Windows 8.1, an upgrade for Windows 8 and RT, was released in Windows Store on October 17, 2013, containing a number of improvements to the operating system's interface and functionality. For Windows RT devices, the update also adds Outlook to the included Office RT suite. The update was temporarily recalled by Microsoft shortly after its release, following reports that some Surface users had encountered a rare bug which corrupted their device's Boot Configuration Data during installation, resulting in an error on startup. On October 21, 2013, Microsoft released recovery media and instructions which could be used to repair the device and restored access to Windows 8.1 the next day.
After installation of the KB3033055 update for Windows RT 8.1, a desktop Start menu becomes available as an alternative to the Start screen. It is divided into two columns, with one devoted to recent and pinned applications, and one devoted to live tiles. It is similar to, but not identical to, Windows 10's version.
After having planned to produce a Windows RT device close to its launch, Acer's president Jim Wong later indicated that there was "no value" in the current version of the operating system, and would reconsider its plans for future Windows RT products when the Windows 8.1 update was released. On August 9, 2013, Asus announced that it would no longer produce any Windows RT products; chairman Johnny Shih expressed displeasure at the market performance of Windows RT, considering it to be "not very promising". During the introduction of its Android and Windows 8-based Venue tablets in October 2013, Dell's vice president Neil Hand stated that the company had no plans to produce an updated version of the XPS 10.
In September 2013, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang stated that the company was "working really hard" with Microsoft on developing a second revision of Surface. The Microsoft Surface 2 tablet, which is powered by Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 4 platform and features the same full HD display as the Surface Pro 2, was officially unveiled on September 23, 2013, and released on October 22, 2013, following Windows 8.1 general availability the previous week. On the same day as the Surface 2's release, Nokia (the acquisition of their mobile business by Microsoft had just been announced, but not yet been completed) unveiled the Lumia 2520, a Windows RT tablet with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 4G LTE, and a design similar to its line of Windows Phone products. An LTE-capable version of the Surface 2 was made available the following year.
On September 15, Microsoft quietly began rolling out the third and last major update for its Windows RT operating system. As we have been expecting, Windows RT 8.1 Update 3 brings the new Start menu and a few other improvements to the now retired OS.
Getting the new Start menu involves making sure you install update KB3033055. If you don't see the update, make sure to check the Optional update section, install the update, and you are good to go. 2b1af7f3a8