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Report: Windows 8.1 Now Heading to OEMs

Win8China reports that Microsoft has released Windows 8.1 to OEMs, indicating that the free update for Windows 8 users should arrive soon.

The claim is based on build 9477 (or 9478 claims Russian site PCPro) which supposedly shows that the platform has entered the escrow stage, meaning that Windows 8.1 has become feature-locked. This build is said to be currently under testing by OEMs now and could mean that Microsoft may actually reach RTM by August as originally planned. Windows 8.1 Preview for consumers was made available on June 26, and Windows 8.1 Preview for Enterprise went live on July 30.

Meanwhile, the latest leaked build appearing in the news channel is 9471. In this version, Microsoft has reportedly made the learning curve of Windows 8 a bit easier, and now includes a narrow bar stretched out along the top or bottom screen of built-in apps featuring three dots on the right side, similar to what Microsoft does with Windows Phone 8 apps. These dots indicate that there are additional menu options that can be accessed by right-clicking on the screen, or by swiping from the top or bottom of the display or touchpad.

The leaked build also shows that several built-in apps will remind users to swipe in from the right bezel to reveal the Charms bar which includes a Start shortcut and other app-specific options. Microsoft's Help & Tips app, which was revealed in June but not included in the Windows 8.1 Preview, also makes a partial appearance, providing video clips on how to use SkyDrive (or whatever the cloud drive's new name will be), how to navigate the new Modern UI interface, and more.

CNET reports that Skype comes pre-installed in Build 9471, and Microsoft also makes available new Start screen backgrounds including a moving robot and a fire dragon that, like Android wallpaper, travels as the user swipes left or right across the screen. Several built-in apps have also been enhanced such as Mail, which allows users to move items via drag and drop, and open new multi-tasking windows.

  • CaedenV
    and skype now requires an xbox gold membership...
    wait, no, that is only for xbox users.
    Reply
  • iuswingman
    charms bar? they bedazzled windows 8 lol. Never realized that was what it was called.

    Glad the update is coming soon. been looking forward to it.
    Reply
  • Osmin
    The desktop and start button should disapear for tablets and phones. But if you like Windows instead of Tiles that can not overlap or change to your desired shape and location on large monitors, then the desktop should still exist with an easy to use mouse interface with Metro apps that run in a normal Window. Touch based large monitors side by side are impracticle since they are uncomfortabe to reach for constant use. Let’s hope they fix the worst part of Windows 8, 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. Also 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 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. Microsoft is trying to kill the Desktop which is where non tablet users want to be. 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..
    Reply
  • nevilence
    all they need to make 8 successful is a "revert" button, this button allows people who want to use their pc as a pc to revert to a classical interface. those who chose to turn their pc into a tablet can not use the button, thus everyone would be happy. windows 8 would be great if it only had that button ><
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    Nevilence "all they need to make 8 successful is a "revert" button, this button allows people who want to use their pc as a pc to revert to a classical interface. those who chose to turn their pc into a tablet can not use the button, thus everyone would be happy. windows 8 would be great if it only had that button ><"

    Wow, just wow, never in all my born days have I heard such a retarded statement. How about you hit the button marked "Desktop" and POOF as if by magic you get exactly what you wished for. DO YOU EVEN COMPUTER?!?
    Reply
  • monkeycmonkeydu
    I'd rather buy a machine with Windows 7, or better yet build my own.. with Windows 7.
    Reply
  • kiniku
    So now we can bypass Metro and boot directly to the desktop. Wow Windows 7 does that too. Without all the cool windows phone apps running on my desktop. When can I buy this?
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    With 8.1, its pretty easy to make Windows 8 more like Windows 7. Boot to Desktop, tell the start button to go to All Apps instead of the Start Screen and change the default programs to desktop apps instead. Boom you are done.

    Honestly its not that bad. Not to even add in that Windows 8 is actually more secure than 7 is and as well the changes under the hood which make it actually perform better than 7 does make it a great OS. I find it funny though, Vista was considered bad because the majority of OEMs paired it to start with underpowered hardware and 8 is bad because of one change to the GUI yet performs better than Vista or 7 ever did to start.

    Not a big deal as later down the line we will move to the same thing and then they will change again and people will complain then move on again. It happens all the time. DOS -> 95/98 -> XP -> Vista -> 7 -> 8. People hate change. That's all it is.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    Jimmy, people will be asking for boot to desktop long after it has been made available. It will take years before it sinks in that they added that and other desktop-friendly options, such as the ability to set All Apps so that Desktop apps are listed first, and sharing desktop wallpaper with Start. Keyboard shortcuts still work great in Win8 just like earlier versions, and with these new options, I'm OK with putting Win8 on my next build.

    "Microsoft also makes available new Start screen backgrounds including a moving robot and a fire dragon that, like Android wallpaper, travels as the user swipes left or right across the screen."

    I'd describe these more as animated backgrounds. "Travels"... well the backgrounds already travel.
    Reply
  • JPNpower
    Free or not, I'd rather save the hassle to buy a PC preloaded with 8.1
    Reply