Updates on Windows 8.1 will roll out online at 10pm on Oct 17, 2013 AEST in Australia, while users brace themselves for the official full retail version worldwide launch of Windows 8.1 on Oct 18, starting in New Zealand.
Reuters Windows 8.1 free update will have 'start button'.
"Windows 8.1 brings many improvements in areas like personalization, Internet Explorer 11, search which is powered by Bing, built-in apps including a few new ones, an improved Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity with SkyDrive (and much more) that people will enjoy," Brandon LeBlanc of Microsoft said.
Curiosity over Windows 8.1 was motivated by two important things: Windows 8.1 first public video released in June 26 and Windows 8 controversial blunder.
As it turned out, Windows 8 failed in too many things, especially, with its interface design which should be very basic in any operating device. Windows 8 does not have a Start button, its features concealed and obstructed by menus which are hard to find and it has too many unavailable Metro Apps.
However, all these were addressed by Windows 8.1 as revealed by Windows 8.1 build 9471 leaked tutorial video.
The Windows 8.1 tutorial leaked video reveals that just like the Windows Phone, Windows 8.1 has a row of three dots to access the application bar. The three dots have additional settings and options for Mail, People, Calendar and other applications.
The Mail now comes with a new sidebar for easy access to categories, folders and favourite contacts. Users can also drag and drop items and open all necessary windows for multitasking.
The Calendar and People apps now have UI alterations with a new "what's next" bar in Calendar. The "what's next" bar shows user his or her appointments a day prior to the set date.
Obviously, these changes were made in an answer to users' complaints against the interface design of Windows 8.
The context menu also changes now with built-in apps, guiding users to swipe and access the Charms. There is also an added feature, "Help + Tips" app that provides users different video tutorials for navigating OS, opening files, basic actions and settings.
As for the Start Screen, users will be amused with the new robot character that moves as users scroll their mouse. There is also another amusing character, the fire dragon, which sets out fire as the Start Screen loads.
All these changes were not present with the initial launched video of Windows 8.1.
However, there is one let down about the updates made to Windows 8.1 - Facebook and Flickr photo integration were dropped.
SkyDrive is fully integrated to replace Facebook and Flickr while Skype is already pre-installed to replace Messaging app in Windows 8.
There are also new and interesting apps such as Health & Fitness and Food & Drink that come in default upon Windows 8.1 installation.
As for the Desktop features, users can click on the Start button, turn the hot corners off and boot straight to Desktop upon logging in.