Windows 8.1 public preview available to download today

Written by Edward Chester

June 26, 2013 // 6:25 p.m.

Tags: #microsoft #windows #windows-8 #windows-81 #windows-blue

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.

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