Windows 8.1 Update 2 and Windows 9: Why All Windows Users Should Be Excited
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Windows 8.1 Update 2 and Windows 9: Why All Windows Users Should Be Excited

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Windows 8 users should expect another update this year to deliver even more features designed to make the operating system easy to use for those with a keyboard and mouse, just like what Microsoft delivered with Windows 8.1 and the more recent Windows 8.1 Update.

At least that’s according to longtime Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley and information provided to the often accurate but anonymous WZor leaker. While the prospects of yet another update certainly won’t come as good news to users who dread keeping their Windows 8 devices current, there is a singular reason for users to get excited. What WZor refers to as Windows 8.1 Update 2 will add a new Start Menu back to Windows sometime later this year, according to Foley.

How to Add More Space for Live Tiles in Windows 8 (1)

If it sounds like Microsoft is setting a new personal record for operating system updates, that’s because if we do see Windows 8.1 Update 2 launch this August, it will have. Until Windows 8, Microsoft had been perfectly comfortable deploying large monolithic updates to Windows every three years or so. Starting with Windows 8, Microsoft transitioned Windows to annual updates and more recently released the Windows 8.1 Update just six months after it delivered Windows 8.1 for free to Windows 8 users.

Read: How to Get the Windows 8.1 Update

Microsoft showed off things coming to future versions of Windows at its BUILD 2014 conference last year. At the time, it showed a new version of the Start Screen that looked more like a Start Menu than the full Start Screen that dominates Windows 8. This new Start Menu still allowed users to open Windows Store apps and get real-time information from different app’s Live Tiles. It’s this Start Menu that Foley posits could make a return in Windows 8.1 Update 2. How Windows would decide whether to show the Start Screen or the Start Menu isn’t yet clear. That update making it to users could be huge for Microsoft and finally silence Windows 8 critics once and for all.

Unfortunately, it’s unclear whether the other crucial future Windows feature Microsoft showed off during BUILD 2014 will come as a part of Windows 8.1 Update 2. Around the time it showed off this new adaptive Start Screen/Start Menu, Microsoft also announced that future versions of Windows would decouple Windows Store apps from the Start Screen. Effectively, Microsoft is preparing to unleash Windows Store apps on the Desktop and finally give Desktop users one centralized place to download safe apps too. It’d be great if that feature made its way to users in Windows 8.1 Update 2, but most rumors have pegged it for possible inclusion in Windows 9, the next major release of Windows.

There’s absolutely no official information on when Windows 9 might arrive or how Microsoft would get it into users hands. Following its historical cadence, Microsoft dived right into developing Windows 9 after Windows 8 became available on new devices in 2012. That being said, that’s no guarantee that the operating system is coming soon. Clearly, the development schedule Microsoft is currently using is completely unprecedented. Foley says Microsoft is planning to finish Windows 9 in spring 2015.

Whenever it does arrive, it could be free to users. It’s Wzor’s claim that Microsoft will tweak the Windows business model and give away a base version of Windows to users absolutely free of charge. To add more features, users could need to purchase a subscription. That mirrors the new business model for Microsoft Office. Today, Microsoft does offer Windows RT to device makers at absolutely no charge. Presumably, a proper version of Windows 9 that comes complete with the ability install Desktop apps, wouldn’t be free to users.

So why is Microsoft moving so quickly to deploy updates? It’s likely that the company is making the changes in its release schedule for two reasons. First, Microsoft unified the team behind all of its operating systems last year. Dubbed the Operating Systems Group, it’s the part of the company that’s charged with creating Windows and since Windows is now used in just about every major consumer product Microsoft makes, the OSG has to keep enabling software features on different products quickly or risk getting left in the dust by iOS and Android. Logically, competing against the iPad is the most important reason these quick updates are necessary.

It’s also worth noting that Microsoft needs to move quickly to address the concerns of PC users who still aren’t satisfied with Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 RT, the operating systems that compete directly with the iPad.

The two operating systems are meant to bridge the gap between tablet and PC, however Microsoft’s initial decision to force touch-centric apps and paradigms on all users caused a huge backlash from users who weren’t fans of change and didn’t appreciate Microsoft forcing new things on them. That backlash still exists, despite Microsoft having re-added the Start button in Windows 8.1 and dozens of small mouse-centric tweaks in the Windows 8.1 Update.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Me Notu

    04/23/2014 at 6:03 am

    Personally hated Windows 8 ( yes I know it’s better faster,etc ) got a Chromebook which I would never have gotten before.. and surprisingly it’s great… does most of my computer needs…

  2. bob

    04/24/2014 at 2:36 pm

    A subscription based OS? Count me out, that’s never going to happen. I skipped Office 365 and I’ll skip this, too.

  3. Asok Smith

    04/24/2014 at 8:40 pm

    Microsoft is in trash mode big time right now: Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 (with a different version number yet, actually meaning a different operating system), then “Update 1”, and then Update 2, all in a period of a year, and using new terminology for what an update is, using multiple different methods for updating, and with some VERY important updates NOT being delivered by WSUS, and all in a period of a year. And soon there will be Windows 9. Three operating system versions and two major “updates” in two years means FIVE different platform variations in TWO years, and no real improvement in terms of corporate productively, in fact, productivity has regressed for any enterprise foolish enough to embrace Windows 8 on the PC. Oh, yeah, and I’m not even counting Windows RT and its variations.

    This unnecessary upheaval is causing both the enterprise and software developers to be going out of their minds. Thus Microsoft is busily obliterating their two big monopolistic advantages: stability and application ubiquity. Software developers are fleeing Microsoft in droves to develop for iOS and Android instead, and the enterprise will soon be fleeing the instability of Windows as much as possible, probably to a combination of Android, iOS and Linux.

    Good heavens, it’s amazing to see such a megalithic monopoly self-destruct so rapidly and so completely. Heck, it took IBM almost 10 years to sink this badly before they arose from their own ashes.

  4. Dawson

    04/28/2014 at 9:52 am

    i would love to see windows 9 become free to windows 8/8.1 users as windows 8/8.1 currently sucks big time

  5. Dawson

    04/28/2014 at 10:08 am

    I am a long time windows user and have many many times thought about switching to Linux
    the main thing stopping me is the file system/usability limitations of Linux

    like the almost impossible execution of some exe files

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Gaming

5 Xbox Series X Pre-Order Tips & Tricks

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Do you want to make sure that you get an Xbox Series X pre-order? Or the Xbox Series S? We have a collection of tips that will help you avoid pre-order problems and increase the chances that you get a new console on release day.

The Xbox Series S is $299 and the Xbox Series X is $499. Pre-orders start at 11 AM Eastern, 8 AM Pacific on September 22nd.

Read: Get the Best Gaming Chair You Can Buy

Check Account Passwords Now

When the Xbox Series X pre-orders start you need to be ready to go. This is not the time to be resetting a Best Buy or Walmart password or creating an account.

Spend 10 minutes this weekend making sure that you can log in to Microsoft, GameStop, Best Buy, Amazon, Target, and Walmart.

This can mean the difference between getting a new Xbox on day one and waiting months.

Update Payment Information

While you are logged in make sure that your credit card is up to date and that shipping and billing information is updated.

The time that you spend updating any of this, could be long enough to miss out on getting the Xbox Series X or Series S in November.

Be Ready to Checkout

Now that you can log in and your credit card is up to date, you need to be prepared to checkout as soon as the console is in your cart.

Some links to Amazon may even put the Xbox Series X directly into your cart.

Don’t wonder about tax, warranties, or look for coupon codes. Check out and get a confirmation. The console can disappear from your cart. This is not like a ticket checkout process where you are holding an item for a few minutes.

Use Websites Not Apps

Websites tend to offer a better chance to get a console this year. The PS5 pre-orders worked best on websites, with some apps just showing the landing pages while other people were ordering.

It’s a good idea to have apps available as a backup, but start on the website and be on the lookout for links directly to the products on social media.

You Can Always Cancel Later

If you really want the Xbox Series S, but it is out of stock, you may want to lock in the Xbox Series X pre-order and then decide later.

You can cancel your pre-order pretty easily at most retailers if you find the version that you really want somewhere else.

It is best to lock in pre-order and fine-tune it later.

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Gaming

How to Pre-Order the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S

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This is how to pre-order the new Xbox in 2020. On September 22nd you can pre-order the Xbox Series X for release day delivery, or at least for delivery as soon as possible. You will want to plan on pre-ordering the new Xbox if you want one in your hands anytime soon.

The Xbox Series X Pre-Orders start at 11 AM Eastern, 8 AM Pacific on September 22nd. The Xbox Series S pre-orders start at the same time.

The Xbox Series X is $499 and the Xbox Series S is $299. You can pre-order these at Microsoft, GameStop, Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers. If you buy from Microsoft you can even get a payment plan as low as $24.99 a month.

The Xbox Series X release date is November 10th, and it is the same for both models. Here is how to pre-order if you want a new Xbox this fall. These links work for both models.

Read: Should I Pre-Order the Xbox Series S?

Here is a look at where you can pre-order the Xbox Series X and Series S. The pre-orders start later this month and we are still waiting to find the exact time that pre-orders start. Right now most of the retailers have a landing page, and some will allow you to get an email notification when more info is available.

Microsoft Xbox Series X Pre-Order Details

How to pre-order the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.

Head over to Microsoft to sign up and get notified when Xbox Series X and Series S pre-orders go live. You can also check out information about the consoles and you can learn more about the payment plan options through Xbox All Access.

Amazon Xbox Series X Pre-Order Details

Amazon offers a landing page for the Xbox Series X, and soon we expect to see one for the Series S. This page lets you see more about the console and sign up for notifications by email.

GameStop Xbox Series X Pre-Order Details

GameStop offers a landing page, where you can sign up for information. You can also expect this page to turn into a sales page closer to the start of pre-orders.

Best Buy Xbox Series X Pre-Order Details

The Best Buy Xbox Series X pre-order page lets yo using up for more information and when the pre-orders start you will be able to buy the console directly on this link.

Read: Should I Pre-Order the Xbox Series X?

Target Xbox Series X Pre-Order Details

Save the Target landing page to pre-order the Xbox Series X online when the pre-orders start on September 22nd.

Walmart Xbox Series X Pre-Order Details

Walmart allows you to sing up for a notification when pre-orders start, and to check out more information about the console.

Read: Get the Best Gaming Chair You Can Buy

 

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Gaming

How to Get the Xbox Series X Early

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How to get a Xbox Series X early.

Do you want a chance to get an Xbox Series X early? If so you should grab your phone and prepare to eat a taco or two. Taco Bell is teaming up with Microsoft to give away a new Xbox Series X every fifteen minutes during the contest and with the Taco Bell app, you can get access to daily Xbox Series X giveaways before the pre-orders even start.

Starting on September 24th when you buy a medium or large soft drink at Taco Bell, you get a code that you can use to enter for a chance to win an Xbox Series X bundle that includes the console, a new controller, and six months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Read: Should I Pre-Order the Xbox Series X?

If you want early access, you can download the Taco Bell app and sign up for the Taco Bell Rewards Beta program by the end of the day on September 13th to get early access to drawings that run from September 15 through September 21st.

When you join the program you get rewards when you buy things at Taco Bell, but with this promotion, you also get access to chances to get an Xbox Series X before they go on sale. It’s not clear if winners get their Xbox Series X ahead of the November release date, but it is a chance to lock in a new console for free and ahead of pre-orders.

When you sign up for the Taco Bell Rewards Beta program you get a free taco and chances to win. The app allows you to get a code when you buy a combo, a large freeze or when you purchase two combos. You can also get a code via mail or you can use these three codes to enter every day. Here are the free Xbox Series X Taco Bell entry codes;

  • SX7NLYZNHCZ6
  • SX7V936NBPP9
  • SX7YR97XYV96

To enter with these codes you need to text 72823 during the contest period. The contest starts on September 24th at 12:01 AM Pacific.

If you don’t win, you get a Fire Drill Code that you can use within 24 hours as a second chance.

Taco Bell will give away up to 4,032 Xbox Series X Bundles through the main giveaway and 20 through Fire Drill second chance.

Read: Get the Best Gaming Chair You Can Buy

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Editorials

4 Reasons to Pre-Order the Xbox Series X & 3 Reasons Not To

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Here are the reasons you should and shouldn’t pre-order the Xbox Series X in 2020.

Should you pre-order the Xbox Series X? The new Xbox arrives in November and you can place your Xbox Series X pre-order on September 22nd if you want to lock in a release date delivery. If you are thinking about getting a new Xbox this year, you should plan to pre-order.

With COVID and demand for in-home entertainment, we expect that the Xbox Series X is going to be hard to find for yourself or for a gift. When you pre-order the Xbox Series X you can count on getting one as soon as possible. This may be on the November 10th release date, or it may be a few weeks later.

The Xbox Series X is $499 or you can buy it on monthly payments from Microsoft for $34.99 a month with Xbox Live All Access and EA Play. You can pre-order at Microsoft, GameStop, Best Buy, Amazon, and Walmart when September 22nd arrives.

Here are the best reasons to place an Xbox Series X pre-order in 2020;

  1. Pre-Order to Get One in 2020
  2. Pre-Order for Incredible Graphics
  3. Pre-Order for Exclusives
  4. Pre-Order for Payment Plans

While there are more reasons to pre-order, there are some important reasons you shouldn’t pre-order just yet.

  1. Wait for Reviews
  2. Explore the Xbox Series S and PS5
  3. Wait for Deals

Ultimately we don’t think you should pre-order just to flip one, but that is going to ab a common reason that many people buy an Xbox Series X.

Read: Get the Best Gaming Chair You Can Buy

Pre-Order to Get One in 2020

Do you want an Xbox Series X in 2020 or even in early 2021? If so, you should pre-order the Xbox Series X as soon as it goes on sale. This console is going to be hard to find for the first several months after the release date.

Even if you are hoping to stumble on one in a store, you should pre-order, and then you can cancel if you find one in stock before your pre-order ships. The stock is going to be very limited and if you skip pre-orders you may be waiting for a while or paying a huge premium on eBay or Facebook marketplace.

Pre-Order for Incredible Graphics

Are you looking for the best graphics on a new Xbox? If so, the Series X is what you want. This is a higher-end Xbox and the one that will deliver the best-looking graphics. We don’t know the exact Xbox Series S specs, but Series X will deliver 4K gaming, 8K upscaling Ray Tracing, and in general make your games look better than the older consoles and the Series S.

Pre-Order To Play Exclusives & Get Time-Sensitive Upgrades

Not every launch title is an Xbox Series exclusive. There are a number of games coming this fall and into 2021 that are only on the Xbox Series X, Series S, and PC. If you want to play any of these, you should pre-order so that you can play when they arrive.

You can also pre-order to get your console in time to redeem dual entitlement upgrades from EA games and other publishers that are only offering limited-time free upgrades from Xbox One to Xbox Series X.

Pre-Order for Payment Plans

Pre-order to get the Xbox Series X in a timely fashion with a payment plan.

The Xbox Series X is expensive at $499, but if you pre-order through Microsoft instead of going to a retailer, you can get monthly payment plans that are 0% interest and that includes Xbox All Access and EA Play. You won’t find these plans in stores, so the best way to get one is to pre-order and lock in a delivery as soon as one is available.

This a 24-month payment plan that totals $599.76, which is more than buying the console outright, but you are getting Xbox Live and a lot of extras. This package includes;

  • The next-generation Xbox console of your choice
  • Over 100 high-quality games to play on console, including next-gen Optimized games
  • Over 100 high-quality games to play on PC
  • An EA Play membership to play more than 60 of EA’s biggest and best console and PC games
  • And over 100 games to play from the cloud

The extra $100 is worth it, in this case, to spread out the price over two years and with all the free games and Xbox Live.

Wait for Reviews

Oen of the biggest reasons to wait for the Xbox Series X and to skip the pre-order window is to see how the console performs, how it compares to the current generation, and to the rest of the new models.

This will also let you learn about any potential problems with the Xbox Series X models or issues that reviewers find frustrating. In short, the longer you wait, the more information you have to make your decision.

Explore the Xbox Series S and PS5

The Xbox Series X is not launching by itself. Microsoft is also selling the Xbox Series S for $299 or $24.99 a month. This is a smaller Xbox Series model without a disc drive. We don’t know the full specs on it, but it will play the same games as the Xbox Series X, but possibly not at 4K.

Sony is also launching the PS5, which is a direct competitor to Series X. With cross-play, you don’t need to be on the same console as your friends anymore. Be sure to look into what Sony has to offer and decide if you should pre-order that model.

Wait for Deals

If you don’t want to spend $499, you will need to wait for Xbox Series X deals. This is not a short wait, but if you want to save, then you will likely need to wait until late 2021. Are you willing to wait that long for a new Xbox Series X?

A study conducted for eBay on Xbox One sales, the best time to buy an Xbox Series X is likely 12 months after the release, which could help you save up to 35% off the retail price when you buy a used model.

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Gaming

Xbox Series X Pre-Order Date, Time and Stores

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Where and when to pre-order the Xbox Series X and Series S.

When do the Xbox Series X pre-orders start? What time will you need to be ready to order? We answer these important questions and help you decide where to order the Xbox Series X and Series S in September.

  • When are Xbox Series X Pre-Orders? September 22nd
  • What Time do Xbox Series X Pre-Orders Start? 12:01 AM Eastern Possible
  • Where Can I Pre-Order the Xbox Series X? Microsoft, GameStop, Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart & Others

Read: Should I Pre-Order the Xbox Series S?

When are Xbox Series X Pre-Orders?

The Xbox Series X and Series S pre-orders start on September 22nd. This is the official start date, confirmed by Microsoft. The Xbox Series X release date is a few weeks later on November 10th.

You can pre-order the Xbox Series S or the Xbox Series X on the same day. The Series S is $299 or $24.99 a month and the Xbox Series X is $499 or $34.99 a month. When you buy monthly from Microsoft, you get;

  • The next-generation Xbox console of your choice
  • Over 100 high-quality games to play on console, including next-gen Optimized games
  • Over 100 high-quality games to play on PC
  • An EA Play membership to play more than 60 of EA’s biggest and best console and PC games
  • And over 100 games to play from the cloud

You can also buy direct from many retailers.

What Time do Xbox Series X Pre-Orders Start

We expect that Xbox Series X pre-orders will start at 12:01 AM Eastern on September 22nd. That is not confirmed. We’ve seen companies start to shift from midnight releases, but with a game console that is in high demand, we could see Microsoft stick to a late-night option.

These will all be online pre-orders, so you will want to make sure that you have a credit card handy and an account at the retailer you choose. We will update this when we know more about the timing.

Read: Get the Best Gaming Chair You Can Buy

Where Can I Pre-Order the Xbox Series X?

The Xbox Series X pre-orders will go live at major retailers and directly from Microsoft at the same time. Here are the places we know you will be able to buy the Series X and Series S, as well as some places we may also see pre-orders go live.

You may also be able to find the Series X at Costco, Sam’s Club, and other retailers this fall.

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