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Windows 8.1 Preview Now Available for Download

If you've been using Windows 8 and have been pining for some refinements, then today is your day. Microsoft today officially released a preview version of Windows 8.1, which is a free download for all the adventurous types. The final version doesn't ship until later this year, so this is your chance to see it early. Of course, Microsoft cautions that this preview version is just for "experienced PC users," which we're sure you all are. Nonetheless, check out the FAQ first to be sure it's for you.

New features include better Bing integration, much improved Maps and a better implementation of the start screen and start button. Check out all the new features in the product guide (PDF)

If all systems are go, then click here to get to the Windows 8.1 Preview.

For more from Microsoft Build 2013, check out our keynote live blog from today!

  • killerclick
    We don't want the Start Button, we want the Start Menu, the ability to run windowed Metro apps, and all this to be done out-of-the-box for Microsoft to prove they're committed to keeping the desktop indefinitely.
    Reply
  • Stimpack
    Bing isn't a feature, it's a death sentence. Also I've been working extensively with Windows since DOS, and Windows 8 is and has been great.
    Reply
  • Stimpack
    Alright, yeah, it hasn't been great. Metro was not implemented well at all, and I never use it. Aside from that, though, it has some very decent features and it runs perfectly well.
    Reply
  • Osmin
    Let’s hope they fix the worst part of Windows 8 in the next release, the inability of Metro Apps to run in a window on the Desktop. Having tablet apps take the full screen, or a 1/4 screen on the side of a large desk top monitor in a verticle 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. I enjoyed using the weather and calendar widget in windows 7 and pinning Metro apps in order to emulate widgets would have been a nice feature too. You even saw the woman that demonstated the new features stuggling to find her apps because of the counterproductive start menu in Windows 8. Group icons that hold related apps is better than scrolling a massive list where all icons become similar and confusing. They could have added frequently used apps on the buttom with the option to load a previously used file by holding down the icon and swiping to the desired file in a pop up list. Microsoft is trying to kill the Desktop which is where non-tablet users want to be.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    11044737 said:
    We don't want the Start Button, we want the Start Menu, the ability to run windowed Metro apps, and all this to be done out-of-the-box for Microsoft to prove they're committed to keeping the desktop indefinitely.

    Actually people wanted both. But there is a Start "Menu" in it. You can set it to show the All Apps instead of the Start Screen which does the same thing as the old Start Menu, i.e. alphabetizes it and shows commonly used apps, but uses the screen instead of a small box.

    Honestly Windows 8 is fine. I have been using it since its release and will throw the 8.1 preview on when I get home. People hate change. People did the same thing when we went from DOS to Windows, then 98/2K -> XP and even XP -> 7 (I have had some people say 7 is a horrible OS compared to XP). Eventually people move on 8 has great features, a much more optimized kernel and is much faster than 7 on the same hardware. Not sure what the downside to it is.
    Reply
  • mcd023
    really? all of the new stuff and you talk about that?
    Reply
  • tolham
    11044845 said:
    People hate change..... and even XP -> 7 (I have had some people say 7 is a horrible OS compared to XP).

    really? my impression was that people hated switching from XP to vista, but then 7 was warmly welcomed. in fact, i thought there was a pattern to windows releases. 95 was hated for being buggy, but 98 was good. then ME was crap but XP was good. then vista was crap, but 7 was good. and now 8 is generally considered crappy.
    Reply
  • Stimpack
    11044996 said:
    11044845 said:
    People hate change..... and even XP -> 7 (I have had some people say 7 is a horrible OS compared to XP).

    really? my impression was that people hated switching from XP to vista, but then 7 was warmly welcomed.

    People hated Windows 7 in the beginning as well. There's a real blind hatred that goes around, because I guess it's just cool to hate. After it was released it ended up being well-received.
    Reply
  • fritters
    11044845 said:
    11044737 said:
    We don't want the Start Button, we want the Start Menu, the ability to run windowed Metro apps, and all this to be done out-of-the-box for Microsoft to prove they're committed to keeping the desktop indefinitely.

    Actually people wanted both. But there is a Start "Menu" in it. You can set it to show the All Apps instead of the Start Screen which does the same thing as the old Start Menu, i.e. alphabetizes it and shows commonly used apps, but uses the screen instead of a small box.

    Honestly Windows 8 is fine. I have been using it since its release and will throw the 8.1 preview on when I get home. People hate change. People did the same thing when we went from DOS to Windows, then 98/2K -> XP and even XP -> 7 (I have had some people say 7 is a horrible OS compared to XP). Eventually people move on 8 has great features, a much more optimized kernel and is much faster than 7 on the same hardware. Not sure what the downside to it is.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/windows-8-gaming-performance,3331-13.html

    Looks to me like windows 8 doesn't run things any better. Seems like a complete waste to move from my full windows 7 to something that does not improve functionality measurably. Like picking up a new video card every generation seems pointless.
    f you mean that windows 8 itself runs smoother, then I have no way to know what you mean. Where can I buy the hardware that has trouble running windows?
    Reply
  • killerclick
    11045012 said:
    People hated Windows 7 in the beginning as well. There's a real blind hatred that goes around, because I guess it's just cool to hate. After it was released it ended up being well-received.

    "Haterz gonna hate" is the last desperate argument of Microfans. Users didn't hate Windows 7, in fact it had three times the adoption rate of Windows 8, and even Vista had a 50% higher adoption rate than Windows 8 has.

    It's not blind hatred, it's not we hate change, it's that we use our computers a certain way and Microsoft doesn't get to tell us to change, they need to adapt to us instead. I don't want full screen anything on my computer, so I don't like the Start Screen. I won't use any Metro apps for the same reason.

    And the myth that Windows 8 runs better/faster than Windows 7 needs to go away becasuse:
    A: it's not true;
    B: I don't care, I'm not using slower hardware, I'm using faster hardware;
    C: it wouldn't make up for the Start Screen nonsense anyway.

    Face it, Windows 8 is a worse disaster than Vista, and Microsoft is just starting to realize that which is why they're rolling back many changes, beginning with the Start Button.
    Reply