Heads up all you Radeon HD graphics card owners, AMD has released a new batch of WHQL certified Catalyst drivers, version 13.9. These are the first logo certified drivers for Windows 8.1, which Microsoft is planning to make available to download on October 18th (free for existing Windows 8 owners, $120 and up for the full retail version). Catalyst 13.9 supports both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. Here's what else you need to know.
Iolo's System Mechanic software for Windows is now in version 12, and among the changes introduced in the latest release is improved performance in Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8.1 update. According to Iolo, System Mechanic 12 has been designed to leverage Windows 8.1's latest architectural changes, resulting in even faster startup speeds, overall responsiveness, and increased stability.
Microsoft promised to deliver its highly anticipated Windows 8.1 update to Windows 8 users free of charge, and that's still true. Starting October 18th, Windows 8.1 will be a free update from the Windows Store. At the same time, users new to the touch-friendly operating system altogether can jump straight into the Windows 8.1 release by purchasing a full version either as a download from Windows.com or at a local store in retail boxed copy form.
We are not too far away from finding out the fate of Microsoft's Windows 8.1 update, which is being seen as a great opportunity for the company to redeem itself — especially by those who don’t have greater expectations from Ballmer's departure. The word on the street is that Redmond has already released Windows 8.1 to manufacturing and the update is on track for a general release in October.
A preview version of Windows 8.1 has been available since June, and if all goes to plan, word on the web is that the final release will roll into town in October. That's when the general public will be able to nab the download via Windows Update. Prior to that, OEM system builders will receive the update as early as this month, and it's possible some Windows 8.1 machines will show up in retail in September.
Build 9471 leak comes just a few days before RTM (release to manufacturing)
One of the many criticisms of Windows 8 is that it has a steep learning curve, which is ironic as Microsoft has also been accused of unnecessarily dumbing down its operating system by saddling it with a touch-friendly layer of tiles and apps. The upcoming Windows 8.1 update will thankfully address both issues. While we have already witnessed the ability to skip the Start Screen and boot straight to desktop in earlier builds, a new leaked build contains something that is meant to help first-time users acclimatize themselves to the Windows 8 interface a lot faster.
There's no use twiddling your thumbs, biting your fingernails, or engaging in other habits you might have while anxiously waiting for a product release. Yes, Windows 8.1 is coming, but you probably won't see the final version before the end of summer, so go ahead and venture outside to catch some sunshine. According to Windows Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Tami Reller, Microsoft will finalize Windows 8.1 in August, at which time it will be made available to PC makers.
Don't expect Windows 8.1 to stop PC sales from slumping
In some respects, Microsoft is about to take a mulligan with Windows 8.1. The free update will address many of the complaints users have with Windows 8, including the lack of a Start button (but not a Start menu), the inability to boot directly to the desktop, and more. It will also introduce in a much improved browsing experience (Internet Explorer 11), two new tile size options, and a bunch of other tweaks we recently outlined. Windows 8.1 will not, however, save traditional PCs from whatever fate awaits.
The crew teaches the Canadian intern how to play an RPG
The interns have re-assembled for the second episode of the Interncast, and this time around the crew discusses Windows 8.1 and the new features it brings, Sony’s gigantic 6.4” Xperia Z Ultra phone and whether or not that's too big for a phone, and also argued over the proper way to play role-playing games.
A visual walkthrough of 20 new Windows 8.1 features and changes
Microsoft has recieved a lot of negative flack for the radical changes it’s made in Windows 8 with the complete disconnect from traditional UI elements like the Start button. With the release of the Windows 8.1 preview, which you can try out now if you are willing to use beta software, Microsoft is making strides to appease the user base it left out in the cold.