A minor Microsoft Windows 8.1 Update 2 still on tap for August 12

A minor Microsoft Windows 8.1 Update 2 still on tap for August 12

Summary: Microsoft is still on track to deliver a second update to Windows 8.1 in August. But don't expect it to include any major features or to be mandatory.


As my sources have been saying for some time, Microsoft is planning to deliver a second update for Windows 8.1 on August 12, this month's Patch Tuesday.


And, again, as those same sources have said, Microsoft won't be making a big deal out of this next update.

Update 2, to which Microsoft will be referring as the "August update," won't be mandatory, unlike the first Windows 8.1 Update. It also won't be cumulative. It'll be pushed as just another monthly update to Windows 8.1. It will include some relatively minor design changes, I hear, but nothing big, feature-wise.

Microsoft's original plan was to make this update a much bigger and more important release. The Windows team originally was aiming to make the new "mini" Start Menu part of this second update, but scrapped that plan a couple of months ago, deciding instead to make the new Start Menu a feature of Windows "Threshold." Threshold, likely to be called Windows 9, is still sounding like a Spring 2015 deliverable.

From what my sources are saying, Microsoft is unlikely to deliver a third update to Windows 8.1 later this fall. There are some who believe the company could opt to deliver one more update to Windows 8.1 that would include some new features, possibly this fall. (The idea in doing this would to be to establish a "servicability" cadence pattern.)

But others said the operating systems team is leaning toward putting all the wood behind the Windows 9 arrow, while continuing to deliver small monthly updates and fixes to Windows 8.1 until Windows 9/Threshold arrives.

Microsoft officials are still not talking publicly about Threshold/Windows 9. There are rumors Microsoft is planning to offer Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users some kind of deal — possibly even a free upgrade to Windows 9 — in order to get them to move to the latest Windows version once it's out next year.

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Tablets, PCs, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Why imply it's something special/different/worthy?

    If there's nothing 'big' like you say, then why would Microsoft imply that there's something more substantive than a typical patch Tuesday, which sometimes comes with minor improvements? Seems like unnecessary hype that just gets a lot of people rolling their eyes.
  • What I don't get is...

    Why hasn't Microsoft mentioned anything at all about the new update, or Windows 9. Nadella mentioned a bit information about Windows 9, though I think he referred to it as "the next version of Windows". I have a feeling its possible we could see Windows 9 this October, as various reports say we will. If you look at the previous 3 versions of Windows, they were all released in October. If Windows 9 is to Windows 8 as 7 was to Vista, Microsoft will want to get 9 out as soon as possible, and it will mainly be Windows 8 but fixed. That's my theory anyway. Like it or bash it as you wish xD
  • Cortana

    I think that at this point, all I want is Cortana. I don't find "minor design changes" very compelling, and I don't care one way or the other about the Start Menu, so I think this update is going to be as unexciting as anything else that ships on Patch Tuesday.
  • Microsoft will be holding on to the goodies until Windows 9....

    To maximize the release of Windows 9 little apart from updates will appear for Windows 8.1
    • I agree

      And I think it's a good strategy.
      Microsoft gives signs that wants people to forget windows 8.
      Make a good 9 while keeping windows 8 on "life support" - I would do that too.
  • updates to win 8.1 are desireable but why does Microsoft refuse...

    updates to win 8.1 are desireable but why does Microsoft refuse to update/fix Live Mail and Windows Defender both of which have serious problems?
    • Win Live Mail

      dmreed, what is wrong with Win Live Mail, in your view?
  • I just can't imagine Threshold being free for Windows 7 users

    Wouldn't that be a dent in revenue for the company? What I see happening instead is Windows 9 being a free upgrade for Windows 8/8.1 (Vista 2) users just to get them off that release and put the memory of it behind them fast and focus on Windows 9 being the new 'Windows 7'.

    What Microsoft could do is charge significantly charge less for Windows 9, $20 to $30 would be a good place start for Windows 7 users who a really contented with it. Eliminate Windows Pro and Core SKUs at retail and just have one single retail release called 'Windows 9'. Yes, for volume license customers, rename Windows Enterprise to 'Windows 9 Pro'. So you strictly know its for that audience and you can still charge volume license customers for it.

    The days of multiple SKUs need to end, especially with the complexity of mobile devices. With Windows 9 free for devices under 9 inches and I am sure there will be a cheaper Windows 9 with Bing for larger screens for OEMs. Its even confusing for me to know how Microsoft should bring this release to market.
    • Not sure I see it as free for anyone.

      They're not Apple, they can't eat the cost of the OS by selling the hardware. I can see a repeat of the $40 intro pricing they did with Windows 8 for users of 7 and earlier, and maybe $10-$20 upgrade for 8 users.

      Consider that it's mostly people who've outright refused to adopt 8 that Microsoft needs to convince to move to 9. Few, if any, people I've talked to who've actually used 8 for any length of time have a bad opinion of it. A free upgrade would be a nice gesture to users of 8, but I wouldn't see it as a necessity.
      • why give the pidgeons you already tricked into the cage more free seeds

        I agree, no reason to give the pidgeons who already purchased Windows 8/8.1. They will pay for anything Microsoft is selling anyway. Offer Windows 9 free to people who have no interest in Windows 8. After all, Windows 8 is just a big malware that hijacks your system and tries to force you into their walled garden app store.

        Never feed the pidgeons you have already caged. They'll just get fatter and stupider than they already are.
  • VB6 to run on Windows 9

    Will Windows 9 support the VB6 runtime ?
    There is still a lot of Visual Basic 6.0 programming out there, mainly still on XP and Windows 7.
    Programming VB6
    • Ever heard of Virtual Machines?

      Please, try one, especially for VB6.
      • Why would I need a VM for VB6 programming.

        Why would I want to use a VM ?

        I can use Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 for VB6 programming without needing a Virtual Machine.

        Why would you suggest I use a VM for Visual Basic 6 programming on Windows 9 ?
        Programming VB6
    • Windows 7

      You can still buy one .... I just got a new Windows 7 machine from HP. No need to downgrade to Windows 8. If you find you need W8, you can do like I do - I run W8.1 under Virtual Box.
  • Unforeseen Consequences

    Microsoft didn't foresee the consequences of removing the start menu from Windows that PC users have used since 1995. Microsoft should have kept the Windows 7 start menu or at least some form of the start menu as optional in Windows 8.
    Pollo Pazzo
    • thats kinda the point

      The start menu that's been in use since 1995...

      That's 20 years with essentially the same interface while the hardware and associated technologies have all come a long way. It was time for a new paradigm for how you interact with the operating system.

      What they should have done is flooded the media with advertising and PR etc so people actually knew what was going on and why...
      • start menu

        It would seem that you do not have to retrain ten's or hundred's of staff to operate a new system along with the associated costs involved!
      • You want to replace the steering wheel as well? It's been around longer.

        So the start menu worked well for close to twenty years. And this is a reason for getting rid of it?
        • Can I have a joy stick to steer my car?

          Actually, I'd probably be ok with that.
        • knew someone would reach for car analogy

          Except the technology around the car hasn't changed in 100+ years so why would changing how you control it make any sense?