The long anticipated Public Preview of Windows 8.1, formerly code-named Windows Blue, should now be available for download via the Windows Store on Windows 8 devices.
There are a number of new and updated features that are available with the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship, touch centric operating system. I’ll have a breakdown of what’s new and improved for Soft32 in the coming weeks. However, if you do decide to install this on your Windows 8 PC, there are a couple of things you need to be aware of.
The software is available via the Windows Store.
Microsoft users are used to going to Windows Update for these types of things – Service Packs, upgrades and updates – that isn’t the case here. You’re going to get it from the Windows Store, as you have with all of your ModernUI apps.
Upgrade Now, Rebuild Later
One of the most impactful issues with the Public Preview is the fact that Microsoft is going to make you effectively blow your PC and install Windows 8.1 Golden Master from scratch. While you will be able to install the Preview without having to reinstall of your existing software and apps, you won’t be able to upgrade over the Preview to the Released version of the software.
This is largely due to the way both ModernUI and 3rd party software is installed and maintained on your PC, as well as Microsoft wanting to start with as clean a Registry as possible. While it sucks from an activation and registration perspective, your PC will be lemony fresh.
HOWEVER, if you DON’T install the Preview and you wait to install Windows 8.1, you WILL be able to upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1…so go figure.
Don’t Download over Mobile Broadband
Just an FYI, if you rely on your smartphone or other mobile broadband device to be your main internet connection, you don’t want to download and install Windows 8.1 via mobile broadband. Go to your local Starbucks, McDonalds or other trusted public Wi-Fi location of choice. Windows 8.1 is going to be heavy, and you’re going to have a better install experience and lighter cell bill if you do this via wired or wireless LAN.
Again, please watch Soft32 for a breakdown of the new OS in the coming weeks. I have some installing and updating to do on at least 2 PC’s…