Windows 8.1 Update 1 hits RTM ahead of April release

Windows 8.1

Microsoft has finalised the development stage of the first major update for Windows 8.1. According to a report over on the The Verge, Redmond has recently completed and signed off on a final version of Update 1, releasing the upgrade to manufacturing partners (RTM - release to manufacturing). What this means is Microsoft has begun sharing Windows 8. Update 8.1 with PC vendors ahead of next month's expected release after the company's Build conference.

This first update for Windows 8.1 is set to introduce new features and changes to the operating system, appeasing keyboard and mouse users. The list of changes include showing Windows 8 apps in the desktop taskbar, display a new title bar at the top of Windows 8 apps, as well as more convenient access to shutting down a system from the Start screen. We've previously looked at some of the new features Microsoft is including in the update.

The software giant is also looking at slashing Windows license fees, not to mention OS tweaks to enable manufacturers to produce hardware with just 1GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage. We're likely to see more affordable Windows hardware to combat the array of competitor products available on the market. We'll have more information as Build draws nearer.

Source: The Verge


Reader comments

Windows 8.1 Update 1 hits RTM ahead of April release


Within a year it is supposed to be 100% - Threshold update is supposed to unify platforms. But that's not desktop and mobile. That's tablet and mobile unification we are talking. No more RTs.

I think it will still be separate UIs on each (Win/WP), but unifying the stores and developer APIs in Threshold.

As Windows RT is the ARM version of Windows, it cannot possibly go away. Of course Microsoft could potentially stop producing ARM devices, which would be strategically stupid.

The only thing, which will be unified is the API and runtime environment between Windows/RT and Windows Phone. I do not see anyone would prefer Windows Phone on the tablet instead of Windows/RT. Aside from the UI it will take Windows Phone years to gain feature parity with todays Windows.

Windows RT is already part of the WP division, and even WP8.1 has a WinRT name behind it. WP may be stripped down in some ways, but WP and winRT will be extremely similar going forward, and win9/threshold and WP9/winRT should offer an extreme amount of overlap for windows store software.

Your are mixing up 2 completely different things. WinRT - the Windows Runtime used by Windows (x86 and ARM) with partial overlap with WinPRT - the Windows Phone Runtime. WinRT and WinPRT will be unified as best as possible such that Apps can run under Windows Phone and Windows(including RT).

Something completely different is Windows RT - the OS which is running on Surface/Surface 2 - beeing the Windows OS compiled for ARM devices.

Let's get this straight from a developer standpoint. Windows RT is going away, one way or the other. It doesn't make sense to have 3 OS. Plain and simple. Microsoft knows this. What's going to happen is Windows RT and WP will merge. And considering its easier to build WP up than it is to break Windows RT down, this is how they will merge. 

Microsoft will likely adopt a responsive UI, so WP and Windows RT will look more or less how they currently do. One set of code is what will lead to one unified API. The only real difference is WP will have certain features disabled that it doesn't need, as will Windows RT. 

Eventually, probably when Microsoft does something with the desktop (whether that be get rid of it completely, or make an "enterprise" version of Windows), Windows itself will get mixed in with the new RT/Phone hybrid, and we have one Windows. 

You don't get the point. There is no 3rd OS. There is Windows and Windows Phone, the first one can be build for ARM and x86 while the latter can only be build for ARM. In the future Microsoft might introduce a build option for x86 for Windows Phone too.

In any case, there are only 2 OS, in particular from development point of view.

A completely different matter is the API. Currently Windows is using WinRT as API while Windows Phone use WinPRT. These APIs might get unified. This question is independent of ARM or x86 builds.

Also what would be the purpose of disabling features? Currently Windows RT has all the features from Windows as it is a straight build/compilation from Windows sources*. So why would you want to disable features?

*Exception is, that there are certain legacy libraries not included as for instance DirectX earlier than version 9.

I look at it differently: At the rate features are added to WP in the forthcoming WP8.1, it's more like WP is being upgraded to RT, and eventually will disappear into that OS.

Hopefully this does not mean making the PCs with any less features. Idea is to make phones smarter, not dumb down the PCs. Hope MS gets it, they still sell 100s of millions of PCs

Microsoft won't be making the hardware, OEM's will. If it gets less specs, its on the OEMaz MS is giving them what they want.

I don't think he meant hardware capability. Its os capability. For instance reducing desktop's ability to multi task to share code base with wp would be bad move

I'm not liking the Androidification of Windows, but if it means being able to buy a Windows tablet at CVS Pharmacy for $40, then let's do it.

In my opinion, they should have never done Windows RT in the first place.

If there would have been only Windows (for x86) and Windows ARM variants, people would have been less confused by now.

Windows ARM also needed to have 100% code charing (excluding the GUI interface) between mobile & tablet variants right from the start.

Another big blunder (though not fully related to this) is how they couldn't cash on their XBOX branding. Unexcusable, if you ask.

Too many bad decisions so far.

Anyways, but now, they seem to have realised those and are trying to correct themselves. Good sign.

It might take another 2 years from now for their plans to be fully realized to its strength.

Windows 9 will be the big thing and the ONE to look out for. Until then, they shouldn't/can't rest!

Haha don't worry guys, article says 16gb internal memory so I'm sure they will add some external memory to that so we're not stuck with insufficient storage space

This is great news. Windows 8.1 just keeps getting better and better. It is good that they will be bringing back the familiar X to close a program. "I can't figure out how to close a program!!!" is one of the biggest complaints that I hear from users. At best, most have figured out that if you hover your mouse in the top left and then right click, you get a close button but I have only seen one person that figured out that you drag from the top of the screen to close a modern program.

exept you don't have to close metro apps. the system will do it for you. it works like mobile phones were the apps are suspended. i have seen people with iphones that never knew about the multitasking and had dozens of apps in memory and it didn't seem to bother them at all.

One of the strengths about Windows 8.x is that you don't need to close programs as the system manages them based on current usage.  If you want to close a modern program all you do is grab if from the top of the screen with a left click, move the program down the screen until it turns into its tile and then wait for the tile to flip.  Once the tile flips the program is completely closed.  Same for touch screen, swipe from the top towards the bottom until the program becomes a tile and then wait for the tile to flip.

Closing apps by dragging down doesn't really work though. They are still running, suspended, just not available via swipe any more until you click on the tile again. Swipe down and then check the task manager. See? This matters if an app locks or goes screwy, the only way to get it to restart is to kill it in the task manager.

You can kill apps by swiping down and then holding them at the bottom for a couple seconds until they flip over.  This changed in 8.1, prior to that swiping down did actually close them.  Another unintuitive move for the worse, IMO.

The only definite way to kill metro apps, at least for keyboard users is with Alt-F4. It kills them cold.

A suspended app is not running, it's kicked out of memory when memory is not enough for another app to run. It can start quickly or not at all.

W8.1u1 doesnt matter much to me.. I already love w8.1 and think its fine, so I don't care much for U1 (though I have nothing against it) WP8.1 howeverrrrrrr

Excited for both because I think these two update/upgrade will grow the user base to a meaningful level - although the latest data on W8 installed base as 10%+ is meaningful already but hey, let W8.1 Update 1 make it even more so. Hoping that WP8.1 will at least double WP's user base.

Shutting down????that's the problem??? That's not that big and to make it easier should be simple

Why don't they surprise us with the WP8.1 update? Release it immediately. Or at least announce it officially. Before /build/ 2014.

Maybe they will... keep checking preview for developers... you never know... might just get lucky ahead of schedule...

Sure. There is no inherent difference between Windows RT and Windows besides that the former one beeing compiled for ARM processors. So whatever feature is implemented in Windows it is available for RT as well.

Get the preview for developers. It's free and you get instant updates... at least from MS. This is how everyone of this forum will rock 8.1 the day it's released.

well this is about Windows Desktop OS.

but I realized my sister bought a Wp8 yesterday and there is "waiting for approval" but its not even sure thats the update that will be available for the phone, since it just says "country variant" not the carrier's name.
so it seems there are just lazy people who cant test and approve the update faster for the consumer.

I think it would have made a little more sense to call it 8.2, then 8.3, 8.4 etc. Not a fan of this 8.1 - Update 1, 2, 3. Is there going to be an 8.2 (+ updates), 8.3 (+ updates), all the way up to 9?

The increments don't mean all that much. I think the reason they didn't call this 8.2, is so it could be inline with Windows Phone (WP8.1 to be announced along side W8.1 GDR1). And to answer your question, they will just jump straight from 8.x to 9.0 with the next major release of windows, even if 9.0 isn't chronologically next.

I assumed that much, but doesnt mean that the naming scheme is confusing and could have been thought out more logically. If the intention is to jump, why not call it 8.5? A .1 update seems small, but its actually quite massive.

We find the dumbest things to complain about. If it brings wanted or much needed improvements, who cares

Im hoping that this is a transition period for the merge of the 2. From a marketing/sales standpoint, it would be easier to talk to non-tech consumers about the current version available if they simplify it. I do know that they were skipping ahead, I just thought it might make it easier to understand what I was referring to if I put it down.

This got me thinking. I wonder if WP 8.1 in april will include "update 1'" code from RT. Or do we have to wait for another GDR?  (Wasn't there a leak way back suggesting one more GDR before year end?)

Giggity!!  But seriously, if RTM occured after the April release date, we'd have a completely different conversation. ALA Windows Vista and Blackberry Playbook.

RTMs usually go to MSDN. What I'm wondering is if the upgrade will be there so as to not have to do a full install. I'll have to check when I get back to my desk

I just checked our enterprise subscription and it's not there yet, checked MSDN nothing there either yet.

What is dearly needed is an internal app or ability to pin WiFi and Bluetooth power on connections settings on the home screen. We have waited far to long for this.

Connectivity Tiles isnt on Windows 8.x, because there is no Metro App API to launch settings. Just like apps on Windows cant access battery level, but can on Windows Phone.

II assure you its possible.

Go to the store and search "connectivity tile". There are others which may show under the related view. Enjoy :-)

Flicking between articles and saw connectivity tiles mentioned above and thought WP8. Please ignore my above comments in this instance.

If they show apps in the taskbar on PCs, why not make it the other way around on tablets? It would be so much better if I could switch between Powerpoint, Photoshop and Mail app with a swipe from the left.

Still not enough. There are a few store apps that I would like to use at some point, but snapping them is simply no good. Allow windowed store apps on the desktop and I will use them. Full screen and snap experiences are fine for smaller touch devices, but is less than useless on the desktop. I love win8, but if the idea is to start making some money from app use, then they need to make the apps usable.

The only thing that riles me (a little) in the latest leak is that you go back to the desktop when you close a modern app rather than the start screen.

Loving all the rest of it lol