Microsoft has announced that its latest operating system, Windows 8.1, will be available to consumers October 17. The update for Windows 8 can be downloaded free of charge from the Windows Store. At the same date, retail versions of the software will also be released, providing consumers with the latest version out of the box. The preview of Windows 8.1 has been available for a while already, so enthusiasts can already test drive the software; our review can be found here.
One of the most important 'new' features in Windows 8.1 is the return of the start button, which was left out in Windows 8. Users can also set whether the characteristic start screen or the traditional desktop mode is shown upon login. Additional options to personalize the operating system have also been provided. Lastly, Microsoft has optimized Windows 8.1 for more compact devices by adjusting the start screen.