Microsoft officially acknowledges Windows 8.1 'spring' update

Microsoft officially acknowledges Windows 8.1 'spring' update

Summary: Microsoft execs have acknowledged publicly what's been rumored for months: An update to Windows 8.1 is coming to users this spring.

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For the first time publicly, Microsoft officials are acknowledging that the company is working on an update to Windows 8.1 that will be out this spring.

win81update1winsupersite

While we Microsoft watchers have been writing about the so-called Windows 8.1 Update 1 for months, and builds of the update have been leaking for weeks, February 23 was the first time that Microsoft execs officially commented on the coming release.

At Microsoft's press event at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Microsoft went public with some of the already-known features coming in the update that is meant to improve Windows 8.1's usability and acceptance by mouse/keyboard users.

Officials discussed 8.1 update tweaks, such as inclusion of a title bar at the top of Modern/Windows Store apps, and the addition of power and search buttons on the Start Screen, according to a report by The Verge's Tom Warren, who attended the Microsoft event. Officials also acknowledged the smaller footprint (1 GB of RAM; 16 GB of storage) of the update, which will enable device makers to put Windows 8.1 with the update on smaller, cheaper tablets. Microsoft also is reportedly planning to offer PC makers a price cut on Windows 8.1 on machines costing $250 or less to entice OEMs to get cheaper Windows 8.1 devices to market.

AnandTech (also attending the event) noted that Microsoft execs also acknowledged Windows 8.1 Update 1 will include IE8 compatibility mode in IE11 -- previously reported as IE11 Enterprise Mode.

Microsoft officials didn't provide a specific timeframe as to when the spring update will be available, but my sources previously have said the target release date will be April 8, with Microsoft delivering it via Windows Update to existing Windows 8.x users.

Update: The Windows Server team is also confirming it will deliver a minor update to Windows Server 2012 R2 that will hit alongside the Windows 8.1 Update 1 release "this spring." The server-side update will include "minor UI enhancements and bug fixes, as well as previously-released monthly update rollups and security fixes," officials said. Microsoft will be working to make sure existing Windows Server apps, from both Microsoft and third party developers, "just work" with the update. More details on the server-side update will be provided at a future date, officials said.

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, MWC, Tablets, PCs

About

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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26 comments
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  • 1 gig of 16 gig of storage.

    That impressive.
    Koymik
    • 1 gig of ram

      1 gig of ram.....
      Koymik
      • So Windows 8.1 Update 1 would almost fit on a Windows Phone?

        So Windows 8.1 Update 1 would almost fit on a Windows Phone? Very interesting...
        cybersaurusrex
      • Good but

        ...still not enough. MS Needs to push Windows 8 a lot further for this OS to have a real chance. There are major issues to address. The most important one is to make the Metro UI and the desktop the same environment. Even with those changes, there will be a constant warp from one world to the other.

        Heres a few suggestions. From the start screen swiping up should get us to the desktop the same that swiping down is making the “All apps” screen appear. Swiping the desktop down should get us back to the start screen. There should be a way to start a Metro app without having to get back to the start screen. MS Will allow user to pin Metro apps to the task bar soon but it is not enough. A Start menu should be available when swiping the left part of the screen. The new start menu should make it possible to bring a running app back on the screen like it is possible now and the same menu should allow starting any other app or application.

        MS also need to finally fix File explorer. Why only one tree per screen. Copy and Paste needs to navigate through the drives like crazy. Even Windows 3.1 allowed 2 file tree at ounce. Tabs should do it. And of course, Metro apps need to run on the desktop as windows. On a desktop computer and not a tablet, running apps in full screen all the time is really annoying.
        gbouchard99@...
        • I like those, except...

          I think the desktop & Start Screen should become ONE. Basically, Live Tiles floating on the desktop... just like old icons would... except now you can scroll to the right to see all of your apps.
          cybersaurusrex
      • It's been leaked

        Windows 8.1 update 1 has been leaked, it is widely available on the internet now :) Who knows if it will work well with Start8 though.
        danwat1234
    • Why Would Window 8.1 Need A Refresh?

      Microsoft needs to push out Windows 9, like yesterday.

      They can pad their Income Statement all they want, Windows 8 failed.

      Don't get me wrong, I wanted Windows 8 to succeed... but then again I wanted to believe that Milli Vanilli really earned their Grammy.

      Needless to say, in both cases I was sorely disappointed!

      MS is living in a time when Windows actually mattered (as crappy as it always was).

      Today, Windows matters about as much as Ross Perot, IBM Selectric typewriters, Mel Gibson movies, and Cabbage Patch dolls.
      orandy
      • And when 9 comes out

        You'll be one of the first saying it failed.

        Why should anyone take your Windows advice seriously?
        Michael Alan Goff
      • Speaking of someone needing a refresh

        I had to laugh as that list of "Ross Perot, IBM Selectric typewriters, Mel Gibson movies, and Cabbage Patch dolls", as they all appear to be far, far more relevant then you, or anything you post.

        Sorry, they're the facts, like it or not. :)
        William.Farrel
      • You don't read very often, do you?

        Windows 8 failed? Really? Well you might want to let Apple know that their mac OS idea failed and they should just drop it right now because Windows 8 has already outsold every version of it combined... A word of advice-- if you can't say anything that isn't stupid just keep your mouth shut so that everyone else doesn't see that you're a fool- actually, Mark Twain said that... long before you were born, so- get a clue, you're making yourself love like a grade school failure- uh- dropout.
        xplorer1959
  • Umm

    Do we get the unified search back yet? If not then I'll be sticking with Windows 8.
    slickjim
    • We already did

      Windows 8.1 brought back unified search.
      Matthew Ponce de Leon
  • Huh? system requirements seem the same?

    Maryjo,

    Those are the same system requirements on Windows 8.1 (32 bit) now. Unless they are saying that will be the system requirements on 64 bit systems? Am I missing something?
    Djblois
    • I'm guessing

      It still isn't small enough to fit in an 8gb or 4gb space, so they have to stick with 16 as the minimum if you actually want to have anything on your device.
      Michael Alan Goff
  • Microsoft officially acknowledges Windows 8.1 'spring' update

    I'll be the first to get this update when its released. Looking forward to see what has changed.
    Loverock.Davidson
  • MS: Give us the choice

    For those who have fully embraced the Metro-ness of Windows 8.x, that's wonderful. But for most businesses and users who don't want a tablet OS environment, let us boot directly into a FULL desktop environment... complete with a fully-functional Start menu and non-Metro default programs.

    It is possible to do this now (that's how my laptop is setup), but a lot of users want it right out of the box. For now, I am using Start Menu 8 to boot directly to the desktop and have changed all my default programs to non-Metro apps.
    vancevep
    • Some of that has already happened

      You can already boot straight to the desktop as of Windows 8.1, though it isn't set that way on default.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • You could boot to the desktop actually

      http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-boot-directly-to-desktop-in-windows-8-1/
      Ram U
    • I want an old style start menu

      I've said that the Modern UI is great on tablets, a little bit annoying on a desktop.

      I wish they would just have both, and let the user decide on the desktop which style they want, and leave tablets the way it is with the modern UI.
      William.Farrel
      • If they give an option

        I'd like them to give me CHOICE to use Progman, just like the good ol' days
        cAllain