Microsoft made a big leap forward with their Windows 8 interface, so 8.1 is all about refinement of the previous changes. The most exciting for some will be the reinstatement of the Start button, however the Start menu will not return. Like its predecessor, Windows 8.1 is designed to be more secure, power-efficient and is reported to be a bit speedier. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer says 8.1 looked at “refining the blend” between the desktop and new UI, which was a bit jarring.
The 8.1 upgrade will be automatic for Windows 8 users on October 17. The following day, October 18, Windows 8.1 will be available for purchase in stores as a full version at $119.99 ($199 for Pro), or those using Windows 7 can order the Windows 8.1 upgrade DVD or digital download for a reduced $120. You can even preorder now. Naturally, Windows 8.1 will come installed on the new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2.
If you just can’t wait, try the Windows 8.1 Release Preview.