Windows 8 is a curious beast, particularly if you're looking at the software through the lenses of Wall Street. It has sold millions and millions of copies, but a lot of those were either automatic corporate upgrades or sales via new machines. The consumer response
to Windows 8 itself has been decent, but far short of pure, widespread elation.
Many pundits have panned the operating system's interface as being two-faced and confusing, and perhaps even a step ahead of its time. There's the "typical" Windows layout, and then there's the new, tile-inspired home pane -- and sadly, a lot of the two don't interplay at all.
Microsoft heard the gripes loud and clear, and has spent the past few months trying to whip up a remedy. That remedy is entitled Windows 8.1, and it's available today as a free download to those who are already using Windows 8. It's available now in the Windows Store for $0.00, and it'll bring back a more familiar Start bar as well as a number of other meaningful improvements that aim to squash usability concerns. For those holding tight on Windows 7, they'll also be able to go straight into Windows 8.1, but at a cost of $120 for the Standard build or $200 for Windows 8.1 Pro.
If you're on an older version of Windows and were waiting for Win8 to look a little less perplexing, now's the time to make the leap.