In a blog post on the official Windows blog, Microsoft today confirmed that Windows 8.1 will be the final name of codenamed Windows Blue update. The blog post also confirmed that Windows 8.1 will be available as a free update to existing Windows 8 and Windows RT users.
According to the official blog, Windows 8.1 public preview will be officially released on June 26th, the first day of Microsoft’s BUILD developer conference in San Francisco.
The blog also notes that the update will be available through Windows 8 Store, which means that you need to have installed Windows 8 or Windows RT to install the preview build. That is, if you have plans to test drive the Windows 8.1 public preview on your PC, you will need to install Windows 8 first and then use the Store to update your Windows 8 installation to Windows 8.1.
The final build of Windows 8.1 is expected by the end of this year.
Even though Microsoft has yet to officially announce the features and improvements in Windows 8.1, the pre-release builds that leaked onto the web over the last couple of weeks indicate that Windows 8.1 won’t be just an update to improve performance and fix issues.
The update will include numerous new features and performance improvements and also a bunch of new apps. Microsoft is expected to bring back the Start button in the final release of Windows 8.1 update, as Microsoft has previously said that this update will be largely based on user feedback.
If you can’t wait for the public preview build of Windows 8.1 to know what’s new in Windows 8.1, let us tell you this update will add loads of customization options (for Start screen and lock screen), an easy way to shutdown your PC, better way to manage your SkyDrive account, more options in PC settings (Modern Control Panel), a modern file manager to browse your files and folders without having to open the legacy File Explorer (Windows Explorer), new apps such as Alarm Clock, Sound Recorder, & Calculator, and also Internet Explorer 11 browser.
We suggest you avoid installing leaked Windows 8.1 builds and wait for the official preview build instead. Go through our new features in Windows 8.1 article to know what’s new in leaked Windows 8.1 builds.