Microsoft will release a preview of the upcoming Windows 8.1 operating system upgrade on June 26. It is a public beta version of sorts that interested Windows 8 users can install on their system to explore what the new version has to offer.
Update 2: Mainstream supported for Windows 8.1 ended on January 10, 2018. The operating system is now in the extended support phase until 2023.
It makes sense to look at what the Windows 8.1 Preview will bring to the table, and its requirements and changes, before you make a decision whether you should upgrade your system to the preview build right away.
For many users, it may be better to wait until the final version of Windows 8.1 gets released. While there is no definite date set for that yet, it is likely that Microsoft will make it available just a couple of months after the release of the preview version.
The system requirements have not changed at all.
Windows RT users need to have at least 10 Gigabyte of free storage on their device for the upgrade.
There is one main change though that users need to know about. You need to use a Microsoft account to sign in to PCs that run the preview build of Windows 8.1 There is no option to create a local account in the release, but Microsoft promises that it will be made available when the final version of Windows 8.1 gets released later this year.
The Windows 8.1 preview will be made available in 13 languages: Arabic, English (US), Chinese Simplified and Traditional, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.
Download and Installation
Windows 8.1 Preview will be made available via Windows Store as a direct download and as a Preview ISO image. If you want to download it from Windows Store, you need to install an update first on the system that you get from the Windows 8.1 Preview download page. Next time you start the system after installing the update you receive a notification that you can get Windows 8.1 Preview for free from the store.
An Internet connection is needed to download the app from Store, but once it has been downloaded no Internet connection is required until the update has been successfully installed and the system rebooted.
You can alternatively download the Windows 8.1 Preview ISO from the download page and use it to install the operating system. You will need a product key that Microsoft makes available on the download page. It is likely that this is a generic key that all users who install the preview build share.
Windows 8 Enterprise users and Windows 8 users who do not run one of the supported languages need to use the preview ISO to install Windows 8.1
If you are installing Windows 8.1 Preview in a different language than the one that you have installed on your system, you will not be able to keep your apps or settings, only your files.
Installed language packs will be removed when you install the Windows 8.1 Preview.
What's new in Windows 8.1
You will lose access to apps and programs that you have installed on Windows 8.1 Preview systems when you upgrade to the final RTM version of the operating system.
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