Windows 8.1 now available for pre-order

Good news for Microsoft fans, as the Redmond-based company has begun taking pre-orders for its new Windows 8.1 OS, prior to the Oct. 18 launch.

The latest OS from Microsoft, Windows 8.1, is expected to address the issues that took the shine off Windows 8, which the company released in Oct. 2012. Windows 8 had incorporated several major design changes, along with a touch-optimized UI, but drew lots criticism because consumers found it difficult to operate.

The successor Windows 8.1 has been in the works for a while now and Microsoft is bringing back the Windows Start button. Earlier in September, Microsoft confirmed the price of the new OS and now consumers who want to upgrade from Windows 7 (or older versions) can pre-order Windows 8.1 from the Microsoft Store. Those who are already on Windows 8 will automatically receive Windows 8.1 as a free upgrade.

"If you're running Windows 8, visit the Windows Store for a free update to Windows 8.1 starting on October 17," reads the Windows 8.1 pre-order page on the Microsoft Store. "If you're running Windows 7, your files will easily transfer. If you're running Windows Vista or earlier, qualify for the free upgrade to Windows 8.1 by purchasing Windows 8 now."

Previously, Microsoft has revealed that the Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro upgrade packages would cost $119.99 and $199.99, respectively.

"The new Windows 8.1 lets you watch movies or play games with Xbox, Skype with friends, access files anywhere with SkyDrive, or find your next favorite app in the Windows Store. If you're already running Windows 8 you'll be automatically upgraded to Windows 8.1 for free on October 17. If you're running Windows 7, pre-order Windows 8.1 now," notes the Microsoft Store.

With Windows 8.1 set to launch soon, Microsoft would be hoping to fix issues that Windows 8 users complained of. However, it remains to be seen if Windows 8.1 can rescue Microsoft and finds favor with consumers.

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