So this happened. Windows 8.1 was officially released yesterday on the Windows Store, and the new operating system also hit retail store shelves today as a boxed retail package.
Users that are already running Windows 8 can now get the upgrade by launching the Store.
But there was speculation that Microsoft may also launch as standalone version of the new OS that would allow users to deploy and install Windows 8.1 without turning to the Window Store. As things stand, this probably will not happen.
A Microsoft employee confirmed this on the official community forums:
“Windows 8.1 will not be released as a separate, free download. If you are running a Windows 8 Device, the Windows Store is the best way to install. We should not think of Windows 8.1 as a service pack, its much more comprehensive and uses the Windows setup engine to install.”
Retail box versions of Windows 8.1 should be available in retail outlets by now, so that is another option. But in terms of downloads, the new operating system will be exclusively available from the Windows Store.
There have been some reports of users not being able to get the upgrade from the Windows Store, though, with some encountering a few installation errors.
Microsoft is said to be investigating these as of this writing.