Windows 8.1, formerly known as Windows Blue, will be a free update

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Microsoft announced on its blog (opens in new tab) today that Windows 8.1, previously called "Windows Blue," will release as a free update on the Windows Store, with a public preview coming June 26. According to the post, the update will help "deliver the experiences customers—both consumers and businesses alike—need and will just expect moving forward."

That's vague, of course—not even I know what I need . I mean, if I were updating Windows 8, where would I start ? Would I start on the desktop ? Hm, start on the desktop...I feel like I'm on to something, but I just can't put my finger on it . Can't put my finger on it. Huh, there's something there, I swear it.

We do have some idea of what to expect, thanks to leaked versions of Windows Blue and the surrounding rumors (opens in new tab) . The news is somewhat promising, but if you aren't already a fan of Windows 8's tablet-oriented UI design, we don't expect any dramatic shift away from it. That's what Classic Shell (opens in new tab) is for.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.