Microsoft is bringing back the Windows "start" button, offering a stripped-down version among a slew of improvements aimed at winning over tablet users and PC customers.
The world's largest software company is looking to re-enegize sales of its latest Window's version, which has ot made the splash with computer users it was looking for. Executives say the plan is now to update Windows periodically, rather than waiting three years or so between big releases.
Although MIcrosoft has sold more than 100 Million Windows 8 licenses since October, broadly in line with Windows 7 three years ago, the company must tacckle a dwindling PC user base and its inability to make a mark in the exploding tablet market.
Windows 8 was designed to be used both on touch-screen tablets and traditional PC's. But while touchscreen users tend to like the new "tile"-based interface, many nouse and keyboard users complained that the new design was confusing.
Windows 8.1 previously known by the code name "Blue", will be available for free to all Windows 8 users some time later this year. Microsoft will make a test version available at its annual dveloper conference on June 26.
Windows 8.1 also includes a vastly improved "Search" function, which allows a user to search for documents, apps, or items on the internet from a single search bar, like a souped-up version of Apple's spotlight feature.