Microsoft releases Windows 8.1

A little over one year after the company originally released Windows 8, Microsoft has finally updated its operating system to Windows 8.1 for existing and new users today. In addition to a number of bug fixes and internal improvements, Windows 8.1 promises a more coherent and functional experience for users on both touchscreen and traditional mouse-and-keyboard devices.

For example, the operating system now allows you to boot straight to your desktop – a feature designed to fix the qualms that mouse-based users had about having to navigate around a rather cluttered Modern-style Start menu to start using their computers. Another feature (designed for touch-based devices) will now allow you to run up to four Modern-style apps side-by-side, depending on your screen size. This is up from the previous two that severely limited Windows 8’s multitasking abilities.

The download comes in at 3.63GB, and is free for existing Windows 8 users. If you haven’t purchased the upgrade yet you can buy Windows 8.1 from Microsoft online or from any number of retail stores. Either way, it’ll cost you $119 to upgrade from Windows XP, Vista, or 7.

Have you upgraded to Windows 8 or 8.1 yet? If so, how are you feeling now that Microsoft has made the operating system much more functional? Sound off in the comments!

[Get Windows 8.1]