In Pictures: The Windows 8.1 Preview
Windows 8.1 (previously referred to as “Windows Blue”) represents a major update to Windows 8. Microsoft is showing that it’s still committed to the Modern UI (the proper nomenclature for the interface formerly known as Metro). Windows 8.1 adds numerous settings to the Modern UI, as well as a handful of new and updated apps, all in the interest of keeping users in the new environment longer.
But this latest version also shows that Microsoft is attentive to the reactions of users who weren’t convinced by the Modern UI and simply want to remain in the older Desktop environment. Windows 8.1 restores the Start button (though not the Start Menu) and makes it possible to boot directly to the Desktop.
The Preview version is available at preview.windows.com. Unfortunately, running Windows 8.1 in a virtual machine is hit-or-miss. So, before taking the Preview for a spin, back up your data. And, should you decide to run the Windows 8.1 Preview on your main machine, be aware that you’ll need to download all of your Windows Store Apps again when you switch over to the final version. If you’re more cautious and prefer to wait for the final release, read on for more information about the biggest changes thus far.