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Windows Microsoft Operating Systems

Windows Blue Is Officially Windows 8.1, Free For Existing Users 491

Posted by Soulskill
from the getting-rid-of-the-blues dept.
Several readers sent word that Microsoft has officially dubbed the upcoming revision to its flagship operating system "Windows 8.1," retiring the code-name "Windows Blue." They also said the update would be freely available to anybody with Windows 8. It will be available through the Windows Store. "Reller declined to provide an exact release date for Windows 8.1, but said that Microsoft is 'very sensitive to the timing of the holidays.' Ideally, Microsoft will be able to provide devices with Windows 8.1 pre-loaded in time for the holiday 2013 season, Reller said, but those who purchase a Windows 8 device later this year will be able to easily upgrade to 8.1."
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Windows Blue Is Officially Windows 8.1, Free For Existing Users

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  • Service pack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @12:41PM (#43722209)

    So, then it is the unofficial return of the service packs.

  • Wow... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @12:42PM (#43722221) Journal

    I honestly wasn't expecting that. Toward the end of Vista's lifecycle, I think that they were offering 'buy this computer now, upgrade for free*(additional charges may apply) when 7 comes out' in order to avoid having a sales slump while people waited it out; but offering '8.1' as a free update, this soon after 8, is about as close to a concession speech as you could expect to see. (Especially in light of the rumored move to a 'release often cheaply or by subscription' model, which would have made a cheap, but nonzero, upgrade price a more natural option than it otherwise would have been)

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @12:48PM (#43722307)

      Think of it less as a new OS like going from Vista to 7 was (even though Vista, 7 and 8 are just incremental upgrades to the same OS) and more like going from XP to XP SP2. It fixes a lot of major issues and (hopefully) responds to user feedback.

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        W7 was more an incremental upgrade from Vista. More like a parallel-developed version of Vista that never got released initially. It's just too different.

        • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Marillion (33728) <ericbardes.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @01:59PM (#43723137)
          If you want to consider how the engineers inside Microsoft think of the code base, I'd suggest considering how they internally number the versions. I think it's very insightful. The windows API has a self-identification function that returns the internal version numbering.
          Windows NT 4.0 self-identified as NT4.0
          Windows 2000 self-identified as NT5.0
          Windows XP self-identified as NT5.1
          Windows Vista self-identified as NT6.0
          Windows 7 self-identified as NT6.1
          Windows 8 self-identified as NT6.2
          • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Informative)

            by AmiMoJo (196126) * <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @03:16PM (#43723987) Homepage

            There is a good technical reason for numbering the versions that way. A lot of badly written software was checking the major version number. Installers were especially prone to this. As such Microsoft only increments the major number when they deliberately want to break compatibility with such software and force sysadmins who really need to get it running to turn on compatibility mode.

            2000 had some new UI stuff and various APIs ported over from Windows 98/ME. Vista had the biggest changes in Window's entire history. On the other hand any OS with the same major version number tends to be fairly similar from an API point of view.

          • Poorly written version detection is why Windows 7 self-identifies as 6.1

            Turns out that 6.0 (and 7.0) fail the old
            if (majorVer >= 5 && minorVer >= 1)
            idiocy that places were using to check if you were running XP instead of Win2K.

    • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @01:01PM (#43722467)

      I'd still wait for Windows 8.11 for workgroups. Maybe they'll add a proper command line and support x forwarding natively.

      • I'd still wait for Windows 8.11 for workgroups. Maybe they'll add a proper command line and support x forwarding natively.

        Microsoft will add native x forwarding to windows shortly after the devil^W^W Balmer ice skates to work

      • by Teresita (982888)
        I'd still wait for Windows 8.11 for workgroups. Maybe they'll add a proper command line and support x forwarding natively.

        Windows for Warehouses.
    • I just see it as a Service Pack Upgrade to the system. It isn't like We are going from Windows 8 to Windows 9. Just Windows 8 to 8.1.

      Besides the speed of the update is well within your normal hardware upgrade cycle (every 4-6 years) It isn't like you will be expecting to get a new laptop from to run 8.1, as well the changes are not enough for most people to Pay for the upgrade.

      Overall I don't see it as Microsoft saying anything bad about windows 8, instead of we listen to your advice and made the new ver

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @12:44PM (#43722243)

    As long as it's a closed development ecosystem where you have to pay to play, and MS gets to profit from your work, all I have to say is FUCK MICROSOFT. I'm sticking with my MBP.

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @12:44PM (#43722245)

    Stop saddling me with your damn phone interface and we'll see.

    • The newest version os Stardock Start 8 completely bypasses the Modern interface (in the old version, you could still see it flash on the screen during boot), disables hot corners, charms and everything that we hate about Win8.

      It basically turns Win8 into Win7 with the new Win8 tweaks under the hood.

      Best of all, it's only $5 bucks. If this Blue update doesn't bring me what I want, I'll definitely buy a legit version of Start8.

    • Maybe I can Start loving Windows again
      Stop saddling me with your damn phone interface and we'll see.

      Yeah, the phone-thing can be a problem... If you do start loving windows again, make sure you get proper protection, or at lest prop it up with a hypervisor box so don't ruin your 'hardware' when it comes crashing down, if you know what I mean...

      Protip: The windows that you can crack open using a special tool is the best -- You can adjust for tightness.

    • by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @02:44PM (#43723653) Journal

      Stop saddling me with your damn phone interface and we'll see.

      Hear, hear. I put up with those sorts of interfaces on my phone because of what it is. The interface inherently must be limited, or else it would not be usable on a tiny screen when operated by big, clumsy fingers.

      When I'm on a computer, I have a nice, big screen, a mouse, and a keyboard. There's plenty of screen real estate to use for things like multiple windows with scroll bars and title bars, tabs, navigation controls galore, etc. There is no good reason to be stingy in terms of your user interface. If I wanted a limited UI, I would have bought a tablet in the first place.

  • Hopefully they add more functionality to apps, make the store useable on PCs, etc, etc. And of course there is that Start menu thingy...
  • Definitely a good move. Charging the users to get back their start button wouldn't have eased any of the tension over Windows 8.
    • It's not even sure yet if 8.1 will include the start menu and boot to desktop. By the way, I (and many, many others) installed a little thingy to bring back those features. Wouldn't it be a laugh if MS, instead of giving in to the complaints, broke the desktop/start menu applets to force people to Metro?
  • I wonder if this has any chance of actually saving Windows 8.

    I find it amusing they were so out of touch with actual users they decided to go ahead with this in the first place.

    I've never even seen Win 8, but I certainly have seen the stories and people saying how much they dislike it ... not even sure if what they're restoring even puts a dent in the dislike for the product.

    This is the kind of about-face which usually indicates the company made a stupid choice and are now trying desperately to pretend like

    • There's nothing to save. People will go with Win 8 because there is no alternative other than Mac. And that's not what a casual person is willing to spend. And MS knows IG.
    • Most of those stories you've heard are also from people that have never seen it. I upgraded from 7 to 8 for about 4 months. Metro is annoying, but very easy to suppress with any of a dozen third party Start menu replacements (most are free). I had some stability issues, but they got a lot of patches out pretty quickly. I did run into a few oddball problems, such as you can't run apps that use Silverlight if you have Client Hyper-V installed (Silverlight still works fine in browsers for Netflix) but they've

      • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @01:49PM (#43722999)
        For those of us who have used Windows find 8 annoying because of the changes that were made that hamper our ability to use it as a desktop. For complete novices they don't have to change their behaviors, but Win 8 fails here because it provides you no clue on what to do. For example, how to make changes. You have to click on one of the corners to get "Settings". How in the world is anyone supposed to know that?
    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      Windows 8 had to be released when it was so they could push their tablets and phones. It wasn't ready for the desktop, but could be made to work. Now, it appears it is ready for the desktop. Time will tell.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I've never even seen Win 8, but I certainly have seen the stories and people saying how much they dislike it ...

      It's funny, because other than these kinds of statements and initial reviews from online rags, I've only heard average to good things about Windows 8 (in comparison to XP or 7). That is, everyone I've talked to who's actually used it - y'know, the people whose opinion I value because they've actually got experience with what they're talking about - had two complaints:

      1) "I didn't like the start screen at all." Well, then I got used to it. I also pinned the stuff I normally use on the desktop to the taskb

      • by Wookact (2804191) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @02:40PM (#43723615)
        Really, I find it interesting that all of the "IT folks" that I know have all disparaged the metro interface. Even the ones that like it, will voice support for the ones who dont, after all there was no reason to remove features.

        Perhaps you don't actually have to work with any customers that know 0 about computers. I do. I have customers that could not tell you what version of windows they use. Hell when I try to use the start button to narrow it down, is it a blue circle or a green oval, they get confused. I do NOT need another interface to hold hands though. I do NOT want to waste the time teaching all of my users how to do something that they have been doing for 15 years.

        I hate windows 8 not because I have to get used to it, but because I have to help every single one of my customers get used to it. That is the major issue. This issue would not have existed if they had left the option to boot to desktop, and left the windows orb in the corner. Now get off of your high horse please. Ohh and the reason you posted anon is obvious. You know you are wrong and are trying to avoid any negative moderation.
  • Windows Store? why not windows update? and will there BE ISO for clean / fress install and or upgrades from 7

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      Because they want to catch all those people who weren't tricked into getting Microsoft accounts by the original Windows 8 installer and saw that they could in fact just choose a "local account" and not have something quite so easy for Microsoft to datamine.

      • Because they want to catch all those people who weren't tricked into getting Microsoft accounts by the original Windows 8 installer and saw that they could in fact just choose a "local account" and not have something quite so easy for Microsoft to datamine.

        that sounds like a big enterprise trun off to need a MS account to get all your updates.

    • Windows Store? why not windows update?

      It probably will be in Windows Update. However a Windows Update will probably not change your configuration settings. Whether you get the 8.0 or the 8.1 user interface will probably just be configuration. Your default configuration varying depending on what you originally installed.

      Now if you go to the Windows Store and install Windows 8.1 that will probably change your configuration settings.

      Going Update or Store will probably leave you with the same binaries on the hard drive.

  • by bobbied (2522392) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @12:52PM (#43722347)

    Running Windows 8 at home has been an exercise in asking "How did that get though testing?" questions.

    I have observed a number of bugs in the current Windows 8 that cause me to seriously doubt Microsoft's Quality control processes. My running favorite issue is how the Parental controls are exceptionally easy to bypass (just a mouse click at the right time and my son has unlimited time despite how the system is configured.. ) Come on Microsoft... Windows 8 was mostly a GUI adjustment to that metro aka touch screen interface... No real kernel changes from Windows 7.. You need to test a bit better kids.

    Windows 8 was not properly tested prior to release, I'm guessing because they rushed it to market. Hopefully 8.1 won't be as rushed and they will actually TEST some of this stuff a bit better this time.

  • The official launch name will be Windows Apology.

  • Unable to admit mistakes, there will be no start button that brings up an easily navigable menu. There will be a bitmap that brings up the desktop or something equally stupid/lame.

    In other news, Microsoft will give developers no clue as to their long term language strategy. Developers, with no interest in investing limited time, money and resources into Microsoft language technology shambles, will go elsewhere. Top managment at Microsoft will continue to be baffled as to why nobody is writing Windows 8 Apps, or Windows anything apps, anymore.

    • by DogDude (805747)
      In other news, Microsoft will give developers no clue as to their long term language strategy. Developers, with no interest in investing limited time, money and resources into Microsoft language technology shambles, will go elsewhere. Top managment at Microsoft will continue to be baffled as to why nobody is writing Windows 8 Apps, or Windows anything apps, anymore.

      Do you have some stock that you like, by any chance? I have some credit available on my margin account, and was looking to short something.
  • store only? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by anthony_greer (2623521) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @12:59PM (#43722439)

    Will there still be a stand alone MSI for those of us who have multiple PCs to update? Enterprise or not, updates of this nature need to be available to install on non connected PCs, and I would also like to be able to have it on my USB utility drive so I can upgrade customers/family who have Win 8 PCs.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <.onyxruby. .at. .comcast.net.> on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @01:04PM (#43722483)

    The single biggest question is whether or not they will address feedback from the masses on two things that they have been repeatedly told were very bad ideas?

    Restore the start menu (not just bounce you back to TIFNAM)
    Boot directly to the desktop

    If they don't address these two issues with an option to allow both the enterprise is going to continue their mass boycott of Windows 8 for years to come. Microsoft has been particularly stubborn on these points, even though they are dragging the PC industry down with them by being pig headed about things. Microsoft, can your arrogance be overcome?

  • by neoshroom (324937) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @01:07PM (#43722513)
    Personally, I'm going to wait for Windows 8.1 for Workgroups [wikipedia.org]...

    __
  • What really happened (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @01:13PM (#43722563)

    Windows 8 was a classic marketing trick. Company has a brand new product. Company has an existing, highly successful, product. Company uses latest version of existing product to 'trojan horse' the new product into customers' lives. After promotion period is over, company once again restores familiar version of original product.

    Only problem is that Microsoft has messed up this age old tactic in every way possible. The 'freebie', Metro, RT or whatever the marketing goons at MS fail to call it, was neither wanted nor valued by existing users of Windows. Unlike the free issue of a new magazine that arrives with the current issue of your current magazine subscription, Metro offered nothing useful to anyone. Metro was designed for touch tablets, but Windows 8 mostly sold for non-touch desktop and notebook systems.

    You must know this. Originally, full blown Windows 8 was set to be released for ARM computer devices, but then Microsoft accepted an extraordinary pay-off from Intel to delay this inevitable move for another year+. The high managers of Microsoft cancelled the plans for Windows on ARM, instructed the teams to cripple the ARM version of Windows to Metro only, and switched to the 'trojan horse' promotion of Metro on proper Windows 8 installs. The end result was the biggest marketing disaster in Microsoft history, and Intel's pay-off does nothing to change this.

    The irony is that ARM devices DO have full blown Windows 8 on them, which is activated by very minor hacks, but the perception of the ARM devices as Metro only, combined with obscenely high prices, meant the Metro ARM tablets didn't sell at all. No hardware base means no-one cares to develop Windows 8 code apps for ARM (which, by the way, is trivial using Microsoft's ARM tools).

    Now, ordinary Windows 8 (known as 8.1 for a short periof, before reverting back to 8) will be returned to Windows 7 desktop functionality. Metro will be (to all intents and purposes) repositioned exclusively as a 'mobile' platform. Curiously, this will happen at the same time as Microsoft prepares to release a proper version of Windows 8 for ARM- but then ARM is about to become commonplace in notebook and desktop systems as the old x86 market dies.

    Microsoft is correct in thinking that the traditional, multiple window interface of desktop computers is a poor match for mobile devices in their touch screen mode. However, touch screen devices are rapidly becoming 'hybrids', becoming notebooks when docked to a keyboard, and tablets when used without. It is natural that these two modes of use can switch between two interfaces, AT THE USERS DISCRETION.

    Microsoft's biggest problem is that they still expect to make each user pay loads of money for Windows. This is rather like the old 2D SVGA graphics companies like Hercules expecting PC users to still pay loads of money for the 2D graphics hardware. Established computer tech, hardware or software, tends to lose all value across time. Your 2D hardware once cost you hundreds of dollars, but now costs just a few cents. The OS should, likewise, be effectively free. Microsoft should be making its money from 'services' by now.

    MS knows that moving to tablets means finally accepting that an OS has minimal value. It also knows that with the growing performance of tablets, it cannot pretend the tablet OS is clearly inferior to the desktop OS. Windows has a choice. Become 'free' or become history. Google can deliver the coup de grace at any time now by authorising an official multi-window shell for Android, and give it the desktop functionality of Windows. Of course, there are already any number of unofficial shells for Android that allow people to use it in desktop mode, but app developers need a standard platform to really make a difference.

    The age of the x86 is over. The unavoidable Intel tax ensures this fact. The fate of Microsoft is less certain. Intel CANNOT afford to give away its only good product, its x86 CPU. Microsoft CAN afford to give away Windows (in theory) and even do the same for offline OFFICE. The move to ARM does not have to destroy MS. Microsoft just needs to employ some high level managers that have a clue and a backbone for once. Obviously this cannot happen while the useless clown Ballmer is in charge.

  • Microsoft told me so when explaining why they got rid of it! Why would they bring back something no one uses? I'm all confused now!
  • But users who don't exist will have to pay!

    Just think of all the revenue they will get from The Toothfairy, Santa Claus, Martians, Klingons, Kzinti , Elves, Unicorns, and Honest Politicians

  • Like, as in Windows Blue Screen Of Death? Is this a not-so-inside joke?

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