Windows 8.1 to bring back Start Menu in free download – The Guardian

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Microsoft will release its Windows 8.1 update on 17 October, bringing back the Start Menu among other bug fixes and feature enhancements.
The update, which will be free for Windows 8 users, is a response to concerns among users and businesses who found the interface changes in Windows 8, released in October 2012, too jarring.
The removal in the original release of the Start menu – an iconic part of Windows since 1995 – led to confusion among users.
As sales of PCs plummeted in the two quarters after the new product’s launch, Microsoft pitched into a revision to bring back favourite features. "Are there things that we can do to improve the experience? Absolutely," Tami Reller, the newly promoted head of the Windows team, told the Associated Press in May. "There is a learning curve [to Windows 8] and we can work to address that."
But the revision does not bring back the Start menu; instead it revives the Start button, which takes the user straight to an "all apps" view of the Windows 8 Start screen, a collection of "tiles". It also introduces an option so that when started, the machine will boot directly into the Windows 7-style desktop view.
Windows 8.1 also includes enhancements to more than 20 different Microsoft applications and services, including Internet Explorer 11.
Windows 8.1 will be available as a free download for Windows 8 users, directly from the Windows store. Two versions costing $119.99 in the US (around £75 in the UK) for Windows 8.1 and $199.99 (around £125 in the UK) for Windows 8.1 Pro, which includes additional, business-oriented features, will also be available for installing Windows 8.1 on a new computer, or to upgrade an earlier version of Windows.
A Professional upgrade for Windows 8.1 will also be offered for $99 in the US (around £65 in the UK).
Windows 8.1 will only be installable on a computer without an operating system, or as an upgrade on a Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer.
Windows 7 users will have to reinstall all their programs after the upgrade, as only documents and file transfer is supported. Upgrades from previous versions of Windows, including Windows XP and Windows Vista, are not supported by Windows 8.1, unlike Windows 8.
Windows 8.1’s lack of upgrade support for previous versions of Windows isn’t a "big issue" for consumers, according to Annette Jump, research director at consultancy firm Gartner. "The percentage of consumers still using Windows XP is in the low single digits, and those machines that do use Window XP will likely be too old to upgrade," she said.
"Most machines that are young enough to be upgraded will have shipped with Windows 7, however, consumers generally do not upgrade their machines, and simply buy new computers with the latest version of Windows on them," Jump added.
The lack of support for upgrades from Windows XP is a non-issue for businesses, according to Jump: "We’ve seen a large migration from XP to Windows 7 in the last 18 months, and will likely see an acceleration of that trend as support for XP ceases at the end of 2014. Companies are not looking at Windows 8 or 8.1 unless they are using touch-enabled laptops or tablets, which likely came with Windows 8 pre-installed."
Jump also points out that companies don’t upgrade the operating systems on their machines, simply erasing and re-imaging them with a company-wide installation of Windows that includes pre-loaded applications and settings instead.
In June, the Guardian reviewed the preview of Windows 8.1 including the 20 plus features Microsoft has improved in the update.


About the author

Julia Martin

Julia Martin

Julia is a mechanical engineer with a passion for cars. She covers everything related to automotive technology, from electric vehicles to autonomous driving. Julia loves to get under the hood of cars to understand how they work and is always excited about the future of automotive tech.