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Windows 8.1 leaks on the web ahead of its October release

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Windows 8.1 Start Screen (Embargo)
Windows 8.1 Start Screen (Embargo)

Microsoft announced the finalization of its Windows 8.1 update today, and after several hours the final build has made its way onto the internet. Several file sharing sites have copies of the Windows 8.1 update nearly two months before Microsoft plans to release it to the public. The leaked build incorporates the final changes made to Windows 8.1 from its preview earlier this year.

Microsoft has added a Reading View to Internet Explorer 11 to make news articles easier to read, an improved blue theme to its Mail client along with a number of feature additions, and a Help + Tips application that guides users through the OS. The built-in applications also include Windows Phone-like menus, with a row of three dots that bring up the application bar and additional settings / options.

Official version won't be released until October 18th

The final RTM version of Windows 8.1 also includes a built-in Skype application to replace the messaging client, some UI alterations to the Calendar and People apps, and new parallax scrolling wallpapers for the Start Screen. The leaked build that has been made available on file sharing sites is a localized Chinese version, but English variants are also being prepared. Microsoft won't release Windows 8.1 to the Windows Store until October 18th. The software maker revealed earlier today that developers and MSDN / TechNet subscribers will have to wait until October to install the final Windows 8.1 version.