adeelarshad82 writes "Microsoft launched the preview version of Windows 8.1 at the company's Build conference in San Francisco and early signs show that Microsoft heard the criticisms, and has responded with improvements. The new OS includes a number of changes starting with the return of the Start button and the ability to boot directly to the desktop. However, Microsoft hasn't given up on making the new-style tile and full-screen more usable for all users. If anything, the tile-based Start screen has gotten more flexible, with new smaller and larger tile options. Windows 8.1 also drastically improves built-in search, SkyDrive cloud syncing, mail and Microsoft Music." Microsoft also released a preview of Visual Studio 2013 and .NET 4.5.1, and there's a program that will give developers early access to the PC version of the Kinect sensor. Other tidbits: Windows 8.1 will use a standard driver model for 3-D printers, and it's getting better support for both high-res displays and using multiple displays with different resolutions.