Microsoft's Windows 8.1 public preview: What you need to know

Microsoft's Windows 8.1 public preview: What you need to know

Summary: Here are all the download links and info you need to know if you want to test drive Windows 8.1, codenamed "Blue."


Today's the day. Microsoft is making available to anyone and everyone with Windows 8 and Windows RT a public preview build of its next Windows release, Windows 8.1, codenamed "Blue."

On June 26, Microsoft is making the Windows 8.1 preview available for download via the Windows Store. If you choose to download the preview, make sure you know that you will have to reinstall your apps before you move from the preview build to the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) bits.

Check out screen shots of the new Windows 8.1 preview from ZDNet's Ed Bott

Most if not all of the new features in Windows 8.1 have leaked and or been detailed by Microsoft to date. The biggest one in many Microsoft watchers' and customers' eyes is the return of a Start Button of sorts. While this isn't a Start Button with a Start Menu like the current Windows Start buttons, it will provide an anchor for those who have had trouble navigating Windows 8.

Boot straight to desktop is a built-in feature of Windows 8.1, as we've known for a while now. And the search experience in Windows 8.1 is getting a major overhaul.

A few potentially handy links for those interested in the Windows 8.1 preview:

Download link for the Windows 8.1 preview

Windows 8.1 FAQ (read before you install)

List of processors a nd devicessupported (and not) with the Windows 8.1 preview (Note: this is likely to change by RTM)

List of business-focused features in Windows 8.1

Ed Bott's hands-on with Windows 8.1 preview

Preview Product Guide for Windows 8.1 for developers

What's new in DirectX 11.2 in Windows 8.1


Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Microsoft's Windows 8.1 public preview: What you need to know

    I'm eager to download and try it out on my hardware. I can now show the changes to others and make them aware. That's the benefit of being an early adopter and being ahead of the curve.
    • Loverock-Davidson....your still doing your compiling so

      you won't be done any time soon and don't forget to close your Telnet port.
      Over and Out
      • Linux Trolls are so gifted.......

        Linux Trolls are so gifted.......In that they can for tell the future.

        Next classic Linux Troll statement coming will be "Epic Fail".

        Oh look I can see the future too !
        • 5735guy...your right I looked into the future and saw that

          your post was a "Epic Fail" at trolling and your right again, I can look into the future
          Over and Out
    • Why are you eager?

      Your previous posts suggest that you believe the old Windows 8 was the epitome of perfection. Surely, 8.1 can be nothing but a step backwards.
    • Ah Yes... fondly I remember the glory days of early adoption, as I fired up Windows ME and... um... well...

      I shall be eagerly adopting W8 in all its fun configs at the earliest appropriate time... now when is W7 support ending?
  • When will it be available?

    I know Microsoft is saying June 26th. I don't see it available now (2:00EST). Will it be late tonight?
    • Supposedly August

      with general availability later in the fall. I think it's mostly speculation though, as far as I know they haven't officially said.
      Sam Wagner
    • The ISO for the preview

      will probably not be up until tomorrow.

      Right now it seems to be a Windows Store Only thing, likely to see if they can handle the demand.
      Michael Alan Goff
  • Re-install all my software

    No way, guess I'll be waiting until the RTM version comes out.
    Anyone got any idea on a release date for that?
    • Put it on a VM, perhaps

      Like you, I'm not smitten on the idea of it being my production system.
  • Pass

    Windows 8 was a disaster, and Windows 8.1 isn't looking much better with the lack of a classic mode interface. They want to stick everyone in their walled garden ala iOS. I refuse to fall into that trap. I love my android devices due to it's open nature, and would prefer that over any closed option like iOS or now Windows.
    • Ermmm ...

      "Classic Mode Interface"? You mean the desktop? It's there alive and kicking in Win8 and 8.1. In 8.1, you can also choose to boot straight to desktop should you wish.
      • Don't bother

        You are talking to a "DROIDbot". Anyone who thinks Android is even 50% useable really doesn't deserve any attention. trumanp is one such user. It isn't worth it, if they like Android, that says enough - not worth it.
        • Its more than 50% usable.

          And I use Windows (7) OSX, Android, Linux, on a day to day basis, so I've got basis for comparison. (And W8, if I have to do a bugcheck against our latest build against it) I'm keen to see 8.1 - I always tended to see 8.0 as just that, a dot zero product.
  • Not Available

    If you click the link, you can get the "update", but there isn't anything in the store to download.
    • There is one way to get it

      If you click on "get it" on IE from Windows 8, you get an update to download that lets you then go to your Windows Store and download it from there.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • Not here

        I did exactly that, and the update installs. Then nothing happens. Restart just boots into Windows 8. There's still nothing in the Windows Store.
        • Weird

          It isn't an update, by the way, it's a separate install. Not that I'd be getting it tonight if I were you. I tried earlier and wow it was slow.
          Michael Alan Goff
          • Just tried again

            Launched the update (and yes it is an update - KB2849363 - it gets installed by Windows Update, configured as an update at restart, etc.). It installed and went through the whole configuring updates sequence at reboot, and voila! The Go to Store link comes up when I get to the desktop.

            And that's all it does. If you click Go to Store, that's exactly what you do. You go to the Store. That's it. Search and find nothing.