If you’re wary of that newfangled thing called the Internet and demand your Windows updates in a box made of dead trees, you’re in luck. Microsoft just started taking preorders for the cardboard-boxed version of Windows 8.1, now in lovely purple.
A boxed version of a free upgrade? Sort of. You’re not really paying to upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, you’re paying for a fresh Windows license with a disc that will install the latest version. At $120, Microsoft has priced the boxed version of Windows 8.1 the same as the boxed version of Windows 8, so the purchase is a no-brainer for anyone buying Windows moving forward. They’ll be able to install Windows 8.1 out of the box, rather than wasting time installing Windows 8, then waiting for it to upgrade to Windows 8.1 via the Web.
As for the rest of us with paid-for versions of Windows 8 already installed, Microsoft will begin pushing the automatic upgrade out on October 17.
For many disgruntled Windows 8 users, it’s a day to look forward to. Although Windows 8.1 doesn’t fix everything old users hated about the new operating system, it does restore the Start button (but not the Start menu), add further options for customization, and improve the universal search. Check out our final verdict on Windows 8.1 for more details on what’s in store.