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Microsoft announces Windows 8.1 Update 1 with mouse-and-keyboard friendly tweaks

Microsoft has made Windows 8.1 Update 1 official! Straight from Build 2014 the spring refresh brings with it a bunch of new features that'll appeal to traditional and modern users alike.

First, Windows 8.1 Update 1 is designed to run great on more devices, providing faster access to the things that matter most to you, and a more consistent, better experience across both touch and non-touch devices. Yes, that includes universal apps for PCs and phones!

Second, the user interface has been improved for mouse and keyboard lovers, with taskbar access from any screen, and the ability to pin Windows Store apps to the taskbar alongside desktop apps and website favorite. IE 11 will also automatically detect the size of your screen and type of device and optimize itself for the best browsing experience possible.

These improvements provide faster, more direct access to the things people care most about, so activities such as powering down, searching the Web and switching between apps are easier than ever. Navigating with the mouse and keyboard will feel more familiar and intuitive because there’s more consistency with where controls are and how they work.

New, lower cost devices will also be better served by Windows 8.1 Update 1, thanks to the 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage minimum requirements.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 will be a free Windows Update for all Windows 8.1 users, and a free Windows Store update for all Windows 8 users starting April 8, 2014.

Update: Also available via MSDN and TechNet.

I'm looking forward to both the Windows 8.1 Update 1 fixes and the new features, how about you?

Source: Windows Experience Blog

Rene Ritchie has been covering the personal technology industry for almost a decade. Editorial Director at Mobile Nations, analyst at iMore, video and podcast host, you can follow him @reneritchie on Snapchat, Instagram, or Twitter.

56 Comments
  • Alread installed and running,love the changes :)
  • How did you get?
  • He got it from a leak
  • MSDN maybe? that's how I got it. Had the Microsoft leaked bits (2nd round) but decided to wait the extra week. Today I pulled them from MSDN since it was official.
  • Any idea if the micro SD on Windows RT will be utilized for apps etc...I'm down to 3gb on my 2520 and too scared to install any more apps, lol!
  • Seems faster
  • It does seem faster #SeriousBiznass
  • Its been available for months. Old news
  • Not everything because they are reinventing start menue, which can display live tiles
  • That is something they are preparing for a future update. Think 8.1.2
  • Future like what we're calling Windows 9 in speculation, they did say not soon before they showed that off.
  • but it's a standalone update you have to manually install. it is not included in the update pack. So technically, its not part of the 8.1 update :)
  • I hope this rubbish can be disabled. I want Windows 8, not Windows 98.
  • Had to look twice but great to see Rene doing this article, I've been an imore fan for a long time too, since it was tipb!
  • Yeah first I was like... wrong profile showing, wait no its not. :)
  • NEWSROOM!
  • No windowed apps? Keep developing w8 Microsoft, while I keep w7...
  • They actually did announce Windowed apps...and users of Windows 8 have been able to window our apps with ModernMix for ages.
  • Loving the new start menu. That come with Update 1?
  • Question: is the new start menu optional in the update? cause I would hate to have that on my pro 2.
  • I think it's a thing you can enable if you want
  • Personally, I would hate it on my desktop too. I hate hate hate the start menu.
  • April 8!!!
    Wpcentral were wrong, nokiapoweruser were right!!
  • This is WINDOWS 8 not windows PHONE. nokiapoweruser said WP8.1 would be on the 8th but WPCentral said 10th (which is much more reliable.)
  • Does anyone have pirated version of this OS? Does it work well? Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • W8 cost $15 when it first came out. You'd have to be pretty stingy to pirate it
  • Get lost thief.
  • "Windows 8.1 Pro Update 1" Sigh...
  • Will this update be available to windows 8.1 RT users as well?
  • Curious about this as well.
  • Certainly it will. If only for IE 11.0.7, which brings Enterprise Mode. Also, they would probably need 8.1.1 because release another update, so yeah ...
  • I have it running now on my Surface 2
  • You would hope most of these features can be disabeled in RT, why would you want additional clicks to get to the metro start screen, or the taskbar to appear before contextual swipe up menus in metro apps?
  • It's available for MSDN subscribers now... just went up.
  • Universal app for phones and pcs??
  • Was cool to see the new old desktop startmenue with Live Tiles and floating Modern Apps. I guess thats for Update 2 later this year.
  • That was a big surprise for me, i love it and i know many others will love it also!
  • Love the new taskbar and start. Been waiting for this.
  • Got them.
  • The haters are already blasting MS, saying this proves the Modern UI is a failure and that they are "killing it"... sigh. http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-updates-windows-8-for-desktops-...
  • I'm a hater of old Windows, and I totally agree. If they're putting a start menu in the way of the modern start screen, and a taskbar in the modern UI, why even have it? If they're pushing it to the background instead of front and centre, they've done a poor job of spruiking the benefits and are slowly killing modern. They might as well ceded to Google and Apple as while the crowds whinge and whinge about modern, they don't really want old Windows, they'll be losing those customers to iOS and Android eventually while Microsoft goes back to their ancient enterprise based roots.
  • I don't understand your point. iOS and Android are tablet OSs, and the tablets and touch PCs will continue to prominently feature the touch-friendly Modern UI. This is for the mouse & keyboard PCs, which have less benefit from the touch-based tile UI.
  • Because on a desktop, using keyboard & mouse, there are no benefits to the giant metro start screen.
  • Except that it is easier to find and organize the apps you use to match your workflow as opposed to using a narrow app launcher with shortcuts hidden inside folders. There are plenty of benefits. Microsoft just did a poor job of explaining those benefits. As a matter of fact, they made no effort to really explain the logic into creating windows 8 to people. Some people can figure things out and others need everything spelled out to them.
  • Definitely agree.
  • I disagree... the amount of screen real estate required for apps in folders is far less than the start screen, and you have the added benefit of an Icon + Text. If you reduce all of the metro icons down to their smallest amount then you have to recognise the apps by image, instead of by name (sometimes easy, sometimes not). The equivalent on W8 is the full app list, but as far as I've seen there's no way to organise it into more useful categories (I could be wrong about that though).  On W7 I have hundreds of applications I need for my work, from database tools, source control tools, IDE's, browsers, graphic editors, compressors, code comparers, encrypt/decrypt tools, multimedia applications, virtualisation stuff, hardware utilities, messaging and collaboration tools, and many other general utilities. If I were to pin everything I use to my metro screen it would be a solid wall several screens across. Even sorted into the named vertical columns, it's horrifying to navigate with. It's much more efficient to be provided with a sliver of information at a time - not an entire wall of information. It would actually be great if you select from a list of categories and then it just shows you that section... but then we're back to glorified folders.
  • when he is talking about windows 8 being for touch screen and adding new features because of mouse users, im like no shit sherlock dafuq did u expect when releasing win8 in the first place, eveyone imediatly switching to touchscreen? i love my surface, but sometimes i just dont get wtf there thinking.
  • Would that be the update that everybody installed about a month ago?
  • No. This is the upcoming "Windows 8.1 Update 1".
  • What they need to do is better merge the modern and desktop UIs. To do this the 'start screen' should be transparently visible on the Desktop model, and double clicking on the wallpaper should switch over to the 'start screen'. There, the taskbar shoudl be transparently visible so you can see what apps you have open. You should be able to double click (or tap) anywhere on the start screen that isn't an app icon shortcut to immediately return to Desktop mode. Visually, it will look smooth (just the transparency is shifting from the taskbar to the start screen apps, and vice versa), rather than its current, jarring state. That way the start button can return to a pseudo-start menu and make that crowd happy too.
  • I havent update to 8.1 yet cause i was hoping that the update 1 and the all 8.1 wa available in one single download... any chance this would happen?
  • Through the Store, as stated.
  • I'm not thrilled with the changes that they are making in this update. I am actually happy with the way it currently is. I don't need a task bar in an AP. That os what the swipe left or hover on the top left corner is for. It is an elegant solution that has worked great for me. What they should have done was put traditional programs there and give us an option to make it persistent instead of giving us the old task bar for the desktop. I just might skip this update
  • :3 yeah! Less power needed.
  • Wished I still had technet...
  • Is anyone else having problems with the 'X' button on Modern apps not actually closing the app? If I click the 'X' button and then open the task manager on the desktop the app I just closed is still running. Another thing I don't like is when I close all apps I want it to bring me back to the Start screen, not the desktop.