Windows 8.1 roll-out starts 17 October

The worldwide update will be free for Windows 8 users via the Windows store.

Windows 8.1 has finally been given a launch date.

The Start screen on the preview build of Windows 8.1. (Credit: Microsoft)

According to the Windows Blog, "starting 12.00am on October 18 in New Zealand (that's 4.00am October 17 in Redmond), Windows 8.1 will begin rolling out worldwide as a free update for consumers on Windows 8 through the Windows Store".

In terms of AEDST, that time translates at 10pm on 17 October. Don't worry — we're not sure why New Zealand has become the epicentre of the roll-out, either.

Windows 8.1 will be also available in retail and on new devices at the same time.

The update includes the return of the Start Button (but not the Start menu), a Boot to Desktop option and better customisation for the tiles on the Start screen.

The preview version of 8.1 has been available since June, and it looks like that version will be fairly consistent with the final release.

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