Microsoft: Windows 8.1 is an update, not a service pack

Windows 8.1 is more substantial than a traditional update and Microsoft wanted to make it very easy for customers to consume as well which is why it will be delivered through the Windows Store.  It's important to note that when describing the update, she did not say that it was a service pack, but an update, which ties into the belief that Microsoft is done with the traditional service packs and will move to more prominent releases like Windows 8.1.

Reller stopped short of saying that we will see Windows 8.2 and beyond but wanted to hit home that Windows 8.1 is a large update for the platform and that it will bring many enhancements to the end user. We would have loved to have heard that we would see Windows 8.2 next year but we will be content to know that Windows 8.1 will be free and a public preview will be released on June 26th.

Not long after the release of Windows 8 we started hearing rumors about the rapid release cadence that Microsoft was moving towards with many of its major platforms including Windows. Seeing that Windows 8.1 is the first step in the process, we will be quite curious how long it takes Microsoft to move to the next phase of the Windows 8 release cycle.

Source: JP Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom Conference

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft: 'We need the flexibility of ARM'

Next Story

Windows 8.1 public preview gets June 26th launch date

67 Comments

View more comments

glen8 said,
It doesn't matter if Windows 8 is good or bad. You try buying a PC from dell running anything other than Windows 8? You can't. Unless you get a refurbed old model.

Consumers don't have a choice with MS. Most if not all OEMs now ship Windows 8.

In fact, I'm not sure I can think of anyone selling brand new models using Windows 7

Same is true of Android and iOS. If I want Android 2.3 on my new Galaxy it isn't available. If I buy a new iPad I don't get a choice of OS version. At least Windows lets you downgrade.

I hope Microsoft release a new ISO or also provide the update through Windows Update rather than only providing it through the store.

That would really mess up my great VBScript

Brony said,
update = service pack
upgrade = new software.

Update = Incremental builds/fixes/etc of software, minor version numbering. May or may not have new features, but nothing drastic.
Upgrades typically are major releases, can have major differences between versions.
Service pack = collection of updates.

Not sure where you're getting rhetoric from though.

Isn't one of the new features of the store that it will now automatically download and update your apps?
So we all have to manually install Win8.1 update, but after that the updates will happen without any user interaction
Or am I missing something?

Stoffel said,
Isn't one of the new features of the store that it will now automatically download and update your apps?
So we all have to manually install Win8.1 update, but after that the updates will happen without any user interaction
Or am I missing something?

That sounds right to me. But even if it did install updates automatically you'd still have to first do the initial install of whatever it is that it'll update on it's own after that. I expect that even with 8.1 any update after it for the OS won't be automatic (they can probably flag it to be manual) just because of the size of the update and so on. We're not talking a single app update here.

Although the 8.1 update is free, which is good news, I think whatever update comes in 2014 won't be free, or at least at some point they'll charge for it I'm sure. If the update in 2014 is bigger, and like 8.5 they could very well charge a small fee for it.

GP007 said,
Although the 8.1 update is free, which is good news, I think whatever update comes in 2014 won't be free, or at least at some point they'll charge for it I'm sure. If the update in 2014 is bigger, and like 8.5 they could very well charge a small fee for it.

If MS will indeed switch to yearly "features updates" of the OS they will surely will and honestly it makes sense. Some people will buy each and all of them, others just some etc.
This scenario raises above another question though: what will be the price of a new release of the OS? For example from W9 to W10? It could not be any longer aligned to what it is right now and has been in the past. Eventually we will see people using W8.3 paying much less than others running W8.0 .

As long as I can reformat using a disc, and install fewer updates (the damned OS has over 500 mb!) It takes a lot to download those many mbs!

Do you want a cookie or something? You win the guessing game on what MS will call something. Who cares? Do you normally get worked up by trivial things like this?

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
Been telling all the idiot's this was clearly not a SP, and nothing like a SP. It was very obvious but people lack common sense.

It's been quite sad over the years to see Neowin readers get so worked up over what features will come in each new service pack. They don't. Apart from XP SP2 (which should have been given a name like Windows XP R2 or something), service packs never do include anything but bug fixes and occasional low level system tweaks. As you say, this is not a SP ... and I'm pleased to say it appears that the days of featureless SPs may finally have ended. Death to service packs ... long live updates! :-)

You are mistaken on what I care about. My point is that MS could have named it whatever the hell they want. You were exclaiming how right you are, so GOOD JOB DUDE! YOU ROCK! who cares....

It would be good to get quicker updates - Microsoft needs to invest heavily in this area. For me the desktop is dead for my leisure time (I'm on an i5 tablet), I want the Metro platform and core apps upgraded every 3 months or so.
The Metro interface can accommodate Office apps (ribbon via pull down, pop up menus by finger and file management though charms). The OS settings should be complete via charms and no need to go to desktop for homegroup etc.
I don't think this is asking too much being a software developer myself. I will probably download the consumer preview but what I've seen of it so far (from a leisure user POV) leads me to believe I won't be too impressed with the changes. I hope I am very wrong or they get their act together and add features on a much quicker timescale post blue!

FalseAgent said,
The funny thing is that Windows Blue 8.1 is exactly what Apple makes their Mac users pay for with every "new" OS release.

True! Poor things - they have almost forgotten the days of yore when the current version of their OS was anything other than 10. ;-)

Timble said,

True! Poor things - they have almost forgotten the days of yore when the current version of their OS was anything other than 10. ;-)


My sister actually paid for her upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard and was really really disappointed, she felt ripped off. I helped her with the upgrade, and the so-called 'new' OS that I installed felt more like a service pack that we usually get for free in the Windows world.

I'd say upgrading from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion feels more like an upgrade. The sad thing is, quite a number of Macs that were sold with Snow Leopard would take a huge performance hit by upgrading to Mountain Lion, making it an unattractive upgrade...Mountain Lion is really kinda bloated.

But there are some good things still, alot of Mac users wouldn't have to face all the changes that Windows is making (i.e. Metro). Great for the short term, not very good for the long term, especially if the Mac platform is stagnating other than the usual specs bumps...kinda like how smartphones are in 2013.

FalseAgent said,

My sister actually paid for her upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard and was really really disappointed, she felt ripped off. I helped her with the upgrade, and the so-called 'new' OS that I installed felt more like a service pack that we usually get for free in the Windows world.

I'd say upgrading from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion feels more like an upgrade. The sad thing is, quite a number of Macs that were sold with Snow Leopard would take a huge performance hit by upgrading to Mountain Lion, making it an unattractive upgrade...Mountain Lion is really kinda bloated.

But there are some good things still, alot of Mac users wouldn't have to face all the changes that Windows is making (i.e. Metro). Great for the short term, not very good for the long term, especially if the Mac platform is stagnating other than the usual specs bumps...kinda like how smartphones are in 2013.

I felt like it being a service pack when going from Lion to Mountain Lion.

I don't care what you call it (an update or a service pack, even though the latter would be factually inaccurate).
It is what it is: a very good thing.

My thing is windows 8 should have never been released the way it is . This 8.1 crap should have been day 1 . Microsoft needs to take its time and learn how to build a consistent UI and then learn how to polish that ui . They messed up huge with 8 and I'm not touching the next Xbox for a good year after release I just do not trust Microsoft anymore . To many let downs over the past few years.

Commenting is disabled on this article.