This fact sheet will be continually updated with the latest
details as we learn more about Windows 8.1 Preview. You can check back anytime and
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Updated information

Microsoft has announced that Windows 8.1 will be released as free update on the Windows Store to all Windows 8 and Windows RT users on October 18, 2013.

After digging its heels in initially, Microsoft relented and on September 10, 2013, the company made Windows 8.1 RTM available for MSDN and TechNet subscribers and
for Volume License customers.

What we know

  • Prevalent caveat:
    Microsoft makes a point of offering this warning before you install
    Windows 8.1: This preview is mainly for experienced PC users, so if you’re
    not sure whether it’s right for you, read the FAQ.
  • Noteworthy caveat: You are
    required to have a personal Windows Live account or the enterprise
    equivalent in order to finish the installation.
  • Availability: You can download and
    install the Windows 8.1 Preview
    from the Windows Store for free. There
    is also a Windows
    8.1 Preview for the Enterprise available for download
  • Search integration:
    Windows 8.1 features a single search feature that will return results for
    a search from your computer, your applications, and the web.
  • Updated basic apps: The
    standard Windows 8 apps are updated and retooled in 8.1, including the
    mail, photo, people, and calendar.
  • Cloud storage: SkyDrive is
    the default location for saving documents as opposed to the C: drive, for
  • Internet Explorer upgrade:
    With Windows 8.1 you get the updated Internet Explorer 11.
  • Apps: One of the new apps
    included with 8.1 is Fresh Paint, an updated and modern interface version
    of the venerable Paint program.
  • Search improvements:
    Besides integrated search, Windows 8.1 also includes several new Bing
    apps, such as Bing Sports, Bing Travel, and Bing Health & Fitness.
  • Windows Store: The Windows
    Store has been redesigned to be simpler to use and to provide you with a
    better shopping experience. Apps should be easier to discover with 8.1.
  • Compatibility: Windows 8.1
    is completely compatible with all Windows 7 apps, including Office 365.
  • Adaptable windows: In
    Windows 8.1, you can have up to four apps on the screen at the same time
    and you can size and arrange those windows anyway you choose.
  • Multi-monitor support:
    Windows 8.1 has a more coherent approach to support for multiple monitors,
    whether operating in the modern interface or on the traditional desktop.
  • Across devices: Personal
    settings for desktop backgrounds, favorites, documents etc. can
    synchronize across various Windows 8.1 devices.
  • Social connections:
    Windows 8.1 Preview expands on the concepts of social connections by
    integrating social features into Outlook, the Mail app, the People app,
    and Skype.
  • BYOD: Coupling 8.1 Preview
    with Windows Server allows more flexibility when managing personal devices
    in the enterprise.
  • Security: Enterprise-grade
    security is available through enhanced access control, data protection,
    and encryption.
  • Connectivity: Windows 8.1
    Preview includes several improvements to connectivity, such as enhanced
    mobile broadband functionality, NFC based tap to pair with enterprise
    printers, and native Miracast wireless display capabilities.
  • Annoyances: Many of the
    complaints about Windows 8 revolve around what I would classify as simply
    annoying. Windows 8.1 Preview fixes a few of these:
    • Shutdown/Restart/Sleep: A
      user can now Shutdown, Restart, or put a PC in Sleep mode from the
      Desktop by right-clicking the Windows button (where the old Start Button
      used to be) and navigating to the appropriate menu item. Total number of
      clicks required for the procedure – two.
    • All Apps: Users can see
      all the available apps by clicking the arrow on the Start Screen. (To see
      the apps in Windows 8 you had to right-click on an empty part of the
      Start Screen.)