Microsoft starts taking pre-orders for Windows 8.1

Microsoft has started taking pre-orders for Windows 8.1 on its website ahead of the October 18th general availability.

Flavors of the operating system available for pre-order are Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro. Pricing for the core version is $119.99 while the Pro version costs $199.99.

Windows 8.1, termed as a refined blend of Windows 8 by Steve Ballmer, is the much-awaited update for the OS that adds many new features, usability enhancements in the Modern interface and brings back the Start button to the Windows 8 operating system, which was launched last year. It's also part of Microsoft's new "rapid release" product cycle which aims at releasing feature updates annually to products such as Windows and Windows Phone. 

Windows 8 users will get the 8.1 update via the Windows store starting October 17th for free, while retail versions will be available through brick and mortar stores worldwide starting October 18th.

Source: Microsoft Store via The Next Web | Image via Microsoft

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Using it already, with a Star Menu alternative (Start8 for me, but there's many alternatives).

As long as I don't have to deal with the Start Screen, I'm happy. It's fast and reliable.

already using it for few weeks and I love it. its an absolutely gorgeous OS. I wish they have had released it instead of half-backed Windows 8. but hey, better late than never, so appreciate it. some driver issues but nothing major. Love the figner print scanner utility built-in as well as 3d printer support

Will we be able to download an ISO file, or will the store be the only option?
I have 2 pc's I want to update, but I only have a 1Mb/s line so this would take ages.
Stand alone installer would make my life a lot easier

Does anybody know if this will be possible without a TechNet/msdn subscription

I'd be interested in this too. I bought 8 on Disc, so if i ever reformat i don't want to have to wait hours for it to update to 8.1 every time.

Be ever nicer if they sent out a free 8.1 Disc to those who bought 8, but an iso would do i guess.

too bad you cannot "pre-order" the update via the Windows Store, so that once it is released your computer automatically updates itself lol

Do I have to buy Windows 8.1 ? I already have bought Windows 8.

Edit: nevermind

If you're running Windows 8, visit the Windows Store for a free update to Windows 8.1 starting on October 17.

I have grown to like Windows 8 a lot, when i first used it i thought it was terrible. However the speed and vastly better battery life on notebooks kept me coming back. The start button is a welcome improvement for me on Windows 2012R2 server more than the client, i did in the end get used to pushing my mouse to the bottom left, however RDP'ing a 2012 server, the missing start button was really annoying.

Overall though windows 8.1 is a solid update to Win8 and really polishes it out, better settings etc.. As is 2012R2 (love the improvements in dedup).

REM2000 said,
The start button is a welcome improvement for me on Windows 2012R2 server more than the client, i did in the end get used to pushing my mouse to the bottom left, however RDP'ing a 2012 server, the missing start button was really annoying.

Overall though windows 8.1 is a solid update to Win8 and really polishes it out, better settings etc.. As is 2012R2 (love the improvements in dedup).

Oh indeed that's one of the reasons im glad the start button is back. I also like you can right click and have easy access to many power user features.

The Windows 8 extremists will disagree, however i'm very happy and am quite enjoying 8.1 / 2012 R2.

Dont you have the windows button on your keyboard? The only thing i hate about it is the task manager that is not working in autostart on admins anymore

InsaneNutter said,

Oh indeed that's one of the reasons im glad the start button is back. I also like you can right click and have easy access to many power user features.

The Windows 8 extremists will disagree, however i'm very happy and am quite enjoying 8.1 / 2012 R2.

I have no big issues with windows 8, use it on my main desktop with a kb+mouse but I like the overall updates in 8.1 and think it's a step in the right direction overall. Here's to seeing if they actually stick to the new one year cycle and bring us 8.2 next year.

yeah and i don't mind Win8 on my desktop as it's easy to get to the menu. However when designing UI and the UX it's best to stick to one method when the user is doing something. I.e. to start an app it's best that it can be done soley through the mouse (which obviously it can) as switching between keyboard and mouse can break concentration.

However pressing start in an RDP session will only result in the client displaying the startmenu not the server in the RDP, which is where the start button on the task bar is a really handy addition.

REM2000 said,
..... however RDP'ing a 2012 server, the missing start button was really annoying.....

I never understood the big deal about start button removal until this.
Happy it's back.

Kinda weird! They think people want a Start-button - I thought what they really want is an old-school-ish Start-menu. Am I way off base here?

I embrace the new stuff though - but I never used the old Start-menu much and I don't use the new one alot either, except on the Surface.

Regardless - looking forward to 8.1!

Edit: Thanks for your views and feedback!

Edited by Pwrmad, Oct 2 2013, 11:04am :

Caleb said,
Yes, people wanted the Start Menu, and not just the Start Button.

People don't want the start menu. No user outside this forum had any attachment to it, judging by the constant filthy desktops I've seen. What they wanted was familiarity, and they got that with the Start Button. Many are just clamoring because it's what their friends are doing.

People had complaints about the missing Start Button. Not about the missing menu. So Microsoft gived them what they asked. Nor what they wanted... because many of people who complaints have think Start Button and Start Menu is the same thimg, and bringing back the Start Button will bring back Start Menu. Now they will get the figure and will ask for Start menu. But too late.

We'll just have to wait and see how people react.
If there is enough pressure from consumers and businesses, we may be lucky enough to get an option to enable the start menu in 8.2. Or it may even be a permanent fixture, like the return of the start button in 8.1. We'll see.

letmesee said,
We'll just have to wait and see how people react.
If there is enough pressure from consumers and businesses, we may be lucky enough to get an option to enable the start menu in 8.2. Or it may even be a permanent fixture, like the return of the start button in 8.1. We'll see.

The start menu code is gone from Windows. It would require too much work or effort to produce the start menu again, and it would require significant overhaul to work with the new features in the Windows 8 Start Screen. Not to mention, require more time effort to support.

It's not coming back.

Dot Matrix said,

The start menu code is gone from Windows. It would require too much work or effort to produce the start menu again,

The code may be gone from Windows, but it doesn't mean they've lost the code (source control)
Since I have no access to their code, I can't speculate if it's really going to be "too much work".
But I believe, should they need to bring it back, they wouldn't have to write the code from scratch.

Dot Matrix said,

and it would require significant overhaul to work with the new features in the Windows 8 Start Screen. Not to mention, require more time effort to support.

Once again, as I have no access to their source, I'm not going to speculate just how "significant" the overhaul is going to be. But I do agree that, if they DO need to bring it back, they need to find a way to integrate it with the newer features. I also agree that it'll require time and effort to support.

However, the start menu has been around for years, evolving and improving, used and tested in more ways than there are Apple users out there (probably). The code should be more mature, more stable and more tested than any parts of the newer features they have introduced in 8.

Does it require effort to support? Definitely. But I don't believe it's any where near the support nightmare that you make it out to be.

Dot Matrix said,

It's not coming back.

Some people said the same about the start button (ie, waste of space on the task bar, etc), yet here it is in 8.1, with no option to disable/hide it (unless you use StartIsGone).

Sure, it's no start menu, but it goes to show that just because a feature was removed, it doesn't mean it'll never return.

Microsoft says that they listen to users' feedbacks. Should there be overwhelming requests for the return of the start menu, I wouldn't be surprised if they bring it back eventually.

letmesee said,

The code may be gone from Windows, but it doesn't mean they've lost the code (source control)
Since I have no access to their code, I can't speculate if it's really going to be "too much work".
But I believe, should they need to bring it back, they wouldn't have to write the code from scratch.

Once again, as I have no access to their source, I'm not going to speculate just how "significant" the overhaul is going to be. But I do agree that, if they DO need to bring it back, they need to find a way to integrate it with the newer features. I also agree that it'll require time and effort to support.

However, the start menu has been around for years, evolving and improving, used and tested in more ways than there are Apple users out there (probably). The code should be more mature, more stable and more tested than any parts of the newer features they have introduced in 8.

Does it require effort to support? Definitely. But I don't believe it's any where near the support nightmare that you make it out to be.

Some people said the same about the start button (ie, waste of space on the task bar, etc), yet here it is in 8.1, with no option to disable/hide it (unless you use StartIsGone).

Sure, it's no start menu, but it goes to show that just because a feature was removed, it doesn't mean it'll never return.

Microsoft says that they listen to users' feedbacks. Should there be overwhelming requests for the return of the start menu, I wouldn't be surprised if they bring it back eventually.

Source is right here from a Microsoft developer himself: http://www.neowin.net/forum/to...ws-8/page-30#entry595048551

Dot Matrix said,

Well, that certain shut me up on the topic of its "buggy-ness".

But having read through Brandon's post, my conclusion is that the start menu wasn't so much "buggy", as it was unsupportive of the *newer* features.


It could not launch *Metro* style applications. [..] Its search infrastructure [..], didn't support *new* localization features, etc. It did not support our *modern* DPI scaling mechanism. It had problems with the *new* multi-mon features

And while we're on the topic of statements from an official rep/developer, I've seen this very often, and even do this myself.
We don't make changes to our software on whims either. Addition and removal of features go through stringent discussions and debates amongst our developers and management. In my experience, we make what we consider to be the best decision at the time[\b], and continue to improve the software based on customers' feedback.

Our developers may come up with the best, most ergonomic UX or optimized workflow, supported by telemetries and control groups. But ultimately, we're selling software to customers. If our decisions lose us potential or existing customers, we go back and review the processes/research that led us to our decisions in the first place and fix the problem.

I can't speak for all software developers, but many that I know are egotistic, myself included. We assume full responsibilities on our decisions and take pride in them. But ultimately, pride doesn't pay the bill nor does it keep a company afloat. Customers, on the other hand, do. It's nice when our decisions are aligned with what customers want; when it doesn't, we do what the customers want.

tl;dr, never say never; customers vote with their wallets; developers are often trapped between doing what's right and what the market/management wants.

francescob said,
Quick, before they run out of digital copies! Oh, wait, that's just EA and Square

That's exactly what I was gonna say. You have to preorder downloads now?

Actually, what would be nice is if a "preorder" would allow you to download the files ahead of time so you could get them before the mad rush...but then make the installer do a date check (online, not local) so it won't let you run it before the 18th, if they insist.