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Microsoft launches Windows 8.1 preview

The long anticipated fix for Windows 8 is now available for download

Microsoft launched the much anticipated preview of Windows 8.1 today. The update delivered on what was promised a month ago including more comprehensive search functions, a return of the start button, and greater customization options for the “Metro” or “Modern” interface. 8.1 also brings the ability to snap more apps onto the sides of the screen and control how much space each one takes, as well as options to boot directly to desktop or to the full apps list.

Along with all those expected changes, Microsoft is also rolling out a series of new features and apps and have included them in the 8.1 preview.

The new Internet Explorer 11 supports WebGL and MPEG Dash, allows for side-by-side viewing of websites in a full-screen view and also gives updates from your choice of websites from it's live tile.

The new lock screen includes the option to create a sideshow from photos either on the device or on a linked cloud drive, and even allows for the photos to be organized seasonally by selecting shots that were taken at approximately the same date.

Microsoft's photo app has also seen some improvements and now allows for easy photo editing.

Other apps in the bundle include: Reading List, Xbox Music and Video, Health and Fitness, Food and Drink, A touch optimized Calculator, and an improved onscreen keyboard.

Those interested can download the preview here. Be warned the installation can take a while.


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Craig Munro, 2013-06-26 (Update: 2021-05-18)