Microsoft delivers Windows 8 updates ahead of Service Pack 1

Microsoft delivers Windows 8 updates ahead of Service Pack 1

Summary: Microsoft is updating some of the 'fundamental' features of Windows 8 via a new update, well ahead of when a first service pack normally would deliver these kinds of fixes.

TOPICS: Windows, Microsoft

Microsoft has been working for the past few years to convince users, especially business users, they don't need to wait until the first service pack to deploy a new Windows release.

With Windows 8, Microsoft officials believe they've gotten a step closer, by rolling out via Windows Update on October 9 the “Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 General Availability Cumulative Update.” This update provides post-RTM (release to manufacturing) updates around performance, power management and battery efficiency, media playback, and compatibility, according to an October 9 post on the Building Windows 8 blog. Windows 8 was released to manufacturing on August 1, 2012.

In an uncharacteristically short post, Windows President Steven Sinofsky explained how these updates traditionally have been provided. He noted that during the time Microsoft and OEMs are making final customizations and tweaks to RTM code to create new or updated components, drivers and companion software, sometimes there also need to be changes and improvements made to Windows fundamnetals.

While customers typically had to wait until Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Microsoft to broadly distribute these updates, this time around, Microsoft created new tools and processes to get these updates to customers sooner than a service pack.

"By developing better test automation and test coverage tools we are happy to say that Windows 8 will be totally up to date for all customers starting at General Availability. If you are an MSDN or enterprise customer, these updates will be available for your Windows 8 PCs via Windows Update as of today (October 9), following our standard cadence for Windows Updates on the second Tuesday of each month at about 10:00am (PT)," Sinofsky blogged.

Here's what's in the cumulative update, according to the Knowledge Base article:

  • Increased power efficiency to extend battery life
  • Performance improvements in Windows 8 applications and Start screen
  • Improved audio and video playback in many scenarios
  • Improved application and driver compatibility with Windows 8

Be forewarned. This isn't some small, insignificant update, as Robert McLaws, Chief Technology Officer of, noted on Twitter.


Today's update is interesting to us codename watchers and roadmap trackers, as some folks have wondered whether the rumored "Blue" update to Windows 8, which could be out by summer 2013, would simply be Service Pack 1. I'd say the fact this Service Pack-like update is available now means Blue will definitely be more than "just" a bunch of fixes. I'd expect it to have new features, too.

So will there be a typical Windows 8 Service Pack 1 -- and when? No idea on either question.

Update: In other Windows 8 news, the promised updates to a number of Microsoft-developed "built-in" Windows 8 apps, including its SkyDrive, Mail, Messaging, Photos, Bing, Music, Games, Weather, etc., are also rolling in. Those with final Windows 8 bits installed can grab them from the Windows Store.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft


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).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Yes.

    Both of my Win8 devices are updating currently.
    Ram U
  • Great

    This means any devices purchased in the next couple of weeks will probably have these updates installed already. If not, though a bit pesky, it will mean a more functional device after updating and not having to wait months for SP1. Very important for Microsoft.
  • Making Metro optional?

    Do pigs fly?
    • Metro is pretty much optional for Windows 8

      At least for now. You can still install and run any Windows 7 compatible software. You just have to remember to use the Windows Key on the keyboard to switch between the Metro Start menu and the Windows Desktop. Not a big deal.
      • You just have to remember to use the Windows Key

        First, one has to *know* to use the Windows key.

        Ma and Pa Kettle and Joe and Jane Six-Pack aren't exactly keyboard shortcut types. Remember that many Windows 8 users will be upgrading from XP and Vista where keyboard shortcuts were not necessary.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
        • And they aren't necesarry here either

          When you move your mouse to the same corner where the start button has been for about 18 years, suddenly an icon with the word start appears ! I am not making this up, it is really true.

          By the way, hitting the Windows key shouldn't be rocket science, if you can press A, you should be able to press the Windows key as well I would think. Power users obviously know about this key (which in some cases is even replicated on both sides of the keyboard), since it makes getting to start a bit quicker, regardless of which version of Windows, probably why they equipped all those keyboards with this key. The fun thing is, fir people that might opt for a Windows Phone or Tablet, these are equipped with again a Windows key !
          • Well

            I installed a preview version a while back and simply could not stand it. Ugly as hell and not user friendly imho. Although I plan to move to Android and Linux more and more, there are times I will need to run Windows only apps and will be looking to buy a new "Ultrabookish" computer in the next few months. I will not ever buy a new Windows computer to have that interface rammed down my throat. I will buy a used W7 notebook or run a W7 virtual machine in Linux instead. MS talks about "listening to its customers". Clearly, that is just BS.

            From what I understand, W8 is a great OS underneath that crappy interface. I am taking a firm stand however. The choice is MS's.
          • Well

            Just because you think it is ugly (which is of course just subjective) does not mean Microsoft does not listen to it's customers, it just means they don't and can't listen to every single one of them. They do apparently have a lot of data that tell them how their operating system is actually being used, and no doubt they have based some of their decisions based on that.
          • Microsoft is busy pushing WP 8

            So the desktop edition better look just like the phone edition. I'm willing to bet a paycheck, that Microsoft will try and obscure the nmbers to make WP 8 phone edition look more popular.
            Troll Hunter J
          • Listening to its customers - Clearly, that is just BS

            Why, because they didn't listen to you?
          • Or the other X % of us

            Scottz29 ... you are implying D.T. Long is the only one.. and that he is the only one with that idea ... and *that* is not true ...

            Microsoft is listening, and then deciding upon things that continually take power out of the hands of the people, all the while allowing the crackers to get away with murder.

            simple examples.. you can make a file name from the command line com1 lpt1 etc.. but you can't delete it with the same simple tools provided at the command line.

            the "I Love You" worm/virus/trojan ... the file was named "I love you.txt.bas" or any of several other varients.. and because the DEFAULT behavior of microsoft is to "hide known file types" the user (inexperienced or not) doesn't get the VISUAL clue that would be there, if the FULL file name and extension were *ALWAYS* shown..

            and lastly .. the default action in IE .. to download and open word, and excel files without prompting the user to confirm after download .. or even confirm they wanted to download.. that same thing hits with PDF files, and I'm really surprised the crackers don't really target those filetypes more and more.. because of such stupid default behaviors..

            Microsoft is wrong.. in MANY ways.. and they've failed to listen, failed to learn and again are always just one crack away from causing a person to be owned.
          • The DEFAULT behavior in Windows is to "hide known file types"

            While I'm a Microsoft-booster for the most part and I have no issue with the Win8 interface, I must say I agree w/ you 100% that hiding the file "extension" by default is pretty vile. Probably the first thing I always reconfigure on a new box. Hate it hate it.
          • It is what it is...

            I went into installing W8 expecting to hate it ... I am never the first adopter of anything since I like what I like and rarely bother trying new stuff. But with all the negative reviews I read, I smelled a con job - as if people were getting paid to hate something and that really irked me. So I installed W8, hated it for one day, got used to it, and have not turned back. With the addition of a free program that brings back the start button, I have software that is faster than the XP that was on the machine and all my XP software installed on it! And I'll definitely upgrade these two machines to Windows 8 as soon as possible.

            The Windows 8 haters have an agenda. And I am not too proud to point this out - FRAUDS!
          • RE: I admit it's all true

            You are soo clairvoyant to be able to read the minds of posters. I don't have this ability, I feel so inferior
        • Ma & Pa

          Then I'd suggest they need to either stick with whatever version of Windows they have (probably XP) or switch to Mac. I'm tired of the whining over this. The OS is a piece of cake...assuming a person has above a 6th grade education.
          • agree

            i agree someone finally said it, my grandpa didn't want to leave the typewriter but he did finally
          • I don't get it!!!

            Above 6th Grade Education? What do you mean by that!?
            I don't even have 4th grade, and I'm a very technical user. I even build my own PCs, even if I do call on advice from Techies in the trade, even they're learning new things all the time. In Technical terms, you can't live in the '80s, if you want to work on modern PCs. You don't need even 1st Grade Education, to use a PC. I was typing and playing gamess on PCs, long before I graduated from Preschool. Now I build my own PCs at home!!! I went to a School for Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and if you knew that, I be one of the last kinds of people you'd expect to be getting Technical with PCs. I'm sticking with Windows 7 for now!!! Even for people with matrics, and both my parents, and all 3 of my sisters have matrics, mastering the basics is still a problem sometimes. My father is one possible exception, but the others all ask for help with those "piece of cake" aspects of basic PC operation all the time, and i've shown them some of them over 100 times, if I've shown them once!!! They never stop forgetting!!!
          • BS

            I had to google how to log off of Windows Server 2012 they other day. Sure I found it and now I know.

            The question is why? Why is it hidden? Why change it? Did the change make it better? Was it change for change sake?

            Personally I think its totally and utterly frustrating. There is NO WAY IT at my company will unleash this mess on our users. Windows 7 works great and our users picked up the changes quickly...because they were minor over XP.

            We will use Server 2012 because Hyper V, clustering, and NIC teaming are way better. That is a real reason to use it. Only use Admins will have to deal with the BS changes for change sake.
          • Really

            So as a Windows admin it did not occur to you to hit alt F4 on the desktop, which brings up the shutdown/restart/logoff dialog box since the very first version of Windows NT, really ?

            To logoff using the start menu is just as hidden as using the charms bar, it is just different, and change is not forbidden in our line of work.
          • Windows 8 is awesome and simple too

            Ditto. In fact the number of steps to access apps or to do most things are the same just different and simpler. The difference is better with a small learning curve, but no more so than a new smartphone or tablet. People that hate it are the same people that slacked with their homework or studying in elementary school.