Microsoft announces upcoming spring update for Windows 8.1

Joe Belfiore, responsible for Windows Phone and the user experience of Windows 8, took to the Windows blog today to talk about improvements being made to Microsoft's desktop platform. An upcoming spring update for Windows 8.1 was also covered, which will continue to refine the user experience.

"We bet on touch and on mobility in a big way, and included a fresh take on what a touch-based interface could be for customers. We believe deeply in this direction and the future will continue to build on Windows 8."

Belfiore lightly touched on the Windows 8.1 update, which was released within a year in response to both customer and partner feedback. It's no secret that Microsoft is indeed listening to the industry and actively making changes based on suggestions.

We've also been looking at upcoming updates for Windows, which will be released on a more rapid release cycle, according to Belfiore with yet more changes and new features implemented.

The Windows blog post teases some of the new things included in a spring update, titled 'Update 1'. Expect to see this released around the time of Build.

Windows 8.1 Update

To begin, Microsoft will be enabling OEM partners to build lower cost hardware with the same Windows experience at more competitive price points. Think of this as Redmond eyeing up cheap Android tablets.

A large part of the spring update, however will address the continued confusion and stream of complaints surrounding the user interface in Windows 8. Numerous UI improvements are to be included in the update that will make the OS more friendly to those with keyboards and mice, without hampering the solid touch experience.

Don't think of this as Microsoft giving up on touch, as Belfiore reiterates in the post itself. "We still love and believe touch… but you’ll like how much more smooth and convenient these changes make mouse and keyboard use!"

Finally, Belfiore states that Microsoft will be enhancing support for enterprise with 'a few tweaks' as well as features like improved Internet Explorer 8 compatibility in IE11. 

Be sure to remain tuned to our feeds for the latest from this year's MWC.

Source: Windows Blog

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • This was on Wpcentral's Instagram hours ago.....but good anyway! I like the idea of having cheaper Windows tablets, it will be good for children and students
  • As a student, I've been waiting for this so long. But that's a good news anyway, and I'm happy to see MSFT will go for further lower price of a tablet. Good move, MSFT, kudos for you and your team!
  • I never thought of instagram as a "news" source. Did it have a story you could read or just pictures? 
  • It's just picture and a little bit of caption .
  • Get with it, Instagram is what's hip and happening.
  • I'm OG. I require paragraphs, subject-verb agreements etc. and a thing called dialectics.  :)
  • ^This
  • OG? Own Goal?
  • What is wpcentrals instagram?
  • Wpcentrals instagram is @wpcentral and I know Instagram isn't a news source, but it did had lots of information on multiple photos, hours before the article. I have no problem with this, as I don't mind waiting for bigger detail if needed. Say when WP8.1 dev preview comes out, it will probably take longer to write an article about it, than post a quick photo with a caption, so I can quickly update.
  • Wp 8.1 pls
  • Available on April, for those who have enrolled Developer Preview Program ;)
  • Seems faster!
  • LOL :D +920!
  • +1020 lol
  • He he he
  • With all of the wp8.1 leaks lately I completely forgot about w8.1 update
  • I don't have a problem with mouse & keyboard in wp8-8.1, just all the crybabies out there
  • same.. zero issues since day 1
  • +2520
  • +8100
  • Me neither. Love it!
  • Yes. And I want the option to disable that shit context menus in Metro.
  • This I agree with. I like the new start ans will gladly disable the old start if ans when they bring it back
  • Same here. Most of the people who cry about mouse and keyboard use, are just unwilling to embrace change. The same kind of people still have the classic Win2000 Start menu enabled in Windows 7 and have hundreds of icons on their desktop. These people just need to sh*t the f*ck up and stick to their ancient Windows XP and leave the real technology to the mature boys who are willing to go with the technological innovations which are being developed by Microsoft and their competitors.
  • That's kind of harsh. I personally enjoy W8.1. Love the metro interface for most things. I DO however have a dual boot situation, W8.1 x64 & W7 x86. This is mostly because my good stuff is still 32bit. Otherwise, I'd have everything migrated already. Metro and desktop both their places. People just need to understand settings, and they'll be golden. But the majority of users aren't us, extremely tech savvy. People tend to fear and not like what is new and don't understand
  • Mature boys with BIG vocabularies like you you mean?? Am I on the playground?
  • No, you'd be "in the playground". Big boys can swear too. I don't subscribe to the view that peope who swear have watered down their argument, or are juvenile. Swearing is an illustration of frustration, normally centred around the object of the argument. In this case, whiney idiots who they themselves are the problem as they cannot handle a simple change and cling to the old metaphors of computer usage like they clung the the hem of their mommas skirt :)
  • Also sprach Zarathustra.... If you do not like those new features... do not use them. What the update will bring is more choices to interact with devices.
  • Ahh 2001 Space Odyssey  Told you I'm an OG. :)
  • How do you use mouse and keyboard in Windows Phone 8? I am interested
  • Well, you know it is tough to remember to pull the window closed from the top without an "x" to close things and go to the sides for the charms or multi-tasking. My personal favorite was always to look around for folder where typing the search item has far too many steps. And the whole thing about having the start page with all of that immediate information instead of a start button and icon rows on the desktop is very confusing... (sarcasm intended)
  • I didn't know you can use mouse and keyboard in Windows Phone 8.
  • "Joe Belfiore, responsible for Windows Phone and the user experience of Windows 8, took to the Windows blog today to talk about improvements being made to Microsoft's desktop platform. An upcoming spring update for Windows 8.1 was also covered, which will continue to refine the user experience."
    The article and the thread are about Windows 8.1, not windowsphone 8.
  • I know that. But I was replying for a comment which someone mentioned about WP8 and 8.1
  • Touchpads can be a little difficult for the pull down feature. Required some tweaking in the synaptics options
  • +8.1
  • Well untill it comes out, we will have to wait. On my laptop i use the desktop a lot, so seeing the task bar in a metro app may be good. Right clicking to do stuff is also natural as is clicking x to close. Everything here seems good to me, as a surface 2 user too, i don't want to go to the desktop for anything. All configuration stuff should be through the charms, control panel stuff should be deprecated.
  • If the update doesn't make the Video and Music app whole again (aka Zune), I'm going to throw the f' up.
  • That'll never happen mate. You can stop dreaming. :)
  • Ha ha, yeah. I'm not over the Zune ordeal yet. Who knows what those fools were thinking removing Zune from WinP8. They should have just made it compatible w/ Winp8, or create a mirror Zune/Xbox Music with the same set up for new devices. Stupidest idea (that affected me directly) thus far.
  • Sound like the guys still holding a grudge over Vista.
  • More like one of the many users disappointed by the pathetic quality of both the Metro and Desktop apps to sync WP8 devices .
  • Its not pathetic. It doesn't sync yet. When the code is in place to sync, it will.  Have faith they know its something we want.  We'll get it.
  • is the second most important thing on both WP & tablet for me. And it's pale in comparison to Zune.
  • ^This!^
  • Double ^^^this^^^
  • ehmm Zune was crap... only because it had a "nice" skin, it doesnt mean it was better than other players or even xbox music. it sucked and it was never really updated anyway. its funny when people talk about Zune, yet WMP was better than that crappy player called Zune, it had a decent skin though, but it didnt have any impressive feature. there are better audio players and especially videoplayers out there.
  • Except Zune wasn't just a media player. It was excellent at managing podcasts (much better than iTunes IMO). It also gave us wp7 users wireless sync, which meant our phones would always be ready every morning with all the latest audio/video, while still giving users complete control.
  • so the only value was podcast which I dont really use? well... then it sounds like Zune was a nice podcast player or something like that :). but the most important part, the media player features sucked most of the time compared to other programs... so I dont know how still Zune was good compared to other players or even xbox music. I still have wp7 in my house, and its just a pain to have to open Zune, I know how to, but I would rather not sync anything than opening Zune to do what I have to do. wireless sync while a nice thing, wasnt nothing interesting, sometimes it worked and sometimes it didnt for me. and you still had to open Zune to wireless sync, so if you had to turn your computer on, and open Zune to do that... how hard would be to just plug your phone in the process? dont think its hard or time consuming... so its nothing but a nice "gimmick" in my opinion.
    I dont listen much music in my phone to want to sync it everyday wirelessly anyway. maybe different tastes between users. but what I dont understand its how people want Zune so much, and think it was so amazing. again, it only had a nice skin, nothing more... and honestly it isnt so much better than Xbox one, of course Xbox one is not perfect, but its been getting better. but wireless syncing and podcast management whatever it was doesnt make it the ultra needed app people seem to want.
  • Zune was far superior for making playlists. Going from Zune on WP7 to Xbox music was a step back. It was almost like they broke it on purpose to get back to the same point a year later. There is only one thing that I have found that Xbox music does better than Zune did except have a better name (maybe), the wireless synching.
  • You can do this now with the music+video app. I subscribe to several podcasts and they auto download for me. I handle all subscriptions through the app. Its pretty easy to use and I don't even really need to sync my phone to any software.
  • You can only subscribe to certain podcasts with the way it currently is. Subscription based feeds don't exist in the store (try ChineseClass101 for instance). And with Zune, I could set up a local "server" for it to "download" my cd-based audio books and listen to them like podcasts on my phone.
  • aah ok, i see.  I guess I don't really do much more than just subscribe and auto download podcasts.  I was very happy with that feature because Stitcher on my android phone at the time couldnt do that.  Perhaps now they've added that feature to the system.  But, I still like the Music+Video way and there is enough there to listen too.
  • Tried drag and drop lately in Xbox music? How about sorting out by DRM-free music? My wife is not into tech, yet she easily managed her music. Now I have to and it feels like a damn job.
    Unless we're able to already on Xbox music and I haven't yet figured out, in which case I would not mind your help.
  • yeah because drag and drop feature its a revolutionary feature only available in Zune /s
    did you not read when I said OTHER programs compared to Zune? most computers have windows 8, so it means you can use 3rd party desktop apps, even WMP if you want. and to answer your question, I cant drag and drop to any Windows 8 app... so thats your answer, its a problem with Microsoft and how they want secure apps and sandbox and all that stuff, not Xbox Music problem itself.
    also I select my songs and tell it to play it in xbox music, not exactly drag and drop but it works when I want to use xbox music and not other player. even if Zune could be installed in a RT tablet, and you had a touch device, it wasnt touch friendly, it would have the same problem of Office, mouse and keyboard in a tablet, yeah its nice to have all the features and all that, but its not nice to be almost forced to plug mouse and keyboard, because the on screen keyboard doesnt even come out if you dont tell it to.
    so again, Zune is no better than any other music player available, and I still think Xbox Music is not so bad as people say, especially when they compare it to a not nice player like Zune, which was not any good either.
  • what is "improved Internet Explorer 8 compatibility in IE11" ??
  • I can see this being a good point from a business perspective...many corporations run internal web apps built to a specifically for older versions of IE
  • aah i see the point, wasn't reading that bit correctly (its after midnight).. we run corporate apps that are IE7/9/10 compatible and all work in IE11 no issues.. IE8 is kind of forgotten lol
  • ^ this. You have to understand that one of the major features of Windows is almost unlimited backward compatibility, particularly when compared to other OS alternatives, of which there really aren't any. As an example, just a few years ago we moved off of a DOS platform for one of our services. It was running on XP. And we are just moving from XP to Win7. Many of our enterprise applications haven't been updated since at least 2005, some longer. So Microsoft has to do the dirty work and provide the bloated code needed for all that backward compatibility. Apple? They'll never be a player in enterprise because not only do they force obsolescence with their OS, they even force obsolescence with their hardware in a relatively short period of time. Enterprise will gave none of it because the costs are exponentially higher. Remember that Apple's business model is to sell you a piece of hardware, not a standalone OS. Microsoft's model is just the opposite.
  • It seems faster!
  • I hope it gets leaked soon, well when its RTMed. its always nice to get my windows updated, and its good not to wait until april for that.
    I know the changes they are adding, arent impressive or important but oh well. last time I heard someone saying this was an update for mouse... not for keyboard people. hmm I use mouse and I havent had problems with windows 8 at all, and win8.1 made everything nicer, but I dont know how putting apps in taskbar would make my life better. anyway, it sounds nice we will get a new free update for win8, so hope it will get RTM soon, and it will get leaked like the other versions and just "enjoy" a new experience I guess.
  • There are leaks out there with some of the new features included already..
  • I said "I hope it gets leaked soon, well when its RTMed" and I mean final RTM not Escrow which is just a nice word to say "we wont add any feature but we will work on fixing the bugs", but in theory thats still not RTM because its not ready yet. so whiel I know its been leaked, I dont want to install it if its not final RTM in my machine... its not recommended, and even if I want to try to the new features in my main machine... I just wont do it, especially when its some days away from hitting final RTM and I am sure it will be leaked the same day, so Im waiting for that. maybe I missed the "release" word in my sentence though... but I meant when its released and final and ready and then it gets leaked so I dont have to wait for april
  • I was expecting the usual barrage of "waaaaah! I want the Start Menu back" crap lol
  • what's a start menu? ;)
  • Hey, some people, myself included like the start menu. Installed Classic8 for it back. Easier, simpler, more "known". I only use this for programs like AutoCAD, Photoshop, etc, instead of pinning or whatever
  • I just want to skip March altogether!!! LoL 
  • But Titanfall tho :(
  • I love and support W8.x and WP8.x so anything that improves and makes OSes even better, I'm all in. As long as MS continues to update and improve core ecosystem apps like Skype (rather than only focus on improving iOS and Android versions first), Bing apps, Outlook, Office etc., I see a bright future for MS.
  • I've been leading the charge to introduce new MS technology into my workplace (WP8 and Surface) so any improvements just add weight to my arguments :)
  • Whatever makes W8 more popular the better. Need better sales to drive store app development.
  • Update 1, a horse designed by committee.
  • A few tweaks for enterprise? Start menu is coming back.
  • I can comfortably navigate Windows 8.1 with touch, mouse, and keyboard...I don't understand what the big concern is for a more "old school" experience. When has technology ever gone backwards?! I know the older generations are more accustomed to the "old school" experience, but it shouldn't hinder the change of technology, or the future of it, and I think everyone should be happy that Microsoft is doing their best to make everyone happy.
  • Agreed, but yet.....
  • So release date in April for everyone or only Devs?
  • Firstly, I have no issue using mouse and keyboard. That said, it is nowhere as intuitive as it should be. I circumvent this by just, as much as I hate to, covering my desktop in shortcuts. You know, what it is meant for.
  • I think Windows 8 should have a mandatory tutorial. That might help with the confusion for the people that don't want to take 20 minutes to learn on their own.
  • IE 8 compatibility for IE 11 would probably be a way to move slow IT departments to the present.
  • Most definitely
  • Microsoft has historically been ahead in terms of ideas and implementation. But whiny asses has held MS from being too forward thinking. 1st with a smartwatch, cell phone OS, touch OS 10 years ago, fingerprint scanning on laptops, among the 1st with cloud storage, a thin client (WebTV), and much more. Because of vocal haters, MS has held itself in check. When it does release something innovative, the haters become more vocal, because their beloved Apple or Google did not release it first. Of course, this is just my opinion.
  • Guys, please can anyone give me an advice. Shall I buy Surface Pro 2 or an Ultrabook ? I need it primarily for taking notes, previewing/editing contracts with clients, and sometimes for smaller programming/photoshop when I am out of office.  For a bigger/more difficult tasks - longer writing ,Photoshop, video editing, etc  I use normal PC (I have 1 year old powerful desktop).    I like Surface Pro 2 concept so much, its st. completely new  for me(I like new things) BUT there are a lot of people telling me that tablet pc is not suitable for work, its a bad joke, time killer, etc. are they right ? 
  • Have you considered a Lenovo Yoga? Check out this review. Lisa's reviews are the best and I recommend subscribing:  
  • Can't wait!
  • Internet explorer 8. In ie11 ?????? what's that mean????
  • Compatibility
  • Awesome!!!! Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • That's all we need, Windows on regurgitated crappy Android devices.
  • That a good move. But how is this update gonna be delivered? I think it should be better through the Windows Store as I have got some group of friend who starting to make a good use of app in Windows Store. So they will see this update. How about you guys?
  • Using my Dell Venue 8 Pro 64GB and for $300 I relly don't know how they can het much cheaper and be a lot better. Im really happy with this thing.
  • Any word about fixing the syncing or lack there of with the windows8.1 pc/desktop SkyDrive apps, and file name size errors? It's practically useless on my computers.