The Windows 8.1 trial has been available to users for a few months now. Microsoft used that trial to tweak the operating system and respond to user complaints (we hope). Now, the first upgrade to Microsoft’s latest OS is ready to be installed on computers.
Windows 8.1 just entered the ‘RTM’ (Released to Manufacturers) stage of development, which means that Microsoft’s manufacturing partners can begin installing the new version of the operating system onto their laptops, tablets, and desktop computers.
Unfortunately, you, the simple computer user, will not be able to do such a thing until October 17, which is the scheduled release date for Windows 8.1. Why is Microsoft taking so long to go from the RTM stage to the real release date? We don’t really know, but it may have something to do with waiting until the news of Steve Ballmer’s retirement dies down.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from downloading the Windows 8.1 preview today to get a taste of the (numerous) improvements to Windows 8 provided in this patch. You can download the official Windows 8.1 preview here. It’s not the final copy of Windows 8.1 that you’ll see on October 17, but it does contain most of the additions and improvements.