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Windows 8.1 public preview available to download today

Windows 8.1 public preview available to download today

Windows 8.1

Microsoft is today releasing a public preview of Windows 8.1, the highly anticipated update to its Windows 8 operating system.

The new version of the software reintroduces the start button that was controversially ditched in the original release of Windows 8, as well as introducing a number of other much-requested changes.

The full release of Windows 8.1 will be in Autumn this year but this preview version will allow users to try out the software in advance. It's meant primarily for use by developers to enable them to test compatibility with their programs, but also gives early adopters and tinkerers an opportunity to have a play before opting for the full update.

Those tempted to download the software should note that they won't be able to further upgrade to the full Windows 8.1 release so should not use this beta as their primary operating system. The preview will also stop functioning after a set period of time after the full launch.

Windows 8.1 brings with it a host of much requested tweaks to the original version of Windows 8, which was released 8 months ago. As well as the Start button making a reappearance there will be a 50:50 split screen mode, better multitasking UI, the option to remove the top 'hot-corners' and the option to boot to the desktop!

More information on changes coming in Windows 8.1 can be found on Microsoft's Technet website.

Microsoft announced the new Windows 8.1 preview at its Build developer conference which is currently taking place in San Francisco. However, the proof of the pudding for Windows 8.1 will be when it arrives in a couple of months time along with a fresh raft of tablets, laptops, convertibles and other PCs running the software.

What have been your impressions of Windows 8.1 so far? Will it finally tempt you to upgrade from Windows 7? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

25 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
SchizoFrog 26th June 2013, 19:44 Quote
Still not available as far as I can see at the moment.
Meanmotion 26th June 2013, 19:46 Quote
Right you are - I'd meant to change the phrasing to reflect this. It should be available anytime now.
stuartwood89 26th June 2013, 19:54 Quote
I'll hold off until the final release in Autumn then. I'm in no immediate rush, however those new features look pretty good to me.
KidMod-Southpaw 26th June 2013, 20:02 Quote
Fantastic! Looking forward to the final release in Autumn!
dullonien 26th June 2013, 21:21 Quote
Just got this installed. Been playing around with the improved app views. I can now fit 6 apps side by side on my two 24" monitors is I so wish. It's also nice that opening the start screen on a different monitor doesn't transfer any open apps to that monitor as well.

The ability to have the desktop wallpaper as the start screen background is also nice.

I'm going to re-arrange my start screen now using the new tile size options.

So far, it's a big improvement.
fdbh96 26th June 2013, 21:55 Quote
Might install it as a vm, but if you still cant upgrade from the preview to the release version without losing data I really can't be bothered :)
TC93 26th June 2013, 23:35 Quote
All the hype for basically for something that isn't even being released for months yet. Its pointless to do this if people running Windows 8 now can't use it.

I was thinking this was just going to be a Windows Update option. But apparently its totally different.
sotu1 26th June 2013, 23:41 Quote
I've lived without a start button for many months now...don't notice it's gone at all.
KidMod-Southpaw 26th June 2013, 23:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dullonien
Just got this installed. Been playing around with the improved app views. I can now fit 6 apps side by side on my two 24" monitors is I so wish. It's also nice that opening the start screen on a different monitor doesn't transfer any open apps to that monitor as well.

The ability to have the desktop wallpaper as the start screen background is also nice.

I'm going to re-arrange my start screen now using the new tile size options.

So far, it's a big improvement.

Wait, have they finally done it?

Basically, with my 2 monitors. I have the Metro UI on one monitor, and the desktop on the other. Whenever I clicked on the desktop, the Metro monitor would also go to the desktop and interrupt anything I'm going.

Have they finally fixed this!?
CrapBag 26th June 2013, 23:58 Quote
Is this a full OS or an update. I tried win 8 on my laptop but there wasn't a video driver so I would like to try it again.

Where do you download it from as well?
Salty Wagyu 27th June 2013, 02:11 Quote
Is Windows 8.0 required before installing this? Or is it a full OS?
Corky42 27th June 2013, 07:40 Quote
Its a upgrade you will need 8 installed first AFAIK
As its a preview you maybe better of waiting a few days/weeks, as there are also limitations on the base language of your OS and what settings and apps are kept.
Boscoe 27th June 2013, 07:52 Quote
Still hate the Start menu with a passion, it's the biggest load of balls for a PC ever...
Boscoe 27th June 2013, 07:53 Quote
Also Apple go from strength to strength with their OS and technology where as Microsoft has to back track.
geoboy333 27th June 2013, 09:19 Quote
TBH the only thing windows 8 has done is make me want to down grade back to 7. Even with Start8 from stardock (which essentially does everything this update will) I still don't like the lack of compatibility with old software.

Syncrosoft not being compatible with 8 has meant the vast majority of my disc based games no longer work.

This has pissed me off to no end.
runadumb 27th June 2013, 09:53 Quote
I'm still hoping they do a special offer around the time the update arrives. Only then would I consider it for my main PC (I have it on my HTPC, mainly because it was so cheap at the time).
Xir 27th June 2013, 10:41 Quote
So, in autumn about a year after the release off the tablet version they've finished the desktop version.
Finally.
dullonien 28th June 2013, 02:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by KidMod-Southpaw
Wait, have they finally done it?

Basically, with my 2 monitors. I have the Metro UI on one monitor, and the desktop on the other. Whenever I clicked on the desktop, the Metro monitor would also go to the desktop and interrupt anything I'm going.

Have they finally fixed this!?

Sorry, forgot about this thread. Yup, any apps open will remain open unless you chose to hide them/close them. The start screen will also remain up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by geoboy333
TBH the only thing windows 8 has done is make me want to down grade back to 7. Even with Start8 from stardock (which essentially does everything this update will) I still don't like the lack of compatibility with old software.

Syncrosoft not being compatible with 8 has meant the vast majority of my disc based games no longer work.

This has pissed me off to no end.

To be fair, Windows backwards compatibility is pretty amazing. Little in technology retains anything close to the level Windows does.

Maybe more onus should be put on software developers and hardware manufacturers to update their products, instead of expecting MS to support them without change forever?
Nexxo 28th June 2013, 08:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by geoboy333
TBH the only thing windows 8 has done is make me want to down grade back to 7. Even with Start8 from stardock (which essentially does everything this update will) I still don't like the lack of compatibility with old software.

Syncrosoft not being compatible with 8 has meant the vast majority of my disc based games no longer work.

This has pissed me off to no end.

Download the eLicencer Windows 8 driver?
Silver51 28th June 2013, 23:31 Quote
longweight 28th June 2013, 23:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver51
Start Button ≠ Start Menu.


http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2013/06/28

Good, serves people right for not being willing to learn a newer and more efficient system.
impar 29th June 2013, 09:33 Quote
Greetings!

Might also show programmers didnt understood the consumers message.
Nexxo 29th June 2013, 21:58 Quote
Or that they didn't care. :D
RedFlames 30th June 2013, 00:35 Quote
Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand --Homer Simpson
law99 1st July 2013, 10:33 Quote
Well... if you can't beat'em; pretend to join them.
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