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In Pictures: The Windows 8.1 Preview

In Pictures: The Windows 8.1 Preview
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Microsoft's Most Expansive Service Pack To Date

Windows 8.1 (previously referred to asWindows 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.

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  • 8 Hide
    CaptainTom , August 7, 2013 9:08 PM
    I am seriously excited for this! I like Windows 8, and this should fix its small list of problems plus add so much more!
  • -2 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , August 7, 2013 9:23 PM
    The picture for the calculator page is a voice recorder...
  • -7 Hide
    vipervoid1 , August 7, 2013 9:50 PM
    I really excited to upgrade this "update" to my Windows 8 ~
  • -4 Hide
    digiex , August 7, 2013 9:52 PM
    I don't care about the UI issues, as long as it respond smoothly better than XP or Windows 7 its good for me.
  • -1 Hide
    DjEaZy , August 7, 2013 10:14 PM
    ... there is a start button, bot no easy to access to shut down and restart button... no search in start... no easy app close for desktop's and laptop's with no touchscreens... it is still awful... and i work in retail... nobody sticks with windows 8, they downgrade or buy a computer without windows and get a copy of Windows7...
  • 6 Hide
    Fierce Guppy , August 7, 2013 10:22 PM
    It is buggy as you'd expect for a beta release. The upgrade went flawlessly on my laptop but doesn't manage to complete on my desktop PC, which is running Win 8 pro. The USB ports don't appear to be getting initialized before the License Terms screen appears and I need a keyboard or mouse to accept the license terms. At least the rollback is far quicker than the install. The final release is due at the end of the month so I won't lob a nasty-gram at MS just yet.
  • 9 Hide
    lancelot123 , August 7, 2013 10:30 PM
    Did you even read any of this DjEaZy? I think not.

    "All you need to do is right-click on the Start Button and hover over the Shut down entry to bring up options for Sleep, Shut down, and Restart."

    And that is just one of many things that you were complaining about.
  • 3 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , August 7, 2013 10:32 PM
    So I'll just wait for the release of Start8.1. I really don't appreciate Microsoft's attitude of "You're using a Touch Screen and that's final.". Really, if you think about it, that seems to be the case. The Start button on Window 8.1 doesn't give you a Start Menu (which isn't finger friendly), it brings you to the Start Screen (which is).
  • 5 Hide
    jdwii , August 7, 2013 10:35 PM
    as soon as i saw metro over and over again at the picture setting i was like i can care less
  • 1 Hide
    lancelot123 , August 7, 2013 10:38 PM
    Quote:
    as soon as i saw metro over and over again at the picture setting i was like i can care less

    Might I suggest you actually read it? Really good changes. I might switch now.
  • 3 Hide
    chumly , August 7, 2013 10:55 PM
    Imagine that! Microsoft CAN make a desktop OS for a desktop.

    That means it's almost time to upgrade from Windows 7. Of course, I'm going to let all of you guys install it first and find all of the bugs for me. Thanks, by the way. :) 
  • -1 Hide
    lawson72 , August 7, 2013 10:58 PM
    I dont understand for Windows 8, I find it to be a fairly good upgrade from 7 and this is making some great changes cant wait
  • 1 Hide
    FrankInKY , August 7, 2013 11:02 PM
    Just keep drinking that kool-aid Microsoft, and keep telling yourself everything will be all right.
  • 9 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , August 7, 2013 11:11 PM
    for the people that like windows 8 then they will like windows 8.1 even more for the people that like windows 7 and don't care for windows 8 then none of this matters to them. if ms would just enable a real start menu, have an option to disable metro and have an option to enable aero glass, a lot more windows 7 users would be interested in windows 8, but since none of that will happen at least not in windows 8.1 then windows 8 isn't going to interest windows 7 users to jump on windows 8.
  • 7 Hide
    Fierce Guppy , August 7, 2013 11:12 PM
    DjEaZy;

    1) The Alt+F4 method never went away.

    2) Yes, a close gadget for apps would be more convenient than left-clicking the top and pulling an app to the bottom. No biggy for me. I spend 99.5% of the time working from the desktop.

    It's a pretty good OS. Love the quick-access menu which I use a lot and the tidy program list layout (Win+Q) as opposed to the wretched hierarchical menu system. Also, for some reason the HDD write performance across multiple drives is a great deal faster when recording gameplay using Dxtory than under Windows 7, like around 30%. It's still very much a solid Windows desktop OS. I use apps for displaying quick snippets of information that I used desktop gadgets for in Win 7 like weather, exchange rate, and gold price.
  • -2 Hide
    damianrobertjones , August 8, 2013 1:37 AM
    "no easy app close for desktop's and laptop's with no touchscreens" - Ehh? THrow your mouse to the top left, drag down, right click and close the 'app'. Have you even used windows 8?
  • 0 Hide
    damianrobertjones , August 8, 2013 1:40 AM
    @ta152h - I prefer choice and an OS that can fit onto any device and work. I have no issues with Windows 8 and I'm working exactly as I did before. If you keep on saying the same thing over and over again I'm sure that you'll convince someone of your views
  • -3 Hide
    apache_lives , August 8, 2013 1:53 AM
    ah the mindless Windows 8 haters

    go use the OS some time, seriously
  • 4 Hide
    Saga Lout , August 8, 2013 1:58 AM
    To nail this shutdown argument once and for all time, Alt and F4 works as well now as it has since (Windows) time began. :D 

    I'll buy a Windows 8.1 if they have the same £25 British special offer they had for W8 in January. Failing that, I'll stick with it on one machine and pass until the next one.
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