Microsoft is now accepting pre-orders for Windows 8.1. As you may know, the update is free for those already running Windows 8 but if you’re looking to install the update directly from Windows 7 or on an empty hard drive or solid state drive, you’ll need to fork over $119 for Windows 8.1 and $199 for Windows 8.1 Pro.

Windows 8.1 is the first major update to Microsoft’s current version of Windows that launched last October. It includes a number of new features and fixes including Internet Explorer 11, Bing-powered search, greater personalization, a better Windows Store experience, built-in apps and SkyDrive cloud connectivity.

The Pro version is said to include additional security features as well as the ability to connect to a corporate / school network and host a remote desktop connection.

As mentioned earlier, Windows 8.1 will be available as a full version software at retail and online for download which doesn’t require a previous version of Windows to be installed. Microsoft said in a recent blog post that this shift allows more flexibility for customers in specific technical scenarios and is in response to feedback they have received.

Microsoft released a preview version of the update during its Build developer conference earlier this year. A full final version was released to manufacturers in August for inclusion on computers ahead of the holiday buying season.

Windows 8.1 is set to launch on October 18 worldwide although if you get technical, it’ll be available first in New Zealand at 12 a.m. local time which is 4 a.m. on October 17 in Redmond.