Microsoft to Launch Windows 8.1 on October 18th, Free Download For Existing Win 8 Users

The rumors about an October release date for Windows 8.1 are true. Microsoft confirmed today that October 18th is the official launch of the highly anticipated operating system update. U.S. Windows 8 users may see the update a little early - the roll out will start at 12:00am in New Zealand, which is 4:00am in Redmond, Wash.

Windows 8.1 releases on October 18th on mobile devices, PCs and via download.
The new Start screen in Windows 8.1.

If you haven’t already, take a look at our preview of Windows 8.1. The update isn’t going to please everyone – particularly people who aren’t big fans of the new operating system. The tweaks are designed to make Windows 8 better – not remake it as Windows 7, as some customers might prefer. But for those of who like (or tolerate) the new design, Windows 8.1 makes some interesting changes to the Start screen and supports booting directly to the Desktop, a welcome feature for those who don’t use the Start screen. A Start button will also be present, but the Start menu won’t be. Retail versions of Windows 8.1 will be available on October 18th and new devices will start carrying the update OS at that time, but existing Windows 8 customers will be able to upgrade free. That’s not too surprising, considering the uproar Microsoft would have likely faced if it had made this a paid update.