Windows 8.1 Update 1 now looking like April

Microsoft's new ship target for its coming Windows 8.1 Update 1 may have shifted from March to April, according to sources.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

I've heard from two of my sources in the past week that Microsoft's ship target for Windows 8.1 Update 1 has shifted from March 2014 to April 2014.


The idea remains to use Patch Tuesday to distribute the coming so-called "Spring" update via Windows Update, my sources said. If that is the case, Windows 8.1 Update 1 should be pushed to users on April 8, rather than March 11.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 is a collection of features and fixes for Windows 8.1. Most of the new features are aimed at making Windows 8.1 more palatable to those who prefer using a mouse to navigate the latest Windows release.

A leaked Windows 8.1 Update 1 test build (from mid-January) showed off a number of the expected new features, including the ability to pin Metro apps to the Desktop task bar; new right-clickable context-sensitive menus; and adding dedicated search and power buttons to the Start screen. A new Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer 11 is also part of the leaked build, according to some who've downloaded it.

There were reports that Windows 8.1 Update 1 might change the default start-up experience so that the desktop, rather than the Metro Start screen became the default on all machines running Update 1. As I noted last week, I heard this is not Microsoft's plan. Those downloading the leaked Windows 8.1 Update 1 build from January noted that boot-to-desktop was not set as the default configuration.

Windows leaker WZor indicated on February 2 that a more likely scenario may be that boot to desktop will be installed by default on new PCs/devices without a touch screen. Users who are upgrading from Windows 8.1 to Windows 8.1 Update 1 who don't have boot to desktop set as their default already also won't see their settings change to boot to default, according to WZor.

I am not sure why the ship target for Update 1 has allegedly been pushed back a month, but have heard that the original March target was fairly ambitious. OEMs are still likely to get the Windows 8.1 Update 1 bits in early March for preloading on new PCs, my sources said.

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