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Microsoft releases Windows 8 upgrade to appease users

Microsoft has started releasing its long-awaited upgrade for its latest Windows operating system. The company said its Windows 8.1 version would address some of the issues that users had found confusing.

US software and digital devices company Microsoft on Thursday started releasing its Windows 8.1 upgrade as a free download for those already in possession of its latest operating system. Users in New Zealand had been the first to be able to install the update, with the rest of the world to follow on October 18.

A year ago, Windows 8 set out to bridge the divide between tablets and desktop PCs, featuring a touch-enabled tile interface resembling what's found on tablet computers.

But sales had been sluggish in a generally weak computer market and a number of features users found hard to adapt to.

More comfort, more buyers?

"The launch of the new Windows 8.1 version coincides with a market showing slight growth again," Microsoft Germany chief Christian Illek told DPA news agency, adding he hoped sales would pick up in the months to come.

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Computers with Windows 8.1 already installed will go on sale on Friday, with buyers being able again to enjoy the Start Button back in desktop mode as many had missed that feature in the Windows 8 version.

Clients can also boot their machines in desktop mode, bypassing the tiles surface at least for a short time. That will remove some of the headache for companies that want to use Microsoft's newest operating system, but don't feel inclined to buy a touchscreen monitor for every employee.

Windows 8.1 also offers improvements for those keen on the new apps mode. They can run up to four apps at once side by side, provided they own a large, high-resolution monitor to do so.

hg/kms (AP, dpa)

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