updated 12:10 pm EDT, Wed October 2, 2013
Downloads, DVDs of Windows upgrade shipping on October 17th
Microsoft has started accepting pre-orders for its next operating system, Windows 8.1. The DVD and downloadable versions of the install disc, costing $120 for Windows 8.1 and $200 for Windows 8.1 Pro, will serve for both full installs and upgrades from earlier versions, with the discs themselves set to ship on the October 17th release date.
While the same disc will cover both installation types, only devices running Windows 7 will be able to upgrade directly and keep most of their documents and other files intact. A warning stating that Windows 8.1 is "not designed for installation on devices running Windows XP or Windows Vista" advises that users will be forced to perform a full installation rather than an upgrade. Windows 8 owners will receive a free upgrade.
Windows 8.1 will make a number of changes to the foundation Windows 8 has laid, by making changes to how the Metro-style Start Screen operates, now lock screen options, extra ways to snap applications to parts of the desktop, more Search options, and the return of the Start button.