Windows 8.1 brings a variety of new features and improvements to Windows 8 that we think people will really enjoy. We listened to your feedback and are delivering many of the improvements you asked for.
If you are a consumer with a Windows 8 device, you can now download the free update to Windows 8.1 online through the Windows Store*. Please visit Windows.com for everything you need to know including how to get the update for your Windows 8 device. If you are a consumer on a device running Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or the Windows 8.1 Preview – this page on Windows.com will detect your OS and provide you with all the information you need in order to get Windows 8.1 on your device. I also highly recommend reading our FAQ which answers many of the most common questions about getting Windows 8.1.
Starting tomorrow October 18th, Windows 8.1 will also be available on new devices and as packaged DVD product at retail locations around the world. You can also click here to learn about the wide variety of new Windows devices available now and coming throughout the holiday season to find the one that best fits their needs, and their budget.
To celebrate the new Windows, starting today for the next 8 days – we will pick 810 (see what we did there?) random winners per day who tweet and share their new Start screen after updating their Windows 8 device to Windows 8.1 with the #MyStart hashtag.
There has been a lot of talk about the new features in Windows 8.1 since the Build conference last June but I think it’s worth reiterating the awesomeness that Windows 8.1 brings to your device.
Start the way you want. The Start screen in Windows 8.1 is more customizable than ever with new tile sizes, new background designs and colors – allowing you to make the Start screen on your device unique and personal to you (you should see some of the color combinations I’ve come up with for my Start screen!). You can also choose how you start your Windows experience – at the Start screen or the desktop. The Start button is back. And there is an improved Apps view that allows you to see all your apps the way you want.
Multi-tasking is even better in Windows 8.1 – you can now have up to four apps side by side with flexible windows sizing for each app on the screen. At a minimum, I usually have 3 apps snapped side by side on my devices doing various things like email, listening to music and browsing the web. We have also improved multi-monitor support in Windows 8.1 allowing users to view their desktop or apps from the Windows Store on any or all their monitors.
Bing Smart Search is the easiest way to find what you are looking for and to get things done. Built for touch, swipe or type from the Start screen and Smart Search will find what you need – whether it’s a document on your PC, a photo album in the cloud, your favorite app, or a website.
Windows 8.1 comes with new and improved Microsoft apps and services – available right out of the box and right from your Start screen. Skype is there for instant messaging and catching up with friends and family. We’ve updated the Mail app (well, more like over-hauled) to make email easier – for both personal and email and work email. Two new Bing apps are introduced in Windows 8.1 called Food & Drink and Health & Fitness along with updates to the News, Weather, Finance, Travel and Sports apps. Xbox Music has received a big update for Windows 8.1, and you can watch TV and movies with Xbox Video. And Windows 8.1 comes with Internet Explorer 11which is optimized for touch and brings speed boosts and synchronized browsing history, favorites, and settings across all of your Windows 8.1 devices.
Speaking of synchronizing – Windows 8.1 also comes with deep and improved cloud integration with SkyDrive. Your files are always accessible across all your devices. With SkyDrive smart files, you can create, edit, save and share files anywhere, anytime and your files are always with you, both on and offline.
And the Windows Store has been redesigned in Windows 8.1. With the “New & Rising” section it is now easier to stay on top of the hottest and newest apps to hit the Windows Store. Plus, the Windows Store has a live tile too! The Windows Store will also now provide you with personalized recommendations – powered by Bing. And apps are now updated from the Windows Store automatically by default so you will always have the best and newest versions of your apps. Look for new and updated apps including Adobe Photoshop Express, Box, Evernote, Facebook, Hulu Plus, Netflix, and NOOK, for Windows 8.1. And more to come!
Windows 8.1 will also bring some very innovative new devices for both consumers and businesses from tablets and 2-in-1s with a perfect mix of mobility and productivity, to new laptops, All-in-Ones and specialized industry devices Windows 8.1 brings the widest selection of designs at every price point. I’ll be blogging more about many of these devices over the next few weeks as they become available, so you can find and experience a device that is truly an extension of you.
Windows 8.1 represents collaboration across the entire company. Over the last three days, we’ve featured guest blog posts from our friends at Skype, Xbox, Bing, SkyDrive, and Internet Explorer that discusses in the connected experience that Windows 8.1 brings together.
And now you can enjoy the results of this work today. So get your device updated! And be sure to share those Start screens.