Coinciding with Microsoft’s BUILD 2013 conference this week, the public preview of Windows 8.1 has been released over at Microsoft’s Windows website.

Windows 8.1 (née Blue) is Windows 8’s first service pack, presenting Microsoft’s first chance to iterate on Windows 8 after the OS’s rocky launch. This goes for both the traditional desktop/mobile PC environment, and the tablet environment where yearly OS updates have come to be expected.

Consequently a number of the changes in Windows 8.1 are to the Metro/Modern layer, such as changes to tile management and window snapping, however there are some low level changes that techies will also be interested in. Among other things, Windows 8.1 will ship with support for Intel’s Connected Standby technology for Haswell, and a revised DPI scaling mechanism that is better suited for driving the high DPI displays that are coming down the pipeline for both Ultrabooks and desktops. We’ll have some updates on these features once we get a chance to tinker with Win8.1 in depth.

Windows 8.1 is being made available as both an update and an ISO. The update itself is being distributed through the Windows Store app – after downloading and installing the requisite platform patch from Microsoft’s website – and weighs in at a hefty 2.44GB for the Windows 8.1 Pro Preview. The ISO files have not been posted yet, but are expected to be available tomorrow.

Update

To go along with the release of the new OS, AMD has released a new Catalyst preview driver set. The new drivers bring support for WDDM 1.3 and its associated features to Trinity and GCN hardware, though the driver also covers last-generation VLIW5 hardware.

Update 2

Like AMD, NVIDIA has also released new drivers, version 326.01. However unlike AMD these drivers are only being distributed through Windows Update to machines running Windows 8.1.

Source: Microsoft

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  • ExodusC - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - link

    So will we be able to upgrade from the preview to the release version? Reply
  • PEPCK - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - link

    No, a fresh install will be required upon release. Reply
  • andrewaggb - Thursday, June 27, 2013 - link

    Do you have an official source for that? I've been trying to find a conclusive answer for x86 machines and haven't seen anything. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - link

    So far I've only seen it confirmed for RT.

    "If you're currently using Windows RT, you won't be able to uninstall Windows RT 8.1 Preview. You'll be able to upgrade to the final edition of Windows RT 8.1 when it becomes available."
    Reply
  • mikeztm - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    The answer is yes and no. Actually, u CAN upgrade from preview to the release version but u will lost all ur apps (both store apps and desktop apps). It only keep ur documents and other files. Reply
  • dilmonen - Friday, June 28, 2013 - link

    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/previ...

    When you install subsequent editions of Windows 8.1 you'll be able to keep your personal files, but you'll need to reinstall your apps.
    Reply
  • OoklaTheMok - Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - link

    If you have your Windows 8 settings sync'd to skydrive (Installed Apps and App data), you should see that your store apps are automatically installed and configured as previously. So there shouldn't be any need to manually re-install all your store apps. Reply
  • Willardjuice - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - link

    Ryan do you have details about d3d 11.2/wddm 1.3? Reply
  • codedivine - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - link

    Some docs here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/ap... Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - link

    I didn't even know there was going to be a DX11.2. Does it require new GPUs for full support or is it software only and works with existing DX11.1 hardware? Reply

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