Windows 8.1, the much-anticipated update to Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS, is now available to the public in a Preview version. The official update will be available later this year through the Windows Store as a free download for all Windows 8 users.
Windows 8.1 includes numerous new features, or as Microsoft puts it, more of everything. Windows 8.1 users will enjoy a new and improved search interface, an updated Start screen, new customization options, a re-designed Windows Store, enhanced multi-app functionalities, and more. While it’s not the most significant update of the lot, the reinstatement of the Start button to its old bottom left position is the one that’s the most exciting for many users.
Windows 8.1 Preview is available for anyone who wishes to try it, but Microsoft recommends that only experienced users who feel comfortable with backing up, restoring and troubleshooting their PC give it a go at this time. Microsoft states in its FAQ that “if you install the preview release, you’ll get to try out the many new features, but you might also encounter errors that you wouldn’t encounter using a released version of Windows”.
If you’re sure you want to try it anyway, start by backing up your PC, then head over to the Windows 8.1 Preview page and download the update. This is not Windows 8.1, but a small update that will allow Windows 8 to ask you to install the Windows 8.1 update. You will then be prompted to restart your PC, after which you’ll be asked to install the Windows 8.1 update from the Windows Store. Follow the instructions to complete the installation.
You can then provide Microsoft with feedback on the update, and help them improve it before the official release. Will you be getting Windows 8.1 right now? What do you think about this update?