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Windows 8.1 Preview Ends on January 15

Microsoft's Windows 8.1 "preview" test software will start to end after this Wednesday.

After Jan. 15, 2014, users of the Windows 8.1 preview will get a notice, reproduced below, indicating that the trial operating system is expiring. In addition, preview users will face a recurring PC reboot every two hours, and they'll lose any unsaved data after each reboot, according to Microsoft's preview update page.

Windows 8.1 is a free update to Windows 8 that's accessed through the OS' Windows Store function. However, those persons who were just testing it either have to purchase a license, wipe the OS or tolerate the reboots. It may be possible to roll back to Windows 8 by using the OS' refresh button, but applications have to be reinstalled in that case.

Before updating the preview, Microsoft advises "installing all available updates" first.

Those individuals who used an ISO file to install the Windows 8.1 preview can activate a licensed copy of Windows 8.1 through the OS' Windows Store function. The system will prompt the user to enter a license key, or buy one, in that case. Updating via an ISO or installation media also requires reinstalling apps and files on a system after the OS update, and the Windows settings will need to be reset, according to Microsoft's Windows 8.1 update FAQ.

One rollback approach for Windows 8 users that were testing the Windows 8.1 preview is to use the recovery media supplied by the PC manufacturer. Others using older OSes, such as Windows 7, can only roll back by reinstalling that OS.

Options are more limited on the ARM platform side. Windows RT 8.1 preview users do not have the option to roll back to Windows RT 8, according to Microsoft.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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