Microsoft: Windows 8.1 will be available in June as a public preview

Speaking at the Wired Business Conference, Windows chief Julie Larson-Green has confirmed we'll see a public preview of Windows 8.1, codenamed "Blue," in June. The operating system is expected to be released to manufacturing in late summer and will bring a plethora of new features, including more customization options, new apps, and a modern file browser for the Start screen interface.

In the past weeks, we have seen a number of leaked builds of Windows 8.1, the most recent of which was build 9385. The builds have exposed numerous new features, including a new Start screen, a wider variety of customization options and an updated settings panel.

Larson-Green went on to talk about new hardware that we may see "in a few weeks." This likely refers to the smaller Windows 8 tablets that have been rumored for several months as well as new PCs that were shown off at Computex in June.

In addition to stating that Windows 8.1 will be available at BUILD, Larson-Green also talked briefly about the Start menu, saying that it would not be returning. What is important to note is that she did not say that the Start button was out of the question, so it could be possible that we will see the button's return much like the developer preview of Windows 8. This aligns to previous rumors regarding the Start button's return that indicated the button would simply return users to the Start screen.

Seeing that we will be getting our hands on the Public preview in late June, this makes it seem highly plausible that the rumors stating the platform would hit RTM in late summer are accurate. Knowing this, Microsoft's rapid release schedule is coming together nicely with the first major update arriving well before the product hits its one-year retail anniversary.

Source: Windows Blog

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I just install Classic start menu at windows 8 and go thru to desktop when I boot, so I don't care with start screen, I do not even remember that crap still there.
Sorry about my poor english

If the start button returns then I might move up to windows 8.

That is, not a third party version, but, MS version.

I notice a lot written about MS failing with respect to Vista and ME.

Microsoft don't just do operating systems, they (as you all know) do other softwares.

Very interested in these changes that 8.1 will bring. I'm very used to 8 having used it since the Dev Preview and although I rarely partake in metro apps I don't find any of the metro stuff a hindrance. Even the shutdown process which SEEMS longer than the Start Menu process, is the same amount of clicks.

"In addition to stating that Windows 8.1 will be available at BUILD, Larson-Green also talked briefly about the Start menu, saying that it would not be returning."

W00t! Final nail in the Start Menu coffin. Bring on Metro!

Dot Matrix said,
"In addition to stating that Windows 8.1 will be available at BUILD, Larson-Green also talked briefly about the Start menu, saying that it would not be returning."

W00t! Final nail in the Start Menu coffin. Bring on Metro!

Dot Matrix are you a double agent for Apple, or is your IQ really that low?
Metro fullscreen crap only means the end of MS.

Luke777 said,

Dot Matrix are you a double agent for Apple, or is your IQ really that low?
Metro fullscreen crap only means the end of MS.

MS would of been done after ME and Vista if that were true.

MS has a history of every other OS not being perceived well and/or selling well. Yet, they are still around.

techbeck said,

MS would of been done after ME and Vista if that were true.

MS has a history of every other OS not being perceived well and/or selling well. Yet, they are still around.

Exacly, and how did they do this in the past?
By listen to criticism.
Therefore I highly doubt ms will go Modern Ui only, any time soon.

Luke777 said,

Exacly, and how did they do this in the past?
By listen to criticism.
Therefore I highly doubt ms will go Modern Ui only, any time soon.

And they have with 8.1

Bring on Metro!

Luke777 said,

Therefore I highly doubt ms will go Modern Ui only, any time soon.

They already did. That is what Win8 is and was originally all about. As much as I do not care for the metro look, this is way different from their previous criticisms. They are trying to unite the phone, PC, and tablets with the same interface. And to do that, they are forcing people into the direction they want. This isnt like fixing vista's performance issues and hardware requirement issues with Win7. This is completely different.

As much as I dislike Metro, and think they would of done better keeping the start menu, I can understand what they are doing. And there are many FREE REPLACEMENT start apps out there that work just as good, if not better, than the original.

techbeck said,

They already did. That is what Win8 is and was originally all about. As much as I do not care for the metro look, this is way different from their previous criticisms. They are trying to unite the phone, PC, and tablets with the same interface. And to do that, they are forcing people into the direction they want. This isnt like fixing vista's performance issues and hardware requirement issues with Win7. This is completely different.

As much as I dislike Metro, and think they would of done better keeping the start menu, I can understand what they are doing. And there are many FREE REPLACEMENT start apps out there that work just as good, if not better, than the original.

Windows 8 is not Modern Ui only, the desktop is still here. I was talking about Modern UI with no classic desktop.

Dot Matrix said,
"In addition to stating that Windows 8.1 will be available at BUILD, Larson-Green also talked briefly about the Start menu, saying that it would not be returning."

W00t! Final nail in the Start Menu coffin. Bring on Metro!

Troll much?

Windows 8 is fine I love it. I use pokki.com to replace my start button because the charm bar thing is stupid on a desktop computer but is amazing on tablets . I may should like a Linux user because I am when I say you have the freedom to change and customize windows 8 to add a start menu back for free so why complain ? Just install a menu and move on.

tegument said,
"Larson-Green also talked briefly about the Start menu, saying that it would not be returning...indicated the button would simply return users to the Start screen." ....
this is already what has been indicated from the info leaks thus far...its all you start menu freaks that have been bitching for the past 6mos that got all excited and assumed the start menu was coming back...its isn't..deal w/ it u idiots...move into the future now w/ the rest of us...

Edited by Tegument, May 7 2013, 9:46pm :

john.smith_2084 said,
nothing to wait for, it is Windows 8 with more metro and a start button
no Glass interface = no deal

Wow. You're not running Windows 8 due to some visual neglect and ignoring other benefits? I feel sorry for you. Its much more appealing than that.

briangw said,
Wow. You're not running Windows 8 due to some visual neglect and ignoring other benefits? I feel sorry for you. Its much more appealing than that.

Having a sexy girlfriend that is ok and does good, or a very ugly girlfriend the does a lot?

john.smith_2084 said,

Having a sexy girlfriend that is ok and does good, or a very ugly girlfriend the does a lot?

Believe it or not, not everyone is vain and puts looks before anything else. I prefer function over form any day of the week. But Win8 doesnt offer that for me. Maybe Blue will change my mind...but we shall see.

john.smith_2084 said,

Having a sexy girlfriend that is ok and does good, or a very ugly girlfriend the does a lot?

Umm, last I checked, you don't "pay" for any girlfriend for life, unless you're into hookers.

Very excited to see what this release officially brings. With Microsoft also focusing on adding features to assist the use of small tablets, we could really see them branch out in the mobile space!

Ooh fun! I can't wait to load it up in a VM (Though with the focus, I'd prefer it be on my production machine, I'm not prepared to risk that just yet.).

"In addition to stating that Windows 8.1 will be available at BUILD, Larson-Green also talked briefly about the start menu saying that it would not be returning."

And the windows 8 fail continues...

Order_66 said,
"In addition to stating that Windows 8.1 will be available at BUILD, Larson-Green also talked briefly about the start menu saying that it would not be returning."

And the windows 8 fail continues...

Having been using Windows 8 now for quite some time, I can say that you don't need the Start Menu by any means. I think the Start Screen is much more efficient. This from someone that was VERY anti-start screen prior to using it day to day...

Order_66 said,
"In addition to stating that Windows 8.1 will be available at BUILD, Larson-Green also talked briefly about the start menu saying that it would not be returning."

And the windows 8 fail continues...

Keep on dreaming bro.

The only thing I dislike about the Start Screen is the way All Programs is done. I'd love if the folders were collapsed by default, like the old Start menu. The screen becomes a mess with all of the additional things in there like Help applications, etc.

This is from someone who bought Start8 day one on a desktop PC with no touch input. Over time you realize the benefits of the Start Screen. I really only use Start8 menu to shut down now.

M_Lyons10 said,

Having been using Windows 8 now for quite some time, I can say that you don't need the Start Menu by any means. I think the Start Screen is much more efficient. This from someone that was VERY anti-start screen prior to using it day to day...

I don't think the start menu is needed either, but I personally feel the start screen is a poor replacement, you feel the start screen is more efficient for you and that is fine because it works for you, most consumers however are having a terrible time with it.

Stryker297 said,
The only thing I dislike about the Start Screen is the way All Programs is done. I'd love if the folders were collapsed by default, like the old Start menu. The screen becomes a mess with all of the additional things in there like Help applications, etc.

This is from someone who bought Start8 day one on a desktop PC with no touch input. Over time you realize the benefits of the Start Screen. I really only use Start8 menu to shut down now.

It's not just the need to collapse program groups (I like your idea there), but this is also an annoyance kept alive by Windows third-party software developers for decades: overpopulated program groups.

Dating back to the Program Manager in 16-bit Windows, applications became accustomed to assigning a whole group to each app, with an icon for _everything_. This custom has stuck with us all this time, despite being wasteful and unnecessary. Just as it was 'silly' to go to the Start menu to shut down, it's silly to go to an apps menu that doesn't offer an executable-only view.

This could've been fought by Microsoft by simply extending right-click context menus. A shortcut _should_ have a command to uninstall. It _could_ have commands to launch documentation, or alternative modes of executing the app. Steps like this would've made program groups obsolete for all but the most sprawling of software suites.

Windows 8, of course, has resolved this with metro apps, where context uninstall was implemented. I'm at my 7 work desktop now, so I can't confirm, but I think it even keeps the command for desktop apps, and launches the control panel's add/remove tool.

Still, legacy apps create their program groups, and the menu's explode with icons.

Order_66 said,

I don't think the start menu is needed either, but I personally feel the start screen is a poor replacement, you feel the start screen is more efficient for you and that is fine because it works for you, most consumers however are having a terrible time with it.

Most consumers adapted and haven't complained about it.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
... Yeah from certain people who can't adapt to something better.

Maybe some people do not consider it "better"...... Note that I am not one of those but I do not assume or pretend that just because I like it everybody else must agree with me.

mrp04 said,

Most consumers adapted and haven't complained about it.

You obviously don't work in retail or have noticed the statistics.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
... Yeah from certain people who can't adapt to something better.

"Better" is in the eye of the beholder.

Order_66 said,
"In addition to stating that Windows 8.1 will be available at BUILD, Larson-Green also talked briefly about the start menu saying that it would not be returning."

And the windows 8 fail continues...

Just like many people, I used to hate the idea of a new start menu before using the OS. After I gave the evaluation a try everything changed. I loved the OS at first sight and got me an Windows 8 Pro OEM license at release date. Trying the OS can actually change many minds.

Stryker297 said,
The only thing I dislike about the Start Screen is the way All Programs is done. I'd love if the folders were collapsed by default, like the old Start menu. The screen becomes a mess with all of the additional things in there like Help applications, etc.

This is from someone who bought Start8 day one on a desktop PC with no touch input. Over time you realize the benefits of the Start Screen. I really only use Start8 menu to shut down now.

The developers need to start developing for the start screen. It's entirely possible (and should be made a rule) to only ditch the proper program .exe on to the Start Screen, but legacy programs still treat it as the start menu and dump everything on there, meaning i have to go in and unpin them all.

Hopefully this will slow down over time as and when developers start targeting Win8 properly.

Order_66 said,

You obviously don't work in retail or have noticed the statistics.

Or maybe the vocal minority aren't only online, but in real life, too? I know many people with Windows 8 and none of them use aftermarket start menus or complain about the start screen.

MS, please, make sure that if we do use the preview, we can upgrade to the final without resetting everything.

I went from Developer Preview, Customer Preview, to Release Preview, without any loss of programs or data. Then going to final, it gave no option but to reset(keep data, loose all programs).

NXTwoThou said,
MS, please, make sure that if we do use the preview, we can upgrade to the final without resetting everything.

I went from Developer Preview, Customer Preview, to Release Preview, without any loss of programs or data. Then going to final, it gave no option but to reset(keep data, loose all programs).

This unfortunately is very common and kind of part of using a preview release... It just isn't worth the work to prepare (What could be a very sketchy) upgrade path for people on the preview... Too much can go bad.

NXTwoThou said,
MS, please, make sure that if we do use the preview, we can upgrade to the final without resetting everything.

I went from Developer Preview, Customer Preview, to Release Preview, without any loss of programs or data. Then going to final, it gave no option but to reset(keep data, loose all programs).

That's the way it should be.

But if preview would be free for all and final would be free only for users of 8.0, then how would they distinguish between users who installed preview on top of 8.0 and clean installations?

anonymf said,
But if preview would be free for all and final would be free only for users of 8.0, then how would they distinguish between users who installed preview on top of 8.0 and clean installations?
Just use the Windows 8 key?

Considering how seamless going from preview to preview to preview was, you'd think from preview to final would be a big bunch of warning messages letting me know that it may be unstable and point to the whole "reset your PC" feature.

If doing 8.1 Preview means I have to reinstall everything(again), will have to skip the preview. I turned in about 60 bug reports/feature enhancement requests during the 8.0 preview(s), so it sucks I won't be able to help any. I just don't have enough motivation to reinstall everything again.

I'm a developer by trade, I understand the potential risks. From their perspective, they don't want any hangovers from the preview tarnishing the reliability of the final.

I'm not one of those people that reinstalls windows every couple of months wanting it "fresh". I have a lot of other things to do with my time and have never had a need. That particular machine was Vista->7->8DP->8CP->8RP and was working perfectly fine. After going to final, having to scrounge up installs from when Vista was on it sucked.

You really ought to either have a second hard drive installed in your PC, or a secondary PC for
testing any pre-release builds of Windows. Failing that, you could also use virtual machines.

DJGM said,
You really ought to either have a second hard drive installed in your PC, or a secondary PC for
testing any pre-release builds of Windows. Failing that, you could also use virtual machines.

Or install it on a VHD and boot to that. As a developer, one would think he's aware of how to do that. That's how I fiddled with Windows 8 previews without trashing my Windows 7 installation.

Circuitspark said,
When will I be able to get it through Dreamspark Premium?

After RTM. Not until general availability.

"Microsoft: Windows 8.1 will be available in J..."

I see what you did there!

If it were possible for PCs to sing, there's little doubt they would be singing the blues.

Edited by warwagon, May 7 2013, 8:46pm :