The update will be free and available for download in the online Windows store. But will it be enough to enliven Windows 8's lagging sales?
Microsoft announced on its Windows blog earlier today that Windows 8.1, the long awaited update to Windows 8 released last year, would be available as a free download starting October 17th.
Despite poor sales of Windows 8 and Windows 8 devices (with one Microsoft shareholder suing Microsoft), Microsoft's announcement says "Windows 8.1 continues the vision we began with Windows 8," but also that Windows 8.1 should be an improvement: "Windows 8.1 brings many improvements in areas like personalization, Internet Explorer 11, search which is powered by Bing, built-in apps including a few new ones, an improved Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity with SkyDrive (and much more) that people will enjoy."
One of the most talked about changes is the return of a Start button on the desktop screen, although not a return of the Start menu: the Start button will return the user to the normal Windows 8 Start screen. Windows 8.1 should also have the option for a user to boot directly to the desktop rather than modern Start screen.
An unfinished preview edition of Windows 8.1 has been available since June.