The Windows 8.1 Preview was released last week and initially I was trying to decide whether to install it on my main computer or create a VM to evaluate it. Eventually I decided to download the ISO and create a VM, with main reason being due to the fact that Microsoft has stated that when Windows 8.1 RTMs you will need to re-install all of your applications again that you have installed from the app store.
First impressions, is that the much talked about return of the Start menu is a bit of a non-event initially. The start button in the taskbar merely saves you pressing the Windows key however upon further inspection you realise that there are new additional options available when you right-click it.
You are now able to shutdown your computer, restart it or use sleep mode. Command prompt has also been replaced with links to Windows PowerShell and you can also quickly access Network Connection settings.
The Start menu has also been updated with new features including the ability to resize tiles by right-clicking them and selecting resize. You can now also name a group of tiles such as Games or Applications.
This is just a quick sample of the changes that I have found to be useful so far. Overall its a much needed update and one which I hope will mean more people start using Windows 8, especially in enterprise environments.