Windows 8.1 rolling out in October

First major update to Microsoft's latest operating system will be released worldwide beginning October 18.

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Windows 8.1, the first major update to Microsoft's latest operating system, will be released in October, Microsoft has announced.

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The rollout will begin at 12:00 a.m. on October 18 in New Zealand, spreading to other markets as a free download thereafter.

Windows 8.1 "continues the vision" of Windows 8 and includes updates in areas like personalization, Internet Explorer 11, Bing-powered search, built-in apps, and cloud connectivity through Skydrive.

In addition, Microsoft's video calling service Skype will be included with Windows 8.1, replacing the Windows 8 Messaging application. Windows 8.1 will also feature a Start button, but not a Start menu. A Boot to Desktop option is also included, for those who wish to skip the Start screen altogether.

Windows 8 launched in October 2012 and has sold more than 100 million licenses to date. CNET found that the operating system "embraces the future wholeheartedly," but said the learning curve was "steep" and in-app navigation can be difficult.

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