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Windows 8.1 Rolling Out Worldwide

By - Source: TechCrunch | B 67 comments

Here comes the Windows 8.1 storm.

TechCrunch points out that Windows 8.1 will begin rolling out to current Windows 8 users on Thursday at 4 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. The update will bring a number of improvements including a variety of tile sizes, an improved Windows Store, the semi-return of the Start button, the ability to boot to desktop (finally), Internet Explorer 11 and more. The launch is an attempt to "reboot" the Windows 8 platform, and lead the way to other platform changes and additions in the near future.

"As I walk down the hallway in my office this week I see a lot of smiles from people on the team who are excited about their hard work finally making it into customers’ hands," states Microsoft's executive vice president of operating systems, Terry Myerson. "This week we’ve got some great things coming for Windows and Windows Phone customers. On Thursday, Windows 8.1 will be globally available, and we also announced the third update to Windows Phone 8, coming soon to Windows Phone customers."

"If you’re already running Windows 8, download 8.1 tomorrow to see the new Windows, which brings you one experience for everything in your life," he adds. "And if you’re in the market for a new device, keep an eye out for the great new Windows devices that will be on store shelves this holiday season: from affordable phones, 8” tablets and touch PCs to high-end devices, there’s a Windows device for you."

The new update will allow customers to turn their Windows 8.1 wireless enabled laptop or tablet into a hotspot, eliminating the need for third-party applications. The update will also make Windows 8 more mouse-friendly as well, a welcome feature given that a lot of Microsoft's customers are still treading along with the old-school mouse and keyboard method. New apps are expected to arrive as well including a Calculator, a Sound Recorder, new Alarm features and more.

"Windows 8.1 with IE 11 introduces support for live tile notifications when you pin your favorite web sites," states Rob Mauceri, group program manager for Internet Explorer. "Your pinned sites can now be alive with activity, pulling data directly from the websites so your Start screen is updated with the latest posts, scores or stocks – information from the Web right on your Start screen. Together with the Start screen team in Windows, we designed the live tile support for sites to enable all the same tile sizes and layouts that apps enjoy."

As TechCrunch points out, tonight marks the calm before the storm. Tomorrow we will find out if Windows 8.1 is heading in the right direction, or will just turn even more customers away. Microsoft has a lot riding on this update – seemingly the fate of the PC market long dominated by Windows. With Android, Chrome OS and Ubuntu crouched in the bushes waiting to strike, Microsoft had better produce a golden egg with Windows 8.1.

For an outline of what's to come tomorrow, check out Pocket-lint's list here.

Discuss
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Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    Aaron Briggs , October 16, 2013 10:51 PM
    It does make windows 8 better, honestly windows 8 isn't as bad as people make it out to be. Its faster, manages resources a lot better, and offers a lot of enhancements in the file system that really makes the OS solid. It runs a lot better on older machines, it revived our old machines at work quite a bit better then windows 7 does. We have been testing 8.1 for awhile now and it brings a lot of great changes especially for free but frankly i think 8.1 should of been what 8 was but at leased they are not charging for the update.
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    monsta , October 16, 2013 10:34 PM
    About time , hope the update is smooth and makes 8 better
  • 17 Hide
    Aaron Briggs , October 16, 2013 10:51 PM
    It does make windows 8 better, honestly windows 8 isn't as bad as people make it out to be. Its faster, manages resources a lot better, and offers a lot of enhancements in the file system that really makes the OS solid. It runs a lot better on older machines, it revived our old machines at work quite a bit better then windows 7 does. We have been testing 8.1 for awhile now and it brings a lot of great changes especially for free but frankly i think 8.1 should of been what 8 was but at leased they are not charging for the update.
  • 3 Hide
    monsta , October 16, 2013 11:00 PM
    I agree, I do like Windows 8 myself and it is quite quick, I didn't download the preview so I'm looking forward to this update. Good to see MS is taking feedback and has made a few changes.
  • 4 Hide
    r3dl1n3 , October 16, 2013 11:31 PM
    @belardo.. Congratulations for the first TROLL post of many more to come.. If you hate windows and are so happy with Linux.. why are you reading or posting.. Just move along and play with your hobby OS.. maybe one day it'll be popular enough to run with the big boy's. Until that day.. enjoy your .01% market share.. the funny thing is there are more people using windows RT then Linux mint.. LOL..
  • 2 Hide
    robjen1019 , October 16, 2013 11:45 PM
    so glad I switched to Mint linux...ha
  • 4 Hide
    ohim , October 16, 2013 11:56 PM
    8.1 does things to Windows Explorer that i totally hate... why the hell did they touch that ?

    I don`t mind the Start screen, say what you want all the Win8 haters out there, but the Win8 start screen is better than Start Button with columns, it just takes a bit to get used to it, but the rest of the metro apps... totally useless, MS tried to do that to bring App Store to Windows and bring more revenue but it doesn`t happen.
  • 0 Hide
    DjEaZy , October 16, 2013 11:59 PM
    ... Windows 7 F.T.W....
  • -2 Hide
    marck1001 , October 17, 2013 2:20 AM
    I am using the MSDN full 8.1 version for 2 weeks now. Awesome improvements. Start button for me still makes absolutely no sense at all. I mean, we already had the same thing before, but with no Start button, we just need to mouse over the left lower corner and we would have the same effect. I had hopes that the resurrected start button had more options rather than just going to the start screen.

    Finding new applications is still confusing. Yeah you can go to the All Apps section, but finding the new app you just installed is not intuitive. To avoid that I just type the name of the new app, way better, but for my wife for example, she's used to go through the start menu and find stuff, she's sooooooooo confused.

    Booting directly to desktop makes lots of sense for the Enterprise environment. I really don't mind booting to the start screen. I even kind of like it.
  • -3 Hide
    marck1001 , October 17, 2013 2:23 AM
    About Mint linux? WTF is that?? Why the heck are you bunch of morons bringing that to a Windows 8.1 conversation. Since you brought that up, why do ppl need another linux flavor with so many unsuccessful linux entries in the consumer market? (eat your own poison).
  • 1 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , October 17, 2013 2:27 AM
    meanwhile i'll be sticking with Windows 7 just fine. Wake me up when they came out with a Windows that has an actual start menu, a way to totally disable metro and an enable aero glass option. until then I could care less. Oh BTW toms' hardware had a review on Windows 8 vs Windows 7 and it's neck and neck performance wise overall So no Aaron you can try to stop selling Windows 8 as if you are to make Windows 7 look like Windows Vista compared to Windows 8.
  • 2 Hide
    Tremec , October 17, 2013 3:02 AM
    SteelCity1981 just install Start8 or one of the many other apps and the start button is there and better than ever!
    TBH Microsoft needs to make a full blown Start button option or make it standard when a touch screen is not detected - problem solved.
  • 0 Hide
    Sidath U Liyanage , October 17, 2013 3:23 AM
    Had it since 2 months ago, I would say it's a nice improvement from Windows 8.
    Faster, smoother.
  • 2 Hide
    Saga Lout , October 17, 2013 3:30 AM
    Tried auto-updates a few times since 00:00 PST but still can't get it here in the UK. I want to see how it reacts to a W8 system which already has a Start button and a menu.

    I don't understand why they don't leave 8 alone for tablets and Windows phones and give everyone else a choice as whether to stick with 8 or move to 8.1.
  • 9 Hide
    auxo , October 17, 2013 3:33 AM
    I've used linux since 2000, starting from redhat and slackware and the wistful days of gnome 2.x, with archlinux my current disto, but I'm also forced to use windows 7 & 8 at work because we use an egregious number of active x plugins. I think Windows 8 is a GREAT operating system that's noticeably faster than win7 even for the average user (especially on a hdd), and aside from the lack of boot to desktop option I didn't even miss the start button after two weeks. The charm screen is simply another start menu expanded into tiles. People simply need an open mind and some time to adjust to the new win8 interface. Headstrong comp sci undergrads will hate Microsoft no matter what they come up with. It was tragic watching windows 8 get such a bashing on tech sites because it's really great for everyday end users who just want to get things done. Even if you're a power user like me, there's always win+r and the command prompt to get the messy things done. I just don't see a single advantage win7 has over win8 other than its backward familiarity of interface.

    MS bashing/linux chauvinism reminds me every time of 1) the initial lukewarm reception online of the Samsung Note series and 2) Apple's condescending marketing strategy that forces useless technology on lay masses. Most people in tech are young and male. And that demographic often overlooks the fact that 50% of the world is female, that 90% simply want to get things done, and that a great many of us are not in our twenties anymore.

    Anyone 30 and over will appreciate larger fonts and screens. My father switched to samsung note after peering overlong at his iphone 6" from his face for two years. I'm thinking of switching too for the simple reason the small text size is starting to give me headaches. And the retina display? Do people really need more pixels than 2560x1440@27" much less on a 10" screen unless they're into graphics? And while I do think iPhones are prettier than Samsung's offerings, as a woman with average sized hands I usually find myself typing on my iPhone with two hands so Job's one-hand argument doesn't apply to us. Not to mention most laptop reviews favor keyboards with plenty of tactile feedback and activation force (e.g., thinkpad keyboards). I much prefer chiclet layouts with very short key travel, due to less musculature in my hands and longer nails. And any laptop over 2.7-8lbs is simply out of the question for me.

    In short and put harshly, I think many hardcore techies, especially the young fresh-out-of-college crowd are often tunnel visioned in their product opinions. I understand why it happens, but I often wish the needs of the rest of us were better represented in tech product reviews.
  • 1 Hide
    tomfreak , October 17, 2013 3:49 AM
    The most useful in the update is the smallest tile size, With that, I can pin a lot more of my frequent use stuff on start screen. I dont need to have many shortcut icons on desktop anymore
  • -1 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , October 17, 2013 3:51 AM
    tremec I have and as good as some of them try to be they still lack the features of an actual start menu. I want an actual start menu.
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , October 17, 2013 3:56 AM
    The single one thing I hate most about Windows 8: taskbar always on top when applications have notifications (flashing title bar) going on. There does not seem to be any way to get rid of that.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 17, 2013 4:20 AM
    Steelcity1981, in the time it took you to compose your moan about the lack of a Start Menu you could have downloaded ClassicShell (which works with 8.1) and configured it, but I guess moaning is more constructive.
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