Windows 8.1 release date, price and features

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Microsoft has revealed full details about the comprehensive update to Windows 8, now known as Windows 8.1 and formerly known as Windows Blue. We’ve also had plenty of time with the new update, so check out our brand new Hands on: Windows 8.1 review.

The Windows 8.1 release date is October 17 – it will be available to existing Windows 8 users for free on Windows Update. It will be available to buy in retail from October 18.

Development of Windows 8.1 is complete, confirming what we knew would be a significant update to Microsoft’s operating system in time for the holidays this winter. While the “release to manufacturing” moniker does ring a bit of finality to it, this is by no means the end of the line for the OS. Development will continue until its general availability which is slated for October 17th.

Between now and then, Microsoft will issue a series of “quick fix engineering” (QFE) updates to the manufacturers while they are building their next batch of goodies.

The official confirmation from Microsoft: “Today we are excited to share that starting at 12am on October 18 in New Zealand (that’s 12:00pm in the UK and 4:00am in Redmond – October 17th). Windows 8.1 will begin rolling out worldwide as a free update for consumers on Windows 8 through the Windows Store. Windows 8.1 will also be available at retail and on new devices starting on October 18 by market.”

October will mark a year since Windows 8 was released. There’s also a Windows 8.1 RT version, too, if that floats your boat.

To whet our appetites in the meantime, Microsoft has released a preview version, called the Windows 8.1 Release Preview. It’s now available to download.windows_blue1

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