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This article was published on October 17, 2013

You can now download the release version of Windows 8.1, boxed option available in stores from tomorrow

You can now download the release version of Windows 8.1, boxed option available in stores from tomorrow Image by: David Becker
Ben Woods
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Ben Woods

Europe Editor

Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.

Microsoft’s update to Windows 8.1 is now widely available to download, free for Windows 8 users, from the Windows Store.

The new software brings updates to core apps like Mail, Calendar and XBox Music but also sees the introduction of completely new ones like Health + Fitness.

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Another major change for the operating system is a revamp of the Start screen, which now provides more options for customization and layout. The upgrade also finally brings side-by-side multitasking of Windows 8 apps, which was another criticism of the original Windows 8 release. You can also now boot directly to the desktop, bypassing the Start screen altogether.

While the update is free for users upgrading from Windows 8, people coming from Windows 7 will need to simply buy the Windows 8 upgrade ($119, or $199 for Windows 8 Pro) and then make the upgrade for free.

Microsoft said that in-store customers will be able to buy a boxed version of the software from tomorrow, and that PCs sold from October 18 would come with 8.1 pre-installed. If for some reason you buy a new computer and it still hasn’t been updated to the newer version of the OS, you will of course be able to download it for yourself for free.

With a number of changes to the OS, you’ll probably want to check out our guide to some of the newest and best features you’ll find under the hood.

Featured Image Credit – Getty Images