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Windows 8 Windows 8.1 Preview now available.


Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Aug 28, 2007
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Installation took about 2 hours from desktop to desktop on my Surface RT. Great improvements overall, especially in multitasking. The Xbox Music interface received a much needed facelift and performance improvements.
I guess I will just have to wait since I don't have a subscription. Oh well, I waited this long another day is not going to make a difference.
Hey Sonny:
How's it going.
Just got 8.1 up and running is this Hyper-V virtual machine and it seems to be OK, but nothing to get too excited about. A few nice cosmetic changes, some new applications, a new control panel app called "Work Folders" which looks kinda cool and of course boot to desktop and a defaulting to PowerShell rather than command prompt, both of which can be controlled by the new "Navigation" tab of the Taskbar properties page.

EDIT: Interesting how this site is reporting my OS and Browser with the two icons at the top right of the posts. Windows NT 6.3 (for Windows 8.1 Preview) and Mozilla OS-Browser Compatible (for IE 11).
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I am looking forward to trying it out. Love windows 8 and curious to see and check out the changes. Things are going good here. Hope the same with you.

Just noticed the two icons. It is interesting.

I guess I will just have to wait since I don't have a subscription. Oh well, I waited this long another day is not going to make a difference.

Sonny you can access 8.1 via the Store. If you check my post above the bottom link is just for that purpose..
I tried that one earlier Kemical and for the ISO, it won't be up till tomorrow. Didn't really want the update but tried it also, It failed to load. That is ok. I am going to put it on a different hdd.
Took about 35 Minutes for the complete install, to the Metro screen. I chose a dual boot on my test machine, a very average Dell i3. It set up a dual boot automatically, with the other Windows 8 OS. Not sure how the keys work for other methods of install, but I used a TechNet ISO, with the supplied key.As Trouble says. So far it has no mind blowing differences, but these are early days to check it out. I had an early hiccup, as, whilst entering the web, it suddenly decided to put in a new graphics driver, which I had not encountered in Windows 8. I had to get back into the display options to sort out the resolution, etc. That was a standard Intel Graphics HD Laptop chip. Intel were certainly on the ball with that one!
Task bar properties, for those who cannot find the boot to desktop function:

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For the Windows 8 "All Apps" you must, as in the builds, select the small down arrow , l/h side, on the metro screen. But, as you can see from the picture, there is a function to have this as the default selection.

Classic Shell: ModernMix:, both work OK. I ran Ccleaner403, on the untouched install. Took a chance and ran the registry cleaner as well. Both came back without a hitch.
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I have mine running in a VM using Hyper-V....so far it's not bad.
I did the store upgrade on my Surface RT and ended up having to do a factory reset. For as much as I can tell it worked like a Windows Upgrade: not very good at all. Had compatibility issues with several metro apps and my Xbox Music library wouldn't download (nor could I uninstall the app), so about 11 hours later and everything is working. Too bad Skype metro crashes when opening group chats. Strangely enough the messaging app is now gone too. Which would be OK if the Skype app supported Facebook chat and didn't crash.

Overall welcome improvements.
I've spent most of the day going through 8.1 with a fine tooth-comb. I've opted for a full install and have to say i'm pretty impressed so far, not that i had much to moan about win 8 anyway.
The new customisation options for the start screen are much better. You can see the different tile sizes and a more varied colour scheme in this screenshot:

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I also like being able to boot straight to desktop as it makes me feel like I'm using a pc again and not a damned phone.. :hopelessness:
Gone is 'Computer' or 'My computer' and is replaced with 'This PC' with library folders and HDD's both on display:

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There's little tweaks all over the place really and well worth a look imo..
It will remain controversial with the dedicated dislikers, I'm afraid. MS haven't dealt with the most singular (and unnecessary) complaint - the reintroduction of the old start menu on the legacy desktop.

I am at home, and at ease, with windows 8. 8.1 has brought in some new items which, on first examination, I think I have dealt with in other ways. I am a supporter, but I am suspecting that Microsoft, having realised the unpopularity of Windows 8, at an early stage, have subtly leaked out enough information and hints on the forthcoming Windows 8.1 update, to create a final placebo effect on users.
Looking at favourable comments on forums, from early users, it is obvious that, in many instances, those users did not really give Windows 8 a fair trial. They now seem to be content with the "improvements" in 8.1, which, in reality, do nothing for the performance of the OS.
The modifications in the Metro screen really only amount to moving the various functions around a little, that is, apart from the ability to now resize the icons a little more. The smallest size is, in fact, of little use to me as the text title then disappears and, at my age, I find it close to impossible to remember the actual function of all those pretty pictures - lol!

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Not sure why they bothered to change "My Computer" to "This PC". But I have had to change it back again on my test Laptop to "Laptop" to distinguish it from my PC !!
It can be obtained here, anytime... Windows 8.1 Preview - Microsoft Windows

I now have Windows 8.1 running as a VM. A few of the changes people may find appealing.

I am now running Windows 8.1 as a VM. No, nobody got the old (Windows 7) start menu (back). But, there are a few things people did want that they probably will like, well maybe they will... some are hard to please.

1. Can be told to boot to Desktop.
2. Can toggle between Start & All Applications screens
3. Can make the Applications display by Name.
4. Can have applications show (1st) instead of Start.
5. Shutdown & Restart can be found on the Power Users menu
6. Some of the navigation may be felt to be generally more appealing.
7. Having consistent background across all screens is nice.
8. A start button on the Taskbar.
9. Not a slew of Tiles on Start; things, instead, can, still, be told to be there.
10. 4 digit PIN to sign-in.
11. Open APPs on the Switcher Bar are labeled


PS: Written in Windows 8.1
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Try right clicking the navigation panel in the file explorer. Some interesting new options which certainly suit my operation.

Boot to the desktop saves a click - big deal. But what do users do when they get there? They will still have to setup, manually, some kind of menu.
And the start button? As much use as an eiderdown in the Sahara. The windows key worked, and works, fine for me.
If you are doing a clean install of Windows 8.1 Preview, and do not have a product key, you can use this product key:


(This is the valid, evaluation only product key!)
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Rt Clk on Taskbar > Properties > Navigation. It can be set so the Start button gives the ALL Applications (which can be shown by Name... this IS the same as ALL Programs in the old Win7 start menu. Saves putting a window of the same on the Taskbar as I was telling people about w/ Windows 8.

As you know, I use the modern screen, customised, as my start menu. This is no extra effort, as I have always customised my start menu on earlier OSs.

As you may see (My post #8) I am aware of the function to which you refer. I am not about to split hairs over the point that this may be considered an improvement, but is still unsuitable for my method of operation. There is no way I find it eye pleasing to see all the folders opened, including help files, home pages for third party programs..etc.

I had to use another computer to show this one, the windows 7 start menu - all programs:

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This, in no way, compares to the 8.1 all programs menu:

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Best Practice Reminder for Betas!!

It seems, from some of what I read, this needs be mentioned, again...

Right now we have Windows 8.1 Preview available. IT IS A BETA!

Once it goes RTM, it will be pushed out to Users who, already, have Windows 8 via Windows Updates later this summer. Until then...

DO NOT upgrade (or overwrite) your Windows 8 w/ the 8.1 Preview. DO NOT replace your Windows 8 w/ Windows 8.1 Preview.

Only install Windows 8.1 Preview on a spare box, as a dual-boot or as a virtual machine in Hyper-V on your Windows 8 host machine.