windows 8.1, windows rt, video, guide, microsoft

As the hype ramps up for Windows 8.1, Microsoft is preparing the road for new buyers and upgraders ahead of some good, and some controversial, changes. 

Feeling Blue?

Regardless of how secure Microsoft feels as a company, it is under massive pressure to sell Windows 8 (and new PCs) to users from its massive partner ecosystem. After the less than stellar reception for Windows 8, Windows 8.1 (formerly Windows Blue) is the first major update, which is often the time at which users and businesses choose to upgrade from their previous version of Windows.

To get users interested, Microsoft is showing off a series of videos exploring the updated and features of the OS. From a brighter, more relevant lock screen and new user interactions to curated search, there's plenty to see. Search is one of the big features shown off in this video, bringing a far richer range of results for topics than the bland results lists of old. 

The OS will be available on June 26 as a preview release, allowing all users to test it out. With these releases getting ever more solid, its probably worth installing a day or two after that date (to make sure there are no show stopping bugs) rather than waiting for the formal release of the free update.

Learning Opportunities

Join in the Tour

The new video also takes a peek at the improved SkyDrive service, expect plenty more clips and guides in the weeks to come as Microsoft tries to generate more interest for its latest effort. Will these features make you more likely to upgrade from your existing Windows version? We wonder if the video covering the new not-quite-Start-button will be the last one released?

For those still clinging onto the Windows RT machines as the future, you'll be pleased to hear that a new version of Outlook 2013 is coming to the de-classic-ified-OS, with the email and comms tool joining the Windows RT version of the Office apps.