Microsoft has made the first major update to its latest OS, Windows 8.1, available for pre-order in the United States ahead of its official Oct. 18 launch in stores.
The new version brings back the Start button. New desktop customization options are also available, and several new apps — such as Calculator and Sound Recorder — were added. Older ones, such as SkyDrive and IE11, received an update.
Windows 8 customers will receive the upgrade for free, while those with earlier versions will have to purchase it. Those running Windows 7 can install Windows 8.1 directly; users running Windows Vista, XP or earlier must install Windows 8 first, and then they will be able to upgrade to 8.1 for free.