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Windows 8.1 set for release on October 18th

Windows 8.1 is going to make its debut on October 18th, according to Microsoft. It will get released in New Zealand first at 12am. Windows 8 users around the world will be able to download and install 8.1 as a free update via the Windows Store. Yes, ‘free’ and ‘Microsoft’ – in the same sentence.

On the same day Windows 8.1 will be released in the retail market on new PC’s and tablet computers. The preview has been available for some time now, and we have discussed the new changes in previous articles.

The main change is the addition of a Start Button – note this is NOT a full Start Menu such as that featured in Windows 7. The button gives the user a visual highlight to return to the Start screen. Microsoft have also added a Desktop option for people who want to bypass the Start screen completely. Ideal for those who are using a desktop computer without a touch screen.

It is also worth pointing out again that current Windows 8 users who miss the Start Menu can download free options, including a $5 Start Menu, called Start8 from Stardock. The Start Button doesn’t seem like such a major addition for enthusiast users in the know, although Joe Public may find the addition helpful.

Those of you who use the Start screen will find an array of new additions to help customise and personalise it better. Features such as the Search tool and All Apps screen have been improved and tweaked. Several built in applications have been enhanced.

Windows 8 hasn’t been the complete success story that Microsoft had hoped. Sales have been reasonably good, but a high percentage of the user base have decided to wait until the next release, holding fast with Windows 7.

Kitguru says: There is no doubt however, Windows 8.1 has been released to make the operating system more user friendly for the mass public.

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