A day ahead of retail availability, you can now download Windows 8.1 from the Windows Store. There are many important reasons to do this. First – you’ve got your START BUTTON back! And there is the Lock App screen, helpful hints including the new Help+Tips app, new Mail app, improved People view, new desktop themes, improved power menu, IE 11 reading view, improved tracking protections, more disclosure in Express settings, and SkyDrive acts as a local file manager. Plus there are a lot of internal programmatic patches/fixes and updates but these aren’t as dramatic as you might think. Why? Because the reality is the periodic updates (yes – where you reboot your machine or it automatically does so in three days) incorporate patch pacing – a different paradigm from Patch Tuesday. Does that make sense?
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We heard today that Windows 8.1 will be released on the morning of October 18. We first reported that Microsoft was going to release a Windows 8 update known as “Microsoft Windows Blue.” Then this past May, the company said it would be releasing an update known as Windows 8.1, which will be a free update to Windows 8 for consumers through the Windows Store.
Today is August 8, and there’s just eight months left before the April 8, 2014 end-of-life/service deadline for Windows XP (plus Small Business Server 2003, Office 2003 and anything Server 2003 including Exchange). Yesterday, I was having a conversation with an analyst about what April 8, 2014 really means…will that date live in infamy?
Why? Why didn’t Microsoft do this the first time? It was as simple as a Start button!
This past weekend, I geeked out in my man cave (maybe I should call it a man cove as I live on an island) and installed the new Windows 8.1 Preview. I completely document the Windows 8.1 Preview deployment experience here in a 10-minute video. You will witness the “real world” as I seek to go where no Harrybbb has gone before: using Windows 8.1. I encountered a few challenges along the way, including the inability to redirect the installation to Drive D, and how the installation must be completed on a monitor in landscape, not portrait mode.