Mohammed Ali from Qatar writes: Dear Steve i am going to purchase a new laptop but I want windows 8.1. Can you tell me the difference between Windows 8 and 8.1. And when 8.1 going to release? Thanks a lot.
Right now the official release date for Windows 8.1 is “later this year,” most likely in the fall. But Microsoft is more than pleased to show off the changes. Many of them are aesthetic. The operating systems are not vastly different.
One big change is that it’s more desktop friendly. It will be easier to bypass the Modern tablet-style interface if you choose and get directly to the desktop. The much-missed Start button makes a return as well. So if you don’t want to bother looking at Live Tiles, you won’t have to.
But if you enjoy using the Modern interface, you’ll find that it’s more customizable with new tile sizes and the ability to sync the customization you make to your start screen across multiple Windows 8.1 devices.
Another key feature, Windows 8.1 will natively support 3D printing.
The Search charm will now provide Bing results as well as content on your computer. Microsoft seems to think this is a very exciting new feature. But basically it means you’ll be using Bing whether it’s your preferred search engine or not. To their credit, Bing does have an extremely attractive interface in Windows 8.
The Photo app will now have new editing features, as opposed to just being able to crop. And you will also be able to edit your photos when you open them from Mail, SkyDrive and Camera app. The Muisc app has been redesigned as well.
The ability to snap apps and display two at at time was one of the more popular features of Windows 8. Now that feature has been improved to allow you to re-size the apps to any size you choose and to keep a consistent size on those apps.
Microsoft is also promising improved, seamless integration with the SkyDrive and easier access to your PC Settings, plus the addition of a touch-friendly Internet Explorer 11.
The upgrade to Windows 8.1 will be free to Windows 8.0 users, so you don’t have to put off purchasing your device until the upgrade is released.
If you’d like to check it out, there’s a download of a free public preview available here.  The preview is designed for experienced PC users and if that doesn’t describe you, you might just want to browse around the page and check out the FAQs.