Consumers waiting for Microsoft’s revamped version of its latest Windows operating system will be able to get the software beginning October 18.
The revamped version that will include features missed by users such as the “Start” button, will be offered as a free download to those already using Windows 8. The version comes in response to a lukewarm reception to the operating system introduced last year aimed at serving both mobile devices and PCs.
A full retail version of Windows 8.1 will also be available on the same date.
“I know a lot of folks are eager to find out when they will be able to get Windows 8.1,” said a blog posting from Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc.
LeBlanc said it would roll out worldwide starting in New Zealand just after midnight.
The release date for Windows 8.1 is nearly a year after the debut of Windows 8, a dramatic overhaul of the operating system that has been powering most personal computers for decades.
Microsoft unveiled its plans for Windows 8.1 three months ago, but hadn’t set a release date until today. At test version of Windows 8.1 that may still include some bugs has been available since late June.
“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,” LeBlack said.
Microsoft said it had sold more than 100 million licenses for Windows 8 but that the update was planned after listening to customers.
Some analysts say Microsoft was forced to act because of slow adoption of Windows 8, which made some radical changes to the design of the desktop.
With Windows 8, Microsoft was trying to create a system that could be used on mobile touch screen devices while also serving the users of traditional PCs.
Windows 8.1 will be available as a free update to owners of Windows 8 machines.