every day and still haven't fully adjusted, so this is a constant nuisance. That and all the search results are crammed on the left side of the start menu now, instead of having more results available to you when you're typing.
    Everything else has been wonderful.
  • -1 Hide
    Bloob , August 14, 2013 10:57 PM
    Quote:
    A key change to Windows 8 with 8.1 is bypassing Metro and booting directly to the Windows 8 desktop. With that in mind what compelling functional advantages does Windows 8 present to home and corporate desktop users with mice? Self updating tiles?

    A taskbar that works with multiple monitors, and storage spaces. The tiles and the app behind them are actually ok to use on desktop as well. Hyper-v is important for some corporates I hear. That's not much over w7, but like I have said before, w8(.1) might not be much of an upgrade, but is certainly not worse than w7.
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , August 15, 2013 12:08 AM
    I am disappointed Microsoft is not charging people $60 for what is pretty much a Service Pack.
  • -1 Hide
    MidnightDistort , August 15, 2013 9:00 AM
    Quote:
    I am disappointed Microsoft is not charging people $60 for what is pretty much a Service Pack.


    Since when did Microsoft ever charge for service packs? For new users going to 8, if i understand how it works now they can just buy 8.1 instead of buying 8 and having to go through all the updates. Otherwise 8.1 is still technically a service pack, just that MS doesn't call it that because i think they wanted it to be easier.
  • 0 Hide
    Pie-man , August 15, 2013 1:41 PM
    There are apps you can install for free to get the start button back. Easy peasy.