Microsoft Sets Date for Windows 8.1 Availability

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microsoft1501.pngMicrosoft has formally announced that Windows 8.1 will be available on June 26. The announcement coincides with a number of other updates given by Microsoft executives at Computex 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan. The "Start" button, often maligned but now remembered by Windows 8 users as beloved, was not fully introduced, but there are significant enhancements that make the Start Screen and the All Apps screen within Windows 8 much easier to work with under Windows 8.1.

The Start Screen’s new features include new large and small tile sizes for more efficient organization; ability to easily re-arrange and group tiles and pin Apps into the Start screen; and personalization features like setting the desktop wallpaper, which was somehow completely missed in Windows 8. The All Apps screen can now be quickly accessed with a swipe and sorted by name, date installed, most used, or category.


Of course, a number of additional improvements were also previewed in the first public demo of Windows 8.1 at Computex. To see a preview of all the Windows 8.1 updates, take a look at this Windows blog post.

I admit that these changes might not seem like much, and my Apple-using friends may comment as they see fit. Yet, these changes are significant to those of us who have struggled with Windows 8. It also shows that Microsoft has been listening to its customers and is looking to make improvements to its flagship products. For Windows 8 users, the upgrade to Windows 8.1 is going to be free, and Microsoft claims it will be relatively painless. Mark your calendars for the end of the month for the update—I’d wait a couple days after the release.
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