Start The Countdown To Windows 8.1

Microsoft kicked off its TechEd 2013 conference in New Orleans this morning–revealing a comprehensive overhaul of many of its products and services. One of the focuses of the TechEd 2013 keynote were new features of the upcoming Windows 8.1 aimed at making it a better OS for businesses, and giving IT admins more ability to control the Windows 8 experience. In just a few short weeks, the public preview of Windows 8.1 will be available and you can see for yourself.

A Windows for Your Business blog post states that June 26 is the big day. The Windows 8.1 preview will be available, and we’ll get our first official look at the new Windows 8–codenamed “Windows Blue”.

With previous versions of Windows, the features and updates in Windows 8.1 would have been delivered as a service pack. It’s an established practice to wait for the first service pack–SP1–before adopting a new Microsoft OS in order to allow time for Microsoft to work out the kinks and tweak the operating system. It’s as if the original release of a new version of Windows is really just a prolonged public beta, and the real release comes when SP1 is available.

Microsoft is trying to drive a culture shift, though, with Windows 8. I talked in a recent article about the how and why behind Microsoft making this a major OS release of its own rather than calling it a service pack. The scope and impact of Windows 8.1 is essentially the same as a Windows 8 SP1 would have been, but Microsoft also wants to shift the mindset of its customers and get the massive Windows audience to embrace frequent updates rather than stubbornly continuing to use an archaic platform (*cough* Windows XP).

After having spent an extensive amount of time using Windows 8, I came up with my own list of the top five things Microsoft should fix with Windows 8.1 to make the operating system more appealing. It seems that most of the items I listed are addressed in some way with Windows 8.1. I’m looking forward to downloading the public preview and finding out firsthand if Windows 8.1 can really alter the general perception of the new OS.

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