Microsoft has opened pre-orders for its latest operating system Windows 8.1 on its website, ahead of its launch on October 18. The update coming later in October that’s designed to make it easier for people to absorb the radical new interface that arrived with Windows 8.
The new release, which will be offered as a free upgrade to Windows 8 users through the app store, will officially go on sale on October 17 at 4 AM Pacific Time. But for any OS version earlier than that you will need to purchase Windows 8.1. Users can pay $120 to order the Windows 8.1 upgrade DVD or a digital download. Windows 8.1 is retailing for $119.99, while Windows 8.1 Pro is going for $199.99.
“Windows 8.1 is not designed for installation on devices running Windows XP or Windows Vista,” Microsoft cautions on the Windows 8.1 pre-order page, but those customers can buy Windows 8 now and then get a free upgrade to 8.1.
Windows 8 alienated many customers with an operating system that booted into a start page covered with high-contrast app rectangles rather than the familiar desktop with its start button. In late August, Microsoft officially wrapped up the development of Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, and announced that it had started to release both versions to hardware manufacturers.
Upgrades could involve a lot of work. Windows 7 users and Windows 8.1 preview version users will have to reinstall their software with the final version of Windows 8.1.