Those who would like to try the preview versions of Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 RT can now download these from Microsoft.
These will give those who are interested an early look at the new features that will be part of this operating system, such as the return of the Start Button and the ability to boot straight to the Desktop.
They can be downloaded from the Windows 8.1 Preview page on Microsoft’s website. There is no charge, just as there will be no charge for the full vesion when it is released later this year.
Things to Know Before Installing the Previews
Microsoft recommends that only Windows experts install the previews.
The RT version can’t be uninstalled, but Windows 8.1 Preview can be.
Those who install the preview will have to reinstall all their third-party software when the full versions of Windows 8.1 and 8.1 RT are released, even if the device has been rolled back to Windows 8. This step won’t be required for those who skip the preview and install Windows 8.1 later this year.
Some tablet users can’t install the preview yet. Devices that have newer 32-bit Atom processors will require updates to their graphics drivers first. This includes the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2, Asus VivoTab TF810C, HP Envy X2, HP ElitePad 900, Samsung ATIV Smart PC, and the Fujitsu ARROWS Tab. Microsoft promises it is working with device makers to get these drivers released as soon as possible.
More information is available in the Windows 8.1 Preview FAQ.