Today marks the first day of the sold-out Microsoft Build developer conference, and as widely expected, Microsoft has officially unveiled the first major update for Windows 8.1, which the company simply calls the Windows 8.1 Update. Arriving less than six months after the major update that was Windows 8.1, this update is focused on improving the OS’ experience for users of non-touch devices (i.e., keyboard/mouse users), and enhancing compatibility for education and enterprise users.
Windows 8.1 Update brings discoverable Search and Power settings on the Start screen, a context menu when you do a right click, a familiar title bar on Windows Store apps with window closing and minimizing controls, and easier multi-tasking between the Modern and desktop environments through the now-everywhere taskbar. You can check out some of these features here.
This latest update also lowers the hardware requirements OEMs have to meet for Windows 8.1 devices. Soon, consumers will be able to buy devices that have just 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Obviously, Microsoft hopes this translates to more affordable devices; along with changes to the licensing costs (did someone say free?) and the imminent end of support for Windows XP, faster adoption of Windows 8/8.1.
General availability of the Windows 8.1 Update is slated for next Tuesday, April 8 (yup, on ‘Patch Tuesday’) via Windows Update for current Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 users. If you're still on Windows 8/RT, you'll get the update via Windows Store. MSDN subscribers will get the bits today.