The Windows 8.1 Preview patch is now available for download. It was released at Microsoft’s BUILD conference, and has been made available from Microsoft’s website. It’s a monster of a file, though, weighing in at a massive 2.44GB, something to consider if you’re using wireless bandwidth.

The patch will make various changes to Windows 8, the biggest of which are the return of the Start button and the ability to boot directly to the desktop. The Start button doesn’t bring back the Start Menu, however – it just provides a visual shortcut to the Start Screen. It also brings native support for 3D printing to Windows 8, as well as more options to personalise the operating system to individual tastes, something we’ll cover in greater detail at a later date.

Here is the process for getting and installing the patch:

  1. Click on this link to go to Microsoft’s website.
  2. Click/press on the “Get the update” button to download and install it. It’s quite small at just 15MB, but it’s necessary to create the option to download the actual 8.1 preview patch files from the Windows Store.
  3. Reboot your PC, and follow the instructions that pop up to download and install the 8.1 preview from the Store.

Just be sure to back up your files first, in case something unexpected happens during the install process. Also be aware that you will have to reinstall Windows 8 from scratch when the final patch comes out toward the end of the year, as it won’t be possible to update from the 8.1 preview to the final version.

If you’ve taken the plunge, and are currently using Windows 8.1, we’d love to know what you think of the experience so far in the comments below.

 

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.