Microsoft rolling out some Windows 8 core app updates this week. What about the rest?

Microsoft rolling out some Windows 8 core app updates this week. What about the rest?

Summary: Microsoft is starting to roll out major updates to its Mail, Calendar and People apps for Windows 8 and Windows RT. What other updates are coming and when?


Microsoft is set to make available to users substantial updates to at least some of its core Windows 8 and Windows RT applications this week.


Microsoft officials announced on March 25 that starting tomorrow, March 26, they'll make available via the Windows Store significant updates to the Mail, People and Calendar apps that are built into Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Update: Microsoft began rolling out these updates late on March 25. If you don't see the updates listed for download, you can proactively check for them. To do this, you must be inside the Windows Store app. From there, swipe in from the right to get the Charms. Then go to Settings and App Update to see if there are any available apps ready for download. Since putting the new Mail app on my Surface RT, I've noticed much-improved mail performance. Huzzah!

For a list of all the new features that will be part of this push, check out my ZDNet colleague Ed Bott's post on the Mail/Calendar/People updates. Like many early Windows 8/Windows RT, users, I'm happy to see Mail get updates like the ability to create and delete folders and the ability to search for mail on the server, among others. Supposedly performance of all three apps is improved, even on low-power Surface RT devices.

But what about the other "core" Windows 8 and Windows RT apps -- especially Xbox Music, which has felt half-finished since it debuted as one of the bundled apps Microsoft delivered last October with Windows 8 and Windows RT? Today's blog post from the Windows services team is solely about Mail/Calendar/People. But according to one of my sources, who mentioned the coming March core-app updates, Xbox Music and the Bing AppEx applications were supposedly going to be refreshed this month, too.

There are still six more days in March, so it could happen. Or maybe these won't actually roll out until April. 

I asked my original tipster whether the Xbox core-app refresh is imminent and was told that the Xbox Entertainment app team was still releasing minor internal updates over the weekend, but that they are "almost done."

Update: The Xbox Music update is available as of March 26. It's by no means a huge update, but it does provide performance improvements and more granular controls for volume, semantic zoom and playlists, according to those who've already grabbed the update.

The Bing AppEx team apps -- Weather, News, Sports, etc., which shipped preinstalled on Windows 8 and Windows RT -- may be poised for new updates. So far, no word from the Bing team on that, however.

Late last week, some of us took the appearance of a list of Microsoft-developed apps in the System Log on our machines that the expected refreshes of all the core Windows 8/Windows RT apps were set to arrive imminently.

It turns out this may be unrelated, as Martin Geuss from noted over the weekend. Geuss said that all core apps are listed in the event entry on Windows 8 and Windows RT systems because all of these apps have received at least one update since Windows 8 and Windows RT RTM'd.

Event-entry relevance aside, the expected and (hopefully) useful core app updates are on their way. 

Topics: Windows 8, Collaboration, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs, Windows, Microsoft Surface


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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  • Reader?


    have you heard about a reader update?
  • Microsoft rolling out some Windows 8 core app updates this week. What about

    Kudos to the Microsoft team for keeping their apps fresh and updated.
    • Fresh???

      They didn't even support standard operating procedures...

      So finally they are "fresh" to update to 1990 standards?
      • Didn't support standard operating procedures?

        They ARE the standard in operating procedures...
        • ROFL

          @ForeverCookie... ROFL... good one! :D
          Technical John
    • Loverock Davidson Microsoft is Finally rolling out some Windows 8 core app

      updates. That's really good for those that are stuck using Windows 8 apps.
      Over and Out
  • Cost of the Blue update

    Hi. We don't know how much Blue will cost. Rumors have ranged from free for existing Win 8/Windows RT users, to some kind of "nominal" charge. I would guess it would be considerably less than $40 for the update. Think about Blue like Mountain Lion in the Apple world. MJ
    Mary Jo Foley
    • Cost? WTH?

      Charge for a minor update to an OS that's less than a year old? WHAT?! Who does that? Who would even think of that to start a rumour?
      • Minor Update?

        We haven't seen anything yet. The leaked build doesn't show much, yes. But who knows what else they may bring ? Blue isn't re-imagining windows, but I quote MJ on this, "if it is like mountain lion, I'm sure we will see hundreds of new features being added". And seriously,
        Youssef Samir
  • XBox Music needs a lot of work...

    I really hope they work over the Music app. It's really clumsy and unintuitive (though pretty). For instance, in order to Buy a song... I have to actually be playing it (that's been my experience at least). Plus, I had trouble with playlists whenever I turned on the cloud thing (I was getting double playlists, etc.)... so I just toggled that feature off.

    Xbox is a cool brand, and Microsoft can probably draw a lot of new users to Windows 8 & Windows Phone by leveraging the Xbox brand (and by creating "must-have" & exclusive games for the platform)... but the Music app is an embarrassment to that brand. Let's hope they've made some substantive improvements!
    • xbox, umm, about that.

      As far as I can tell, every xbox user already has a Windows PC. And there's only about 50million of them, compared to half a billion Windows users. And having owned an xbox for two years, I don't think it's cool, I think it's aggravating. Why can't I talk to it all the time? Why do I have to click on 'pins' to get my shortcuts? Why do the ads yell at me? Why is there an update every damn time I turn the thing on? Why can't it play nice with my usb drive? Why doesn't smartglass have a keyboard on it (or I can't find it)?

      So much wasted potential. I hope the next xbox has some 'substantive improvements'.
  • Pop3

    Why no pop3?
    • ?

      Pop3 has been available from the beginning. Perhaps you mean IMAP?
      • Uh, no.

        The mail client in Windows 8 RT (I have the Surface) does NOT permit POP3 accounts. It does support IMAP, but my antiquated/cheap ISP only provides for POP3.

        My WP8, however, supports POP3. Somebody managing 1st party apps at MS screwed up.
        • Microsoft Didn't Screw Up

 was deliberate. As any softwre engineer can tell you, providing POP3 support is trivial. So the question-of-the-day is:

          "Why would a billion-dollar corporation not include POP3 support for the mail application in what is arguably their most software release ever?"

          I will come back in 24 hours and give you the answer if you haven't figured it out...

          Oh..well, what the heck..

          It's because they knew that many ISP's only provide POP3 support. By doing what they did, they force you to start looking for alternatives. Then they create a service that smells like what you are looking for, called, that DOES provide POP3 support, but you have to sign-up for it, if you want your email from your ISP.

          Every-time you are staring at those ridiculous Fisher-Price tiles, scratching your head, asking yourself, WHY TF would someone DO THIS?...

          You can always find the answer my asking yourself if it makes money somehow to Microsoft.
          Le Chaud Lapin
          • You are right but wrong

            Any business decision is based on cost and benefit - no matter what business or what decision. Your totally senseless answer making Microsoft out to be evil because it is looking at making a profit is a fallacy. They are not doing it fraudulently and they are not breaking the law so stop it.
          • First of all...

            ...I do Wut Da F I want, when I want, how I want.

            That said, there is a such a thing as a monopoly, and abuse of the monopoly, which is illegal. Secondly, there are plenty of examples where a company makes an offer of something, the customer accepts the offer, what is being offered is not illegal, but it is still illegal.


            If someone wants to buy a new PC with Windows 7, but is told no by the OEM because the OEM has agreement with Microsoft to say no and force Windows 8, that is illegal.

            Basically, anything that makes the customer want to choke the ---- out of the person who sold it should be illegal.
            Le Chaud Lapin
          • Le Chaud know

            The Windows fan boys here on Zdnet really don't care for any Logic that casts a cloud over their beloved Windows.
            Over and Out
          • Do you even use Windows 8?

            If not, why comment? Go to an article that has some interest for you and post there. I pulled up a Windows poster in a Linux feedback so I'll pull up you too.
            Your adding nothing at all to the feedback section on this subject.

            Are you good at what you do? Do you like the OS that you use? Then comment on them.
          • huh?

            Again you are wrong. If the OEM still has Windows 7 copies then yes they can and will sell it (unless the benefit of selling it is less than the benefit of selling 8). However, if they ran out - Microsoft will not sell them anymore licenses - which is NOT illegal. Your def of wanting to choke the ... out of someone - would end up having a totalitarian state.