Windows 8.1 Preview now available as free download

Microsoft has officially launched its much-awaited Windows 8.1 Preview, which brings back the Start button and looks to fix the damage caused by Windows 8. What's more, Windows 8.1 Preview is now available for download and if you want to try it out, you can do so for free.

For the uninitiated, Windows 8.1 Preview is the first public beta of Microsoft's OS' next version, which it announced at it Build 2013 developer's conference in San Francisco on June 26. The Windows 8.1 is the company's attempt to bring to the table features that were amiss in Windows 8 and redeem itself.

"The best part is my Start screen customizations, apps, and files get synced across all my Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets, which is awesome,"-"If I change my Start screen, install new apps, pin new apps to my Start screen on one PC - that all gets synced to my other PCs," noted Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc at Windows 8.1 Preview's release.

Some of the new features Microsoft's new Windows 8.1 Preview brings include gesture support on the keyboard and built-in support for 3D printers. It also brings several new tweaks and improvements to apps, which include Xbox Music, Outlook and Internet Explorer. Moreover, even the Windows Store has benefited from a redesign.

The Start Screen is also back and now users can rearrange apps, including multiple apps simultaneously. App tiles can be resized and made smaller or large than what could be done previously. The Start menu has also received some new animated backgrounds.

There's also a new integrated search tool which lets users look for things other than files and settings. The universal tool searches for results online (via Bing), in documents, your hard drive, SkyDrive, as well as apps that support the feature. Additionally, there's deeper integration with AkyDrive and users no longer require a separate app to sync their files with SkyDrive in Windows 8.1.

Hankering for more? Windows 8.1 Preview's SkyDrive app also supports photo editing and offers color enhancements and filters!

The preview is available for download at the Windows site for free. However, as promised Microsoft is not offering an .iso version, but only Windows 8.1. This basically means that the preview version is only available for Windows 8 and Windows RT users/

If you're updating from Windows 8 you don't require a product key, but new users will need to register with the product key: NTTX3-RV7VB-T7X7F-WQYYY-9Y92F to try the Windows 8.1 Preview.

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