Microsoft rolls out Windows 8.1 with traditional desktop mode

DPA San Francisco | Updated on March 12, 2018


Responding to widespread gripes over Windows 8, Microsoft rolled out Windows 8.1 to customers on Thursday.

The update, which is free to users around the world who already have Windows 8 on their PCs, will allow traditionalists to boot their computers in the familiar old desktop mode rather than the tiled start page introduced with Windows 8.

Besides offering the traditional desktop mode and start button, Windows 8.1 also boasts tighter integration with Microsoft’s Cloud services, a beefed-up Bing search app, and more potent multitasking.

The software giant introduced Windows 8 a year ago in a crucial launch that aimed to help the company compete with the rising sale of tablets and smartphones that undercut sales of the personal computers on which Microsoft’s fortune is based.

The new operating system was meant to be optimised for both touch and conventional interfaces, but has been blasted by critics for failing to match the simplicity of other tablets, while confusing traditional PC users.

The lacklustre sales of PCs, Windows Phones and Microsoft’s Surface tablet computers prompted the departure of chief executive Steve Ballmer.

Sales of PCs have fallen for six quarters in a row under pressure from tablets, and hit a five year low in early October, according to research firm Gartner. Microsoft was also forced to write off $900 million in July following poor sales of Surface touchscreen devices.

Published on October 18, 2013

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