Microsoft Windows 8.1 is now available for download as a public preview. The tech giant on Wednesday announced the availability of the public release which has been codenamed Windows Blue.
The new OS upgrade will be free to download when the official update is released. The upgrade introduces an improved search system, revised Windows Store, and updated core apps, among other features.
The upgrade Windows OS also brings back the Start button alongside various interface tweaks. While the Start button is making its return, it will work in a new way by pulling up the full-screen Metro-style Start Screen instead of a smaller tray of apps and folders.
When using Windows 8.1 Blue, users will be able to choose whether or not they boot into the desktop instead of the Start Screen, as they can in Windows 8. The system will also allows users to set the background to match the Start Screen with the desktop.
The Live tiles on the system now have two additional sizes. One tile is larger than the current setup and one set is smaller. Based on the size of tiles, a varying amount of information is shown to users.
Another new update arrives by way of the OS’ lock screen, which now provides a choice of effects which can be chosen by the user. For example, you can run a slideshow across the screen, show images you choose, or even show files from your local storage or SkyDrive account. You can even choose to display images that were taken around the same time of the year in the past.
Microsoft, in attempting to keep the platform social, also added the ability to answer Skype calls from the Microsoft Windows 8.1 lock screen.
Also updated is the Search chart feature which now shores up more usable results, including individual settings alongside file and app results.
In adding to the search feature, Microsoft has also included web results with some media types that are viewable or playable within Search itself.
With a more flattened design, better app support with improved recommendations, and various other upgrades, the Windows 8.1 update is worth a closer look.
Will you be downloading the Microsoft Windows 8.1 public preview?