For those itching to get a chance to try out the new features in Windows 8.1, you can now grab the preview version from Microsoft’s Windows 8 website.
With the vast majority of complaints from consumers have been about the ModernUI in Windows 8, many of the updates in 8.1 are UI changes. One such change is the addition of the Start Button to the Desktop screen. However, unlike in previous versions of Windows, rather than pulling up a Start Menu, the Start Button pulls up the Start Screen instead. Given this scenario, third party Start Button alternatives such as ClassicShell and Stardock’s Start8 remain viable and are still recommended for those that have a longing for the good old Start Menu. Some other changes also include additional customization options for the Start Screen, such as custom backgrounds, two additional tile sizes, etc. Multi-tasking with ModernUI apps have also improved, with additional snapping options introduced with 8.1. There are also under-the-hood changes, which include support for better DPI support for retina-level displays, as well as support for Intel’s new Connected Standby technology.
As stated before, Windows 8.1 will be a free update to Windows 8 users and will be available in the Windows Store. As this is a preview version, it is recommended to install this on non-production systems, as it is unlikely that Microsoft will allow a direct upgrade path the final Windows 8.1 version when it is released later this year.