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Windows 8.1 preview ready for download

Microsoft have been listening to their customers this year. When they announced the Xbox One and all the DRM and lock out practises they were incorporating the user base went ballistic. The problems were so widespread for Microsoft that they ran back to base and came out with a new strategy. Remove most of the restrictions. It would also appear that they are listening to customers who weren’t happy with Windows 8.

Windows 8.1 Public Preview is now available for a download, if you want to take it out for a whirl later today. The codename is ‘Blue’. You can either install it via the Windows Store or through the Microsoft Preview Page.

This preview is not intended for Joe Public, the company recommend this build is only for beta testers and developers. The final version will be coming as a free update, hopefully later this year.

Windows 8.1 incorporates a Start Button to the desktop. This however is not the Start Menu system we all know and love from Windows 7 and before. The new one is a shortcut to the Metro style Start Screen. Microsoft have also added the ability to boot direct to the desktop – a feature that should have been there from the very start, especially for desktop users.

Microsoft have included some new personalisation options to the new Start Screen including a series of new colours and the option to add photographs. Tile sizes are included, small and large. As a fail safe, to reorder the tiles you have to hold down or right click to move the Metro tiles around.

There is also a new application drawer which you can activate by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. You can choose which programs get added to the Start Screen. You can also now adjust the width of the windows when you are running two applications side by side.

Power users will be pleased to hear that the Windows 8 search charm gets an update, providing ‘instant global search results’ for applications and files and even web results. Windows Store gets an overhaul.

There is more information over here and you can download it from the Preview page. Just be careful!

Kitguru says: We would imagine happy Windows 7 users will still not be interested.

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