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Microsoft Confirms Windows 8.1 Launch on October 18

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • signothorn
    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....
  • ubercake
    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.
  • ssdpro
    "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.
  • ethanolson
    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.
  • ubercake
    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?
  • MidnightDistort
    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.
  • Osmin
    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.
  • back_by_demand
    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.
  • kiniku
    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?
  • mobrocket
    Does windows 8.1 update also make the language change to french?