At its developer-focused Build conference at San Francisco, Microsoft has announced the immediate availability of Windows 8.1 Preview for download. The company recommends that only experienced PC users should download Windows 8.1 Preview or Windows RT 8.1 Preview. Before downloading the preview, one should weigh the pros and cons of installing software that’s still in development. 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.
Among the changes present in Windows 8.1, users will be able to boot up in Desktop mode. There, they’ll find a button that resembles the old Start button. It won’t take users to the old Start menu, but to the new Modern Windows 8 start screen. Still, the re-introduction of the familiar button may make it easier for longtime Windows users to get accustomed to the changes. A common complaint about Windows 8 is that it hides features and functions, and replaces buttons with gestures and invisible click zones that have to be memorized. Now, a single swipe up from the Modern start screen brings up all programs, even those that are seldom used.
Other new features of Windows 8.1 include more options to use multiple apps. People will be able to determine how much of the screen each app takes while showing up to four different programs, rather than just two. The update will also offer more integrated search results, showing users previews of websites, apps and documents that are on the device, all at once.
At the conference,Microsoft also highlighted new top apps coming to Windows, including Facebook, Flipboard and NFL — clear evidence of the steady app momentum for Windows, which is experiencing the fastest growth across any platform.
On this occasion Joseph Landes, General Manager DPE, Microsoft India commented “Windows is setting an accelerated pace for updates and innovations. Continual updates and creating a richer experience for Windows customers is our new normal. The next step in this transformation is the Windows 8.1 update. Windows 8.1 will bring unprecedented opportunity for developers in India and across the globe enabling them to develop applications on the Windows platform. It will provide more options for businesses, and give consumers enhanced benefits for work and play across form factors of all sizes.”
(with inputs from Associated Press)