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Windows 8.1 Preview – Don’t be Blue


If you’ve been hiding out in the woodshed for the past several weeks you may not be aware that Microsoft is planning on releasing their first major update to Windows 8. A Service Pack, if you will, with a super secret code name of “Blue” (don’t tell anyone).

Well, a Service Pack may not be an appropriate reference as Microsoft has stated that the release of Windows 8 also brings a period of faster development and more frequent releases. Following their own agenda they have been feverishly working on Windows 8.1 and I expect it to debut as a Beta in late June.

This fast paced development cycle is also fanning the flames of the rumor mill and the top rumor is a return engagement for the Start Button. Personally I believe this will be more of a “fine tuning” of Windows 8 – a chance to tidy up the overall Metro experience and tie up loose strings. If the Start Button does appear in 8.1, and it isn’t in the latest builds, it will most certainly not include the Start Menu of pre-Windows 8 days.

I was able to find a leaked build of Windows 8.1 and load it in a virtual machine. Above and below are screenshots and commentary – click on an image to see the commentary. Remember this is a leaked pre-beta build of Windows 8.1. Nothing is set in stone, but it does give a good indication of where they are heading and what you’ll see on your machines later this year!

 

Installing Windows 8.1. Nothing new here.

Installing Windows 8.1. Nothing new here.

Copying Windows 8.1 files. Nothing new here.

Copying Windows 8.1 files. Nothing new here.

Waiting for Windows 8.1 to load for the first time.

Waiting for Windows 8.1 to load for the first time.

Ah ha! The color selector is different and appears to offer more choices.

The color selector is different –  more choices?

Windows 8.1 settings screen 1.

Windows 8.1 settings screen 1.

Windows 8.1 settings screen 2.

Windows 8.1 settings screen 2.

A quick Windows 8.1 Metro lesson.

A quick Windows 8.1 Metro lesson.

Notice the arrow? A quick way to see all apps.

Notice the arrow? A quick way to see all apps.

New Windows 8.1 app screen.

New Windows 8.1 app screen.

Sort the apps as you choose.

Sort the apps as you choose.

New Windows 8.1 apps.

New Windows 8.1 apps.

Metro file explorer. Finally!

Metro file explorer. Finally!

New Windows 8.1 alarm app.

New Windows 8.1 alarm app.

New Windows 8.1 Metro calculator.

New Windows 8.1 Metro calculator.

New Windows 8.1 Metro sound recorder.

New Windows 8.1 Metro sound recorder.

More Start Screen customization - smaller icons.

More Start Screen customization – smaller icons.

Updated Windows 8.1 settings menu. Start?

Updated Windows 8.1 settings menu. Start?

Windows 8.1 personalization inside the Metro interface.

Windows 8.1 personalization inside the Metro interface.

Updated Windows 8.1 menu.

Updated Windows 8.1 menu.

Updated Windows 8.1 devices menu.

Updated Windows 8.1 devices menu.

Updated Windows 8.1 search results. Less clutter.

Updated Windows 8.1 search results. Less clutter.

No Start Button in Windows 8.1 yet.

No Start Button in Windows 8.1 yet.

Windows 8.1 Build 9374

Windows 8.1 Build 9374

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About the Author

David Hartsock

Executive Editor/Owner/Admin of Daves Computer Tips and all-around good guy - Dave's interest in computers began in the early 1980's during the Apple II era. In the early 1990's the PC began to replace proprietary and mainframe devices in Dave's industry so he began to learn and experiment with the PC. Through DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and now Windows 10. Dave became the "go to" guy for friends, family, and coworkers with computer problems. Daves Computer Tips was born in 2006 in an effort to share these experiences with others in an easy to understand, plain English, form.

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