Other changes in Windows 8.1 include an improved search capability powered by the company's Bing engine that will return results from a variety of sources, including the Web, applications, local files and the SkyDrive cloud storage service.
Windows 8.1 also brings more options for seeing multiple applications on the screen simultaneously, including the ability to resize apps, for improved multitasking. The OS update also lets users save files directly to SkyDrive. A new version of Microsoft's browser, IE 11, will ship with Windows 8.1, featuring faster page loading and better performance in touch screen mode.
Overall, Windows 8.1 "is closer to what they should have put out as Windows 8.0 and probably closer to what they would have put out if they had had more time," Silver said.
The Windows 8.1 preview will be released at Microsoft's Build developer conference, which runs from June 26-28. When it ships in final form later this year, Windows 8.1 will be a free update for users of Windows 8 and of Windows RT, the OS version for devices that use ARM chips.
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