Microsoft Windows 8.1 Release Date: October 18Microsoft Windows 8.1 Release Date: October 18
Microsoft (MSFT) has set the official Windows 8.1 debut for midnight local time Oct. 18 in New Zealand (or 4 a.m. Oct. 17 at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash.), when users worldwide will be able to log on to the Windows Store to download and install the free update. Consumers and businesses also will find the OS update on new PCs and tablets at retail stores at that time.
August 15, 2013
Microsoft (MSFT) has set the official Windows 8.1 debut for midnight local time, Oct. 18, in New Zealand (or 4 a.m. Oct. 17 at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash.), when users worldwide will be able to log on to the Windows Store to download and install the free update. Consumers and businesses also will find the OS update on new PCs and tablets in retail stores at that time.
The company is pushing out the update close to one year after the general availability of Windows 8, which it released for general availability on Oct. 26, 2012.
Microsoft disclosed the official release date in a Windows blog written by Brandon LeBlanc, a Microsoft senior marcom manager, posted on Wednesday:
“I know a lot of folks are eager to find out when they will be able to get Windows 8.1. I am excited to share that starting at 12:00 am on October 18th in New Zealand (that’s 4:00 am October 17th in Redmond), Windows 8.1 will begin rolling out worldwide as a free update for consumers on Windows 8 through the Windows Store. Windows 8.1 will also be available at retail and on new devices starting on October 18th by market.”
Interesting, the company made no mention of the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) date, nor did it provide any advance information for TechNet subscribers. Microsoft said last month it expects to deliver Windows 8.1 RTM code to its OEMs by the end of this month, who will have from then until the mid-October release to finishing their testing and driver code. With Windows 8, Microsoft released the RTM version on Aug. 1, 2012, about seven weeks prior to general availability.
Windows 8.1 has been in preview since late June at the company’s Build developer conference so there aren't too many secrets left about what’s there. Still, the company has continued to tweak it so it's safe to figure that a few new features may appear. Among the known improvements, at the top of the list is the return, sort of, of the Start button (the OS doesn’t have a Start menu; instead, a button merely prompts users to return to the Start screen). Users also have the option of booting to desktop to bypass the Start screen. In addition, other features such as an All Apps screen and a Search tool have been improved.
Much has been said about the balky reception to Windows 8—indeed, it’s been blamed for not saving the desktop business worldwide and other ills of similar proportion. So far, it’s proven to be a lightning rod of sorts for those who swear by it or turn away from it—there’s not much in between.
It will be interesting to see if Windows 8.1 softens or sharpens the edges of public opinion.
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