More Windows 8.1 Spring update screenshots leak, highlights new pinning feature

Notorious leaker WZor has posted new info on Update 1 (or GDR1) for Windows 8.1 via Twitter that shows a build string that is just over a week old.

As you can see, this may also be the first leak to appear online for the update. WZor had previously predicted that a leak would happen on or by 15 January.

The spring update will likely not bring a significant overhaul to the platform by any means and we will have to wait until April of 2015 to see any major changes to the platform when Windows 9 arrives.

There's not much else to go on other than the screenshot that made it's way online over a week ago, but with an expected official release around the time of the BUILD conference, we don’t have to wait too long to see what the update includes. 

We'll update this post if new screenshots appear and more info is made available on a leak to web.

Update: Gallery of the build added, thanks FaiKee!

An interesting option has shown up in one of the screenshots from the gallery, as pointed out in the comments below, an option has been added to "Show Store apps on the taskbar" which is also active in the taskbar. While this may not necessarily indicate a union between Modern apps and the traditional desktop, this option may simply show that Modern apps are running in the background. 

Although until we have the build ourselves or the leaker suggests otherwise, we'll all have to wait to see what Microsoft has improved in Windows 8.1 when it comes to the user experience, but for now we're not holding our breath for Windowed Modern apps on the desktop.

Source & Images: WZor on Twitter

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So while Win9 comes out, Win8 will continue to exist with annual updates? What happens if Win8 comes out with an update more feature rich and more functional than Win9? And then 9 fights back and does the same, and then 8 comes back yet again and the fight goes on?

That's funny

Wow, what an awful horrible confusing mess Windows has become. You can have this awful OS on a tablet, on a PC and on a Phone! Yay!

How is the average human meant to work all this out? Charms, Pin Store Apps to the Taskbar, Desktop Apps, Store Apps, Windows Store Apps, No desktop apps because you run RT. No tablet version of office. A desktop that only runs office. Running desktop Office on a tiny 8 inch Tablet, Trying to use desktop office on a tiny tablet with touch, 2 versions of the same web browser, 2 places to mange PC/Tablet settings, the list goes on and on.

This is why PC sales are declining and this is why the sales volumes of Windows Tablets are nowhere near the sales volumes of iPads.

Windows 8 is a huge fail and it just keeps getting worse.

Edited by derekaw, Jan 22 2014, 7:18pm :

No, this isn't why PC sales are declining, and you're seriously twisting/spinning things.

Also, Tablet "Metro" versions of Office Apps are due to start appearing this year. Once they're all on Metro, I imagine that the desktop will disappear from Windows RT, thus eliminating what you consider a point of confusion. And yeah, there are two places for settings, but there's huge over-lap, and you don't need to go to both generally.

Windows 8.1 is actually a very nice, usable OS... once you've made a few configuration tweaks to optimize it for desktop, because it comes optimized for touch out of the box. THAT is the big fail... the install/upgrade doesn't adapt the settings for the target hardware, nor does it exactly direct you to how to configure it for the hardware you're on.

Metro apps on taskbar, desktop apps (individually) in Metro and most importantly, per-app audio controls for Metro apps and a combined mixer, dammit!

They're adding that feature for Windows Phone 8.1, so it seems like a no-brainer that they'd add that same capability to the Metro environment on Windows 8.1 (given the whole point of Windows 8.1 Update 1 is to bring Windows Phone 8.1 and the Metro app environment in Windows 8.1 closer together)

Now, if they'd only add that New folder button in the Metro file picker (the one you get when you try to save an attachment in the Metro mail app), I might actually be able to use it. Having the ability to pick and browse folders, but not create them is simply a joke. Apparently MS considers it "fast and fluid" to exit the Mail app, go to the SkyDrive app, remember where you wanted to save a file, create the folder - and go back to the Mail app and do it all over again...

They have to keep Metro for mobile initiatives and they have to play nice with advanced desktop users and IT. Tough spot they put themselves in. While they're moving way too slow, at least they're moving in the right direction, finally. They did make quite the mess though.

runningnak3d said,
*sigh*

I want *LESS* Metro with my desktop (NONE!), not *MORE*. MS just really isn't listening.


I want this... I want that... wah wah wah...

You need to realize businesses have a vision and they can't listen to every single person's complaint otherwise it'll be one big mess. This is obviously to ease with the unification of Windows and Windows Phone and between Desktop and MetroUI. It's a great idea, and there will probably be lots more coming.

Plus, no one's forcing you to use the awesome Windows 8.1... go back to 7 if you don't like it. It's still supported for quite some time.

runningnak3d said,
*sigh*

I want *LESS* Metro with my desktop (NONE!), not *MORE*. MS just really isn't listening.

You and the other haters are a minority, get over it and embrace Metro, tis the future

z0phi3l said,

You and the other haters are a minority, get over it and embrace Metro, tis the future

And your conclusions are based upon?

Dot Matrix said,

Win9 rumors. "Metro 2.0"

Which is the $1,000,000 question? What Metro 2 is? What does it look like?
Personally once it will be presented and I will have used it I would be able to express an opinion about it; till then..... I will just wait and hope.

Star-Pirate said,
Sounds like a last ditch attempt by Microsoft... to push a faltering OS to me.

Do you know that Bob offered a fully Vector graphic based desktop...... in 1995?

Steven P. said,

"Windows Store apps" or Store apps? Pick a name Microsoft!!

Who cares... apps are apps. Store apps obviously means the same as Windows Store apps when you're on Windows...

Dear Microsoft, Please fix the discrepancy between icons. It won't take long, it could be done in time for the Spring Update easily.

Just goes to show how stupidly Windows 8 was setup from the start that they have to have these major updates already! Ridiculous!!

Glad to see MS likes to create work for itself though. Nothing like job security created from your own stupidity and no one gets fired for it!!

It was obviously rushed, but that doesn't mean it was stupid. It's a step in the right direction and I like how they are moving in this faster update cycle.

My wishlist:
- Being able to turn off the charms bar when you aren't in the start screen or metro apps since it's pretty useless in Desktop apps (now it can be either always on or always off)
- Being able to use the "Send to" menu to send mail through the metro app without having to keep an additional separated desktop mail client since the Mail app doesn't support MAPI.
- Fix DPI detection and scaling on older WDDM drivers (ATI Legacy) that was broken with 8.1
- Fix the damn Skydrive, it doesn't work well with Office 2013/365 and I've seen missing sync status and dozens of local Skydrive folder copies on several Windows installs

francescob said,
My wishlist:
- Being able to turn off the charms bar when you aren't in the start screen or metro apps since it's pretty useless in Desktop apps (now it can be either always on or always off)
- Being able to use the "Send to" menu to send mail through the metro app without having to keep an additional separated desktop mail client since the Mail app doesn't support MAPI.
- Fix DPI detection and scaling on older WDDM drivers (ATI Legacy) that was broken with 8.1
- Fix the damn Skydrive, it doesn't work well with Office 2013/365 and I've seen missing sync status and dozens of local Skydrive folder copies on several Windows installs

The Charms Bar definitely needs to be a little less touchy on the desktop at least. This doesn't happen to me a ton, but when I accidentally launch it when trying to use a scroll bar, it's incredibly frustrating...

Scaling of Desktop Programs on higher DPI screens really needs to be fixed. I have programs that look completely different on my Windows 8 Machine than they do on any other machine...

Skydrive after upgrading 8.0 to 8.x has all types of issues.

I'd like to see the ability to auto start store apps and complete control of the Modern UI and all elements via GPO. This is an eventual must.

The complaints about the Charm Bar mirror a number of complaints that the keyboard-centric have had about the Start menu, yet the Start menu is defended, while the Charm Bar is scorned. On the default (right) side of the screen - where the Charm Bar is - are two items (for a typical full-size app window, such as a browser window); the size controls and the scroll control. However, the Charm Bar launcher is below the size controls (and above the scroll control) - the only way it can get in the way is if you have more than two toolbars showing in your application; any application that uses toolbars, that is (such as Office, browsers, etc. - I'm using Chrome as my example, though it also applies equally to Word and Outlook).

francescob said,
My wishlist:
- Being able to turn off the charms bar when you aren't in the start screen or metro apps since it's pretty useless in Desktop apps (now it can be either always on or always off)
- Being able to use the "Send to" menu to send mail through the metro app without having to keep an additional separated desktop mail client since the Mail app doesn't support MAPI.
- Fix DPI detection and scaling on older WDDM drivers (ATI Legacy) that was broken with 8.1
- Fix the damn Skydrive, it doesn't work well with Office 2013/365 and I've seen missing sync status and dozens of local Skydrive folder copies on several Windows installs

SkyDrive is working perfectly on my win8.1 machines

The complaints about AMD Legacy (GPU drivers) are both an AMD issue and a feature-support issue; worse, they are an issue with Windows 7 as well. (They are more obvious in Windows 8/8.1 due to other changes - the only real answer there is to upgrade your GPU.)

kidjenius said,

SkyDrive is working perfectly on my win8.1 machines

There are major issues and various workarounds. Give it a Google. It has been a problem since the upgrade was available. MS is just now kind of formally acknowledging it.

Many don't notice it until they add new stuff after the upgrade, and there is not visible notification from the system that it's not syncing (some people have items disappear).

For me after disconnecting/reconnecting MS Account, worked a bit, then hung. Reapplied advanced permmissions (basicall full control) to folder and allow child objs to inherit. Then from cmdline stop and restart skydrive service, has resulted in longest working period so far.

PGHammer said,
The complaints about the Charm Bar mirror a number of complaints that the keyboard-centric have had about the Start menu, yet the Start menu is defended, while the Charm Bar is scorned. On the default (right) side of the screen - where the Charm Bar is - are two items (for a typical full-size app window, such as a browser window); the size controls and the scroll control. However, the Charm Bar launcher is below the size controls (and above the scroll control) - the only way it can get in the way is if you have more than two toolbars showing in your application; any application that uses toolbars, that is (such as Office, browsers, etc. - I'm using Chrome as my example, though it also applies equally to Word and Outlook).

It's not just because it's a distracting annoyance, it's because it's completely useless with desktop apps. If you turn it off it's turned off everywhere, including on Metro apps where it's absolutely important to have (without it you can't print, access to app settings, share content, etc.). If you have a keyboard you can still call it with the hotkey (Win+C) but if you have a touchscreen you can no longer access it that's why a better compromise becomes a necessity.

kidjenius said,
SkyDrive is working perfectly on my win8.1 machines

Similarly I didn't have any problem with Windows ME yet anybody knows it wasn't like that for everybody. There are several articles and hundreds of posts on Microsoft Answers with people having issues with 8.1 Skydrive, issues that can't be resolved due the lack of proper troubleshotting tool (the best the official tool can do is to restart the services). Also Office 2013/365 save directly to Skydrive ignoring the 8.1 integration so you can often end up with mismatching versions and it's quite an hell of an annoyance.

PGHammer said,
The complaints about AMD Legacy (GPU drivers) are both an AMD issue and a feature-support issue; worse, they are an issue with Windows 7 as well. (They are more obvious in Windows 8/8.1 due to other changes - the only real answer there is to upgrade your GPU.)

My GPU (4770) still runs most of my games at highest settings so I don't see why I should upgrade. Microsoft broke the support for older WDDM drivers (AFAIK it's not a bug on AMD part) just like they dropped support for older CPUs in 8.1 so I think they're the ones to blame considering that 8.1 is a forced upgrade (the Win8 support will be dropped 24 months after Win8.1 release).

Edited by francescob, Jan 22 2014, 5:42pm :

Buendia said,
You can see a pinned Windows Store icon in the taskbar!

I can see that reducing the level of disconnect between Modern and the desktop.

DonC said,

I can see that reducing the level of disconnect between Modern and the desktop.

Im hoping that means metro apps on the desktop, a feature that is VERY badly needed.

Anarkii said,

Im hoping that means metro apps on the desktop, a feature that is VERY badly needed.


That alone would make Windows 8 equally great on desktop as it is on tablets. Very much a needed feature, indeed.

Anarkii said,

Im hoping that means metro apps on the desktop, a feature that is VERY badly needed.


Yes, this small new feature could be indicative of something much greater. It seems like Microsoft is turning some focus back to the desktop again. I think this is a first sign of forthcoming Metro apps on the desktop in Windows 9. I can't imagine Windows 8.1 Update 1 which is basically like a service pack (patch rollup + some new minor changes) getting this already though. I believe that MS is working very hard to make a much less controversial release in Windows 9, which will maintain the Metro concept, but where a key focus will be on liberating how the user can work. I think this is also the reason for the surprisingly early RTM (according to a Neowin article recently) -- that this is an important and urgent release for MS.

Anarkii said,

Im hoping that means metro apps on the desktop, a feature that is VERY badly needed.

I'd like the other way around as well - desktop programs in Metro.

Dot Matrix said,

More than likely, that's the Stardock thing.

One of the screenshot show the option to "Show Store apps on the taskbar" therefore should be part of the OS settings.

Did they loose the source-code for Shell32.dll or something? Do the graphic-artists they try to hire get lost on the way to Redmond, confused by the 'text, & flat-icons only' road-signs?

How hard can it be....

This has been one of my biggest problems with Win 8/8.1. Makes stuff look half finished, in typical MS fashion (theres still icons from Win 98 in there if you look hard enough).

But i bet if they changed the icons, so that things were consistent and looked good, that people will still complain. Too many idiots that hate change.

NoClipMode said,
This has been one of my biggest problems with Win 8/8.1. Makes stuff look half finished, in typical MS fashion (theres still icons from Win 98 in there if you look hard enough).

But i bet if they changed the icons, so that things were consistent and looked good, that people will still complain. Too many idiots that hate change.


Agreed. They just can't win. Most people just don't care that the icons mach... And of those of us that do, you have people like us that would love them to be updated to match, but just as vocal a group would complain just for the sake of doing so...

Elliot B. said,

To be fair, the Vista icon set was gorgeous.

It used to be when vista had those glass top level folders for each user

M_Lyons10 said,

Agreed. They just can't win. Most people just don't care that the icons mach... And of those of us that do, you have people like us that would love them to be updated to match, but just as vocal a group would complain just for the sake of doing so...

If you REALLY cared about the icons, you'd be using a custom icon set by now, default is never pretty

z0phi3l said,

If you REALLY cared about the icons, you'd be using a custom icon set by now, default is never pretty

Looking "pretty" isn't really the point, it's more about consistency and polish. If this was some random unknown OS made by kids, then ok, i can except this, but this is Windows and made by the largest software company around. It's totally unacceptable and ridiculous. All the old icons are a total mess, and the Vista icons are about as far from Metro design as you can get.

z0phi3l said,

If you REALLY cared about the icons, you'd be using a custom icon set by now, default is never pretty


Consistency is the keyword.

Pulagatha said,
If I could have all the apps on one taskbar, I would be so happy.

And all apps on the sidebar as well. A thumbnail for "Desktop" isn't particularly useful when you've got a mix of Metro and desktop apps running. Ideally you should be able to get a full view of everything running in either desktop or Metro mode.

In last screenshot (Taskbar Properties) their is a new option to "Show Store Apps on the Taskbar". Currently, you can launch Store Apps from Start screen only.

Vikas said,
In last screenshot (Taskbar Properties) their is a new option to "Show Store Apps on the Taskbar". Currently, you can launch Store Apps from Start screen only.

I'd hope to go along with that would be something along the lines of "show task bar when using a modern app".

Vikas said,
In last screenshot (Taskbar Properties) their is a new option to "Show Store Apps on the Taskbar". Currently, you can launch Store Apps from Start screen only.

It's mentioned in the article as well as the title.

Cøi said,

It's mentioned in the article as well as the title.

Looks like that bit was added when the article was updated. It clearly refers to the comments section so might want to consider that next time before jumping on the guy.

domboy said,

I'd hope to go along with that would be something along the lines of "show task bar when using a modern app".

Maybe as an option, but that would mess up the clean look of the Metro app IMO. Although having a navigation/notification bar in Android doesn't look too bad, so it might be possible to make it work.

Romero said,
Looks like that bit was added when the article was updated. It clearly refers to the comments section so might want to consider that next time before jumping on the guy.

Whoops

DConnell said,

Maybe as an option, but that would mess up the clean look of the Metro app IMO. Although having a navigation/notification bar in Android doesn't look too bad, so it might be possible to make it work.

Having no taskbar is my biggest grip with modern ui. I shouldn't have to swip to see status of wireless, battery, see the time... that should all be there at a glance. Sure, some things I want full screen, but most things I want to see the taskbar/status bar, whatever you want to call it.

If they would add the alarm clock control for developers that would be nice.
Better yet, a detailed walk through of how they built it would be lovely - curves in XAML make my brain melt.

I'm not expecting any UI changes, isn't this just a rollup of all the released patches? they might throw in a few new features perhaps but I'm not expecting much if anything really. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Xerxes said,
I'm not expecting any UI changes, isn't this just a rollup of all the released patches? they might throw in a few new features perhaps but I'm not expecting much if anything really. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

It's not a rollup of patches. There will be changes, but mostly only stuff under the hood and some small new visible user features at most. I'm expecting new Metro API's added to bring it closer in-line with WP 8.1, and then Win 9 will close that gap further.

ZipZapRap said,
The juicy UI stuff probably not in these early builds... there ARE juicy UI features, right?

I heard that Microsoft asked permission from Apple to license the OS X system icon set for Windows because the current set just doesn't clash badly enough with Metro.

.Neo said,

I heard that Microsoft asked permission from Apple to license the OS X system icon set for Windows because the current set just doesn't clash badly enough with Metro.

Yeah, right.

ZipZapRap said,
The juicy UI stuff probably not in these early builds... there ARE juicy UI features, right?

probably not this time around.
i'm assuming all major ui changes/upgrades are being reserved for windows 9 now.

Excellent idea. One for touch-centric devices, one for mouse/keyboard devices, and one for Apple devices. After all Windows-8's current one-size-fits-all UI is not working out well.

TsarNikky said,
Excellent idea. One for touch-centric devices, one for mouse/keyboard devices, and one for Apple devices. After all Windows-8's current one-size-fits-all UI is not working out well.

its not supposed to be a one size fits all UI. the desktop stuff is there for backwards compatibility,and to help with the transition to WinRT stuff. Eventually there will only be one UI.

virtorio said,
Almost certainly not.

It all depends if this is actually is going to be WIndows 9 or just a Windows 8.2. If it's Windows 9 then I expect features later on the development as usual.

TsarNikky - you are pointing-device-centric; worse, you willingly admit that nothing less than a pointing-device-centric UX (and UI) suffices for you. The same is true of most of the other Windows 8/8.1 critics. Never mind your attempts at throwing touch-screen users under the bus - you are also throwing keyboard-centric users (who are more plentiful than touch-screen users, and have been around even in Windows longer) under that same bus. We, the keyboard-centric users of Windows, are FINALLY out from under that bus after nearly two decades, and you think we are going to crawl back under it quietly? Two words - guess again.

The "REAL" purpose of Windows 8.1 Update 1 is to more closely align it with the release of Windows Phone 8.1 ... one of the big goals is to provide a common API/Framework for app developers, so they can write one app that runs on both Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 (and RT). This won't get them all the way (or even halfway) there, but it's a move in that direction.

Additional UI tweaks to help reduce the objections to moving to Windows 8.x will likely be included, but won't be major. More like 'refinements' and a few additional options.

PGHammer said,
TsarNikky - you are pointing-device-centric; worse, you willingly admit that nothing less than a pointing-device-centric UX (and UI) suffices for you. The same is true of most of the other Windows 8/8.1 critics. Never mind your attempts at throwing touch-screen users under the bus - you are also throwing keyboard-centric users (who are more plentiful than touch-screen users, and have been around even in Windows longer) under that same bus. We, the keyboard-centric users of Windows, are FINALLY out from under that bus after nearly two decades, and you think we are going to crawl back under it quietly? Two words - guess again.

Do you keep that "pointing-device-centric" rubbish of yours saved in a textfile or something for quick pasting?

Spoiler: You're still massively off-base.

Athernar said,

Do you keep that "pointing-device-centric" rubbish of yours saved in a textfile or something for quick pasting?

Spoiler: You're still massively off-base.

Actually, I think he's quite close to the mark. Windows has absolutely required a mouse since 1995, and now, while it still works better with a mouse, it's no longer rodent-exclusive. I really don't get why adding improved support for additional input methods (while still maintaining excellent support for the traditional ones) is such a problem.

DConnell said,

Actually, I think he's quite close to the mark. Windows has absolutely required a mouse since 1995, and now, while it still works better with a mouse, it's no longer rodent-exclusive. I really don't get why adding improved support for additional input methods (while still maintaining excellent support for the traditional ones) is such a problem.

No, he is absolutely off base with the lies and other nonsense he spews forth about "mouse users wanting to throw others under the bus".

"Mouse users" want a system that adapts to the input devices present, not a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none kludgefest.

If any group wants exclusivity here, it's the touch-facists.

I don't think any of the pro-Windows 8 people here are advocating removal of the mouse as an input method, and I personally have no problem with a start menu being added back as an option. Just as long as I don't have to use it.

I want a good, adaptable UI that works with both mouse AND touch. And IMO Windows 8 is a very good move in that direction. It's a compromise, and IMO a reasonably effective one - it's still marginally better with mouse than with touch. I even prefer a mouse with my Surface when it's practical.

Windows 8.x even in its present form _does_ adapt to the input devices present - my Surface's behavior, even in Metro, is slightly different when the touch cover is attached and the touchpad is used than when I use the touchscreen. Adding more configuration choices - Metro apps on the desktop, my hope for desktop apps in Metro, being able to hide Metro to varying degrees, will further improve that adaptability.

I really don't see any "touch-fascists", just people who want to retain the flexibility MS is attempting to provide.

DConnell said,
I want a good, adaptable UI that works with both mouse AND touch. And IMO Windows 8 is a very good move in that direction. It's a compromise, and IMO a reasonably effective one - it's still marginally better with mouse than with touch. I even prefer a mouse with my Surface when it's practical.

No such thing exists nor will it ever exist, you cannot cater to both methods of input without compromising one for the other.

The changes to the UI are simple in my opinion.

1--Combine the desktop & Start Screen so that Metro tiles float on the desktop (and scroll side-to-side).
2--Allow Metro apps to be pinned to the Task Bar and give them "jump lists" so you can quickly view basic info in the app (weather, stock quotes, etc.) without leaving the desktop or the desktop app that you're currently using.
3--Allow Metro apps to run on side-by-side with desktop apps, and give them more functionality (like File Menus, and an "x" to close the app).
4--Bring back the classic Start Menu (or a modern version of it) for those who want it.

All of these changes could be toggled on or off.

All of these changes would make Metro complement desktop instead of competing with it and antagonizing desktop users.

There, I just fixed Windows 8.