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Windows 8.1 sneak peak available to all for free now

Sam Loveridge


Windows 8.1

Microsoft is offering all Windows users a sneak peek at the new Windows 8.1 OS update, available to download from today.

In line with the Windows 8.1 unveiling at the Microsoft Build Developers conference that starts today in San Francisco, Microsoft is releasing a sneak peek to anyone that’s interested.

The Windows 8.1 is aimed at developers and Microsoft partners, but Microsoft has decided to offer it to everyone from today.

Exactly eight months since the Windows 8 OS launched for tablets, desktops and laptops, Microsoft is unveiling the 8.1 update that will address the issues consumers had with the current desktop OS.

Although a large number of the new Windows 8.1 features have already been showcased by Microsoft, the software giant will use the three-day-long Build conference to offer developers the chance to learn more about the OS update and potentially the reasoning behind it too.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Windows 10

One of the main features of Windows 8.1 will be the return of the Start Button and the traditional desktop mode. Windows 8.1 will allow users to bypass the tablet-style Windows 8 layout at launch, instead booting up to the standard desktop, complete with that oh-so-missed Start Button.

A Windows 8.1 video preview showcasing several of the new features was released by Microsoft earlier this month.

It revealed several of the features of the soon to be released OS update, including the addition of new Live tile sizes, motion accents for the background and the option of having a user generated picture backdrop behind the live tiles.

Windows 8.1 Search is new as well and is more akin to the OS X Spotlight search on Apple devices than ever before. It offers optimised search functionality, pulling results from the web and the PC itself.


June 26, 2013, 5:51 pm

But beware, it has been previously reported that if you install the 8.1 preview, you will have to re-install EVERYTHING in order to upgrade to the full 8.1 release in autumn...

Paul Brasington

June 26, 2013, 10:35 pm

I was thinking the reinstallation requirement made it pointless to try the preview, but then it occurred to me that I could create a system image of my current installation and restore that easily enough when it came to the full release (or if I hit any problems with the preview). Ironically Windows 8 hides the ability to do this, though it is still there. If you go through the back up options screen in the bottom left is an option for Windows 7 file recovery. Click that and you'll find all the tools you need. It's an apposite reminder of how much crap Microsoft has brought on its own head either by obscuring what Windows 8 can do or just not explaining things properly when you first install it. Let's hope that when 8.1 is finally released they give people a proper guided tour and better documentation.

Paul Brasington

June 26, 2013, 11:32 pm

PS - apparently the upgrade via the Windows Store will only work if you have US English as your base language. Those of us using more exotic forms of the language (ie British) will have to wait for the ISOs...


June 27, 2013, 9:14 am

Hmm, yes just discovered that when trying to update our Surface Pro. Downloading the US language pack now!


June 27, 2013, 1:24 pm

As an update, we've found a solution. Guide coming soon.

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