Microsoft rolls out firmware updates to Windows RT as part of Patch Tuesday

Summary:Microsoft has rolled out some new firmware updates for Windows RT, as well as some incremental updates to its SkyDrive cloud storage service.

It's January 8 and the first Microsoft Patch Tuesday of 2013. (Yay?)

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Along with the usual set of fixes and patches for Windows, Office and more, Microsoft is rolling out a firmware update for its Windows RT operating system as part of the update.

This isn't the first firmware update Microsoft has delivered for Windows RT, which is the port of Windows to ARM, and the operating system which powers the Microsoft Surface RT, as well as a few other third-party PCs and tablets. There've been a couple of others .

Update: Like previous firmware updates, today's firmware update is specific to the Surface RT. I've asked Microsoft how and when it provides OS fixes and updates to OEMs with Windows RT-based  PCs and tablets. No word back on that part yet.

Update No. 2 (January 9): Some interesting info here. A Microsoft spokesperson explained how users of non-Surface RT devices are going to get updates (firmware and otherwise):

"OEMs can (and are) providing any needed firmware or driver updates using Windows Update. These updates are targeted to specific Windows RT models. Recommended OS updates are available to all Windows RT devices at the time they are published.  End-user settings will determine whether they are installed automatically."

Today's Windows RT deliverables (which I discovered thanks to a tweet from Darren Cohen, aka @FinsUpDNC) includes a couple of firmware updates. Specifically, according to Microsoft officials, it provides System Firmware (UEFI) improvements including:

  • Improvements to audio playback when in Connected Standby
  • Additional capabilities for handling firmware updates during low battery situations

In order to check for and proactively install this Windows RT update, Microsoft advises users to follow this check list:

  • Open PC Settings, by swiping in from right edge (or, if using a mouse, point to upper-right corner of screen)
  • Tap or click Settings
  • Tap or click Change PC settings
  • Under PC settings, tap or click Windows Update
  • Tap or click Check for Updates

The January 8 Patch Tuesday fixes also includes a few other security- and non-security fixes and updates for Windows RT (and not just Surface RT), including one that is designed to improve .Net 4.5 and Windows RT compatibility, according to Microsoft's Web site. 

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In other update news, the Microsoft SkyDrive team has added a couple of incremental updates to SkyDrive, Microsoft's consumer cloud-storage service. The updates include a more granular and unified view of how and with whom filese are shared. The team also added "more HTML5 features for touch devices making the SkyDrive experience faster and more fluid across devices and we’ve introduced more drag-and-drop capabilities to make it easier to manage your files, photos and documents," according to a January 8 blog post.

There is still no word from Microsoft as to when it will introduce the Metro-fied version of its Calendar, for which many Windows users have been hoping and expecting for months. I asked again today and was told by a spokesperson there was no new information to share at this time. 

Topics: Microsoft Surface, ARM, Microsoft, Security, Windows 8

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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