'Spring Update' for Windows 8.1 announced

Microsoft has finally acknowledged 'Update 1' and has announced the update to Windows 8.1 at the Mobile World Conference this morning to be delivered as a 'Spring Update'.

The Spring Update focuses mainly on mouse and keyboard use with Modern apps.

The update - which is referred to internally as 'Update 1' - adds a title bar to Modern apps, and the ability to pin them to the taskbar as well as currently running Modern apps being present on the taskbar with jumplist and in some cases media control support.

Joe Belfiore, who is now responsible for phones, tablets, and PCs at the software maker, revealed the update is coming "this spring" and adds improved features for mouse and keyboard users when using Modern apps. The update will be delivered through Windows Update rather than the Windows Store, which was the method used to update Windows 8 to 8.1.

Belfiore also admitted that Microsoft listened to complaints, saying "Some of those touch affordances weren’t really tuned as well as we could do for those mouse and keyboard users," and further added; "We found people weren’t aware of where they should look in the UI. Those are the things we've really started to improve for this update coming this spring." 

Those improvements also include a Power and Search icon on the top right of the Start screen and context menus on tiles, which includes the removal of the bottom "Metro bar" when the mouse is right-clicked.

Hardware requirements for Windows 8.1 have also been lowered in the update to make way for cheaper devices, Windows 8.1 will be able to be installed on devices with just 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage; coupled with the recent news on slashing pricing for OEMs by 70% will go a long way to make this possible as Microsoft positions itself to better accommodate devices in the low-end market.

Coming soon to a store near you, Windows 8.1 tablets priced under $250? Yes please!

Just three days ago, build 17025 leaked to the internet in x86 and x64 flavours giving those who just can't wait a sneak peek at what to expect. For a full rundown of the changes that will be present in the update, click here.

An actual release date for the Spring Update has not been announced, but it's widely expected to happen sometime in April. You can read Belfiore's full announcement here.

Source: Microsoft | Image via WZor

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I wonder if Windows RT 8.1 is also going to get this update 1... didn't see any mention of it in the linked blog.

So now that this will be available thru WU....

What happens if you are on Windows 8 and not 8.1 and you try to update? This "Spring Update" will install 8.1 AND then the update along with it?
Or its possible to jump right from 8->spring update without any issues?

Will it install on a Pentium 4 (Northwood)? The current 8.1 won't, tried and it gives me a blue screen claiming it does not meet required hardware. Always curious to bench,test,blog about it.

"Those improvements also include a Power and Search icon on the top right of the Start screen and context menus on tiles, which includes the removal of the bottom "Metro bar" when the mouse is right clicked."

Those are not improvements, just adding unnecessary clutter to the Start Screen. One can only hope those things can be removed one way or another.

You know what the real story of this announcement is? Joe Belfiore.

For years we've seen Steven Sinofsky and Julie take the stage to talk about just Windows, with Windows Phone given lesser attention separately elsewhere. Today? We're seeing Joe Belfiore take the stage to talk about BOTH Windows Phone and Windows.

Terry Myerson is cleaning house. The Windows Phone guys are calling the shots now. Team Sinofsky is gone. Windows development is finally being put in the hands of the right people. This is nothing but a good thing.

FalseAgent said,
You know what the real story of this announcement is? Joe Belfiore.

For years we've seen Steven Sinofsky and Julie take the stage to talk about just Windows, with Windows Phone given lesser attention separately elsewhere. Today? We're seeing Joe Belfiore take the stage to talk about BOTH Windows Phone and Windows.

Terry Myerson is cleaning house. The Windows Phone guys are calling the shots now. Team Sinofsky is gone. Windows development is finally being put in the hands of the right people. This is nothing but a good thing.


Agreed. This can only be good...

FalseAgent said,
You know what the real story of this announcement is? Joe Belfiore.

For years we've seen Steven Sinofsky and Julie take the stage to talk about just Windows, with Windows Phone given lesser attention separately elsewhere. Today? We're seeing Joe Belfiore take the stage to talk about BOTH Windows Phone and Windows.

Terry Myerson is cleaning house. The Windows Phone guys are calling the shots now. Team Sinofsky is gone. Windows development is finally being put in the hands of the right people. This is nothing but a good thing.

Joe is quite a capable guy. He'll do Windows good. I just hope he doesn't get too lost in trying to please every last user.

"With Windows 8, there's no doubt that we made a big bet and took a first step toward that future. 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." --- Joe Belfiore

hagjohn said,
"With Windows 8, there's no doubt that we made a big bet and took a first step toward that future. 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." --- Joe Belfiore

^ This.

hagjohn said,
"With Windows 8, there's no doubt that we made a big bet and took a first step toward that future. 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." --- Joe Belfiore

" "Some of those touch affordances weren't really tuned as well as we could do for those mouse and keyboard users,"
"We found people weren't aware of where they should look in the UI. Those are the things we've really started to improve for this update coming this spring."
Joe Belfiore

Pff. Doesn't matter how many times you polish a turd. It's still a turd.
Still not even contemplating putting this on my corporate network until they sort out this tiles interface nonsense and put the start button back in it's original form.
Staff will be staying with Windows 7 until 9 makes an appearance. Will judge it's UI for users when it starts doing the rounds.

Hello,

surreyguy said,
Pff. Doesn't matter how many times you polish a turd. It's still a turd.
Still not even contemplating putting this on my corporate network until they sort out this tiles interface nonsense and put the start button back in it's original form.
Staff will be staying with Windows 7 until 9 makes an appearance. Will judge it's UI for users when it starts doing the rounds.

Long live the dictator. Hurray.

/s

Many will be waiting for Windows-9 to clean up the Windows-8 mess. Yes, all those add-ons to Windows-8 for mouse/keyboard users are just that--add-ons tacked on. Windows-9 will give Microsoft to make a "clean" OS that will be mouse/keyboard friendly. Will it offer a choice of UI to display and use? Microsoft had best do it. At worse, Windows-8 will remain touch-oriented and Windows-9 will be mouse/keyboard oriented.

Windows 9 should neither ignore keyboard/mouse nor touch. I want it to have the best of both and emphasize whichever UI makes most sense depending on the device type or current role (in case of convertibles).

TsarNikky said,
Many will be waiting for Windows-9 to clean up the Windows-8 mess. Yes, all those add-ons to Windows-8 for mouse/keyboard users are just that--add-ons tacked on. Windows-9 will give Microsoft to make a "clean" OS that will be mouse/keyboard friendly. Will it offer a choice of UI to display and use? Microsoft had best do it. At worse, Windows-8 will remain touch-oriented and Windows-9 will be mouse/keyboard oriented.

Windows 9 will build on Windows 8. See Hagjohn's post below.

Dot Matrix said,

Windows 9 will build on Windows 8. See Hagjohn's post below.

And W8 was built on Vista\W7.... What W9 will be is, at this point, unknown. Of course everybody is entitles to speculate\ wish that it will resemble his\her personal preferences.
For example I wish it will resemble what MS portrayed in the "Future vision" clips.

Steven P. said,
The action bar is still present in apps though. It was removed only from the Start screen by the looks of it.

I anxiously await a third party app to bring it back.

What's so special about right clicking on the tile, then having to mouse to the bottom of the screen to carry out the task? The update means you can right click on the tile and immediately carry out the task?

Dot Matrix said,
" Don't worry, we still LOVE and BELIEVE IN touch..."

Joe Belfiore. (http://blogs.windows.com/windo...one-evolving-windows-8.aspx)

There you have it kids, though personally, I think he destroyed the unity between the start screen and metro apps by taking away the action bar at the bottom of the screen after right clicking. Those new context menus are UGLY in every sense of the word.

This is what he said:
Despite the update's attention on users of non-touch devices, Belfiore exclaimed: "we love touch, but we do want to make things better for people who don't have touchscreens."

Steven P. said,
What's so special about right clicking on the tile, then having to mouse to the bottom of the screen to carry out the task? The update means you can right click on the tile and immediately carry out the task?

It doesn't take me any longer to do that compared to using a context menu, it looks nicer, and has the unity with Metro applications. If users are still going to use action bar in metro apps, why confuse them with a out of place context menu on the start screen?

Joe Belfiore said,
In addition to our great partners HTC, Huawei, Nokia and Samsung...
"Great"? Poor guy had to be polite to 3 of the 4.

Hopefully it will improve the performance too. I swear, Windows 8.1 performance has degraded requiring me to go back to the old Windows 98 days of restarting the system a couple times per day.

so...I assume they're clearing windows 8 announcements right now to make room for an official windows 9 announcement during build in april??

aviator189 said,
so...I assume they're clearing windows 8 announcements right now to make room for an official windows 9 announcement during build in april??

No, that is not going to happen. Those Windows 9 rumors are completely bogus.

Uhm, no. When you announce a feature update 6 days before it goes live (2 april Build, 8 april live), they would announce it way to late...

Dot Matrix said,

No, that is not going to happen. Those Windows 9 rumors are completely bogus.


I dunno, I still think it's going to happen.

aviator189 said,

I dunno, I still think it's going to happen.

Windows 9 will happen, obviously, but not so soon after releasing an update to Windows 8.1.

Dot Matrix said,

Windows 9 will happen, obviously, but not so soon after releasing an update to Windows 8.1.


It could be announced for November: good for Holidays season.

I can not wait until the update came out.
At least consider that Microsoft refers to people who use Windows.
And maybe after Edit out people prefer to use Windows 8.1

For the reasons given above I highly doubt they will do that. Even the leaks of Windows 8.1 (for 8.0) already had '8.1' present while the recent RTM Escrow leaks of Update 1 still show it as Windows 8.1.

The only confusing thing is that when it's Spring in the US it's Autumn here (in Australia). To us Autumn (2014) will come before Spring (2014). Naming updates based on season could be a problem (if all of a sudden an Autumn 2014 update gets announced in the near future). But it only take about 30 seconds to get used to...

"Window 8.1 Service Pack 1" or even "Windows 8.2" would have been better. Although I would have called 8.1 "Windows 8 Update 1" and this new version Windows 8.1 - that would make more sense.

68k said,
The only confusing thing is that when it's Spring in the US it's Autumn here (in Australia). To us Autumn (2014) will come before Spring (2014). Naming updates based on season could be a problem (if all of a sudden an Autumn 2014 update gets announced in the near future). But it only take about 30 seconds to get used to...

"Window 8.1 Service Pack 1" or even "Windows 8.2" would have been better. Although I would have called 8.1 "Windows 8 Update 1" and this new version Windows 8.1 - that would make more sense.


I agreed, Windows 8.2 sounds better but i think they want to keep 8.1 because Windows Phone 8.1 will be released in a few months and I read somewhere that Microsoft want to unified both platform.

macoman said,

I agreed, Windows 8.2 sounds better but i think they want to keep 8.1 because Windows Phone 8.1 will be released in a few months and I read somewhere that Microsoft want to unified both platform.

Considering Windows Phone 8.1 won't be out until around the same time as Update 1/Sprint Update it would have made more sense to have just bumped Windows Phone to 8.2 and release this as 8.2 as well in the same quarter and just skip Windows Phone 8.1. This "Spring Update" or "8.1 Update 1" is just awful naming.

A legitimate complaint, however, that's why we have to be bilingual. We have to be able to spell correctly and American (Especially if you're a programmer), we have to measure correctly and American, translate the seasons, time zones, etc.

Ideas Man said,
A legitimate complaint, however, that's why we have to be bilingual. We have to be able to spell correctly and American (Especially if you're a programmer), we have to measure correctly and American, translate the seasons, time zones, etc.
GOD TOOK YOU GUYS LONG ENOUGH!

Breach said,
Couldn't they have just called it 8.2?

Agreed - typical Microsoft. They'll probably call the next one a Service Pack.

It's an update to improve the product. Why is everyone complaining about what they're calling it? They could call it Windows Scooby Doo for all I care.

cybersaurusrex said,
Exactly. Why does Microsoft make everything so d*mn complicated? lol

Yes, because other operating systems don't do this.

BRB going to upgrade my iPhone 4S to iOS 7.0.6 and my Android phone to 4.4.2. Maybe later on I'll check out the 10.9.2 beta for OSX. This reminds me, I should also upgrade my Ubuntu machine to 12.04.4, and should try out the 3.13.5 Linux kernel.

Lol.

The Windows naming scheme is very simple.... And if you understand the simplicity of it you can see why they call it Update 1 or similar and not 8.2.

Shadowzz said,
Windows 7 was supposed to come with NT7.

Blame developers using bad version checking for that. Pretty sure developing windows blog or channel9 have video saying as much.

I have no problem with it either, but at look at it from the average Jane and Joe's perspective. Do you think they know whether they are running 8, 8.1 or 8.1 Update 1? I'm sure MS have their reasons for the naming conventions but it's engineering reasons, not market ones. WIndows 8.1 Update 1 is just goofy, is all...

deadonthefloor said,

Blame developers using bad version checking for that. Pretty sure developing windows blog or channel9 have video saying as much.

Yup, a lot of Vista drivers, which work fine on Windows 7, didn't install cause it was stuck on checking for NT6.*.

I'm confused about the differences between the .1 increments and the Update #. Will the next update be Windows 8.1 Update 1 Release 1?

According to The Verge, the update hasn't actually been named, it's being referred to as Update 1 internally, and as the "Spring Update" at the MWC.

It's a horrible name because it is arguably (at least visually) a bigger a change than that between 8 and 8.1. I think this is an effort to unify version numbers between Windows and Windows Phone - both will be at version 8.1 by the summer time, allowing the next releases of both to become 8.2/9. Can't think of a better explanation.

In the past, updates like this (that add features) was a paid for upgrade. I'm not complaining! Two major updates from Windows 8.0!

Fahim S. said,
It's a horrible name because it is arguably (at least visually) a bigger a change than that between 8 and 8.1. I think this is an effort to unify version numbers between Windows and Windows Phone - both will be at version 8.1 by the summer time, allowing the next releases of both to become 8.2/9. Can't think of a better explanation.
What visual changes? A context menu and taskbar/titlebar in metro apps that disappear AND only for mouse devices is a bigger change then a whole startscreen redesign, the new backgrounds, a brand new IE, a series of new and improved apps, etc?

It's Windows 8.1 Update 1. It's just a very small update, and nice in line with all other Microsoft products like Visual Studio 2013 Update 1, Windows Phone 8 Update 3, etc.

Steven P. said,
In the past, updates like this (that add features) was a paid for upgrade. I'm not complaining! Two major updates from Windows 8.0!

I don't remember MS charging for XP SP1 or SP2...

n_K said,

I don't remember MS charging for XP SP1 or SP2...

Technically, adding features isn't what Service Packs do. They mainly fix bugs. There were no major GUI changes or much else with XP.

To me, they're doing things that should have been done with the initial release of Windows 8, so they shouldn't be charging.

farmeunit said,

Technically, adding features isn't what Service Packs do. They mainly fix bugs. There were no major GUI changes or much else with XP.

To me, they're doing things that should have been done with the initial release of Windows 8, so they shouldn't be charging.


There were huge changes with XP; the addition of the firewall is probably the most notable.

n_K said,

There were huge changes with XP; the addition of the firewall is probably the most notable.

Heh yeah actually SP2 for XP is the only time new (security) features were added through a Service Pack update. Even the "desktop enhancements" for Windows 95 and 98 were added through an IE4 update, not a service pack.

And I actually meant such updates as Windows 98 > SE (which wasn't a free upgrade).

farmeunit said,
Technically, adding features isn't what Service Packs do. They mainly fix bugs. There were no major GUI changes or much else with XP.
Technically, except you seem to have completely forgotten how XP SP 1-3 added USB 2.0 support, the MSJVM (later removed), WPA and BT support, pop-up blocker for IE, a vastly improved firewall, Network Access Protection, Security Center and more...